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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » Too many broken hearts: The loan players who never came back

Too many broken hearts: The loan players who never came back

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karlypants

karlypants
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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Should you allow yourself to fall in love with a loan player knowing they don’t belong to you club?

It is a question many Wanderers fans are asking as Marlon Fossey’s time at the UniBol was brought to a premature end by injury last week.

The Fulham wing-back made 16 appearances, scored one fine goal against Oxford United, and made a good impression among the majority of those who watched him.

Ian Evatt believes Wanderers are in a good position to take him back on a permanent basis in the summer – but realistically, there is a chance his success in Lancashire will lead to bigger offers from higher up the league.

Bolton have always done a brisk trade in loan players, and particularly so in the last decade, when arrivals have largely fallen into three categories.

The first are mainly younger players looking for experience, the second a ‘try before you buy’ type who is not guaranteed games at his parent club and usually coming to the end of his contract, and the third a player who has time left on his current deal but is sent out in the hope it will elicit a move elsewhere.

Down the years some of Bolton’s most treasured players have turned loan deals into a permanent stay, from Peter Thompson and Frank Worthington, to Ivan Campo and El-Hadji Diouf.

But there have also been some heartbreakers, who played well on loan but never came back.

We decided to take a look at some of the best examples from the last 40 years.

ANDY DIBBLE – Signed from Manchester City in September 1991, the Welshman had been best known for saving a penalty in the 1988 League Cup final and being the keeper humiliated by Nottingham Forest’s Gary Crosby in one of the most famous video clips of the nineties.

At Wanderers, though, he did very little wrong. Brought in by Phil Neal to cover for the injured Dave Felgate and Kevin Rose, he featured in 14 games before heading out to West Brom on another loan.

MATT CLARKE – The 2000/01 season was a dangerous one to be a goalkeeper at Bolton. Jussi Jaaskelainen sustained a serious knee injury and replacements Tommy Wright and Steve Banks both fell by the wayside, leaving Sam Allardyce to reach for highly-rated Bradford City stopper Clarke on loan.

Featuring in eight of the last nine games of the season, Clarke helped Wanderers into the play-offs and then kept his place in the semi-final against West Brom and the final against Preston.

But his sterling service wasn’t enough to tempt Allardyce into paying £2million, with Jaaskelainen on the mend.

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ALAN HUTTON – Brought to Bolton by Dougie Freedman in 2013/14 on a recommendation from Gordon Strachan, Hutton had been ostracised at Aston Villa under Paul Lambert. But Whites fans quickly saw that the Scotland international was no spent force.

The right-back oozed class in the Championship, making the last of his nine appearances in a 0-0 draw against Charlton.

Freedman tried to sign him on a permanent basis but Wanderers struggled to meet his wage demands, and besides, a few months later he was first-choice right-back at Villa Park once again in the Premier League. Rehabilitated.

JON NEWSOME – Picked up from Sheffield Wednesday in November 1998 by Colin Todd, Newsome had pedigree, having won a title winner’s medal with Leeds United at the start of the decade.

His six games with Wanderers – alongside another loanee, Paul Warhurst - yielded four wins and two draws, and an instant improvement in what had been a fairly shaky defence.

Todd tried to find the money for a permanent deal but was unsuccessful. And 18 months later, Newsome was forced to retire through injury.

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CRAIG DAWSON – There is a sting of pain when you see Dawson still thundering in to meet set pieces for West Ham in the Premier League. For £750,000, he could have been a Wanderer.

Dougie Freedman had spent a while denying there was interest in signing the former Radcliffe Boro defender but was offered the chance on January deadline day 2014, as his side travelled to play Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

Dawson had been brilliant on loan 12 months earlier, scoring four times, but curiously the deal had expired before the final game against Blackpool, which Bolton had to win to get into the play-offs.

A year on, finances were in a perilous state. Bolton could not fund the deal and Dawson didn’t look back.

BERNARD MENDY - Regularly brought up in discussions about the fastest Bolton Wanderers player of all time, Bernard Mendy was signed from Paris St Germain by Sam Allardyce in 2002/3.

His explosive pace made him popular among the fans but the lasting story of his dust-up with Akin Bulent at the training ground, and inside Allardyce’s office, is the stuff of legend.

