Thursday, 15 July 2010

89 Ray McHale

Position : Midfield

Played : 1986-7

Appearances : 7

Goals : 0

Even on non-contract terms, at 36 Ray was a ridiculous signing on a free from just-relegated Swansea. He had been a good player in the 70s starting out with Chesterfield then moving on to Halifax and Swindon bagging an impressive number of goals from midfield at each club. He got his chance in the First Division with Brighton in 1980 but couldn’t hack it and was shipped out to Barnsley after only 11 games. From this point his scoring touch seems to have deserted him getting only 1 in 53 appearances. He dropped a division to play for Sheffield United in 1982 scoring 2 in 67 and none in a six game loan spell at Bury. In 1985 he joined John Bond’s dinosaur squad at cash-strapped Swansea.

For the opening few games Ray was laughably selected ahead of John Seasman and just looked lost; the ball had gone by the time he trundled onto the scene. I remember him taking corners at Stockport and he seemed barely able to get them in the box. Sanity eventually prevailed and he was dropped after 7 games but he got a recall for the FA Cup tie at Nuneaton. Obligingly, Nuneaton appeared to have no midfield at all and Ray was allowed the time and space to show us the player he had been, spraying the ball all over the field in a virtuoso display. There were no more League outings and he moved on to Scarborough when Eddie Gray took over.

He helped them to win the Conference title and become the first club to be automatically promoted (thankfully not at our expense) and got another season in League football as a result. He scored with a volley in their opening League game at home to Wolves. He scored 3 (his best total since 1980) in 25 appearances before moving on to Northwich and Guiseley who he later managed. Ray had four different spells as manager of Scarborough becoming their Tony Parkes figure and also had a spell as Chief Scout at Oldham. He now works for the FA and runs his own summer school near Scarborough.

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