Some of Wanderers’ biggest modern-day legends rolled back the years on a special afternoon at the University of Bolton Stadium.
With Sam Allardyce back in the dug-out it was like the good old days as Jay Jay Okocha slotted home the opening goal from the penalty spot before reliving his classic dance moves with the former Wanderers’ boss.
Allardyce – who had led Wanderers into the top six of the Premier League and a first ever foray into Europe in 2005 – returned to manage an All-Star squad featuring many of the players who lifted the Whites to new heights during Allardyce’s eight-year reign.
They took on the current squad in a game to raise money for the care and treatment of Karen Jones – the mother of Wanderers’ defender Gethin – and the Darby Rimmer Foundation to aid research into MND.
And Wanderers’ fans old and new turned out in force to support the event and watch their favourites in a magnificent crowd of 13,187.
All the current first-team squad played a part with manager Ian Evatt leading by example with a 15-minute hat-trick after coming off the bench as a half-time substitute.
But the day was really about raising funds and the former players back to grace their former home – and they didn’t disappoint.
They were back in their numbers with Jussi Jaaskelainen, Gudni Bergsson, Ricardo Gardner, Ivan Campo, Henrik Pederseon, Okocha, Stelios Giannakopoulos and Kevin Davies – instrumental in getting the gang back together – all in the starting line-up.
And in support of the older legs were ex-players of a slightly more recent vintage, including Chris Eagles who delivered two superb second-half finishes to add to Okocha’s opening strike and a late penalty from John McGinlay.
Apart from Okocha’s party piece, there were flashes of the old magic from all show – even if the minds were slightly more willing than the legs.
Okocha’s goal was cancelled out by George Thomason, who finally got the better of Jaaskelainen after a string of top stops from the former number-one.
Nathan Delfouneso and Xavier Amaechi – with his first goal in a Bolton shirt – made it 3-1 to the current side by half-time.
Evatt then kept his promise of pulling on his boots again and playing as a striker and not a defender – to great effect.
And after Eagles’ classy double and a Dapo Afolayan strike, McGinlay converted from the penalty spot to wrap up a memorable afternoon in fitting style.
Wanderers (starting XI): Gilks; Senior, Johnston, Baptiste, Gordon; Thomason; Amaechi, Pettifer, Sheehan, Henry; Delfouneso. Subs used: Dixon, Evatt, Afolayan, Santos, Isgrove, Tweedley, Aimson, Hird, Alexander, Burgess, Lee, Bakayoko, John, Kachunga, Conway.
All Stars (Starting XI): Jaaskelainen; Hunt, Bergsson, Ricketts; Gardner; Campo; Pedersen; McCann, Okocha, Stelios; Davies. Subs used: Brannigan, Lee, Eagles, Darby, A Okocha, L Davies, Giannakopoulos, McGinlay.
Watch Jay Jay Okocha's post-match chat HERE
Catch up with Kevin Davies HERE
Ricardo Gardner on his Wanderers' return HERE
And Gethin Jones thanks the fans, team-mates and legends HERE