Tag Archives: Kevin Nolan

Great Goals: Kevin Nolan – BOLTON WANDERERS vs. Portsmouth (September 2005)

Kevin Nolan’s best season at Bolton Wanderers was arguably in the 2005-2006 season. He scored a flurry of great goals which saw him linked with a possible England call-up from Sven-Goran Eriksson; a cap he was destined never to receive.

Nolan showed off his acrobatic range with this overhead kick against Portsmouth in September 2005. It was a game low on quality and chances but Nolan did produce a worthy moment to settle the match between the two sides.

After 24 minutes, Henrik Pedersen looped a ball into the penalty area which was kept alive by his strike partner, Kevin Davies. Davies’ header reached Nolan but it was behind him so the midfielder improvised with an awesome overhead kick that left Portsmouth goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown motionless.

Bolton’s 1-0 victory took them to third place in the table and this was part of Nolan’s qualities in his game, especially during this purple patch of form during his spell at The Reebok Stadium.


The Clubs: Bolton Wanderers

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
494 149 128 217 575 745 -170 575 13


Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Jussi Jaaskelainen 379
Kevin Davies 316
Kevin Nolan 261
Ricardo Gardner 251
Ivan Campo 172
Bruno N’Gotty 147
Henrik Pedersen 143
Stelios Giannakopoulos 137
Per Frandsen 134
Gudni Bergsson 130


Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Kevin Davies 67
Kevin Nolan 39
Matt Taylor 23
Henrik Pedersen 22
Nicolas Anelka 21
El-Hadji Diouf 21
Youri Djorkaeff 20
Stelios Giannakopoulos 20
Ivan Klasnic 20
Michael Ricketts 19


Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Leicester City 0-5 Bolton Wanderers 18th August 2001 2001-2002
Bolton Wanderers 5-0 Stoke City 6th November 2011 2011-2012
Bolton Wanderers 5-1 Newcastle United 20th November 2010 2010-2011
Everton 0-4 Bolton Wanderers 17th December 2005 2005-2006
Bolton Wanderers 4-0 West Ham United 9th December 2006 2006-2007
Bolton Wanderers 4-0 Wigan Athletic 13th March 2010 2009-2010
Queens Park Rangers 0-4 Bolton Wanderers 13th August 2011 2011-2012
Bolton Wanderers 5-2 Crystal Palace 2nd May 1998 1997-1998
Middlesbrough 1-4 Bolton Wanderers 17th February 1996 1995-1996
Bolton Wanderers 4-1 Ipswich Town 6th April 2002 2001-2002


Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Bolton Wanderers 0-6 Manchester United 25th February 1996 1995-1996
Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 Bolton Wanderers 8th November 1997 1997-1998
Bolton Wanderers 0-5 Manchester United 25th February 1996 1995-1996
Manchester City 6-2 Bolton Wanderers 18th October 2003 2003-2004
Bolton Wanderers 1-5 Coventry City 31st January 1998 1997-1998
Chelsea 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 23rd December 2001 2001-2002
Chelsea 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 15th October 2005 2005-2006
Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007 2006-2007
Aston Villa 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 7th November 2009 2009-2010
Bolton Wanderers 1-5 Chelsea 2nd October 2011 2011-2012



Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Roy McFarland 1 7th January 1996
Colin Todd 2 22nd September 1999
Sam Allardyce 6 30th April 2007
Sammy Lee 1 17th October 2007
Gary Megson 3 30th December 2009
Owen Coyle 3 9th October 2012


Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Leicester City 28th December 2003 28,353 2003-2004
Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Fulham 6th February 2010 28,353 2009-2010
Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Arsenal 20th December 2003 28,003 2003-2004
Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Liverpool FC 29th August 2004 27,880 2004-2005
Bolton Wanderers 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur 1st February 2005 27,780 2004-2005
Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Manchester United 11th September 2004 27,766 2004-2005
Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Manchester United 1st April 2006 27,718 2005-2006
Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Everton 15th May 2005 27,701 2004-2005
Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Manchester United 7th January 2004 27,668 2003-2004
Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea 30th April 2005 27,653 2004-2005



Bolton Wanderers have played Premier League football in 13 seasons and at their peak, the Trotters enjoyed four successive finishes in the top eight under the guidance of Sam Allardyce, peaking with sixth position in 2004-2005. Bolton’s ability to get the best out of experienced players such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff, Ivan Campo and Gary Speed served them well for several years. Relegation came in 2012 under Owen Coyle’s stewardship and with current severe financial problems; it is looking difficult to see Bolton returning to the top-flight in the short-term.



