Tuesday 18 June 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
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"
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.