Wanderers could have made the deal permanent for £4million but opted to use the money elsewhere.

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ANTONEE ROBINSON - The pacy full-back had played against Bolton for Everton’s Under-23s in 2016 but joined the club on a season-long loan 12 months later to play in the Championship.

Raw, but unquestionably talented, the soon-to-be US international managed 34 appearances in Phil Parkinson’s side, proving a very decent addition indeed to a team which avoided relegation on the final day.

Wanderers’ financial problems and ownership grievances had started to become common knowledge in the game, however, and it was on the recommendation of Everton legend Joe Royle that Robinson decided against a return to Bolton the following year, joining Wigan Athletic.

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VINCENT CANDELA - When Allardyce’s transfer coups are listed, the name of European Championship and World Cup winner Candela often gets missed, partly because he turned down the chance to stay at the Reebok.

Signed from Roma for the second half of the 2004/5 campaign, the classy full-back made his debut in a 1-0 win against Fulham in the FA Cup and made 12 appearances as the Whites secured their first-ever European qualification.

Unfortunately, Udinese offered Candela the chance to play in the Champions League, and Candela opted to return to Italy rather than stay with Bolton permanently.

Tomorrow we will look at some of the midfielders and strikers whose loan stay with Wanderers was all-too-brief.

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BERNARD MENDY - Regularly brought up in discussions about the fastest Bolton Wanderers player of all time, Bernard Mendy was signed from Paris St Germain by Sam Allardyce in 2002/3. His explosive pace made him popular among the fans but the lasting story of his dust-up with Akin Bulent at the training ground, and inside Allardyce’s office, is the stuff of legend. Wanderers could have made the deal permanent for £4million but opted to use the money elsewhere.

THIBAUD VERLINDEN – Keith Hill brought in the Belgian winger from Stoke City on a six-month loan as part of a whirlwind shopping spree in September 2019.

A goal four minutes into his debut against Rotherham helped him make an instant impression and in a side which struggled badly for cohesion, he gave fans a few highlights.

Plans to bring him back the following January were abandoned with a change in recruitment policy, and the probable acceptance that relegation to League Two was a formality.

STUART RIPLEY – Nearly a decade before he helped Blackburn Rovers to the Premier League title, Ripley was brought to Burnden Park for a month-long loan, becoming one of Phil Neal’s first signings.

He made a debut against Newport County, replacing Simon Rudge on the right side of midfield, and filled in a couple of other midfield positions before returning to Middlesbrough.

MARTIN PIKE – Left-back signed on loan from Sheffield United in December 1989.

Phil Neal had lost Barry Cowdrill to injury and needed cover, and Pike proved a very capable replacement, featuring five times and helping the Whites to three wins and two draws. He even got on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw at Fulham.

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JACK WILSHERE – Owen Coyle made national headlines when he convinced Arsene Wenger to loan one of his prized youngsters in January 2010.

Wilshere became the Gunners’ youngest-ever league debutant at the age of 16 years and 256 days but had only a handful of first team appearances under his belt when he arrived at the Reebok 12 months later.

He made a debut against Manchester City and then scored his first senior goal in Bolton’s 2-1 win against West Ham United.

In total Wilshere made 14 appearances and much of Coyle’s summer was spent voicing his desire to bring the youngster back the following season. Wenger quickly spotted that he had made progress, however, and he finished the following campaign with 54 appearances for club and country, making his international debut as a substitute for Steven Gerrard against Hungary.

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BARRY BANNAN – Neil Lennon’s record in the loan market at Bolton was patchy, but one signing who definitely impressed was Scotland international Bannan, brought in as part of the deal that took Chung-Yong Lee to Crystal Palace.

Slick playmaker Bannan made 16 appearances in a side that struggled badly for consistency but made the most of his time staying at the club’s hotel, even nipping to see Fifty Shades of Grey at the cinema.

By the time his loan was complete, money was running dry for Lennon and a return to Wanderers was never on the cards.

FREDI BOBIC – Wanderers needed a bit more firepower in their effort to stay in the Premier League for a second season in 2001/2, and experienced Germany international Bobic looked a solid addition.