After an absence of 15 years, Bolton Wanderers returned to the top-flight in 1995-1996 and produced an early season surprise when they defeated reigning champions Blackburn Rovers 2-1. However, they remained at the foot of the table for much of the campaign and in early January, manager Roy McFarland was sacked. His assistant Colin Todd took over and although results did improve, the damage had already been done and Bolton went down on the final Saturday of the season, losing 1-0 to Southampton.



1997-1998 was the first season Bolton Wanderers moved into their new state-of-the-art home and there was controversy in their opening match at The Reebok Stadium. In a goalless draw with Everton, Bolton were denied a goal when Terry Phelan hooked the ball off the goal-line when the ball had clearly crossed the line. It would prove to be a decisive moment in their season. Colin Todd paid a club-record fee to bring Dean Holdsworth to the club in October for £3.5 million and they had a strong home record, winning seven times. However, they went into the final day still needing a positive result to survive.

Bolton went to Chelsea but despite a brave effort, lost 2-0 and were relegated on goal difference as Everton’s 1-1 draw with Coventry City was enough to keep the Toffees in the Premier League. Bolton fans felt robbed because of the controversy during the early-season encounter with Everton in the days where goal-line technology was just a pipedream.



After a four-year absence, Bolton returned to the Premier League with Sam Allardyce as manager and made an amazing start, winning their first three games which included a 2-1 victory over Liverpool FC. Michael Ricketts’ form won him an England international call-up in February and Ricketts also scored the winning goal at Old Trafford as Bolton stunned the champions in October. Form dipped in the winter and it was only the arrivals of Fredi Bobic and Youri Djorkaeff that kept Bolton away from danger. A masterful first half display against Ipswich Town which saw the home side go 4-0 infront before half-time was a crucial result. Bolton finished in 16th place and avoided relegation for the first time in their Premier League existence.



Bolton enjoyed another promising start to the 2002-2003 season. They bounced back well from an opening day 4-1 loss to Fulham by defeating both Aston Villa and then, for a second successive season, success at Old Trafford with Kevin Nolan’s only strike of the season beating Manchester United. Only two wins in their next 21 games followed and another relegation scrap would follow. However, the form of Youri Djorkaeff, Per Frandsen and Jay-Jay Okocha was important in the run-in. They lost only two of their final 13 matches and survival was achieved at West Ham’s expense on the final day after beating Middlesbrough 2-1.



Fears of another relegation scramble looked like a distinct possibility after back-to-back 4-0 defeats on the road at Manchester United and Portsmouth. In fact, Bolton won just one of their first 10 matches but Kevin Nolan’s matchwinner at White Hart Lane in early November was the catalyst for a big improvement from Sam Allardyce’s side. They actually enjoyed a comfortable season, finishing in a tremendous eighth position with a run of five successive victories achieved towards the end of the season. Bolton also reached the League Cup final but lost the showpiece event 2-1 to Middlesbrough.



The arrivals of Fernando Hierro, Gary Speed and El-Hadji Diouf in pre-season added to the quality and experience that Sam Allardyce was forming. The Trotters won three of their first four matches and sat in fourth place after beating Newcastle United 2-1 at the end of October. However, they ended 2004 in 13th place after a dreadful December which brought six successive defeats. Bolton recovered brilliantly from this mid-season slump to beat Arsenal and Everton in the second half of the campaign and finished in a Premier League high of sixth, level on points with Liverpool FC and only behind the Reds on goal difference.



Sam Allardyce had a new assistant with Sammy Lee replacing Phil Brown after Brown decided to go and manage Derby County. Bolton were competing in the UEFA Cup and reached the round-of-32 before bowing out to Marseille. Domestically, the Trotters had another impressive season and looked set for another top six finish until a five-game losing sequence towards the campaign’s end saw them slide to eighth at the season’s end. Allardyce was interviewed for the England manager’s job but lost out on the role to Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren.



Nicolas Anelka was a major new arrival in the summer and although it took until November for him to score, the Frenchman finished with 11 goals to be the club’s top scorer. Bolton again proved tough to beat and sat in third spot on New Years’ Day only below Manchester United and Chelsea in the table. They eventually finished seventh and secured European qualification again but lost their manager as Allardyce resigned three games before the end of the season. Sammy Lee succeeded him.



Bolton made a very slow start to 2007-2008 and after winning just one match in their first nine of the campaign; Sammy Lee was fired in mid-October. Gary Megson was the surprise replacement and it wasn’t a popular appointment either. Megson though managed to galvanise the team to a shock victory over Manchester United in November with Nicolas Anelka scoring the only goal. Anelka scored 10 times before leaving for Chelsea in the January transfer window. An unbeaten five-game sequence at the end of the season, including a final day draw at Stamford Bridge kept Bolton in the top-flight but down in 16th place and only safe by a solitary point from relegated Reading.



