Date: 2nd December 2014 at 7:16pm
Written by:

The third and final installation of The Wanderers Project

Nick Wostenholme writes on infamous Bolton Wanderers flop Mario Jardel. This was written a few years ago, though it’s being published for the first time here…

August 2003:
A Brazilian international and two time European golden boot winner, the all-time fifth deadliest champions league goalscorer (based on goals per games ratio), had somehow ordained us with his glorious presence for our small Lancashire club. Mario Jardel.

I had very high hopes for him and excitedly explained to anyone who would listen that this Brazilian would tear strips off premier league defences shortly as soon as Big Sam got him fit. Admittedly he looked very well upholstered but this would be swiftly sambared away on the muddy fields of Euxton.

Alas that fitness never came – so the excess timber combined with a very peculiar running gait / fast mince and very few appearances ‘Super’ Mario Jardel became ‘Lardel’. A cruelly accurate moniker.

I never gave up on Mario he was like a fat bird with a broken wing and a white beak (as rumours were later admitted, I always thought he could do the business for us, his appearances were restricted to the league cup he scored a couple against Walsall and a good header against Liverpool but that summed up his time on the pitch.He was a spent force, a busted flush.

In December 2003 I saw him twice in 2 days:

1 Bolton Arndale: Getting some presents wrapped at a charity wrapping counter – Mario was wearing some ice white baggy jeans with at least 7 zips per thigh, these strides would not have looked out of place on Pliers (one half of 90’s influential pop-reggae duo Chaka Demus and Pliers). N.B. he was with the third most beautiful woman I have ever seen in real life -an exotic South American lovely.

2: Tesco Horwich: Setting off the security Alarm by leaning against a firedoor whilst eating a Dairy Milk.

Mario left Bolton for Ancona shortly after the security door debacle.

The trajectory of his career now in a sad downward spiral (he subsequently flopped in Italy, Cyprus, Argentina, Bulgaria, Portugal, Brazil, Australia).

During his time in Italy journalist poetically wrote: ‘We stretch a veil of silence in respect of what he has been’.

Mario you broke my heart.

Next is my Wanderers hero, Matt Taylor.

As many of the contributors to the project have pointed out, picking your favourite player of all time is an almost impossible task.

Despite the fact that we now find ourselves towards the bottom end of the second tier of English football, we’ve had some absolutely incredible ambassadors.

I would be writing this on Ricardo Gardner or Kevin Davies. However, shortly before I became editor of this site I wrote a guest article about him which you can find here- (Bibi) and here- (SKD)

It was during that process that I realised the magnitude of the impact that these players had not only made at our club, but also in our hearts. They would fight, week-in-week-out for the club that we love. Anyone who does that to good effect over a reasonable amount of time is a hero in my books.

Upon the announcement of his arrival at Bolton, I, with excitement, went around telling everyone about ‘how we just signed that guy from Portsmouth who scored that goal’. ‘That goal’ is his volley against Portsmouth which you can see here:

He found himself somewhat out of the frame towards the end of his Bolton career, though at his best, the former Luton Town man was awesome.

As you saw (if you watched the video) his left foot is as good as anyone’s. He used it to incredible effect during his time at Bolton with his trademark thunderous strikes.

Upon looking back at what he’s done at Bolton, it is very tricky to find one that particularly stands out. He’s not the kind of player that tends to score simple tap-ins.

I guess if I had to pick, his free kicks against West Ham will linger long in my memory, as will his goal on the final day at the season at Chelsea. Taylor absolutely belted the ball through the legs of the hapless Petr Cech, ensuring Premier League survival (that was almost guaranteed anyway, but it’s nice to think of him saving us).

Despite not always playing in the most advanced role, he actually chipped in with his fair share of goals. This is an aspect of his game that a lot of people forget. He scored 18 Premier League goals in two seasons. That’s a very good return for a midfielder- especially one who plays for Bolton Wanderers!

I know that Taylor won’t have been an obvious choice for most fans- a lot of people may not even remember him with any fondness. He may not have had the sort of glittering career like Jay Jay or have gained cult hero status like Jussi, but he’ll always be a hero to me.

Here’s a little note:

Thank you very very much for your readership for the duration of this project. I have worked very hard on it and am very grateful to both you, the readers and the contributors who have given their time to write for this site.

This project is part of a long term vision to make this site as good as I possibly can. I have many plans to make this as interactive as possible and I really hope that you guys can get as involved as possible.

For those who don’t know, we have a Twitter account from which we tweet daily, so give us a follow @VitalBolton

We also have a forum that hasn’t really been used for a while, so I’d like to encourage all members to use it and share their views!

What do you think about my vision for this website- do you have any views? Share them!

In other news, we’re still looking for full time writers. This site offers a platform for your work to be viewed by thousands everyday, to gain exposure and hone your writing skills. Get in touch by emailing

You may have noticed that the first two installations of The Wanderers Project featured three writers each, and this only features two. That’s because I want YOU, the fans to finish the story. Who was YOUR hero? Leave them in the comments.


Your Comment