Jesus Garcia Sanjuan has a picture on his wall at home of the goal celebration after scoring for Wolves against Fulham.

“There was me, Steve Bull, Robbie Keane, Mixu Paatelainen all in the picture,” reveals the former Spanish midfielder.

“I bet the rest of them were thinking, ‘who the **** is this guy’?”

That might be partly due to the quality of the goal, a lovely run in behind the defence and clinical finish into the bottom corner unbefitting of a career in which he only scraped into double figures in the ‘goals for’ column.

But also, because Sanjuan had literally only just arrived in the country to try his luck in the Championship, snapped up on a three-month loan from Real Zaragoza by Wolves boss Mark McGhee.

And thrown straight into battle, or at least initially on the bench, for the Coca Cola Cup tie at Craven Cottage in September, 1997.

“I’m not even sure the manager knew my name,” he laughs.

Sanjuan had spent seven years at his home club at a time when they had enjoyed one of the most successful spells in their history, but was now finding his options limited.

An intermediary originally approached him in the summer of ’97 and brought him over to Sheffield United on the promise of a contract.

But it was the close season for Sanjuan and he was in holiday mode and not in shape for football, and he was asked to play a trial game which, predictably given his lack of fitness, didn’t go well.

“They had said they just wanted to see if I had two arms and two legs – I could have showed them that!” he recalls.

“I was rubbish, I could hardly move, and after I went to the office of manager Nigel Spackman, and he said he wanted me to go on trial for a week or two.

“I said I’d been told I’d got a contract and was there because they wanted to sign me, and that I wasn’t in shape, so I decided to go home.”

That experience prompted plenty of reservations when it was Wolves’ turn to come calling, but the confirmation of a three month contract saw him fly over and, within just over 24 hours, take his place on the bench in Mark McGhee’s team at Fulham.

“Then there was an injury and I was on the pitch after about 12 minutes,” Sanjuan takes up the story.

“And about 20 minutes later, I scored!

“It’s funny because I wasn’t used to scoring goals, but it was quite a nice one, breaking the defensive line and putting it in the corner.

“Once I’d done that, I think everyone probably thought I was a bit of a player!”

That Sanjuan was a bit of a player was well known from his time with Real Zaragoza, where he emerged through the ranks to be a key part of the squad over a number of years.

He had also been capped regularly by Spanish age-group teams all the way up to the Under-23s.

Of course, the Zaragoza side from that era are best remembered for their 1995 Cup Winners Cup final win against Arsenal – ‘Nayim from the halfway line’ and all that.

They had won the Copa Del Rey the previous season to qualify, having reached the final the year before.  Heady days for a club never considered up there with the cream of the Spanish crop of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid.

“For any kid, going on to play football anywhere is a dream, but to do it for your home club is even more special,” Sanjuan explains.

“It was a time when players would stay at one club for their whole careers, before all the money came into football and that changed, and I thought I would be at Zaragoza forever.

“It was such a good time for the club, especially with that Cup Winners Cup final, where I came off the bench midway through the second half and was then taken off towards the end of extra time when the manager brought someone on for penalties.

“It was 1-1 at the time, but then of course Nayim scored in the 119th minute.

“And what was funny about that was that he played most of the game on the left, but had moved over to the right where I had been when he hit that shot for the winning goal.

“To be involved in the celebrations was incredible, especially the day after when we came back home to Zaragoza.

“There are maybe 600,000 people living in the city, and they must all have come out on the streets that day.

“No one ever thought we would win a European title, so it was an absolutely unbelievable achievement – the pinnacle of my career without a doubt.”

When finding himself out of the picture – a decision about which he has no complaints – Sanjuan then had to continue his career elsewhere and, with a far weaker grasp of the English language than the excellent one he has now – moving to Molineux carried plenty of challenges beyond just life on the pitch.

Staying in Shifnal, so a fair few miles away from Molineux and the training facilities, he was indebted to Wolves having Isidro Diaz – one of Wigan’s Three Amigos with Roberto Martinez and Jesus Seba – and formerly of Zaragoza, to help him settle in.

His memory of the dressing room remains sharp. Of Bull – “the legend”, Keane – “starting his long and great career”, captain Keith Curle – “the leader”.

He also remembers Mark Atkins who accidentally caused him to require stitches in his shin after a training ground prank of moving some basketball posts.

“We were friends after that,” Sanjuan chuckles.

Another name which springs quickly to the Sanjuan consciousness is Jason Roberts, a young striker at Wolves at the time who would go on and build a fantastic career in the game, though sadly not at Molineux.

“I remember Jason wasn’t doing particularly well at Wolves but was a lovely guy, really humble and trying to learn,” says Sanjuan.

“I am so pleased for him that he went on to become a really good player and score so many goals.”

For Sanjuan himself, despite that tremendous start, life at Wolves also didn’t ultimately work out.

It wasn’t so much a game of two halves, as a Molineux career of two halves.

“There were two different spells for me at Wolves, the beginning and the end,” he explains.

“I remember I did o-k at the start, scoring at Fulham, and I was really enjoying the atmosphere of playing in England including at grounds like Sunderland.

“It felt different to La Liga games I had been used to, like a proper occasion, and even now I remember the music that was played as we came out of the tunnel at Molineux.

“But for the first few league games, we didn’t get a win, and the manager had to make some big decisions.

