Writer: Richard McCormick
Date:Friday June 6 2008
Ivan Campo has written an open letter to Bolton fans expressing both his gratitude for their support and some disappointment at the way he left the club. It is an intriguing document in which he outlines his hopes for the future and explains what playing for the Wanderers meant to him.
Dear Bolton Fans,
I`m writing you this open letter because I never had the chance to say farewell to you all following my last match at the Reebok. I really want to say thank you for all the great years that you`ve given me: and believe me, I feel you gave them to me, rather than I to you.
Campo isn`t the first player to leave the Reebok without the chance to say goodbye to the fans. The same fate befell Bruno N`Gotty, Jay-Jay Okocha and Youri Djorkaeff.
I always imagined another kind of farewell: in the stadium, together with you, wearing that white shirt and feeling the affection of all those voices that have cheered me on throughout the years… I have no desire to harm the image of Bolton Wanderers Football Club in any way, and I do not want this to end on a sour note. However, I must add that it is a bit sad that I had to find out from the coach, in a two minute phone call, four days after the final game of the season, that he no longer wanted me: thanks for everything but you`ll need to find something somewhere else.
There is one more thing: one of the saddest things to have happened to me in my entirely unforgettable time at Bolton, and that is the fact nobody from the Football Club has been in contact with me to wish me good luck in my new adventure. At the very least I expected a phone call from the Chairman, Phil Gartside. I`m very upset that it has ended this way.
The fans wish you luck Ivan. They`re the ones that matter. Chairmen, managers, players and even owners all move on. Only the supporters remain constant.
Could the Spaniard return to the Reebok one day, in another capacity? He doesn`t rule it out.
I know that I will always be welcome in Bolton, the place that I have called home for the last six years. I would have liked to have stayed for another year or two at the club and hung up my boots wearing the white shirt of Bolton Wanderers. I`ll definitely be back to watch Bolton at the Reebok and, who knows, maybe even return to work with the youth team one day. I love to watch those kids play football: so happy and innocent. They called me 'The Legend`, but what they never realised was that when I watched them play they reminded me of my own beginnings on the football field, when the most important thing was that you enjoyed yourself. I could even work as a scout for Bolton, maybe bringing Spanish players back to the club.
These are cynical times. It`s easy (and often correct) to think of footballers as money grabbing mercenaries who have little genuine affection for either the clubs for which they play or the fans. Those accusations can`t be levelled at Ivan Campo. Fare thee well, old friend. He finishes thus:
My Bolton friends, you must know that you will always be with me and have a special place deep in my heart.
My warmest and most heartfelt regards to you all.
The full text of the letter can be read here. Click on the guest writer link near the top of the page.
Date:Friday June 6 2008
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