From Lofthouse to Okocha – Bolton’s greatest players

Wanderers were founded in 1874.

By Press Association Published: 26 August 2019 - 5.01pm

Bolton are facing liquidation later this week after a deal to buy the club collapsed over the weekend.

Administrator Paul Appleton released a statement on Monday morning which said unless the deal can be resurrected, “the process of closing down the company will commence on Wednesday”.

Wanderers were founded in 1874 and were a founder member of the Football League in 1888, with striker Kenny Davenport scoring the first goal in the league’s history.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the greatest players to represent Bolton.

Nat Lofthouse

There is a statue of Nat Lofthouse outside Bolton's stadium
There is a statue of Nat Lofthouse outside Bolton’s stadium (Clint Hughes/PA)

Undoubtedly the greatest player in the history of the club, Lofthouse scored 285 goals in 503 appearances for his hometown club and later went on to become manager. He also played 33 times for England, scoring 30 goals and earning the nickname ‘The Lion of Vienna’ for his goals against Austria in 1952.

Lofthouse won the FA Cup with Wanderers in 1958, beating Manchester United in the final three months after the Munich air disaster. His retirement came in 1960 and in 1997 he was awarded an OBE. He died in 2011 aged 85.

David Jack

The striker’s eight-season stay at Bolton was a history-making one. He broke the world transfer record twice, first when he joined Wanderers from Plymouth in 1920 before becoming the first man to cost over £10,000 when Arsenal signed him in 1928. Bolton-born Jack was also the first man to score in a Wembley FA Cup final, notching the opener in 1923 as Wanderers won their first of three FA Cups in the 1920s.

He scored 144 goals for Bolton in 295 Football League matches. His move to Arsenal is also part of transfer folklore, with Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman meeting Bolton’s representatives in the bar of a London hotel and reputedly asking the waiter not to add alcohol to his while giving his counterparts doubles in order to haggle the fee down.

John McGinlay

John McGinlay was one of Bolton's finest goalscorers
John McGinlay was one of Bolton’s finest goalscorers (PA)

The Scotland striker finished second to Lofthouse in an official supporters’ poll of Wanderers’ greatest ever players at the start of the new millennium. In five years, McGinlay scored 118 goals and he was the last man to score at Bolton’s old ground Burnden Park before their move to the Reebok Stadium in 1997 – finishing as top scorer that season as Bolton bounced straight back to the Premier League.

Despite his status in the club’s history, McGinlay was banned from the stadium at the start of this year after critical comments about the owners.

Youri Djorkaeff

The Frenchman’s stay at Bolton was brief but long enough for cement his place in the hearts of all Wanderers supporters. Djorkaeff won the World Cup in 1998 and Euro 2000 with France, boasting a club career which included Monaco, Paris St Germain and Inter Milan before arriving at Bolton in February 2002.

The midfielder helped Bolton secure their top-flight survival before being a catalyst for their most successful Premier League spell. He was a key man as the club finished eighth in 2003-04 and also finished as runner-up in the League Cup under Sam Allardyce. Djorkaeff played just 81 games for Bolton but is considered among the finest players to represent the club.

Jay-Jay Okocha

Jay-Jay Okocha helped Bolton to the Europa League
Jay-Jay Okocha helped Bolton to the Europa League (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Djorkaeff’s arrival was followed that summer by Nigerian Okocha, who joined on a free transfer and spent the next four seasons at the Reebok.

In that time the magical midfielder was instrumental in guiding Wanderers to three top eight finishes in the Premier League, that runners-up spot in the League Cup as well as the last 32 of the Europa League in 2005-06 – where Bolton were beaten by Marseille.