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Questions & Answers - Henrik Pedersen

By Mark Heys
February 26 2008

He may no longer be plying his trade in the Premier League but there is no one better qualified than Henrik Pedersen to discuss the fortunes of Bolton Wanderers over the past six seasons as the likeable Dane has seen the club go through a variety of circumstances over the years since their promotion back to the top flight in 2001.

Making nigh on 200 appearances for the Wanderers and still having a close affinity with the club, the town and its people, Henrik tells us about his memories pre and post Bolton.

He was one of half a dozen new signings to come through the Reebok Stadium entrance door prior to the start of the 2001-2002 season and by the time the end of last season came around he was the fourth longest serving player at Bolton behind Jussi Jaaskelainen, Ricardo Gardner and Kevin Nolan.

Local rivals Wigan Athletic had watched his form in front of goal for Silkeborg in the Danish Super Liga, but it was Bolton and Sam Allardyce who stepped in first to bring him to England for an initial fee of £625,000 rising to £1,100,000.

Given the effort he went on to put in for Bolton it was money well spent, but Henrik will be the first to admit that he found it hard to settle in with Wanderers initially.

He made his debut in that memorable opening day drubbing of Leicester City and scored in the cup games against Walsall and Stockport County but by the end of the season he found himself back on loan at Silkeborg in order to get some first team games.

It proved to be the boost that he needed as he came back to Bolton the following season and played a huge part in helping the side to gain Premier League survival once more.

In November 2002 he managed to net a brace in the 4-2 win over Leeds United at Elland Road and these two well taken goals where followed up by a header against Chelsea.

Goals in the Reebok rout over Birmingham City and one in the draw against Gary Megson's West Bromwich Albion side followed before a shoulder injury sustained in the local derby against Manchester United kept him out of action.

He returned with a goal against Sunderland in March 2003 and also got on the mark when opening the scoring against his boyhood team Manchester City to finish the season as the Wanderers joint top goalscorer with messers Okocha and Djorkaeff.

Season 2003-2004 was a good one for the player and the team as not only did they banish their relegation blues to the past but they also made their first domestic cup final in nine years of trying when facing Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup final at the Millennium Stadium.

Henrik was a second half substitute for the Wanderers that day and despite the loss he is still proud at having represented the club in a major final.

His tally in the cup final season was his best goals return whilst at the club and a memorable late volley against Arsenal at the Reebok Stadium in December 2003 set him off on a run of form which saw him score in the games away at Liverpool, Charlton Athletic and Wolves.

Perhaps his most bizarre goal in a Bolton shirt came in March 2004 when facing Newcastle United in a televised Sunday afternoon match at the Reebok.

Making a burst down the left wing, Henrik put pressure on the Magpies debutant defender Steven Taylor before forcing the youngster into making an error.

Gaining possession, he lofted the ball into the area for what many presumed to be a cross but instead the ball bounced into the far corner past Shay Given from an almost impossible angle.

He helped the club to a good run of results thereafter as they finished in the top ten of the English top tier for the first time since the days of Lofthouse, Hopkinson, Banks, Moir and Hartle.

In 2004-2005 he continued his goalscoring exploits in the early part of the season and it was by now that we all became familiar with the Peacock Celebration.

The Peacock first raised it's feathers in another opening day trouncing, this time against Charlton Athletic in a game which Henrik got on the scoresheet twice.

Further goals against Southampton, Yeovil Town and yet another goal against Arsenal completed a memorable start to the season for Henrik but by the New Year he was one of a number of players transfer listed by manager Sam Allardyce in order to generate transfer funds in the push for Europe.

Henrik responded with a double to knock Ipswich Town out of the FA Cup on their home soil but these proved to be his last goals of the campaign.

He did however play his part at the end of that season in helping the club to qualify for European football for the first time in their history and in 2005-2006 he returned as a regular in the side in the unfamiliar role of left wing back due to a lack of cover in defence.

Not one to complain, he did a sterling job considering he was played out of position and this was to be a role he served in up until his final days at the Reebok.

