Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Final Thoughts

It was always my intention to conclude the blog at the end of the 2009-10 season - to end on a celebratory note and see 2010-11 as the start of a different story. Keith Hill’s departure doesn’t change that because he only entered the previous story in 1996 , halfway through it. I also didn’t want to be recording hasty impressions of the current squad which would be inevitable if the blog became open-ended. I  was  hoping  to  finish  before  the  end  of  2010-11 anyway  but  life  got  in  the  way !

I should just mention that there were other players who put on a Dale shirt but haven’t featured because they only appeared in Cup ties and the blog was primarily concerned with the League story. Most famous of these is the guy above, Steve Bywater, who became our record export despite conceding 6 in his only senior appearance in the Autoglass Trophy. Along with Gary Jones he is the only survivor of  the Barrow era still playing  League  football. We also had Steve Wilkinson a useful striker for Mansfield , Preston and Chesterfield who played in a couple of League Cup ties in 1996 while on loan from Leicester. Then there were the mysterious Karl Rose who made his debut in the same Auto Windscreens game as Paddy McCourt in 2001 but was never seen again and David Walsh whose only outing was a substitute appearance at Ewood Park during the 6-1 mauling in  the  League  Cup  in  2000.

Keith Hill’s reign was also noted for the number of players who came and went on short term deals without making an appearance. So honourable mentions to Charles Comyn-Platt , Stephen Vaughan , David Button, Lewis Montrose, Jerome Watt and Michael Lea who never got the chance to show us what they could do.

Then there were some notable appearances in pre-season where the player didn’t actually sign for us. Former Liverpool super-sub David Fairclough scored against Blackburn in the Lancashire Cup in 1986 but that was his only game. Jamie Doyle was apparently one of the brightest prospects in Scottish football when I was getting Shoot ! in the late 70s but failed to impress Eddie Gray in the Lancs Cup games of 1987.
Most bizarrely of all Chris Armstrong was taken on after being released by Leeds then bought by Queen of the South before the start of the season in 2004, a nifty bit of business by Steve Parkin particularly as the player has achieved little in the game since.

So that’s it. The Comments facility will remain open and perhaps some of the picture gaps will be filled but otherwise it’s finished . Maybe in years to come there’ll be a continuation but at the moment I have no plans for that. While remaining a season ticket holder I missed most of the away games in 2010-11 ( surely the worst set of  fixtures ever for a travelling fan ? ) and I can’t see a return to the commitment of the early seasons covered here. Despite  my best  efforts  my  son might want to do other things on  a Saturday and fanaticism in your forties isn’t desirable anyway, suggesting  deficiencies elsewhere in your life.

Thanks for your time and perhaps you might like to explore some of the other blogs under the Clarke Chroniclers umbrella ?

Up The Dale !

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

447 Reece Gray

Position :  Forward

Played : 2009-10  to  ?

Appearances : 4  to  date

Goals : 1  to  date

Young  Reece  isn't  really  part  of  the  promotion  story  as  he  didn't  appear  until  after  we'd  secured  our  place  in  League  One. I've  only  seen  his  debut  as  a  sub  at  home  to  Burton  where  he  looked  to  have  a  good  touch  and  some  confidence  about  him. He's  made  three  more  substitute  appearances  since  then  and  scored  the  winner  with  an  unlikely  header  at  Bournemouth  in  last  season's  final  game.

Reece  concludes  the  2009-10  season.

446 Temitope Obadeyi

Position :  Winger

Played : 2009-10  ( on  loan  from  Bolton )

Appearances : 11

Goals : 1

Temitope  was  the  final  signing  of  the  season . He  was  20  and  had  three  substitute  appearances  in  the  Premiership  ( Arsenal  and  United  were  two  of  the  opposing  teams )  and  a  decent  reputation  to  his  credit. Earlier  in  the  season  he'd  been  on  loan  at  Swindon  and  scored  twice  in  12  appearances.

He  came  on  at  Bury  in  February  when  we  were  chasing  the  game  and  made  a  good  impression. He  managed  to  wriggle  past  his  man  on  the  by-line  and  lay  on  an  easy  chance  for  Chris  O' Grady  who  inexplicably  missed  it. He  got  a  goal  at  home to  Dagenham  two  games  later  but  otherwise  he  just  caused  frustration. There  was  something  there; he  was  very  quick  and  difficult  to  dispossess  but  he  usually  did  the  defender's  job  for  them  and  beat  himself. I  remember  him  receiving  a  throw  in  at  Macclesfield  and  the  ball  bouncing  straight  back  off  his  shin  into  touch.

He's  still  with  Bolton  but  9  goalless  games  on  loan  at  Shrewsbury  were  his  only  League  outings  last  season.

445 Andy Haworth

Position :  Winger

Played : 2009-10  ( on  loan  from  Blackburn )

Appearances : 7

Goals : 0

Andy  arrived  in  January. He  was  21  and  had  made  two  cup  appearances  for  Rovers. He  had  also  played  6  games  on  loan  at  Gateshead.

An  injury  to  Will  Buckley  in  the  warm-up  at  Cheltenham  meant  an  instant  League  debut  for  Andy  and  he  certainly  made  it  one  to  remember. He  had  pace  to  burn  and  two  good  feet  and  soon  had  the  Robins  rocking !  He  could   have  scored  two  spectacular  goals  from  distance  but  the  first  shot  hit  the  post  and  came  out  and  the  second  was  barely  clawed  out  by  the  keeper  to  the  feet  of  Chris  O  Grady  who  thumped  it  home  for  his  second  goal.