Anelka’s long-term replacement in the striking department was Johan Elmander who arrived for a club-record fee of £8.2 million from Toulouse. The Swede struggled though in his debut campaign and so did Bolton again, who eventually finished 13th and lost exactly half of their 38 games. Bolton’s best period came in November when they four out of their five matches including an impressive 4-1 away victory at Sunderland which spelt the end for Roy Keane as Black Cats boss.



The pressure was on Gary Megson early on when Bolton finished August pointless from all three matches played. Just four victories were recorded in the first half of the campaign and after throwing away a two-goal lead to draw with fellow strugglers Hull City during the festive period, Megson was sacked. It was a popular decision with many who had grown tired of his sterile tactics and lack of productive results. Bolton then pursued former player Owen Coyle and managed to persuade him to leave Burnley to take the vacancy at The Reebok. Coyle managed six further victories including a priceless success over his former club in January and completed his short-term mission of keeping Bolton in the Premier League. They eventually finished 14th.



Bolton Wanderers enjoyed a mini renaissance in 2010-2011 and were strong all season at The Reebok Stadium. They won 10 times on home soil, with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal among their victims. The 2-1 victory over the Gunners in April finished off Arsenal’s title challenge for another season. Coyle’s team were sixth just before Christmas and playing some superb football. Elmander enjoyed his best campaign in English football and scored a Goal of the Season contender in a 3-2 away victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers in November.

There was also a run to the FA Cup semi-finals which ended in a demoralising 5-0 defeat to Stoke City and that had a damaging effect on the run-in. The Trotters lost their last five games of the season and ended 14th for the second successive campaign, despite sitting in the top half for the majority of the season.



A 4-0 opening day victory away at Queens Park Rangers turned out to be a false dawn. Bolton went on to lose their next six matches, losing heavily to Manchester United and Chelsea on home soil too. There was a 5-0 triumph over Stoke in November to exact nice revenge on the Potters for April’s FA Cup semi-final hiding but Bolton went into 2012 bottom of the table.

In March, midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest in the first half of their FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur. Muamba would make a full recovery but had to retire from playing football professionally after the incident.

After conceding a two-goal lead to draw their final home match of the season against West Bromwich Albion, Bolton had to win at Stoke on the final day to have any chance of avoiding relegation. The 2-2 draw wasn’t enough and that meant they were relegated back to the Championship despite QPR’s final day defeat at Manchester City.

Seasonal Stories: Bolton Wanderers (2001-2002)

Target achieved

Bolton Wanderers were tipped by many as favourites to make an instant return to the First Division ahead of the 2001-2002 Premier League campaign. Without a great deal of money to spend following promotion, Sam Allardyce had to rely on the bulk of his promotion-winning squad and they did him proud. Top of the table in August and a memorable win at Old Trafford over the reigning champions were among the early highlights.

A winter wobble gave way to a successful spring and a 16th-place finish which meant the Trotters avoided relegation for the first time in their Premier League existence.

Three wins from three

Having won promotion to the Premier League after defeating Preston North End in the play-off final in late May, Sam Allardyce was about to face a big challenge as a top-flight manager and with little summer investment. Bolton spent a meagre £650,000 in pre-season and that was on one player, Henrik Pedersen from Danish outfit Silkeborg.

Allardyce had to rely on the majority of his promotion-winning squad but they made a fabulous start on the opening day at Filbert Street, handing down a 5-0 thrashing to Leicester City. Kevin Nolan scored twice on his Premier League debut and Per Frandsen struck two fantastic free-kicks in a scoreline that left everyone surprised by the way Bolton had trounced a team who had comfortably finished in mid-table in the previous campaign.

Michael Ricketts had also scored in that victory and he made a brilliant individual start to his maiden season in the top-flight. Ricketts got the only goal of the game in Bolton’s first home match of the season against Middlesbrough three days later, then opened the scoring against Liverpool FC in a shock 2-1 victory over the side that held five trophies to their name at this stage of the season. A record crowd at The Reebok Stadium saw Sander Westerveld allow a weak Dean Holdsworth shot to defeat him in stoppage-time and ensure Bolton ended August top of the Premier League table.

Surprising the elite

September was a winless month but Bolton still remained in fourth place and picked up more vital points on their travels. The Premier League elite were struggling against ‘Big Sam’ and his battling squad. Liverpool FC had lost to them and after the first international break of the season, Leeds United couldn’t break Bolton down at Elland Road, drawing 0-0.

