SAM ALLARDYCE will be living the dream again with Bolton for one more game.
Big Sam took the Whites into the Premier League in 1999 and, after a sixth–place finish seven years later, into Europe.
On Sunday he'll have the gang back together, boss of an All-Star side to face the current team in aid of MND as well as supporting defender Gethin Jones’ mum Karen who was diagnosed with the disease in July.
Not only will he be in charge of a game as a Bolton 'manager' at the UniBol Stadium again for the first time since 2007.
The 67-year-old is particularly looking forward to the after–match dinner.
With a huge smile on his face he declares : “I’m especially looking forward to seeing so many old faces at the dinner.
“And hopefully there will be a couple of paracetomols next to my bed on Monday morning!”
Former Wanderers striker Kevin Davies – signed by Allardyce in 2003 – has been instrumental in contacting many of his former team-mates from the glory days to join him in the all-star squad.
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Ricardo Gardner, Stelios Giannakopoulos, Ivan Campo, Jay-Jay Okocha, Henrik Pedersen, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Kevin Nolan, Gudni Bergsson and Nicky Hunt will all be there for the 1pm kick-off.
Allardyce took Wanderers into the Prem in 2001 and did the same with West Ham in 2012, as well as bossing Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Everton and West Brom after he let.
There was also one game in charge of England in 2016 before the “entrapment” scandal that saw him quit the Three Lions.
He was cleared of any wrong–doing by the police and the FA.
His last job was at West Brom in the second half of last season where he suffered the first relegation of his career as the Baggies dropped into the Championship.
Yet his time at Bolton remains as one of the great highlights of 30 years as a manager.
“Only good memories,” he says.
“It was a great transformation in the period we had and we had some wonderful players.
“It was just a dream, not just for me and the players playing together but also the fans.
“I’ll never forget the atmosphere when the ‘Reebok’ was full.
“It was the best time a lot of them ever had and certainly one of the best I had – apart from being a player myself because nothing really substitutes that.
“That eight years was fantastic.
“All the roubles, stresses, strains of my time as a manager up until I went to Bolton to take charge were worthwhile
“It all came to fruition after starting at Limerick, Notts County and Blackpool.
“The stadium is iconic, the quality and design of stadium still looks so good like it was only built yesterday.
“And we had so many stars here – World Cup winners even – it was a great era.
ALLARDYCE AT BOLTON
BIG SAM’S BOLTON RECORD (all competitions)
371 153 104 114 41%
“We enjoyed it to our maximum.
“When you see the players who are coming back for this game you can see how much love all of them still have for Bolton Wanderers.
“I was so proud of my time here and it never leaves my memory.”
Big Sam's Bolton All Stars v Bolton in aid of MND and in support of raising funds for defender Gethin Jones’ mum Karen, who suffers with the disease. Kick off 1pm Sunday November 14. For match tickets go to: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/bwfc/EDP/Event/Index/3481
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