Date: 18th May 2012 at 12:47pm
Written by:

Players released by club, players kept by club, players the club may be keeping but shouldn’t. And THE FUTURE OF VITAL BOLTON.

Don`t get excited, the title isn`t what you think. But exciting news on the future of Vital Bolton is on the way. If you can`t contain yourself, scroll down to the bottom and then come back up here.

OK? Are you back? Then we`ll continue.

The list of players released by Bolton Wanderers has been published this morning and while there are no great surprises in any of the names, there is a slight consternation of one of the names that is not on the list. But we`ll get to him in a minute.

So, your list reads as such, with the most senior players at the top:

Bibi Gardner

1998-2012 Played 409 Scored 25

Grétar Steinsson

2008-2012 Played 139 Scored 6

Ivan Klasnic

2009-2012 Played 94 Scored 24

Paul Robinson

2009-2012 Played 87 Scored 0

Robbie Blake

2010-2012 Played 15 Scored 0

Sean Davis

2009-2012 Played 4 Scored 0

Tope Obadeyi

2008-2012 Played 3 Scored 0

On top of this, the club have confirmed that Nigel Reo-Coker has activated the relegation release clause in his contract and has left and that they have also released Mark Connolly and Rhys Bennett, who both spent time away from the club on loan last season as well as Dino Fazlic and Tom Eckersley, who have never figured in a senior game.

We all knew about Klasnic, who had confirmed his departure on his official site earlier in the week, and Connolly and Eckersley, who had both confirmed on Twitter that they had left. Of the others, I don`t think anyone will be losing any sleep over Robbo, Grandad, Whereisseandavis? and Obadeyi, who spent more time away from the club than at it, whether that be in the lower leagues or in Nandos.

As for Steinsson, whilst he could still do a job, there is more than adequate cover at right back and his departure will take a large earner off the books. No doubt he will turn up somewhere else and good luck to him.

The major shame is Bibi, whose injuries throughout his career, but most notably over the past three years, have stalled his career. He was last seen being sent off at Swansea, which is not the way neither he nor the fans will want to remember him by. You would hope that after fourteen years service the club will grant him a testimonial and a major club will come to T`Reebok in the pre season so that we can show our appreciation to him.

There are a great many people who won`t remember Bolton without Bibi, such has been his longevity. For me, there are two moments. Obviously there is the third goal in the play off final in 2001 which cemented our promotion. During that season, on a pudding of a Reebok pitch, he marauded up and down the left wing, putting plenty of right backs to the sword. When Simon Charlton left the club, Bibi was asked to drop back into defence and, whilst his positioning was never the best, you could guarantee his pace would catch most right wingers. He missed the League Cup final due to injury but it is no surprise that we had our most successful spell in the league whilst he was playing at left back. And we will never forget his goal in Munich.

So, farewell and thank you, Bibi. Don`t be a stranger. And thank you to Steinsson, Robbo, Big Ivan and even Grandad for that goal against Birmingham. You`ll always be welcomed back.

As for those that the club has retained, the club confirmed that SKD has signed a year long extension whilst Sam Ricketts has put pen to paper on a two year deal. SKD should thrive in the Championship but the year long deal takes into account that even he won`t be around forever. Getting Ricketts to sign is the better news. His ability to play along the back line will be needed with resources stretched and the only back up at times being the younger players. It is crucial that he remains fit, so we would ask the club not to arrange friendlies against non league opposition this summer.

When it comes to players still in discussion with the club over contracts, Jussi is still deliberating. As I mentioned on Wednesday, I think he will sign, if only for family reasons. Unfortunately the club has also seen fit to offer Zat Knight a new contract. To me, a player who is so easily beaten in the air in the Premier League will struggle even more in the Championship and his cumbersome style of play may allow the quicker players to leave him for dead. Strangely, the game is played at a faster pace in the second tier, and this will cause Knight problems. I know that we are without Wheater until January at the earliest, but the club should take advantage of the loan system rather than resigning Knight, who would probably want a two year contract. I don`t feel the deal would benefit the club. But, hey, I`m only a blogger.

Speaking of which.

Those who follow me on Twitter will know that I said in January that come the end of the season I would be leaving Vital Bolton. This was partly due to work commitments as my job was supposed to be changing, and also with the fact that these articles can sometimes take two hours to write. I know that when you read them it looks like they have just been knocked up in five minutes on my phone, but they can really take quite a while. As I`ve said, and as my predecessor said, this site doesn`t regurgitate news, we comment on it. I have no issue with the other Bolton sites doing that, it`s good to get the news out as much as you possibly can and every other Bolton site does the job that they want to do well. We really all do get on and are having our end of season drinks, courtesy of Mr Phil Gartside, in the Reebok changing rooms next week.

What do you mean the rest of you haven`t been invited?

Anyway, up until the Fabrice Muamba incident it was still my intention to leave and go, if you want, freelance. I just couldn’t give it the same amount of time as I would like to. However, the comments that people made about my writing actually really touched me and, after discussion with Mrs X who, as you should all know by now, is the real boss, I decided to stay, but scale back my writing. As it was, the job didn`t change all that much, allowing me to more or less continue the way it was. However, I do have a life and those who know what kind of job I do will know that it itself can take a lot out of you.

So. You will all be familiar with my colleague, and Daybreak media whore, Mr AlParklar, who has stepped in in the past when I have been unavailable for one reason or another. Al has agreed to come in on a more regular basis, so from the beginning of July we will be alternating days as much as possible. This should mean that we will take on every other game. Al will bring his own style to the site I`m sure, but we will still continue to give you a different slant on the world of Bolton Wanderers.

I`d like to thank everyone for reading the site over the past couple of years and the comments for both what happened to Fabrice as well as the Burnden Park Disaster piece. I`d also like to thank those who commented on the Emma Davies article that I wrote elsewhere last year, whether they were good or bad. I learnt a lot about writing from that article, not least that people get bored once they have reached the twentieth paragraph. As P.T. Barnum said, always leave them wanting more. And thank you to all those who asked me to come on board on their sites if I left Vital. That also means a lot.

So, onwards and upwards, as they say. We will return tomorrow with our continuation of the season dissection, looking at the midfield. Until then, Sláinte.


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