SOUTHEND United will be bidding for their first win against Bolton Wanderers in 25 years this weekend.

Not since 1996 have the Shrimpers been able to see off the Trotters.

But the manner of that victory will still be fresh in the memory of the longer serving Blues supporters as a team who went on to finish bottom of the table beat the side who finished top 5-2.

Midfielder John Nielsen played a pivotal part in the unexpected triumph as he netted a stunning long range volley to help Ronnie Whelan’s team take control.

And it is a match Nielsen still recalls with great fondness.

“It was a great match for me and a great match for all of us really,” said Nielsen.

“My goal was OK but that game showed the potential we had as a team when we all played well.

“Bolton won the League with 98 points that year to go into the Premier League but we beat them 5-2 and they hardly touched the ball.

“It was a really good game for us and we played well.”

The victory came in Nielsen’s first season with the Shrimpers.

But the Dane did not know too much about the club when he first headed over to England in the summer of 1996.

“I didn’t know much about the club,” said Nielsen.

“There was an agent watching a couple of Bolton players who were playing in Copenhagen at the time and I had a good game against them.

“The agent asked if I wanted to take a trial at Southend and I said yes.

“I was there for three weeks and ended up signing for three years.”

And, while results may not have gone as well as he would have hoped, Nielsen enjoyed his experience of the English game, especially in the first season.

“I loved the town, the fans and the people around it," said Nielsen, who made 33 appearances for Blues.

“It was great but football wise it probably wasn’t the best move.

“The first year with Ronnie was great but when I finished in the Danish League pre-season started at Southend so I hadn’t had a break at all for 12 months, not one single day.”

And that eventually led to Nielsen suffering an injury.

“I got a little bit injured around Christmas and it took a couple of months to get back,” recalled Nielsen.

“The first season was OK but the results weren’t OK.

“The playing style was great but it was a difficult time for the club.

“We didn’t get our wages on time but all in all I look back on my first year as a great year.”

But the second season was not as enjoyable for Nielsen after Alvin Martin was named as manager.

“The second year was an absolute nightmare for me as a footballer,” said Nielsen.

“I had the chance to leave that summer but I’d been brought up with the feeling that if you go down you help the club get back up.

“I asked Martin if he wanted to play me, he said yes, but I just never played at all. I think I had six games.

“One time I started and he took me off at half-time.

“The next day he told me I’d done well and it was just tactical but the next match I was in the stands.

“It wasn’t my kind of football we were playing either.

“It was a nightmare and everything under Martin wasn’t the greatest.”

Nielsen, who remains good friends with his former Southend team-mate Mike Marsh, was eventually sent on loan to Icelandic outfit Leiftur and that led to his exit from the Shrimpers.

“I went on loan to Iceland in the summer and in a story Martin said I wasn’t doing well,” recalled the 48-year-old.

“But I was playing in the European Cup and had a Danish Super League team try to sign me so I was actually doing really, really well.

“He said I wasn’t and I don’t think he had to say that.”

Nielsen left Roots Hall in 1998 and lined up for Danish sides Viborg and Skive IF before deciding to retire.

And Nielsen is no longer involved in football.

“I’m a salesperson for a company called BD Denmark,” said Nielsen, who is based in Vildbjerg.

“I sell pipes and I’ve done it for 20 odd years now.”

But Nielsen still actively follows the fortunes of the Shrimpers.

And he is saddened to see them struggling again this season.

“I’m still a Southend boy and it’s been really, really hard the last few years,” said Nielsen.

“I ordered the shirts for me and my kids and I watch every game on when they play.

“It’s hard to see where they are and it’s not nice to see Southend may be going into the National League.

“But hopefully they can stay up and they can beat Bolton this weekend too, it’s probably about time it happened again!”