IT is entirely fair to say the last 10 years will not be regarded as the best in Bolton Wanderers’ history.

From an FA Cup semi-final catastrophe to relegation from the Premier League under Owen Coyle just a year later, Bolton’s fairytale story quickly devolved into a nightmarish tale.

The gamble to bounce straight back under Dougie Freedman failed – leaving an unsustainable economy and when long-time benefactor Eddie Davies finally stepped aside, the club quickly slid to the third tier of English football for the first time since the early nineties.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Phil Parkinson’s side gained promotion at the first time of asking and there were signs that Wanderers were ready to get back on an even keel.

But with new owner Ken Anderson unable to find the resources to take the club forward – or find someone who could – the troubles quickly set in once more. After one last-gasp escape ensured a second season of Championship football the real horrors unfolded as unpaid wages and debts finally caught up with Anderson and the club hurtled towards administration.

Hours from liquidation, the Football Ventures consortium took the reins and installed Keith Hill as the new manager, with a brief to mend bridges and restore fortunes.

Here, we look at the players and managers who went on the journey from Wembley to the edge of extinction and ponder which deserve a place in our representative team?

The chief criteria is that each must have featured in 30 first team games between January 1, 2010 and time of writing.

The first category up to debate is... The goalkeepers.

The Bolton News: Ex-Bolton Wanderers stopper Jussi Jaaskelainen will be a special guest at the goalkeeping sessions led by former Bury coach Fred Barber

WANDERERS went into the new decade with goalkeeping legend Jussi Jaaskelainen between the sticks, bearing down on Eddie Hopkinson’s all-time appearance record.

The Big Finn was showing no signs of slowing down, playing the vast majority of games in 2010 and 2011 – only for his distinguished Bolton career to come to a shuddering halt.

His last appearance was on New Year’s Eve 2011, after which Adam Bogdan was fast-tracked to the number one role by Owen Coyle and Wanderers were on their way out of the Premier League.

The Bolton News: Wanderers stopper Adam Bogdan

Hungarian, Bogdan, was actually voted player of the season and grew in prominence for the next couple of seasons to earn a dream move to Liverpool at the end of his contract in 2015.

Bogdan played more games (120) than any other player in the list of seven who make our shortlist for goalkeeper of the decade – but his place was by no means guaranteed, with Andy Lonergan a continuous competitor after arriving from Leeds United in the summer of 2012.

The Bolton News: HIGHLIGHT: Andy Lonergan keeps goal for Wanderers at Chelsea in the Capital One Cup

Although Lonergan had only short bursts as the established number one, he did prove a popular figure among the supporters, who set his name to a terrace chant to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs Robinson”.

The loan signing of Manchester United’s Ben Amos in January 2015 looked to have been a masterstroke, with Neil Lennon quickly installing him above Lonergan as his number one.

The Bolton News: Will Ben Amos be waving Wanderers goodbye for good next week?

A handful of excellent performances then convinced the Bolton boss to release Lonergan and offer Amos a lucrative contract when Bogdan left for Anfield.

Unfortunately, the following season proved a nightmare for club and player. Amos was virtually ever-present as Bolton were relegated from the Championship and spent the final years of his contract being loaned around – his big wages a continual issue flagged by the club’s ownership.

The Bolton News: BOYS IN LINE: Goalkeeping coach Lee Butler speaks to Ben Alnwick, left, and Mark Howard at Bramall Lane

In League One, Ben Alnwick and Mark Howard scrapped for the number one shirt in the promotion campaign under Phil Parkinson - playing roughly the same number of games until a knee injury ruled Alnwick out of the final couple of months.

The following campaign saw Alnwick seize control of the position for all but the first few weeks of the season. Howard played just one FA Cup game between September 2017 and May 2018 and left the club the following summer, eventually signing for Blackpool.

Alnwick enjoyed his most consistent run for Wanderers – winning the player of the year award for 2017/18.

The Bolton News:

Last season Remi Matthews was signed from Norwich City, initially on loan, working his way into the first team by the end of a troubled campaign and sticking with Wanderers through administration despite interest from the likes of Ipswich and Crystal Palace.


Wanderers' goalkeepers (appearances in brackets)

Adam Bogdan 120

Andy Lonergan 62

Ben Alnwick 95

Ben Amos 53

Jussi Jaaskelainen 79

Mark Howard 39

Remi Matthews 38