GUDNI BERGSSON Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Gudni Bergsson (b. 21 July 1965 in Reykjavik), is a former Icelandic football player who is best known for his spell with Bolton Wanderers, he also had a spell at Tottenham Hotspur.


Bergsson started life in football with his local club F.C Valur but soon harboured ambitions to play overseas. In 1985 he had a trial with English team Aston Villa but they did not follow up their initial interest.


In December 1988 he was to return with his partner Steve to England with Tottenham as the Spurs manager Terry Venables paid a fee of around Pound100,000 to Valur, a fee which was then a record sale for the Icelandic club who have since gone on to produce many other top Icelandic exports.


At Spurs the central defender or full back teamed up with England internationals Paul Gascoigne, Gary Mabbutt, Gary Lineker and Chris Waddle. Understandably he found it hard to make a regular breakthrough for the London club often filling in intermittantly due to injuries or suspension. This did not stop him from becoming a regular for the Icelandic national team, where he eventually became captain winning in excess of 80 caps, which was a record for that country at the time.


He had his most successful spell at Spurs under the management of Venables, but he did miss out on the infamous FA Cup truimph of 1991. The appointment of Ossie Ardiles as the Tottenham manager effectively spelt the beginning of the end for Bergsson, who feared a life away from football at one stage.


In 1995, after being told he could leave Spurs, Bergsson started study to become a lawyer. A trial game for Crystal Palace F.C. reserves alerted the then Bolton Wanderers manager Bruce Rioch to Bergsson’s availability. Rioch could not understand why such a seasoned international was struggling to find a new club.


A fee of Pound 65,000 was agreed between Bolton and Tottenham, rising to Pound110,000 dependent on a certain number of clauses.


Bergsson made his Bolton debut in the most extreme surroundings of Wembley Stadium when coming on as a substitute for Scott Green in the 1995 League Cup final defeat to Liverpool.


England winger Steve McManaman had given Green a torrid time throughout the afternoon but Bergsson’s introduction gave Bolton renewed hope, as his first touch was to supply the cross for Alan Thompson to score. This was to be the start of a lifelong affection between Bolton Wanderers and Gudni Bergsson.


On the eve of the 1995-96 season, he was promoted back to the Premiership with Bolton, where he proved to be a cool and assured performer in an otherwise shaky Wandererers defence. He scored a number of vital goals against Newcastle United, Leeds United and most notably on his return to White Hart Lane as Bolton drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur.


Unfortunately that season ended in relegation for Bolton, but Bergsson was eager to help the club bounce back at the first attempt. In 1997 the club finished the season as champions of the old Division 1 (now Championship), with Bergsson chipping in with three vital league goals, two of which came in the 7-0 drubbing of relegation haunted Swindon Town.


1997-98 saw the team relegated again, but this time the club showed much more of a fight than in their previous stint in the top league, only losing out to Everton on goal-difference on the final day. Bolton’s loss at Chelsea F.C. coupled with Everton’s draw against Coventry City meant that Bergsson and Bolton where back in the Nationwide League.


That season saw one of the goals of the season, and one which Bergsson will no doubt look back on in the future as one of his best. On Boxing Day 1997 Bolton played a home match against fellow strugglers Barnsley F.C. with both needing vital league points to claw their way out of trouble. Macedonian striker Giorgi Hristov had given Barnsley the lead, but Bergsson equalised for the Trotters shortly before half time with a 35-yard shot from right-back which sailed into the top corner past the goalkeeper David Watson.


1998-99 saw him suffer a series of niggling injury problems and this was no doubt one of his most frustrating seasons at Bolton. Players such as Mark Fish, Andy Todd, Jon Newsome and Paul Warhurst had all played in the heart of the defence in his absence, rumours even circulated that he may leave but this was soon dispelled.


The following season saw Bolton and Bergsson reach three domestic Semi-Final competitions, firstly, the club lost out to Tranmere Rovers in a two-legged League Cup semi-final, then the club were defeated by Premiership side Aston Villa on penalties in a hard-fought encounter at Wembley Stadium in a game which Bergsson picked up a hamstring injury and was later replaced by John O’Kane.


Then came the most heart-rentching semi-final of them all as Bolton faced Ipswich Town in the Divisional Play-Offs in May 2000. Both sides had drawn 2-2 in the first leg at the Reebok Stadium, this making for an excellent second leg in the return at Portman Road.


Unfortunately the game was marred by 12 Bolton bookings, the sendings off of Robbie Elliott and Mike Whitlow and three debatable Ipswich penalties. Bolton criticised the performance of referee Barry Knight claiming that the Orpington official had given Ipswich an unfair advantage. Ipswich later won the game 5-3 after extra-time and it looked as if Bergsson would be retiring from football at the age of 35.


However, new Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce persuaded the ever reliable Bergsson to sign up for another year, and he did not disappoint as he scored 10 goals from defence, putting in a string of excellent performances alongside the likes of Whitlow and Colin Hendry, as Bolton ultimately returned to the Premiership following a play off win over Preston North End at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.


With rumours again circulating of Bergssons imminent retirement, big Sam talked him into staying for one last season. This proved to be a rocky season for Bolton, only staying up on the last day with a 2-1 victory against Middlesbrough F.C. at the Reebok Stadium. Despite big Sams efforts (which included getting Bergsson drunk and trying to make him sign on for “one more year"), Bergsson retired with his head held high. Bolton would go on to create even more Premiership history in the seasons ahead.


All in all he made 270 league appearances for the Trotters scoring 70 goals before finally taking up a career in law.


Despite his new job, he has maintainted his links with the club and is now the President of the former-players association as well acting as a part-time scout of budding Icelandic players.