In truth, it took some time for the Borussia Dortmund man to make an impact. Ten games into his stay at the Reebok Bobic scored his first goal in a 3-2 win against Aston Villa. A week later his defining moment arrived – a hat-trick against Ipswich Town.

The previous Bolton player to have scored three goals in a top-flight game had been Fred Hill in March 1963 and Bobic admitted after the game that he did not know why his team-mates insisted he kept the match ball.

Sam Allardyce had said there was a deal in place to sign Bobic permanently but when push came to shove, the move never materialised.

“I was too expensive, I think,” joked Bobic in an interview in 2007.

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DANIEL STURRIDGE It is odd to think that if Owen Coyle had captured his first-choice loan in January 2011, we would never have seen Daniel Sturridge in a Bolton shirt at all.

Arsenal’s Carlos Vela had been the number one pick for Wanderers, and banking on the goodwill they had from the Jack Wilshere loan the year before they felt confident the move would go through until a late change of heart from the player saw him go to West Brom instead.

Sturridge arrived with a reputation for being a difficult and moody customer, a tag almost entirely derived from his controversial decision to walk out on Manchester City in his teens and sign for Chelsea a year earlier.

But the player Bolton signed threw himself headlong into life in Lancashire, even fulfilling a community visit to a school in Farnworth for a cookery class in his first full week.

On the pitch, it could hardly have gone better. A brilliant opportunist goal on debut against Wolves was followed by more against Tottenham, Everton and Newcastle – making him only the sixth Wanderers player to score in his first four games for the club.

Cup-tied for the FA Cup, Sturridge was not involved in the crushing 5-0 defeat to Stoke City at Wembley and so his goalscoring was able to pick up again as the rest of the team licked their wounds.

Two against West Ham and one against Arsenal and Blackpool made it a profitable spell, blighted only by a daft red card against his former club City on the last day of the season.

Wanderers asked Chelsea about a return for Sturridge but decided to place their limited funds in the permanent signing of French forward David Ngog from Liverpool.

Sturridge went on to big things with club and country, albeit injuries restricted him from ever quite hitting the heights he should have done. But he regularly acknowledges the debt he owes Wanderers and Coyle for enhancing his reputation and turning him into a Premier League starter.

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LUKAS JUTKIEWICZ – Dougie Freedman had been so confident during Wanderers’ pre-season tour of Sweden and Denmark that the Middlesbrough forward would be signed in time for the Championship season, he had planned his tactics accordingly. A whole team had been built in preparation for Jutkiewicz’s arrival, which sadly never happened.

The former Everton and Southampton striker ignited a fairly sterile season for Bolton under Freedman in January 2014, scoring seven goals in 20 games.

Clearly unwanted at Boro, Jutkiewicz parted at the end of the season with a ‘see you soon’ rather than a ‘farewell’ and Freedman set to work signing sold, if unspectacular, free transfers to supplement his squad.

Wanderers had expected to pay around £500,000 for the player but quickly found their plans in disarray as newly-promoted Premier League side Burnley tabled a bid of £1.5m.

Unable to match it, Freedman used some of his budget to sign youngsters Max Clayton and Kaiyne Woolery, and to sign Joe Mason on loan once again. By October the Scot was sacked.

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Norpig

Norpig
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Some good players there, i remember Newsome coming in with Warhurst and they were both great. Craig Dawson was great as well.

I'd forgotten about Andy Dibble but i do remember Martin Pike.

wanderlust

wanderlust
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Rodrigo, now at Leeds was pants with us but went on to score plenty for Benfica, Valencia and the Spanish national team but it's risky to invest heavily in "potential". Look at the career Marcos Alonso had after we sold him for a pittance.

Sluffy

Sluffy
Admin

wanderlust wrote:Rodrigo, now at Leeds was pants with us but went on to score plenty for Benfica, Valencia and the Spanish national team but it's risky to invest heavily in "potential". Look at the career Marcos Alonso had after we sold him for a pittance.

???

We didn't sell him, his contract expired.

We offered him a new contract - even stood by him after he drove the car that the girl died in - but he turned it down!

Marcos Alonso: Fiorentina sign Bolton's out-of-contract full-back
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