Ricardo Gardner has taken the opportunity to thank the Bolton Wanderers fans for their support shown towards him over the last 14 years.
The Jamaican will be making a public appearance this evening (Thursday) at the BWSA social evening, held in the Lion of Vienna Suite at the Reebok Stadium from 7.30pm onwards.
Gardner, who turned 34 last Tuesday, was released by the club at the end of last season after playing 417 matches.
Bibi burst onto the scene in England shortly after the World Cup in 1998 where he had shone for the Reggae Boyz, prompting Colin Todd to secure his services from Harbour View for £1million.
He scored a last minute winner on his league debut against West Bromwich Albion – the first of many happy memories that Wanderers fans will have of a genuine club legend.
Gardner said: “I would like to say thank you to all the supporters who have been behind me from the first day I joined and right throughout my career. I have enjoyed every moment and I just want to say a big thanks.
“I believe the fans have played a great part in what I have achieved and I just want to say a big thank you to them and to all the coaches that have been here too in that time. The fans pay their hard earned money to come and support us week in and week out and I always wanted to give them the support they give us.
“When I joined, moving to Bolton wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be because the fans, the players and the staff made it easy for me. For that I am grateful and I will remember it all - it has just been great to be part of it.
“It was horrible to get sent-off in my last game at Swansea but that is football, I guess. I just have to bounce back and be positive. I just thank god for everything I have done and to give me the strength to keep on fighting and just continue doing what I am.”
Although Gardner is no longer contracted to Bolton, he is still a familiar face at the Euxton where he has been training with the first team in a bid to return to full fitness.
Indeed, he was restricted to just six appearances last season, the final one of which was back in November at the Liberty Stadium.
Whilst he is keen to be back playing competitive football once again, the left-winger has stressed that he won’t be rushed and it’s all about waiting for the right opening to fall his way.
He continued: “I am just trying to stay fit and trying to be patient. I’ll wait for the right opportunity to arrive and I am grateful to be here training with the Gaffer and the team. He didn’t need to let me do this but that shows how much of a good person he is.
“I am just training on the pitch in the morning and then going to the gym in the afternoon to try and get my legs in the right shape. Football is what I love doing but it has been frustrating being out injured for that long and not being able to play. Luckily I have had my family and friends around me.
“I am just waiting patiently and I am feeling good at the moment.”