Where are they now? Bolton’s Gudni Bergsson a true have-a-go hero
From Gretar Steinnson, Eidur Gudjohnsen to Per Frandsen, Bolton Wanderers seem to have always endorsed the merits of players from Scandinavia.
And while the two Icelandic players named above will hold fond memories for many Trotters fans, one Reykjavik-born man stands out above the rest, Gudni Bergsson.
With his former club, for whom he made 317 appearances for in eight years, in action live in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday night, it seemed only right that he would be the next name to feature in our Where Are They Now? feature.
Before joining Bolton from Tottenham in 1995, Bergsson actually started training for his career after football, but with the Greater Manchester club providing another challenge, football remained his number one focus.
A love affair began between the 80-capped international and the Bolton faithful, mostly for his consistent displays in defence, but also for moments like this…
Having threatened to retire at least three times, before being persuaded to play on for another year by manager Sam Allardyce, Bergsson finally hung up his boots in 2003.
And it was a well worn path in media that he attempted first up, with his very own TV show back in his homeland.
“Boltinn með Guðna Bergs”, or ‘Ball with Gudni Bergsson’ saw the Bolton legend reflect on the goals of the Premier League with his native audience.
As far as we can see, the show lasted just one series in 2004, so you can perhaps understand his decision to further his career away from the game.
Having studied law during his time in England, it seemed destined that Bergsson would go on to become a lawyer post-football.
Joining Lagastod Lawyers, the now-50-year-old swapped the offside rule to the laws of Iceland, calling the firms’ Reykjavik offices his new home.
But it is not his work per se that has kept Bergsson in the public eye, in his homeland at least.
In March 2012, Gudgeri Gumundsson burst into the firm’s offices and attacked the company’s Director with a kitchen knife.
In an attempt to halt the assault, Bergsson jumped in. Despite twice getting stabbed in the thigh himself, he subdued the assailant.
For his trouble, Gumundsson was jailed for 14 years, while the former Trotter picked up £4,000 in damages for his act of bravery.
While he still works as a lawyer in the city of his birth, Bergsson’s ties with Bolton haven’t ended.
He undertakes a part-time role in scouting and recruiting Icelandic players for the club, and maintains a keen bond with his former side.
Speaking to the Bolton News last year, Bergsson told of how he had become upset with the decline of the team, but cannot wait to see them back in the top tier.
“I don’t agree with all those people who said we punched above our weight in the Premier League. Now we need to get our act together and get back up there,” he said.
“I’d love to see that buzz and spirit created at the club that I felt as a player in the nineties and the first decade of the century. It was a privilege to be a part of that and we want the good times back.,” he added.
To do that, Neil Lennon just needs to get his players channelling the consistency of the club’s Icelandic talisman.
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