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Tuesday 18 June 2013

On this day: Skilful Super Eagle Jay Jay Okocha joins Bolton

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall Nigeria star Jay Jay Okocha signing for Bolton

  • Jay Jay Okocha scored seven goals in his debut Barclays Premier League season for Bolton

  • The Nigerian scored a free-kick on the final day of the 2002/03 campaign against Middlesbrough

  • Okocha and manager Sam Allardyce celebrate the Trotters' final-day survival that season

  • The skilful Nigerian helped Bolton to three consecutive top-eight finishes in the league

  • Okocha scored 14 goals in 124 Premier League appearances during his four-year stay rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day: 18 June 2002 - Bolton Wanderers sign Jay Jay Okocha

Bolton Wanderers completed the signing of Nigeria's World Cup star Jay Jay Okocha from Paris Saint-Germain, and he would go on to be a hero at the Reebok Stadium.

"Jay Jay has a great pedigree. He has flair, ability and huge experience"
Sam Allardyce

Okocha, who had recently announced his retirement from international football at 28 after Nigeria's elimination in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, decided to join Sam Allardyce's Bolton side, who had just avoided relegation from the Barclays Premier League after gaining promotion in 2001.

Upon Okocha's arrival, manager Allardyce said: "Jay Jay has a great pedigree. He has flair, ability and huge experience. Our ambition is to bring the best quality players we can to show we are trying to progress in the right way."

The Nigerian lived up to his billing and his ability to produce outstanding skill and great goals helped the Trotters ensure top-flight survival on a thrilling conclusion to the 2002/03 campaign.

Okocha scored a free-kick as Bolton beat Middlesbrough 2-1 on the final day of the season. They finished 17th and amassed 44 points, the highest total required to stay up in the history of the Barclays Premier League, avoiding relegation at West Ham United's expense.

After scoring seven league goals in his first season in English football Okocha helped propel Bolton up into the top half of the table and, in 2004/05, Allardyce's team qualified for the UEFA Europa League after finishing 6th. Okocha also was a key player as Bolton reached the final of the 2004 League Cup, where they lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough.

Okocha left the club in July 2006 after scoring 14 goals in 124 Barclays Premier League appearances.

To watch a video feature about Bolton's Cult Hero Jay Jay Okocha, click here.

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Key Points

  • looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember the day Nigerian playmaker Jay Jay Okocha joined Bolton from Paris Saint Germain