Later in the month, Ricketts came off the bench to snatch an equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Highbury with Arsenal. He later admitted he had been dropped by the manager for a poor performance in the previous match but seemed happy to play the rotational role. He would strike a more significant blow a month later on the reigning champions.

When Bolton travelled to Old Trafford to play Manchester United in mid-October, they had slipped to eighth in the table and were winless in six matches. They fell behind to Juan Sebastian Veron’s free-kick and needed a splendid double-save from Jussi Jaaskelainen to stop the Red Devils increasing their advantage. Then, Nolan scored a brilliant equaliser before Ricketts raced clear of Wes Brown in the last five minutes and silenced the home support with a stunning winning goal. Bolton had just stunned Manchester United and left with all three points. They were mixing it in decent company in the upper echelons of the Premier League table.


1 Leeds United 9 5 4 0 12 3 +9 19
2 Arsenal 9 5 3 1 21 8 +13 18
3 Aston Villa 9 5 3 1 14 6 +8 18
4 Manchester United 9 5 2 2 26 16 +10 17
5 Liverpool FC 8 5 1 2 15 9 +6 16
6 BOLTON WANDERERS 10 4 3 3 12 11 +1 15

Momentum lost

The fine start Bolton made to the season seemed to have silenced the critics who had believed they had little hope of staying up at the start of the campaign. However, winter would leave a real freeze over The Reebok.

After the win at Old Trafford, Allardyce’s side lost all sense of momentum, only winning one of their next 15 matches which was a 2-1 success infront of the Sky Sports Super Sunday cameras away at struggling Ipswich Town in mid-November.

Bolton plummeted down the table and were beginning to concede goals at an alarming rate too. Chelsea beat them 5-1 at Stamford Bridge despite Nolan giving them a third-minute lead. Days later, Robbie Fowler scored his first Leeds United hat-trick as David O’Leary’s side cruised to a 3-0 victory on Boxing Day.

When they lost an end-to-end contest in early February on Tyneside to Newcastle United 3-2, the club had dropped into the bottom three for the first time in the season. Maybe the doubters were about to be proven right.

Allardyce knew he needed to add some proven experience to his squad and swooped into the European market to bring in defender Bruno N’Gotty from Marseille, tough-tackling midfielder Stig Tøfting from Hamburger SV and experienced forwards Youri Djorkaeff and Fredi Bobic. The latter pair would have a huge influence on Bolton’s fortunes in the spring months.

Fredi and Youri do the business

Bolton did record a 1-0 victory over West Ham United in mid-February but the genuine turning point came in late March when the Trotters travelled to The Valley to play Charlton Athletic. Djorkaeff scored his first goals for the club as Bolton recorded a 2-1 victory to climb out of the drop zone and it started a run of three victories in four games.

On Easter Saturday, Bobic broke his duck at home to Aston Villa and Nolan rediscovered his goalscoring form to send Villa to a 3-2 defeat. A week later, Bobic was in sensational form at home to Ipswich. In a game that was a genuine relegation six-pointer, he scored a first half hat-trick and Djorkaeff chipped in with another strike as Allardyce’s side enjoyed a memorable first half. Ipswich were 4-0 down at the interval and their season never truly recovered. The final scoreline was 4-1 and it was a result that virtually secured Bolton’s place in the Premier League for another season.

The magical 40-point mark was achieved a week later with a 1-1 home draw against Tottenham Hotspur and although they lost their final three matches against a trio of London sides in Fulham, Arsenal and West Ham United, Bolton had achieved survival for the first time in their Premier League life – finishing four points above danger. It was a job well done from a team considered the favourite for the drop at the start of the season.


15 Everton 38 11 10 17 45 57 -12 43
16 BOLTON WANDERERS 38 9 13 16 44 62 -18 40
17 Sunderland 38 10 10 18 29 51 -22 40
18 Ipswich Town 38 9 9 20 41 64 -23 36
19 Derby County 38 8 6 24 33 63 -30 30
20 Leicester City 38 5 13 20 30 64 -34 28

Premier League Files: Kevin Nolan

Premier League Career: Bolton Wanderers (2001-2009), Newcastle United (2009), (2010-2011), West Ham United (2012-2015)

Kevin Nolan enjoyed a successful playing career in the Premier League. He has scored winning goals at Old Trafford, captained all three of the sides he played for in the top-flight and also has two Premier League hat-tricks to his name. Nolan represented England at Under-21 level but despite his name being often linked with a senior call-up, he never earned a cap for The Three Lions. In fact, he holds the unfortunate record of making the most Premier League appearances without winning international recognition from England.