“The three overseas players at the time – myself, Mixu Paatelainen and Dariusz Kubicki – came out of the team and that was how it was for the rest of my spell.

“I have no bad feelings towards Mark McGhee or anyone about that, we were playing crap, but one thing I did find strange was the training.

“It was like the first 11, 12 or 13 players in the team would train on one half of the pitch and the rest of us who weren’t involved on the other, whereas in Spain we always trained together.

“So, I had a month-and-a-half on the good side, and a month-and-a-half on the not so good, and obviously, I wasn’t signed after that.”

Sanjuan would love to have had longer to prove himself, and would have loved to have continued his career with Wolves, but, he headed home without realising it wasn’t to be the last time he graced the pitches of the United Kingdom.

After spells with Villareal and Cordoba he was to come back, north of the border, for successful stints with Airdrieonians – winning the Scottish Challenge Cup – and Kilmarnock.

It was perhaps unexpected, it certainly wasn’t planned, but the Land of the Brave ultimately opened the door to an exciting new life after football in what of the sport’s long-acquainted bedfellows – golf.

A keen player, it was in Scotland that Sanjuan had the opportunity to take advantage of some of the world famous courses, bring his handicap down and then, after hanging up his boots, follow in the footsteps of a friend by setting up his own company, Golf Escocia. (

In essence, Sanjuan started out organising trips for amateur golfers to go and play some of those iconic Scottish courses, since when the business has expanded to include trips elsewhere in the UK – such as the three Royal courses in Liverpool – Ireland, and then further afield to Dubai or Pebble Beach in California.

“I had a season in the Spanish second division where I played very bad, and was left, at 28 and probably in the prime of my life with so much experience, out of contract,” he explains.

“My agency told me of this opportunity to come and play in Scotland where former striker Steve Archibald was talking over Airdrie and wanted to bring in a lot of new players.

“I have to say, when I heard it was Scottish Division Two, I was thinking, ‘not for me’, but I had two choices – go and play there or quit football.

“At the end of the day a group of us Spanish players went over – and it changed my life.

“I fell in love not just with Scottish football but everything around it.

“The Scottish football fans are such passionate people but they are also so respectful.

“I suppose I had been used to a city of half a million people, but then I was living in a small village close to Motherwell and then in Troon when I was at Kilmarnock and I loved it.

“And then there was the golf.

“I was already playing as a hobby but in Scotland, everyone played golf!

“All the players, the manager, on days off that is what we did, and a friend of mine had a company for golfers to come over from America to play European courses.

“I thought, why not try something similar for Spanish golfers? And, 21 years later, I wasn’t wrong!”

The business has flourished.  Sanjuan, now 52, spends around five months of the year in Scotland, and the rest back in Spain.

But his golfing pedigree had dove-tailed with his football career given one of his close connections within the sport was none other than Spanish legend Sergio Garcia.

Sanjuan remains hugely appreciative of the support given to him by Garcia following the loss of his mother, to breast cancer, in 2006.

“When I went to Villareal and played golf it was at Sergio’s home golf course, when he was maybe 14 or 15,” says Sanjuan.

“Sergio and his Dad and family were always around and he loved asking questions about football and meeting the players.

“He played golf with us and I remember taking him to one of the training sessions at Villareal when he was over the moon.

“He obviously went on to turn pro and become a massive star and we saw each other now and again but I will always be very grateful to him.

“I started a foundation after my Mum passed away and, when we first held a Pro-Am event to raise money for breast cancer, he was the first to be there.

“At that time, he was a huge star of golf, battling for the majors, but he gave up his time and helped us raise so much money for charity.

“Over six years of running the event we raised around £300,000 and I will always be thankful to Sergio for being there at the start.”

Scotland or Spain? Might not sound like a tough choice but Sanjuan gets the best of both worlds!

And to those who may ask how he copes with the more wild and rugged weather north of the border, his answer is immediate!

“Where I am in Spain, inland, it is not like where you go on holiday to Malaga and the Canary Islands where the weather is gorgeous all the year round,” he says.

“We have bad weather too, you can hear the wind here now while I am talking to you, and there is a huge difference in temperature between summer and winter.

“I love Scotland, my business is there now and I love the months of the year when I am in the country.

“I live in St Andrews now and it has become a part of me – I feel like I am half Spanish and half Scottish!”

On top of that, Sanjuan is always guaranteed a warm welcome when walking through the doors of the legendary links course which bears the town’s name.

In keeping with the theory that you can probably bump into a Wolves fan at any venue anywhere in the world, the director of instruction at the course’s golf academy is gold and black devotee, Steve North.

“Steve is a crazy Wolves fan and is now a good friend of mine,” Sanjuan reveals.

“I remember the first time he arrived and he said to me, ‘you are a Wolves legend’!

“’No, I am not’, I replied.  Certainly not for my football!

“Fernando Gomes came to Wolves a couple of years after me and he did a bit better – he was a very clever player and a great player.

“So, I am definitely not a legend like my good friend Steve says!”

Talking of descriptions, the nickname Sanjuan was wrongly given by the intermediary who brought him to Wolves was the ‘bulldozer’ – “it was a big mistake to call me that!” he laughs.

Infact he was known by his Zaragoza team-mates as ‘Percheron’, a big horse who is not very fast but very strong.

After his first few minutes at Fulham, and with a nod to the later career that would follow, for a moment Wolves thought that their Spanish Eagle had landed.