The first instalment of this piece caused those Bolton fans reading it to recall players best forgotten. Martin Djetou, Ariza Makukula, Fabrice Fernandes, Blessing Kaku, Grzegorz Rasiak. All of them served with no distinction whatsoever.
Gerald Cid wasn’t a wilderness player, but he should have been. The execrable defender started thirteen games, which was thirteen too many and definitely unlucky for Bolton. Not all wilderness players are rubbish. Some, like Sean Davis are plagued by injury. Others are just at the wrong club at the wrong time. So it was with:
Jared Borgetti – Described by one forum poster as a ‘bag of bones with a suntan’ Borgetti nevertheless did his job (ie score goals) when given the opportunity. Which wasn’t often. A star of the Mexican national team he started 12 games and scored seven times, most notably in the UEFA cup. Perhaps Sam Allardyce thought that he didn’t contribute enough in other areas, which makes one wonder why he was acquired in the first place.
And now back to the dross. Manny Road presents, to no aclaim at all, the Sammy Lee Trio. Which sounds like a bad pop group. A really bad pop group.
Daniel Braaten – Blessed with a powerful physique Braaten chose not to look after it. His body wasn’t so much a temple as a kebab shop. He had to be smeared with goose fat in order to be squeezed through the players tunnel and onto the pitch. The big Norwegian was also curious about electrical sockets and kept sticking his fingers into them, hence the hairstyle.
After making a magnificent total of no league starts, Braaten was shipped out as part of the deal that brought in Johan Elmander. This was another reason to dislike him. Fat bastard.
Christian Wilhelmsson – By contrast, with more meat on a jockey’s whip, Wilhelmson was so light weight that he had to be tethered down when there was anything more than a stiff breeze. This was down to his wife, the stupendous Oksana Andersson. With all that shagging there wasn’t time to eat. It didn’t help that Daniel Braaten kept stealing his food.
The Swede picked up £1.75 million in salary during his year-long loan spell, where he also didn’t start in the league. He returned to parent club Nante, who foisted him onto Deportivo de La Coruña where he was equally abysmal. Cheers Sammy.
Heidar Helgusson – Signed by Lee for around £1 million rising to double that based on appearances. There was more chance of Daniel Braaten missing a meal than the higher fee being paid. Horrible Heidar played ten games over two seasons, four of them as substitute. This was down to being
a) Persistently injured.
b) Persistently crap.
Now turning out for Cardiff. Also has a high quality wife.
The Ultimate Wilderness Player
Thankfully, this has nothing to do with Bolton Wanderers. The title belongs to Winston Bogarde. Signed by Chelsea on a free transfer from Barcelona, the big centre half played nine times in four years whilst at Stamford Bridge, collecting £40,000 a week. Numerous attempts were made to move him on. All were resisted as Bogarde realised the chances of such a pay day elsewhere were zero.
‘Chelsea offered me a contract, I signed the contract, so what is the problem?’ he asked without a trace of irony.
So Who is Bolton’s Ultimate Wilderness Player?
It is Ricardo Vaz Te. Signed as a seventeen year old, the Portuguese under-21 international stayed for seven years, making just nineteen starts.
At the end of the 2005-6 season, he scored three times in the last four games. It seemed his time had arrived. That said, some fans most vividly remember when he didn’t find the target. At Blackburn, he rounded ‘keeper Brad Friedel and with the goal at his mercy, fell over. The game ended 0-0.
After a promising start to the following campaign he was a permanent bench warmer once Nicolas Anelka arrived. A bad attitude, inconsistent form and injuries that were badly attended to, accounted for the rest of his time. Vaz Te left the Reebok in 2010 and after unsuccessful spells in Scotland and Greece, found his scoring form at Barnsley, moving quickly on to West Ham where he remains, showing the same infuriating mixture of clumsiness, stupidity and occasional brilliance.