rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Gudjohnsen roots for Bolton and Chelsea

Gudjohnsen roots for Bolton and Chelsea

April 29, 2005 11:42 IST
For most Chelsea players winning at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday to clinch the English title for the first time in 50 years would be memorable enough.

For one, however, the emotions will run even deeper.

Chelsea's Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen spent two years at Bolton from 1998 to 2000 where he rebuilt his career after a serious ankle injury.

Now he has nothing but praise for the Lancashire club which in many ways represents the backbone of English football.

"It is a wonderful club with superb fans and a really great manager. Sam Allardyce has transformed the club and he deserves so much credit," the 26-year-old Gudjohnsen said.

"He bought and sold players and made a healthy profit for Bolton and used that money to buy other players who have really taken the club forward.

"I think it would be fantastic if they got into the Champions League next season. To be honest, it would be weird, but fantastic. Can you imagine some of Europe's biggest clubs playing at the Reebok Stadium. It would be marvellous for the fans."

Gudjohnsen joined Bolton in 1998 on a free transfer from Iceland's KR Reykjavik after leaving PSV Eindhoven with a career-threatening injury.

He recovered to play 73 league and cup matches for Bolton scoring 26 goals before joining Chelsea for 4 million pounds ($6.0 million) in 2000.

He is now one of the key players in Jose Mourinho's team and as either an attacking midfielder or lone front man has been an integral part of Chelsea's success this season.

HISTORIC MATCH

Now he is looking forward to Saturday's match which could prove historic for the London side, seeking their first title for 50 years, and for Bolton too. Victory would take them another step nearer qualifying for European competition for the first time in their history.

"Of course I'm a Chelsea player now and I want to win on Saturday and clinch the title," he said. "But I would be delighted too if Bolton made it into Europe in either the Champions League or the UEFA Cup.

"The fans always give me a great reception when I come back and that's the way it should be. But I also think the team is a very strong one and they will do it, and by saying that I admit, it won't be easy for us on Saturday. We have a very, very tough match ahead of us."

Most of Bolton's major triumphs were achieved long ago.

Formed in 1874 and founder members of the Football League in 1888, they have never been champions and the last of their four FA Cup wins came in 1958.

Bolton were also the first club to win the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium when it opened in 1923 but for most of their history they have battled dourly for points with industrious Scottish midfielders and tough Lancastrian centre-halves frightening opponents at their old-fashioned Burnden Park fortress.

Now they play at a swanky out-of-town stadium and have Finnish goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, former Real Madrid players Ivan Campo and Fernando Hierro, Greek Euro 2004 winner Stelios Giannakopoulos and Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha as well as Israeli, Senegalese and Tunisian players wearing the famous white shirts.

Bolton already has a special place in Chelsea's history for all the wrong reasons as it was after a match there in 1996 that director Matthew Harding died when his helicopter crashed soon after takeoff on a flight back to London.

Winning the title there for Gudjohnsen and his team mates would give them far better memories of the Lancashire town.

Source:
© Copyright 2014 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.