Stelios: "I Had To Stay"

Last updated : 31 August 2005 By Matt Bottom

Stelios Giannakopoulos admitted that he could not turn down the chance to stay at Bolton due to the hard work everyones put in over the past few years, which has seen European qualification for the first time in the club's history.

The 31-year-old penned a new three-year deal on Friday and was delighted to have extended his stay with Sam Allardyce's side.

"After two years of hard work, patience and commitment, I think I got the rewards of my work on the pitch. I couldn't resist saying yes on Friday morning," Stelios told the club website.

"I had to think about a lot of things - my family and my future. But at the end of the day, we found a great solution and I'm delighted to have a good contract and can focus on my football.

"I'd like to thank the gaffer, Mr Gartside, the fans, my team-mates and everybody at Bolton Wanderers because they treated me like I was their son. I really appreciate their love and I want to play the best I can for them.

"The fans have appreciated my commitment and I hope to give a lot more to the fans and the club over the next three years.

"We've got a massive season ahead of us and I want to concentrate on that."

Bolton Wanderers boss Sam Allardyce has revealed how his special powers of persuasion convinced Stelios to sign his new contract.

"I put training to one side and left it to Sammy Lee and Jimmy Phillips while I locked Stelios in the office, beat him up and made him sign a contract," he said.

"Once we'd done that we kissed and hugged each other. When the rest of the lads found out they were absolutely delighted as well.

"I think it shows what a valuable member of our squad he has been and will continue to be."