Player profile: Paul Bolland

Cod Almighty | Article

by Pat Bell

6 August 2007

Bolland is an example of an English locational name (the land in the bow or bend of the river), often given to those who had left their home towns to live or work elsewhere. At a time when footballers do little but leave their places of origin, Paul Bolland seems content to stay put – which is something of a relief, since staying put is the last thing he does when he's out on the pitch.

Sold by Bradford City for £75,000 in 1999, Bolly remained at Notts Countyfor six and a half years when, despite receiving the manager's nomination as player of the year, he was released. The Magpies' loss was our gain. When rumours linked our ginger bundle of energy with a return to his home city of Bradford, he was quick to scotch them. Let 's hope that means he likes it here.

In the 2005–06 season the 5'11" Bolland's strong running and tackling found a natural foil in the passing of Ciaran Toner, offering us a degree of presence and sophistication in the centre of the park, an alternative to the tactic of 'hoof it upfield and watch Reddy run'. Less influential when he was partnering Curtis Woodhouse, he also started last season quietly. Come February, though, the five-man midfield seemed to suit him, even when it was jettisoned within half an hour of kick-off, giving him licence to augment the attack at all opportunities. Already an occasional scorer of spectacular goals, Bolland added the knack of scoring goals that are important: equalising goals on the way to victories over WrexhamMansfield andWalsall, to go with the 20-yard volley that rescued a point against Wycombe and the driving finish to a move started by Jones and Till todefeat Hereford.

Still just 27, Paul Bolland is planning ahead, having spent the summer taking a coaching course. If the Mariners are returning to a time when we are allowed to plan ahead, we can expect that Bolland – a natural captain and the heartbeat of the side – will remain at Blundell Park for many years to come, to be remembered as a worthy addition to a line that includes Cunnington, Cockerill and Groves.