Growing up in the Toxteth area of Liverpool where goalscoring legend Robbie Fowler was born, Nolan’s desire from an early age was to become a footballer. Although the teams he followed at a young age were his boyhood club Liverpool FC and Celtic, his favourite players were the Manchester United pair, Eric Cantona and Lee Sharpe. He signed for Bolton Wanderers at the age of 16.

In 2001, Nolan helped Sam Allardyce’s Trotters defeat Preston North End 3-0 in the First Division play-off final at The Millennium Stadium. He immediately became an integral part of the Bolton side returning to the Premier League after three seasons away. On the opening day of the 2001-2002 campaign, Nolan scored twice as Bolton made a fabulous start, winning 5-0 away at Leicester City. Two months later, he scored an equalising goal in the club’s surprising win at Old Trafford. He finished with eight goals as Bolton finished 16th to beat the Premier League drop for the first time.

The 2002-2003 campaign was personally a disappointment for Nolan as he only added one more goal to his tally. However, it was a priceless one. He capitalised on a mistake from David Beckham to score at Old Trafford for the second successive campaign. This time, it was the matchwinning strike to spearhead Bolton to a 1-0 victory. It was an important result too, as they only avoided relegation at the end of the season by two points. There was a marked improvement in both player and club form in 2003-2004. Bolton finished in a tremendous 8th place in the table and reached the League Cup final. Nolan scored a career-best 12 goals in all competitions as his influence continued to grow on Allardyce’s ever-improving side.

When Jay-Jay Okocha left The Reebok Stadium in 2006, Nolan’s impact was recognised even further when he was appointed as Okocha’s replacement in the team captaincy role. He made 323 league appearances for the club, scoring a host of crucial goals in Bolton’s maiden European adventures but by January 2009, fans were unhappy with his drop in performances. Without a goal and saddened by the criticism considering the service he’d given to Bolton, Kevin left to join Newcastle United in a £4 million move.

His move to Tyneside didn’t start well. A month after his arrival, he received a red card in a goalless draw with Everton for a horrendous two-footed challenge on Victor Anichebe which left the Nigerian out of action for several months with a serious knee injury. Newcastle were relegated at the end of the season and all of a sudden, Nolan was back in the Football League. However, he didn’t seek a transfer and took responsibility for the club’s drop into the second-tier. He was widely praised for his efforts in the 2009-2010 season. He scored 18 goals, including the first hat-trick of his club career in an away victory against Ipswich Town. His performances earned him the honour of the Championship Player of the Year and Newcastle earned promotion back to the top-flight as champions.

With Nicky Butt retiring in the summer of 2010, Nolan was given the captain’s armband on Newcastle’s return to the Premier League and scored twice in the club’s first home match back in the top-flight as Aston Villa were thrashed 6-0. Two months later, he enjoyed arguably the greatest day of his career, scoring a hat-trick in the Tyne & Wear Derby as Newcastle enjoyed a memorable 5-1 success over bitter rivals Sunderland.

So it was a surprise to see Nolan leave Newcastle in the summer of 2011 and return to the Championship, linking up with his former manager Allardyce at West Ham United on a five-year contract. With Matthew Upson moving on to Stoke City following the Hammers’ relegation from the top-flight, Nolan was immediately handed the captain’s armband and he led the team to an instant return to the Premier League. Promotion was secured via the play-offs.

Back in the Premier League for 2012-2013, Nolan scored in all of West Ham’s first three home games of the season, including a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a 1-1 draw with Sunderland. In April, he scored the 100th goal of his career and he wrapped up his season in style with a final day treble in a 4-2 victory over already relegated Reading. That meant that for the fourth season running, he achieved double figures in terms of league goals. 2013-2014 was less rewarding and West Ham’s form wasn’t great either as they struggled to find any consistency. Two quick red cards in the winter months in away losses to Liverpool FC and Fulham suggested frustration was creeping into Nolan’s game. Allardyce’s response was to fine him two weeks wages and warn him that any further misconduct would see him removed of the captaincy. He still ended as the club’s top scorer but it wasn’t a happy season and his time at West Ham which started so well was ending on a downer.

His last game for the club came in August 2015 against AFC Bournemouth. With West Ham 2-0 down at half-time, he was replaced by Matt Jarvis and it was the last time he would figure in the Premier League. Five days later, he left the club via mutual consent, having played 157 times in all competitions for the Hammers. Nolan moved into management five months later, taking a player-manager role at Leyton Orient who were struggling in League Two. In January 2017, he took over at Notts County and led them to the League Two play-off final last season where they were pipped to promotion by Coventry City. After a wretched start to the 2018-2019 campaign, Nolan parted company with the oldest football club in England on 26th August, replaced by Australian Harry Kewell, who has since also being relieved of his duties.