However  it  appeared  that  Keith  Hill  wasn't  quite as  impressed  as  the  rest  of  us  and  had  words  with  Andy  about  ball  retention  and  cavalier  play. Andy's  willingness  to  share  that  discussion  with  the  media  probably  didn't  help  his  cause  either. He  was  used  sparingly  thereafter. He  came  on  late  at  Notts  County  after  two  months  rooted  to  the  bench  and  almost  kept  the  title  race  alive  with  a  long  range  shot  that skimmed  the  bar. He  then  played  the  first  half  against  Hereford  and  was  awful  ( in  fairness  so  was  everyone  else)  and  that  was  the  last  we  saw  of  him.

He  signed  for  Bury  in  the  close season  and  made  40  appearances  although  50%  of  them  were  as  substitute  scoring  3  goals.

444 Danny Glover

Position : Forward

Played : 2009-10  ( on  loan  from  Port  Vale )

Appearances : 2

Goals : 0

Danny  was  signed  in  December  to  give  us  some  striking  cover.  He  had  made  41  appearances  for  Vale  but  had  a  poor  relationship  with  the  fans  as  the  son  of  Dean  Glover  a  legend  as  a  player  but  not  a  successful  manager  for  them. His  paltry  4  goal  tally  can't  have  helped  matters. He  was  on  loan  at  Salisbury  City  before  coming  to  us.

Danny  had  some  very  nice  things  to  say  about  his  brief  sojourn  with  us  and  it  would  be  nice  to  return  the  compliment  but  his   two  brief  substitute  appearances  didn't  leave  any  lasting  impression. In  years  to come when   fans  look at  the  promotion  stats  his  is  the  name  that  will  have  fans  scratching  their  heads.

Danny  played  one  more  game  for  Vale  then  in  March  went  on  loan  to  Stafford  Rangers  knowing  he'd  be  released  at  the  end  of  the  season. He  played  for  Worcester  City  last  season  scoring  twice  in  8  games.

443 Jason Taylor

Position :  Midfield

Played : 2009-10  ( on  loan  from  Rotherham )

Appearances : 23

Goals : 1

Jason  also  made  his  debut  away  at  Dagenham. He  began  as  a  trainee  at  Oldham  but  made  his  League  debut  on  loan  at  Stockport  in  2006 . After  9  games  they  made  the  move  permanent . He  played  96  games  for  County  scoring  6  goals. Keith  Hill  tried  to  sign  him  in  January  2009  when  his  contract  expired  but  Rotherham  made  him  a  better  offer. However  Hill  kept  an  eye  on  his  fortunes  and  as  soon  as  Jason  lost  his  first  team  place  brought  him  in  on  a  season-long  loan.

Jason  was  the  last  major  piece  of  the  promotion  jigsaw  to  fall  into  place. His  midfield  partnership  with  Jason  Kennedy  made  us   near- unbeatable  for  three  months  and  we  could  afford  to  drop  points  thereafter. The  crop-headed  bruiser  stood  in  front  of  the  back  four  , broke  up  attacks  then  played  a  simple pass  to  someone  more  creative. He   did  sometimes  come  forward  but  never  tried  anything  fancy just  did  a  solid  job  week  after  week.  The  only  blot  was  a  red  card  for  fighting  at  Accrington.

There  didn't  seem  much  prospect  of  signing  him  in  the  close  season  and  indeed he  played  in  nearly  every  game  for  Rotherham  in  2010-11 

442 Will Atkinson

Position :  Winger

Played : 2009-10 ( two  separate  spells)  ; 2010-11  ( all  on  loan  from  Hull  City )

Appearances :  ( first  spell ) 8 ; (second  spell)  7 ;  (third  spell ) 21

Goals : ( first  spell ) 3  ; ( second  spell )  0  ; ( third  spell ) 2

Will  arrived  in  November  to  make  his  debut  in  the  win  at  Dagenham. He  turned  professional  with  Hull  in  2007  making  his  debut  on  loan  at  Port  Vale  in  October  that  year. After  4  games  with  them  he  made  his  debut  for  Hull  in  the  FA  Cup  before  12  games  on  loan  at  Mansfield  in  their  last  League  campaign. He  stayed  in  Hull's  reserves  for  the  duration  of  2008-09  then  came  to  us  after  a  Carling  Cup appearance.

Will  wasn't  blessed  with  great  pace  but  had  enough  skill  to  give  the  full  back  problems  and  did  his  fair  share  of  tracking  back. He  could  play  on  either  flank  but  would  always  cut  inside  if  we  played  him  on  the  right. He  played  during  our  purple  patch  leading  up  to  Christmas  and  signed  off   his  first  spell  with  a  brace  at  home  to  Morecambe.

He  returned  in  February  for  another  couple  of  months  and  wasn't  quite  as  good. He  returned  to  Hull  in  time  to  play  in  their  last  two  games  in  the  Premiership  grabbing  a  goal  in  the  draw  with  Wigan. He  started  last  season  in  the  side  but  after  4  games  he  was  dropped  and  in  December  he  webnt  to  Rotherham  on  loan. He  played  three  games  scoring  once  but  chose  to  return  to  us  in  January  rather  than  extend  his  stay  there.

Will  was  rather  disappointing  third  time  round. He  didn't  look  fully  fit  and  his  general  play  was  very  sluggish. He  had  the  odd  good  moment  like  the  excellent  headed  goal  at  Notts  County  but  didn't  make  the  impact  we  were  expecting.