CAN ONE OF BOLTON’S FINEST SAVE THEM?
FERNANDO HIERRO’S appointment as new Spain coach at least means there will be one Bolton legend at the World Cup. Sam Allardyce’s shortened England stint might have meant he missed out on Russia, but he did sign a 35-year-old Hierro in 2004. ‘I was fortunate to work with him. He was world class and he was outstanding in the year we finished sixth and got into Europe,’ said Allardyce when naming the Spaniard (below) in his all-time Bolton XI. ‘It was his all-round-ability, he was top quality in everything. You name it, he was exceptional at it.’ Hierro is a Real Madrid legend but respected on both sides of the Clasico divide. He has a close relationship to players, having previously been Spain’s football director. He can also, Zinedine Zidane style, put his medals on the table. He won a trophy cabinet full at Real Madrid and scored 29 goals in 89 games for Spain — no defensive player has scored more. His personality and character also stand out. He led a players’ revolt at Real in 2003 when the dressing room got wind of Florentino Perez’s plans to sack Vicente del Bosque despite the fact the Spanish manager had just won the league. In the summer of 2003 Del Bosque cleared his desk out and captain Hierro was also told to move on. His Real career had produced five La Liga titles and three Champions League wins. He is one of the first names on the team-sheet when Madrid supporters pick their alltime XI. The only concern for Spain is his limited experience as a No 1. He has been a No 2 at Real but his only spell as a manager, in charge of Oviedo, was brief. He failed to get the second-tier club promoted and left after only one season.