Team McGinlay 6 : 2 Team Kelly
The return of the Legends was the day that smiles returned to the people of Bolton and our adopted sons and daughters. We’ve not had as much fun for ages. After nearly being beaten into submission by the dreadful events of this season, it was uplifting to see the ex-players who still care enough about Bolton Wanderers to come back. Jay Jay Ochocha performed his magic. He even had to change side at half time to even things up. Jussi Jaaskalainan, Keith Branagan and John McGinlay played the generation game with their sons on the pitch. Jussi had to go up front to get a game after his son Will took over.
The sight of Alan Thompson thumping the Bolton badge has heart-warming. David Lee was flying down the wing but still needing to work on his shooting. Was there a dry eye in the house when Fabrice Muamba made an emotional return to the football pitch? Alan Stubbs, Scott Green, Peter Reid, Gavin McCann, Fabian de Freitas, Richard Sneekes, Simon Charlton, Simon Coleman, Ivan Klasnic, Sasa Curcic, Julian Darby, Jason McAteer, Stuart Whittaker all brought back memories of happier days. The celebrities played their part with Danny Jones auditioning for a second career if his music goes pear-shaped while Paddy McGuinness and John Bishop had their own private match. Tony Kelly and John McGinlay did a fantastic job as captains and the looks on their faces when faced with a through ball to run on to was worth the admission money alone. All the returnees were welcomed, especially Chairman Dean Holdsworth who showed us he hadn’t lost the knack of blasting it over the bar! I even managed to get on the pitch without Heskey scoring, to award the Dave Higson Trophy on behalf of the BWSA to Lofty the Lion for his sterling 21 years’ service as the mane man.
The Legends theme continued in the evening with a superb three course dinner with our very own Norman Prince as master of ceremonies. Vernon Kay compered a hilarious localised version of Family Fortunes. Phil Mason and Ian Bridge reminded us of the good causes that the proceeds from the day’s events were going to. We partied long into the early hours of the morning. This was Bolton Wanderers at our best with everyone coming together and feeling part of the Bolton family. We all needed this day.