AARON GRABS SOME GLORY FOR HIM­SELF

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Char­lie Ben­nett

CELINE Dion’s Ti­tanic an­them is not what you ex­pect to hear blar­ing out of a foot­baller’s phone but Aaron Wil­bra­ham has got it on re­peat. After scor­ing the goal of his life that kept Bolton in the Cham­pi­onship, the 38-yearold has been in­un­dated with videos of his magic mo­ment played to the back­drop of Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’. For a vet­eran striker, this should all be wa­ter off a duck’s back. But Wil­bra­ham ad­mits he has spent his ca­reer in the shad­ows while oth­ers have grabbed the lime­light and this is his great­est mo­ment in a 20-year ca­reer that has in­cluded five pro­mo­tions and nine dif­fer­ent clubs. For once, the at­ten­tion has been all on him. “Through­out my ca­reer, I have taken the hits so that other peo­ple can get the goals. I have put my head in where it hurts for the good of the team,” he said. “Steve Cop­pell said I never got the at­ten­tion I de­served for the work I do and once told me to be more selfish and get some glory for my­self. “On Sun­day, I did that. It felt like a re­ward.” Wil­bra­ham’s win­ner against Not­ting­ham For­est will live long in the mem­ory of Bolton fans. Trail­ing 2-1 with a few min­utes left, their fate looked sealed. But when cen­tre-back David Wheater lev­elled with three min­utes left, hope was re­stored and, un­be­liev­ably, Wil­bra­ham popped up the next minute to steer a mag­nif­i­cent header into the bot­tom cor­ner to send Bur­ton and Barns­ley down. “It was un­be­liev­able, I am still on cloud nine just think­ing about it. It is the sort of thing you dream of and to think that ev­ery­one thought we were down when we were 2-1 be­hind,” said Wil­bra­ham. “I have had five pro­mo­tions, two to the Premier League, which were very spe­cial, two to the Cham­pi­onship and one to League One. “I played the full 120 min­utes with Crys­tal Palace when we got pro­moted at Wem­b­ley in 2013. I have had some big mo­ments but that is def­i­nitely the best mo­ment of my ca­reer, just be­cause of the im­por­tance of the goal to ev­ery­one at the club. “I was get­ting my hair­cut on Tues­day and the ca­ter­ing man­ager from the sta­dium came over and thanked me – telling me how much of a dif­fer­ence it makes to them. “As a foot­baller, you don’t al­ways think about how much it means to oth­ers. Their liveli­hoods de­pend on it.” The Bolton squad cer­tainly cel­e­brated in style, head­ing out in Manch­ester on Sun­day night and mob­bing hero Wil­bra­ham when he ar­rived. The striker is back in his na­tive north west in the win­ter of a ca­reer which has taken him from Stock­port to Bris­tol City, via MK Dons and Nor­wich. But any thoughts that this will be a fi­nal hur­rah could not be fur­ther from his mind, “I have had loads of mes­sages and peo­ple get­ting in touch,” he added. “My old school teacher has been in touch and col­leagues I have played with, some I have not even spo­ken to in the last 20 years. I was still re­ply­ing to peo­ple at 2am after the game. “I want to go on un­til I am 40. I am 38 now, so I have a cou­ple more sea­sons in me def­i­nitely.”

MR POP­U­LAR: Aaron Wil­bra­ham is mobbed by his team-mates

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