Management has already shown bumps in the road but Kevin Nolan had a knack of being in the right place at the right time as a player. He was a leader in all of the dressing rooms he walked into, was never afraid of a challenge and a serial goalscorer for all of the teams he represented in the top-flight.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 5-1 Sunderland (October 2010)

Goalscorers: Kevin Nolan 26, 34, 75, Shola Ameobi 45 PEN, 70, Darren Bent 90


Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Joey Barton, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Kevin Nolan, Shola Ameobi (Nile Ranger 86), Andy Carroll

Sunderland: Simon Mignolet, Phil Bardsley, Titus Bramble (SENT OFF), Nedum Onuoha, Michael Turner, Lee Cattermole (John Mensah 76), Ahmed Elmohamady (Asamoah Gyan 40), Jordan Henderson, Steed Malbranque, Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck (Kieran Richardson 55)

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 51,988

The Tyne & Wear Derby has seen plenty of classic memories and crucial encounters down the Premier League Years. For Newcastle United supporters, few can topple Halloween 2010 when Sunderland turned up for what turned out to be a horrific afternoon for the visitors.

Steve Bruce’s side started a point above the Magpies and had just beaten Aston Villa in their previous match. Newcastle were also coming off the back of a fine away victory at bottom-placed West Ham United. This eased the pressure on Chris Hughton who was coming under pressure regarding his position as the club’s manager.

Hughton had a simple plan for this match – get balls into the box for Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi to battle with. Their hard work and ability to win balls in the air meant others like Kevin Nolan could benefit – with deadly results. Nolan would enjoy one of the greatest days of his career as Newcastle ran their local rivals ragged all afternoon.

The scoring was opened by the midfielder on 26 minutes. Ameobi won the aerial battle from Joey Barton’s corner. Nolan latched onto the knockdown and even though he was back to goal, he still managed to flick the ball over Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and a couple of defenders on the goal-line. It was wonderful improvisation from the former Bolton man and more was to come.

Just eight minutes later, he doubled Newcastle’s advantage. Good work from Jonas Gutierrez and Carroll saw Nolan profit to finish from close-range after Carroll’s attempted bicycle kick ended in his path. Despite having the pace of Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan in their attacking ranks, Sunderland just couldn’t put it to any use. They were virtually out of the game by half-time.

The home side won a penalty which was confidently dispatched by the excellent Ameobi, who always seemed to raise his game for these occasions. Shortly into the second half, Sunderland’s day got worse. Titus Bramble chopped down Carroll and the ex-Newcastle defender got his marching orders from Phil Dowd, who showed nine yellow cards and didn’t have his best afternoon in the middle.

Newcastle took advantage of the extra man to increase their lead. Carroll, who deserved a goal for his brilliant display was so unlucky when his header in the 70th minute thumped the crossbar. Ameobi was first onto the rebound and smashed the ball past a shell-shocked Mignolet. Nolan’s day was about to be complete, nodding home from close-range five minutes later as Sunderland gave him the freedom of St James’ Park from a corner.

Darren Bent scored a late goal for the visitors but it wasn’t even consolation for Sunderland who had been well and truly humbled. The Black Cats finished above Newcastle in the final table but this was a day of pain and misery. Chris Hughton was harshly sacked in December but this win will go down as one of his greatest achievements as a manager.

Premier League Rewind: 18th-20th August 2012

Results: Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland, Fulham 5-0 Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers 0-5 Swansea City, Reading 1-1 Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Liverpool FC, West Ham United 1-0 Aston Villa, Newcastle United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur, Wigan Athletic 0-2 Chelsea, Manchester City 3-2 Southampton, Everton 1-0 Manchester United

After a summer of amazing sport and many golden moments at the London Olympics, the Premier League season of 2012-2013 was ready for kick-off. 27 goals were scored across the 10 matches on a weekend which produced some one-sided matches and a real scare for the reigning champions.

The biggest story of the opening weekend would come in the final match which was a Monday Night Football showdown between Everton and Manchester United. Still feeling sore from the previous season’s last-gasp title defeat to Manchester City, Sir Alex Ferguson had vowed his team would never get beaten on goal difference again. However, they would be trailing their city rivals by three points after this defeat at Goodison.

Marouane Fellaini’s header in the second half gave traditional slow starters Everton a fantastic 1-0 victory. Manchester United had lost their first game of the Premier League season for the first time since 2004. Fellaini was in fantastic form and his goal was richly deserved for a committed and dominant display.

