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Sam Allardyce's Galactico Bolton Signings: Where Are They Now?

Sam Allardyce's Galactico Bolton Signings: Where Are They Now?
By PJ Browne Updated

At the weekend, Bolton were relegated to League One.

The latest chapter in the decline of the club came four years after they were relegated from the Premier League. Just over a decade previous they were flying high in English football's top tier.

The apex was a three-season run between 2004 and 2007 when they finished sixth, eight and seventh. In 2004, they reached the League Cup final.

During that time, the club signed some unexpectedly high-profile players. World Cup and European Championship winners, Champions League winners, Serie A and La Liga winners would all turn up to play at the Reebok.

And it all happened under the guidance of Sam Allardyce.

Youri Djorkaeff

A World Cup winner in 1998, a European Championship winner in 2000. He also played for big names of the European game such as Inter Milan and PSG. And then, in February 2002, Youri Djorkaeff rocked up at Bolton - more out of necessity than desire.

Even at 34 his signing was a major coup for manager Sam Allardyce and chairman Phil Gartside. The French international arrived on a free transfer following disagreements with the hierarchy at Bundesliga club Kaiserslautern. Bolton were teetering just outside the relegation zone when the forward signed, they would go on to survive that season.


Djorkaeff now lives in New York where he runs the Youri Djorkaeff Foundation.


Jay-Jay Okocha

Apart from Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha was the most memorable of all Sam Allardyce's signings while at Bolton. The Nigerian international was as player of dazzling skill. A real 'bums on seats' acquisition.


He joined Bolton after the 2002 World Cup on a free transfer PSG and would stay there until 2006.

In his first season, the club barely avoided relegation. In the three which followed eight was their lowest league position. Okocha would also captain Bolton to the 2004 League Cup final which they lost to Middlesbrough. That cup final Bolton side also featured Ivan Campo, Bruno N'Gotty and Youri Djorkaeff.

Okocha is currently the chairman of Delta State Football Association in Nigeria.



Fernando Hierro

Both a Real Madrid and Spain hero, Fernando Hierro signed for Bolton in 2004. He was 36 and had amassed more than 400 appearances for Real Madrid and 89 caps for Spain.

The centre-back would spend just a single season with Allardyce, retiring in May 2005.


He joined Real Madrid as part of Carlo Ancelotti's coaching staff in 2014, though left the following season along with Ancelotti. He was recently linked to becoming manager of Indian Super League side Mumbai City.


Ivan Campo

Initially, the Spanish international joined Bolton from Real Madrid on a loan deal in August 2002. He had fallen out of favour at the Bernabeu. Despite expectations being otherwise, he would not return to the Spanish capital and signed a three-year deal with Bolton the following season.


Campo, who was just 28 when he joined Bolton, was a two-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid. Signed as a centre-back, he would play many of his games under Allardyce as a defensive midfielder.

He would stay at the Reebok until 2008. During that time, he certainly wasn't shy in front of goal.

Last year, Campo joined his former club Real Mallorca as an ambassador.



Bruno N'Gotty

The French international central defender joined Bolton on a loan deal in 2001 from Marseille. Like Campo, he would make the move permanent after a year at the club.

Two years previous to joining Bolton, N'Gotty had won a Serie A title with AC Milan.

He would spend five years at the Reebok before leaving for Birmingham in 2006.



Honourable mentions
Vincent Candela

A World Cup winner with France in 1998 and European Championship winner in 2000. The fullback joined Bolton on a five-month loan deal in January 2002. Candela had the option of remaining at the Bolton but instead opted to join Udinese. He made just 12 appearances for the club.

According to his website, Candela is currently an entrepreneur.

We are now at his present days, when the player stops his career and at the age of 40 decides to enter the business world as an entrepreneur.

Wine, Events, Youth Football, Charity: these are the fields in which Vincent Candela is involved, always with great professionalism, commitment and a touch of Humor that is peculiar to him and makes him a brilliant character. And definitely unique.

Hidetoshi Nakata

The Japanese international, widely viewed as their greatest ever player, was another loan signing by Allardyce in 2005. He played 21 games for the club, scoring a single goal.

Retired from football after the 2006 World Cup, aged just 29.

Earlier this year, Nakata launched his own brand of Sake in Japan.

Mario Jardel

A memorable name to anyone who played Championship Manager or watched Eurogoals in the late '90s and early '00s. The Brazilian was a prolific scorer of goals, especially with Porto.

After being omitted from Brazil's 2002 World Cup squad, he went into decline. Sam Allardyce took a gamble on the player in August 2003. His stint at the club would be unsuccessful. He failed to start a Premier League game. His three goals for Bolton all came in the League Cup. He left to join Italian side Ancona in January 2004.

The striker was most recently in the news for being stopped at airport security in Porto Alegre. Returning from a trip to Portugal, Jardel had his luggage seized for attempting to carry 10kg of fish through customs.

Fredi Bobic

The German international striker joined Bolton on loan in January 2002. He would assist them in avoiding relegation. The most notable game of his time at Bolton in a 4-1 win against fellow relegation candidates Ipswich. Bobic scored a hat-trick. It was a pivotal game as Bolton stayed in the Premier League.

Bobic was sacked from his role as Stuttgart Director of Sport in 2014. He currently works as a columnist in the German media.

Ibrahim Ba

Another French international, Ba signed for Bolton on a free transfer in September 2003 three months after being released by AC Milan. Ba's time at the club was unsuccessful. He left for Turkish side Caykur Rizespor the following year.

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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