Fernando Hierro, Iván Campo… If I mention Bolton Wanderers to a Spaniard, they know straight away. They seem to keep tabs on their biggest stars wherever they may be. Their eyes light up and they enthusiastically chatter on about their memories of those players. But I’m not talking about those. I’m talking some other Spanish signings that have come to grace the Reebok/Macron turf.
I’ll start with Marcos Alonso: I always liked him, even if he possibly should have been punished for a fatal car accident in Madrid during his time at Bolton. I knew he was a poor left back though. If only he could be played as a wing back. Well that’s what he does at Chelsea after a big money move from Fiorentina, and he’s doing a damn good job.
Rodrigo Moreno: one of Owen Coyles finest loan signings who he was then reluctant to play despite needing pace and creativity up top. He played 17 times and scored one goal and has since gone on to relative success – playing 68 times and scoring 27 goals at Benfica before a move to Valencia on loan which later became permanent. Made an appearance for Spain in 2014 during his scoring run in Portugal.
Mikel Alonso: Xabi’s better looking and more talented brother joined us for a loan stint in the 07-08 season. The manager didn’t seem to agree with that description, though, and only allowed him seven appearances. His 104 for Real Sociedad meant nothing when he returned to his parent club, who shipped him off to Tenerife. He stayed there until 2011 where after 55 appearances he got the glamour move he always desired. During the 11-12 season he had made it to Charlton, and after a total zero appearances at The Valley, he left. Currently at Real Unión in the Spanish Segunda B Group 2.
José Manuel Casado: An exciting looking left back at the start of the 15-16 Championship season, he showed us all how wrong we could be. After nine uninspired performances he’s now at Numancia. In his prime he recorded 96 games for Rayo Vallecano between 2010 and 2013.
Javi Moreno: The centre forward arrived in 2004 with the promise of goals. Of course, promises are made to be broken and 8 appearances with 0 goals later, he was gone. Scoring 30 goals in 82 games for Alavés between 98 and 2001, he earned a brief stint in the national team, playing 5 times and notching a single strike. After a successful spell with Córdoba between 05 and 08 scoring 48 in 94 he went on to manage AD Alcorcon B team in the Tercera División Group 7.
Oscar Pérez: the midfielder is currently plying his trade in the Segunda B Group 2, facing off for Caudal Deportivo against Mikel Alonso’s side. He’s not quite set the world alight. After not getting to play for the Whites in 2006, he joined Tenerife and made 86 appearances. A dream move to Udinese followed where again he failed to make the grade, or play a game. Bounced around a few Spanish teams before settling in his current role.
Salva Ballesta: Another striker with all the promise. 29 in 52 for Santander led him to Atlético Madrid in 2000. In one season he smashed 21 goals in 33 appearances then onwards and upwards to Valencia where he started to stutter. Just five goals in 24 games led to a series of loan moves, landing at Bolton in 2003. By then he still hadn’t found his shooting boots and a return of no goals in six games for Big Sam. He was then shipped off to Málaga. He did manage to rebuild his career, scoring 18 in a 34 game loan spell before making the move permanent and notching a further 28 in 87. He became manager of Málaga B between 2013-15 leaving with a record of 50-15-17.
Cesar Martín: I really have saved the best till last. He may have gone under the radar for some but he had a big impact in a short time. Making 101 appearances for Oviedo and 96 for Deportivo la Coruña between 1995 and 2006 and also running out for the national team 12 times – he was a fairly accomplished defender. He joined the Wanderers for the end of the 2006/07 season. His most memorable(*only) appearance(*minute) was at the end of a tie at Stamford Bridge at the end of April. Chelsea were fighting United for the title and with United losing and the Blues up 2-1, things were looking good, right up until Super Kevin Davies equalised and quashed Chelsea dreams. We needed a man, nay, a superhero! Big Sam called, and Cesar answered. Deep into injury time he proudly trotted out sporting the white of the Wanderers. One minute later the final whistle blew, he had achieved his goal of not conceding any. Following on from that, Chelsea lost the title and Mourinho lost his job. All thanks to one minute of brilliance from the little known Spaniard, Cesar Martín.
By Simon (@originalbrown84)