24 hours earlier, the reigning champions began their title defence in slightly unconvincing fashion. They needed a late goal from Samir Nasri to defeat plucky Southampton 3-2. The Saints were back in the top-flight after an absence of seven years and they had enjoyed back-to-back promotions. They showed no fear at The Etihad Stadium and this approach would work well for them throughout the campaign.

Fellow Premier League returnees Reading and West Ham United enjoyed undefeated openings. Reading needed a 90th minute penalty from Adam Le Fondre to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City, whilst Kevin Nolan scored the only goal at Upton Park to guide West Ham to a 1-0 win against Aston Villa. This meant it was a losing start for new Villa manager Paul Lambert.

Lambert had left Norwich City in the summer for the job in the Second City and his predecessor, Chris Hughton, experienced a torrid start away at Fulham. Craven Cottage has never been a lucky ground for the Canaries. They experienced relegation here in 2005 from the top-flight after a 6-0 loss. This time, the margin was only slightly worse, going down 5-0. Croat Mladen Petric scored two of the Fulham goals.

It wasn’t a good beginning to the Brendan Rodgers reign either at Liverpool FC. Rodgers witnessed his side lose 3-0 at The Hawthorns to West Bromwich Albion and the margin could have been greater, if Shane Long didn’t have a weak spot-kick saved by Pepe Reina. One of West Brom’s goalscorers was Romelu Lukaku. It was his first-ever Premier League goal and the Belgian, on-loan from Chelsea was about to embark on a hugely successful season in the Midlands. To compound Liverpool’s woes, Daniel Agger was sent off.

However, the result of the weekend came at Loftus Road. Having invested heavily in his playing squad in the summer, Mark Hughes was expecting big things in his first full campaign in the Queens Park Rangers hotseat. So, a 5-0 battering at home by Michael Laudrup’s exciting Swansea City side already saw some alarming signs for the season ahead. Both Michu and Nathan Dyer helped themselves to two goals each and Scott Sinclair struck too. It would be his final goal for Swansea, as he was set to move to Manchester City before the close of the transfer window.

Michu would have an outstanding season at Swansea but Soccer Saturday pundit Paul Merson had a few problems confusing him with fellow Spanish player Chico Flores!

What else happened in August 2012?

  • The London Olympics conclude with Team GB finishing in a fabulous third in the medals table, winning 65 medals in total, 29 of those being gold. This includes six golds on “Super Saturday.”
  • The InterCity West Coast franchise is won by the UK’s largest rail operator, First Group. However, current owner Virgin Trains keeps the franchise after the discovery of irregularities in the franchise letting process.
  • Mark Thompson, who is leaving his post as Director-General of the BBC, is appointed CEO of The New York Times.
  • Singer and variety performer Max Bygraves dies aged 89.
  • Rory McIlroy wins the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
  • Frenchman Romain Grosjean becomes the first driver since 1994 to be banned from a Formula One race after triggering a first-corner pile-up at the Belgian Grand Prix. Four drivers are eliminated in the shunt, including Britain’s Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Fernando Alonso.
  • The Mars Science Laboratory mission’s rover, ‘Curiosity,’ successfully lands on the planet.

Shock Results: Manchester United 1-2 Bolton Wanderers (October 2001)

Goalscorers: Juan Sebastian Veron 25, Kevin Nolan 35, Michael Ricketts 84


Manchester United: Fabien Barthez, Phil Neville, David May (Gary Neville 78), Wes Brown, Mikael Silvestre, Nicky Butt, Juan Sebastian Veron, Paul Scholes (Ryan Giggs 66), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke (Luke Chadwick 67)

Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Simon Charlton, Gudni Bergsson, Bruno N’Gotty, Mike Whitlow, Bo Hansen (Anthony Barness 82), Paul Warhurst (Jermaine Johnson 54), Kevin Nolan, Per Frandsen, Ricardo Gardner, Michael Ricketts

Referee: Graham Barber, Attendance: 67,559

This was the 100th meeting between Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers. After this surprising victory in October 2001, Sam Allardyce said: “There is no better feeling, apart from watching my children being born – it is my best result as a manager.”

Bolton had made a strong start to their Premier League return and had already beaten Liverpool FC and held Arsenal at Highbury. However, they had just lost 4-0 at home to Newcastle United seven days earlier.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side weren’t at their free-flowing best and had been beaten in the UEFA Champions League in midweek by Deportivo La Coruna. Nevertheless, they were expected to brush the Trotters’ side aside with relative ease infront of their biggest crowd of the season.

Ferguson did make eight changes following the defeat to the Spanish side in midweek and as expected, they did a lot of the pressing in the opening exchanges with Bolton sitting and containing their more fancied opponents. Allardyce’s tactic was working until the 25th minute.

