June 17, 2024

From taking growth hormone injections and moving across the continent to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer, to court cases and mass player protests, Erhun Oztumer’s career has seen its fair share of ups and downs.

The Bristol Rovers midfielder, now 29, is somewhat of an expert in bouncing back from adversity, having overcome several setbacks that have made him the resilient player he is today.

Although, his most turbulent spell undoubtedly came at Bolton Wanderers. Oztumer’s career was at its peak in 2018 – he boasted an impressive CV, having been named in the League One team of the year two seasons on the bounce. However, he opted to sign for Wanderers in June of that year, despite being touted by a number of other Championship suitors.

“Bolton are a massive club with a lot of history and a huge fan base,” he explained. “It’s appealing to a lot of players. I just couldn’t turn it down.”

It turned out to be a decision he’d later regret.

The Trotters, who were already facing money troubles, ran into further financial difficulties and when their wages failed to materialise, Oztumer and his team-mates refused to play for the club.

My performances went down and morale went down. I was going home upset. I have a supportive family so if I needed money, they helped me out.

“We went on strike for five days to raise awareness. The cleaners and security guards weren’t on as much money as we were. There were food banks for staff and players.”

With just one victory in 21 league games between October 2018 and February 2019, Bolton faced the drop and it was back to League One for Oztumer.

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