COLIN Todd spent just over seven years in the dugout at Bolton​ Wanderers in the 1990s – both as assistant to Bruce Rioch, co-manager with Roy McFarland and then as a manager in his own right.

The Bolton News caught up with him this summer to relive a time of excitement, controversy, promotions and relegations, as the club said farewell to Burnden and launched a new era down the road at the Reebok.

The Bolton News:

“I DIDN’T get too many wrong,” chuckled Colin Todd as he reeled off a list of signings who are fondly remembered at Wanderers to this day.

Scott Sellars, Nathan Blake, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Mark Fish, and Ricardo Gardner are namechecked, then the trio of Danes - Claus Jensen, Per Frandsen and Michael Johansen.

“Then there was the Icelanders,” he added, shifting down a gear into a more introspective tone.

Eidur Gudjohnsen’s addition in the summer of 1998 can be regarded as nothing other than a success. He rejuvenated his career at the Reebok after a serious injury which had forced him to quit Ronaldo’s PSV Eindhoven and return home.

Two years later, he was sold to Chelsea for £4.5million, going on to win a glittering array of trophies.

Normally, buffing up such an unpolished gem would be a source of pride but for Todd there was an air of disappointment, not in the player himself, but in the fact he never saw the best of him.

It was not until the 1999/2000 season that Gudjohnsen really found his feet again, and even then it came too late for Todd, who had found himself at odds with the club’s decision to release Sellars, sell Frandsen to Blackburn Rovers and release backroom staff to help ease the growing financial pressures of the new stadium.

Todd’s eventual successor, Sam Allardyce, was also forced to sell to balance the books, albeit after that Barry Knight-fuelled play-off semi-final at Ipswich Town. But he had got 20 of the 21 goals out of Gudjohnsen that season and was thus associated with his success.

“I think that’s another signing that Sam (Allardyce) has tried to throw his cap on,” said Todd, his pride stung by the striker’s mention.

“We had Eidur Gudjohnsen over in Ireland and he was a young kid who was out of condition, overweight, but you could see straight away that he was a player.

“I sat him down and told him that he had to get his weight down, and to be fair to him, he listened.

“I knew that if we could get Eidur back to the shape he had been at PSV then we did have a player on our hands but I’ll admit I didn’t know what his mentality would be like. He had been injured but the lad was strong, he wanted to prove to people that he could do it.

“He was a very talented boy and you don’t play for the clubs that he played for without being something very special.”

The Bolton News:

Icelanders have tended to do well in Bolton. Gudni Bergsson led the way and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is the latest to settle in the town and declare that he feels truly at home.

Todd recalls another Icelander causing him issues in the 1998/99 season, after a run of 14 goals in 26 games had captured some headlines.

Arnar Gunlaugsson was a young and rangy attacker who had bounced around Europe with Feyenoord, FC Nurnberg and Sochaux before Todd paid £100,000 for him in 1997.

He appeared to have all the tools to make it in English football but Todd reckons his first real run of goalscoring form went straight to his head.

“He had a purple patch but his agent spoiled it,” said the former Bolton boss. “He wanted big, big money.

“I remember sitting him in my office and saying ‘you can’t have this moment of form and then come in and try and hold us to ransom.’ “His agent said he’d go and get me £3million for him, so I said: ‘Go on then, you’re on!’ “Anyway, Leicester and a few other clubs came on and we eventually got £2m. I just felt that what his agent was doing to him, he was losing his form.”

Gunlaugsson’s post-Bolton career became an allegory for the grass not always being greener, his stays at Leicester, Stoke City and Dundee United proving short. Within four years he was back playing in Iceland.

“Once again, it never happened for him,” Todd observed. “I remember Ron Atkinson saying to people ‘whatever you do, don’t sign players from Toddy!’ He wasn’t being horrible, he just meant that I got the best out of them and when they leave it doesn’t seem to happen. I think he had a point with most of them.”