Today marks 10 years since legendary midfielder Ivan Campo called time on his Bolton career.
The shaggy-haired Spaniard, who was synonymous with Bolton’s high-flying Premier League era, bowed out with an open letter to fans on this day exactly a decade ago.
What wouldn’t we do to have him back at Bolton now?
Something Bolton lacked constantly last season was a midfielder who is calm on the ball and can play those inch-perfect passes, as well as smash in the odd 40-yard screamer, but we’ll get to that shortly.
Ivan Campo was all that and more for Bolton following his move from Real Madrid.
The midfielder was a two-time Champions League winner with Los Blancos before making the switch to The Whites in 2002.
Campo’s Bolton career
Sam Allardyce’s penchant for enticing world-class players to the Reebok cannot be overstated. In his time at Bolton, he brought in the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Fernando Hierro, Youri Djorkaeff, Nicolas Anelka and of course, Ivan Campo.
The wild-haired Spaniard originally joined on loan from Real Madrid for the 2002/03 season. After a successful debut campaign, Campo became a permanent Bolton player in 2003.
Campo went on to play a huge role in the club reaching Europe for the first time when they qualified for the UEFA Cup in 2005. A huge achievement for a club like Bolton Wanderers, who then matched it two seasons later with Campo still the driving force in midfield.
Campo’s ability to pick out passes, both short and long, disparaged the stereotype that surrounds Big Sam. While many thought of Bolton as a long-ball team, they were far from it.
On top of his pinpoint passing, Campo was renowned for his ferocious shooting ability.
A shooting ability that led to one of the greatest goals the Reebok has ever seen.
In the opening day fixture of the 2006/07 campaign, Campo unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot from 40-yards out to leave Tottenham and England goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, stranded.
You can watch a collection of Campo’s goals, including the 40-yard wonder-goal against Spurs, here.
After amassing 172 league appearance for Bolton, Campo’s time in the North West came to an end in 2008. Bolton’s then manager, Gary Megson, refused to extend the 34-year-old midfielder’s contract.
Campo’s career after Bolton
Following his departure from the Reebok, Campo joined Ipswich Town, managed at the time by Roy Keane.
He stayed in Suffolk for just one year before signing for Cypriot side AEK Larnaca in 2009 where he would finish his playing career aged 36.
Possibly an underrated star in Bolton’s team of the mid-2000s which featured the likes of Okocha and the World Cup-winning Djorkaeff, but Ivan Campo’s ability on the ball was among the very best in the Premier League.
With a midfield who seem unable to string as little as two passes together at the moment, what Bolton wouldn’t give to have the Spaniard back and in his prime at Bolton Wanderers.
Video courtesy of Bolton Wanderers’ official YouTube channel.