The Junior Whites - only five of which are still with Bolton Wanderers
AVERAGING a shade under 19 years of age, they were the youngest side ever to represent Bolton Wanderers.
But as Sonny Graham and Callum King-Harmes exited the UniBol last week just five players remain from the fabled ‘Junior Whites’ starting line-up against Coventry.
With the club’s very future still hanging in the balance, first team players – unpaid in five months – went on strike.
Last-minute efforts to convince the senior team to take the field failed, leaving Phil Parkinson to ask youth coaches Nick Spooner and Gavin McCann to prepare a team to face one of League One’s promotion favourites.
Such was the precarious nature of Wanderers’ finances at the time, tickets for the game only went on sale 48 hours beforehand. But that did not stop nearly 9,000 from flooding into the stadium for what proved to be a memorable afternoon.
Several youngsters had been in a patched-up squad at Wycombe the previous weekend but this time they were out there alone – going on to earn a 0-0 draw against Mark Robins’ men, who went on to win the title in a season which would be ended early by the pandemic.
But what has happened to the group who still got a namecheck in despatches as Ian Evatt’s side won promotion back to League One at the first time of asking?
Highly rated Newcastle-born keeper who had an afternoon to remember by keeping a clean sheet on his senior debut and being hailed as “England’s number one” by the Bolton faithful.
Also played against Bradford City in the EFL Trophy that season and acted as understudy to Remi Matthews for the majority of 2019/20.
Continued his development on the training ground this season under Ian Evatt but now has an extra year on his contract and the hope of more competitive football on the horizon as Wanderers bring back a second team.
Captain of the side and now an established first team player under Ian Evatt, proving his worth across the back line.
Brockbank is also in talks with the club about a new contract, and with 30 senior appearances now under his belt it is a safe bet there will be many more in the future.
Solid centre-back who has been desperately unlucky with injuries in the last 12 months.
Played seven times in that season but suffered a fractured kneecap after a freak training ground collision and has been unable to feature since.
Thankfully, and after a further operation to remove a troublesome screw inserted into the join, Edwards returned to training at the back end of last season and now looks set to resume a promising career with a year left on his current deal.
Brother of Chelsea star Kurt Zouma, the Frenchman finds himself without a club this summer after his release at Barrow.
Had built a cult following among the Bolton fans in his first full season, which saw him play 23 times.
After initially leaving Bolton, he returned to train under Ian Evatt and was considered for a new deal. But when one was not forthcoming the 23-year-old issued a frustrated statement via The Bolton News, joining Barrow a matter of days later.
He made seven appearances at Holker Street and was then loaned out to National League Altrincham, playing four times.
Homegrown full-back who came right the way through the Wanderers youth system to make his debut on the opening day at Wycombe.
White featured five times in the first two months of the campaign but was released the following summer.
After a spell with Lower Breck in the North West Counties League he then moved on to FC United – but issues in non-league football during the pandemic has restricted the number of games.
Wales youth international who played in seven games in total, running his socks off against Coventry before being replaced by Fin Lockett – who was the second-youngest player to represent Bolton in their history at 16 years and 122 days.
King-Harmes was loaned out to Bamber Bridge at the start of last season to gain some first team experience but after the non-league schedule was decimated, and the Under-23s disbanded at Bolton, he struggled to find any more competitive football.
King-Harmes was released by the Whites last week and is now looking for a new club.
Combative midfielder whose bearded look made him appear plenty older than 17 as he rattled around the middle of the park.
Graham’s mature performances in the early part of the 2019/20 season helped cement a regular first team spot under Keith Hill and he finished the term with 18 games under his belt.
Wanderers looked to send him out on loan last September but after a trial at Atherton Colls was abandoned because of a breakout of Covid-19, Morecambe-born Graham was left kicking his heels.
He was released by Bolton last week and is now looking for a new club.
The elder statesman of the side at 24, former Manchester United and Wigan Athletic midfielder Weir had only been registered in the Bolton squad hours before the opening game at Wycombe with EFL approval.
Weir’s time at Wanderers proved difficult and though he played 12 times, the last of which was against Burton on New Year’s Day 2020, he was released by the end of the month as Keith Hill tried to make room in his squad for new signings.
His next stop in football was an unusual one – Slovenian Fortuna League side Pohronie offered a short-term deal, which saw him play six times in a pandemic-affected campaign, scoring once.
Weir did enough to secure a new contract, however, and has been a staple of a side which looks like comfortably avoiding relegation in Slovenia’s play-off format.
Talented winger, who had turned on the style on loan at Salford City a season earlier and been ear-marked by Phil Parkinson as a star for the future.
Big things were expected on him on a return to Bolton, and Politic did not disappoint in his first year in the senior set-up, scoring five goals and racking up 30 appearances in all competitions under Keith Hill.
Things were shaping up for Politic to be a main man for Wanderers in League Two until a horrible knee injury in a pre-season friendly at Loughborough University.
Ian Evatt was keen not to rush him back unnecessarily during the promotion push but he was out on the pitch celebrating at Crawley, having returned to training the previous month.
Wanderers’ fans cannot wait to see him back in action next season.
Fearless young striker who ran himself to a standstill in the first seven games of the 2019/20 season for Wanderers.
Brown had been in the Wanderers youth system since the age of 10, making his debut at Wycombe on the opening day, but injury meant his story never got the happy ending it deserved.
A ruptured hamstring ended his season prematurely and Brown was released the following summer.
He has since worked hard to return to full fitness and is currently a free agent.
Given a debut on the final day of the 2018/19 season at Nottingham Forest, Darcy had earned a good reputation in the youth team after coming all the way through the system.
He stayed in first team contention after Keith Hill’s arrival and made 22 appearances, scoring at Rochdale and Lincoln.
After relegation, Darcy agreed his first professional contract with the Whites, signing a two-year deal.
Last season was not straightforward for the energetic midfielder who struggled to get a regular start under Ian Evatt in League Two.
Darcy made 11 appearances, the last of which was in December at Walsall and appeared to have fallen completely out of contention before returning to the first team group in April.
It promises to be a big pre-season for the 20-year-old as he returns to League One.