Wednesday, 5 May 2010

1. Graeme Crawford

Position : Goalkeeper

Played : 1980-1 to 1982-3

Appearances : 70

Goals : 0

We start logically enough with the goalkeeper for my first game, Graeme Crawford. Graeme, a Scotsman , was one of many players brought over from Yorkshire clubs - in his case York City - when Peter Madden was manager. He was 33 when he signed for Dale in the summer of 1980 and had made over 250 appearances for the Minstermen including a season in the Second Division. He made 41 appearances in the much-improved Dale side of 1980-81 but the following season lost his place to Mike Poole who had returned from playing in America with Portland Timbers. He got back into the side when Poole had to retire through injury.

He didn’t cover himself in glory in that first game letting a long shot sail over his head in the first minute. My watch showed that the ref had blown early so in my first game Dale had conceded a goal before 3.00 pm. It was hard not to laugh. That summer Dale signed Chris Pearce from Blackburn who had played for Dale on loan a couple of years earlier. He kept Graeme out for most of the season but the old man was reinstated when Jimmy Greenhoff took over as manager. He wasn’t impressive and at 36 no one was surprised by his release in the summer.

He returned to Yorkshire and played for Scarborough for another 3 years retiring a year before they got into the Football League.

N.B. the picture, with Graeme in an all too typical pose, is from his appearance for York at Old Trafford 29.3.75 during that glorious season when United were in the Second Division.

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