Fittingly, he appeared in the clubs first two UEFA Cup matches in September 2005 against Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv but an achillies injury forced him to miss a lengthy part of the season.

He played out the final dozen games of that campaign, scoring his only goal of the season in the 4-1 demolition of West Ham United as the club just missed out on a second successive Euro campaign thanks to a late surge from Newcastle United.

His final season at the club saw him again deployed as a defender but the injury problems of old once again moved to the surface leaving him in and out of the side.

By March 2007 he had completed 21 games in all competitions for the club that season and it looked like his loyalty would be rewarded with a new contract in readiness for the current campaign.

However, he was withdrawn after just half an hour of a game against Manchester United at Old Trafford and this proved to be a somewhat undignified farewell for a player who had never let the side down.

After this game a contract offer was withdrawn by the manager and he was given a Free Transfer at the end of his contract last summer.

It looked as if Henrik would take up an option of returning to Danish football but an opportunity arose to link up with former collegues Phil Brown and Jay-Jay Okocha at ambitious Hull where he currently plays today.

Here's what Henrik had to say about his time with the Wanderers.

What can you remember about your Bolton debut?

My first game for Bolton, was a game not to forget. We beat Leicester away 5-0 in our first game back in the Premier League. I got on as a sub in the second half, and can remember it was much faster than the games in Denmark. But a great day to get my first match.

When did you score your first ever goal?

My first ever goal as a professional footballer was for my old club in Denmark (Silkeborg IF), in my first appearance in the Danish Super Liga, we beat FC Copenhagen 4-1, and again I came on as a sub in the 2 half, and made it to 4-1 on a header after the ball had hit the bar from a long range shot from a teammate. I was also only my 2 game for the club, got my first appearance in the Uefa cup against Crusaders on the Thursday, and scored on the Sunday in the Super Liga.

What are your career highlights/lowlights so far?

My career highlights so far is with no doubt, my first cap for the Danish nationa team August 2000 away against The Faroe Islands, we beat them 2-0, and I came on as a second half sub and got about 20 mins. Close to that highlight comes our FA cup win in Denmark in May 2001, just 2 months before I joined Bolton. A perfect end to a great time at Silkeborg IF. We won 4-1, and I scored 2 goals and played the hole game.

Best highlight from Bolton, is being club top goal scorer 2 times, and getting in Europe, and i will also say, playing in the Carling Cup final, even if we lost.

My lowlights have been the injuries I have had in my career over the years. Always very bad not to be able to play. And also the way it ended at Bolton. But that was not the clubs fault, but only Sam Allardyce, who treated me very badly regarding a contract that was already agreed verbally, and only needed signing, then to turn around and tell me he had changed his mind, and nothing was signed, and he didn't mind it was agreed in verbal. I don't like not honest people who do that.

Who did you room with when on away trips at Bolton?

I roomed with Per Frandsen in my first years, and when he left, I got to room with Ricardo Gardner.

What do you think of the current Bolton team and do you get to see them often?

There has been some changes to the current team at Bolton, so don't know so many of them. But I see the ones who is still there some times when i'm back in Bolton.

Who did you support during your youth and who where your heroes?

I was a Manchester City fan since I was about 7-8 years old. I remember the first games I watched on televison in Denmark. Man City vs Wolves, and I liked the blues shirts Man City played in. That's how I got to be a Man City fan.

Which person influenced your career the most?

I owe my Dad a lot for my career. He was my first coach back in my town when I was a little boy. And he drove me to Silkeborg every day for 2 years when I went to Silkeborg IF, so I have alot to thanks my Dad for.

Henrik won't be able to make our games with Lisbon due to his commitments with the Hull City team, but he assures me that he will be looking for Bolton's results for the rest of the season.

Walking Down the Manny Road appreciates the time Henrik has given us and wishes him well in trying to help Hull into the Premier League.

Many thanks to the Peacock.

Please click here for our profile of Henrik Pedersen.

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