As a result, we thought we’d take a look at some of the Finnish stopper’s finest moments during his time at the Reebok.
Of course, as the keeper’s stopping antics were so consistently brilliant not all of his saves can be included. But we’ve narrowed the selection of our favourite memories of Jaaskelainen down to (roughly) ten.
Rain-soaked UEFA Cup win v Zenit 2005/06
We begin our look back with Bolton’s first group stage win in the UEFA Cup came against Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg. The match will always live long in the memory for Bolton fans as about a month’s worth of rain fell onto the Reebok pitch in the space on 90 minutes.
Jaaskelainen played a crucial role in the victory. While he didn’t have all that much to do, Jaaskelainen made several key saves in treacherous conditions against the likes of Andriy Arshavin.
Speaking to the BBC in 2005, Sam Allardyce said: “Jussi is playing at the top end of his game. He is one of the top two or three goalkeepers in the Premiership and has proved that again.
“He made [a] couple of saves in the second half to keep a clean sheet, which meant three points on the board for us.”
At the other end, Kevin Nolan netted a scruffy goal to give Bolton the lead and the club’s first ever win in the UEFA Cup group stage.
Both league games v Arsenal 2005/06
During Big Sam’s reign as Bolton boss, Arsenal were a favourite target of the Wanderers. In eight games against the Gunners between 2004 and 2007, Arsenal won just once and the Trotters tasted victory on four occasions.
During the 2005/06 season, Bolton faced the Gunners three times and won twice. Unsurprisingly, Wanderers’ keeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen was at the heart of the action.
In December 2005, Bolton ran out 2-0 winners ahead of an exasperated Arsenal at the Reebok. The Gunners had a few chances of note that really brought the best out of Jaaskelainen. Most notably when Thierry Henry fired a shot against the post that rebounded into the path of the onrushing Robert Pires. Jussi threw himself in front of the advancing Frenchmen to keep his side ahead.
The away match saw an even more impressive performance from the big Finn. After Bolton took the lead early on thanks to Kevin Nolan, Wanderers put in an inspired performance to keep Arsenal at bay.
Jaaskelainen spent all game heroically parrying shots from Arsenal’s frontline. Unfortunately, the Gunners pulled a goal back in the 93rd minute to spoil Bolton’s chances of a league double.
Man of the match performance v Hull 2008/09
Gary Megson’s first full season in charge of Bolton got off to a slow start. In their first 11 games, Bolton won just three times.
That soon became four wins from 12 games as Bolton earned a hard-fought victory against Premier League newcomers, Hull City.
Jussi received high-praise from both managers that day after pulling off a string of incredible saves to keep Bolton’s slender lead intact.
Hull boss Phil Brown told the BBC in 2008 that: “He’s had a blinder. He pulled off a couple of great saves.
“He is certainly one of the best in the Premier League.”
The Finn drew high praise not only for his initial shot-stopping but his ability to react to palm away the ball on several occasions as strikers rushed to attack the rebounds.
Testimonial v Hibernian 2009
After spending an incredible 15 years at Bolton, Jaaskelainen became the joint-third longest serving player in the club’s history with a staggering 530 appearances.
In 2009, the big Finn was awarded a testimonial match for his services to the club.
Jaaskelainen is the last player to receive a testimonial at Bolton, although Kevin Davies qualified for a testimonial but was never given one.
The match itself was a rather drab affair with the only highlight being a Hibernian fan running off down into the concourse with the match ball.
After 90 minutes, the game finished 0-0.
While it may have lacked action, the occasion was still a special one for Jaaskelainen as he stayed to complete a lap of the pitch with his children after earning a clean-sheet.
Bolton legends match 2016
After a torrid 2015/16 season, the 2016 legends match was a great way to restore a bit of pride in the club once again. We could do with a legends match this year actually but I digress.
The occasion marked Jaaskelainen’s return to Bolton as he made an appearance for John McGinlay’s side on the day.
The first half of the game saw Jussi take up his usual position goal.
However, in the second half, the big Finn ventured outfield, even having a spell upfront which saw the goalkeeper clatter the post with a lovely placed effort on goal. Huge shame it didn’t go in.
The whole 2006/07 season
In Big Sam’s final season at the club, Jaaskelainen was on a different level.
The most memorable moments of the season have been given their own slots on this list but Jussi’s consistently brilliant performance during the 2006/07 season deserves a mention.
Over the course of the season, Jaaskelainen was easily responsible for earning Bolton a good haul of points. Without Jaaskelainen between the sticks, Bolton may not have enjoyed their second season in Europe.
So much so that the keeper was awarded both the club’s Player of the Year and the Supporter’s Player of the Year.
Goal-line save v Man City
In December 2006, Bolton went on an incredible run of results. Wanderers strung together five consecutive victories that left them sitting third in the table.
The third match in that run was an away trip to face Manchester City.
Bolton took a commanding 2-0 lead after 25 minutes courtesy of the prolific Nicolas Anelka.
But before Bolton could double their lead, Man City fought back. They forced a brilliant double save from Jaaskelainen. The second save in particular was something special.
The keeper stopped a point-blank header from Paul Dickov on the line that City believed had gone over. I distinctly remember watching Match of the Day that evening as they used a rudimentary bit of goal-line technology to prove how good a save it was from the Finn.
90th minute save v Fulham
After a barnstorming December, Bolton faltered in January 2007.
Come February though and Bolton were back in business with back-to-back wins over Watford and Fulham.
The 2-1 win over Fulham was a close-run affair however, that could easily have ended 2-2 if not for a world class save from Jaaskelainen. The save in question came at a crucial stage in the match as well which makes it all the more special.
Save of the season v Aston Villa’s Gary Cahill
It seems fitting to bring this save up as Bolton are playing Aston Villa today.
Back to Bolton’s brilliant December run now and to the 2006/07 save of the season.
Jaaskelainen made several key saves during the narrow 1-0 win of Aston Villa in December 2007.
But the most memorable was the finger-tip parry that diverted Gary Cahill’s goal-bound shot over the bar.
At normal speed, it looks almost as if the shot skewed over the bar on its own. It’s only the slow-motion replay where we can really see the keeper at work. It’s a good job Jussi didn’t trim his fingernails that day.
Double penalty save v Blackburn
Our final moment in our look back over Jussi Jaaskelainen’s career is arguably his most well-known.
In another 1-0 win, Jussi stood out as Bolton’s hero.
After Bolton took the lead through an Ivan Campo header just after the hour mark, Blackburn were all over the Trotters.
With a matter of minutes remaining, all looks lost when Blackburn win a penalty.
Up steps Jaaskelainen to make a brilliant save down to his left.
Seconds later and Blackburn have themselves another penalty.
Despite demanding to take the penalty, Blackburn’s striker Jason Roberts still couldn’t beat the Finn as he guessed correctly and made an almost identical save down to his left, securing all three points for Bolton.
Without Jaaskelainen, Bolton would have struggled to mount the consistent challenge for Europe they did during the 2006/07 season.
Jussi was a true legend at the Reebok and will no doubt go down in Bolton folklore.
Happy Birthday, Jussi! All the best!
And we end with a few video compilations of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s finest saves which can be found on YouTube.