Juan Sebastian Veron drove a free-kick into the back of the Bolton net from 30 yards out. However, 11 minutes later, the visitors’ silenced the Old Trafford faithful with an equaliser that suggested they were playing with utmost confidence. Bruno N’Gotty floated a long ball towards the back post. It was met by Michael Ricketts, who nodded the ball down into the path of Kevin Nolan. Nolan hit the deftest of volleys and it flew into the back of the net. Fabien Barthez had absolutely no chance.

The Red Devils were sprung into life by this shock equaliser and Jussi Jaaskelainen had to be sharp to make a remarkable double save to deny Paul Scholes and Andy Cole in very quick succession. Jaaskelainen’s acrobatics here would see him earn a nomination for the Premier League Save of the Decade at the 10 Seasons’ Awards. He was beaten by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shortly afterwards but the Norwegian was denied by an offside flag.

Many would have felt Bolton would try and hold on for a fantastic point but they sensed a real upset and having matched the men from Old Trafford throughout the second half, they seized their opportunity six minutes from the end. Ricketts shook off the attentions of Wes Brown, broke clear and smashed the ball past Barthez to set Allardyce’s side up for only their second win at the Theatre of Dreams in 40 years.

Bolton would stay up in 16th place on their return to the Premier League. Six home defeats for Manchester United during the season would see Ferguson’s side restricted to a third-place finish, nine points adrift of eventual champions Arsenal.

Shock Results: Leicester City 0-5 Bolton Wanderers (August 2001)

Goalscorers: Kevin Nolan 15, 41, Michael Ricketts 33, Per Frandsen 45, 83


Leicester City: Tim Flowers, Callum Davidson (Lee Marshall 46), Matt Elliott, Gary Rowett, Frank Sinclair, Robbie Savage, Dennis Wise, Muzzy Izzet, Andy Impey, Ade Akinbiyi (Arnar Gunnlaugsson 46), Dean Sturridge (Junior Lewis 46)

Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Anthony Barness, Gudni Bergsson (Ian Marshall 76), Simon Charlton, Mike Whitlow, Ricardo Gardner (Henrik Pedersen 66), Paul Warhurst (Nicky Southall 71), Per Frandsen, Kevin Nolan, Bo Hansen, Michael Ricketts

Referee: Rob Styles, Attendance: 19,987

Bolton Wanderers were the favourites with many of the bookmakers to be relegated at the start of the 2001-2002 season. Sam Allardyce’s side had been promoted to the Premier League via the play-offs and unlike fellow promotion teams, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers, had barely spent a penny in the summer transfer window.

First up for Bolton was a trip to Leicester City. Leicester had finished the previous campaign in very poor form, slipping from sixth to 13th in the final two months of the season. Yet, no-one could have predicted the start Bolton would make. By half-time, they were an incredible 4-0 up. They went ahead after 15 minutes. Per Frandsen did well to escape the attentions of Muzzy Izzet, before outsprinting Robbie Savage to the by-line. He got his cross into the box and Kevin Nolan produced a looping header that managed to elude Tim Flowers in the Foxes’ goal. It was the start of a remarkable first half for Bolton as they enjoyed their first Premier League game since May 1998.

Although Leicester went close through a Matt Elliott header, it was the away side that were dominating the play and they doubled their lead 12 minutes before half-time. Ricardo Gardner picked out Michael Ricketts, who showed far too much strength for Leicester defender Gary Rowett. As Rowett fell to the floor and turned to the referee in the vain appeals of winning a free-kick, Ricketts continued and scored to send the 2,000 away supporters into sheer ecstasy. Their joy was soon to increase.

Four minutes before half-time and Nolan added his second goal of the afternoon. Frandsen chipped a free-kick into the box. Long-serving defender Gudni Bergsson flicked the ball on and there was Nolan, who had all the time in the world to drill home past shell-shocked goalkeeper Flowers. By now, Leicester supporters were already calling for manager Peter Taylor’s head and Bolton’s demolition job was not complete yet.

In the final minute of stoppage-time at the end of the first half, Frandsen turned from goal provider to goalscorer. His free-kick flew into the bottom corner of Flowers’ net to complete an almost perfect first 45 minutes for the visitors.

Taylor reacted by making three half-time changes but all that did was stem the flow of the match slightly. Bolton were more than happy with the lead they’d already built up. However, there was still time with seven minutes left to add a fifth goal. Frandsen produced another brilliant free-kick which was arguably better than his first effort. The 5-0 scoreline set the course for both teams’ seasons.

Leicester sacked Taylor a month later and were relegated in April 2002. Bolton survived for the first time in their Premier League history, ending the season in a creditable 16th position.