Sunday, 3 October 2010
152 Jimmy Graham
Position : Left back (also played at centre half and on left wing)
Played : 1989-90 (on loan from Bradford) ; 1990-91 to 1993-94
Appearances : (first spell) 11 ; (second spell) 126
Goals : (first spell) 0 ; (second spell) 1
Jimmy first came to us in October 1989 on loan from Bradford for whom he had made one substitute appearance. He was the youngest (though you wouldn't think it to look at him) of three footballing brothers including Leeds and Scotland winger Arthur. He played on the left wing and was abysmal being unable to beat anyone and his distribution was poor. He returned to Bradford who gave him a few more first team opportunities later in the season.
In the summer of 1990 Dolan moved to sign him permanently. Bradford wanted £125,000, an outrageous amount for a player who'd played less than ten games for them and the tribunal duly knocked the price down to a fifth of that sum. Bradford reacted with scarcely believable spite by sacking his brother Arthur who was coaching there at the time. Anyhow Jimmy came to us and initially took Willie Burns' role as the sweeper in a five man defence.
Jimmy was undoubtedly a popular player and won the Supporter's Player of the Year one season (maybe 1992-93) but I could never quite understand why. He could do a neat little stepover shuffle when bringing the ball out of defence and I think that led people into thinking he was better than he was. On the down side he couldn't kick straight and so his distribution was terrible ; a lot of our moves broke down when he became involved. He was a solid enough defender but nothing more.
When Dolan changed tactics he was switched to left back and that became his settled position. Later in the season he picked up a knock and then couldn't reclaim his place from Vince Chapman. In the summer Dave Sutton put him up for sale for a few grand but no one was interested. However Vince succumbed to a botched operation and Jimmy resumed his position for 1991-2 only to lose it again when Barry Cowdrill was signed. However Cowdrill was 35 so wasn't kept on and Jimmy started his third season at the club playing most games in 1992-3. He retained his place in 1993-4 but was injured by an horrendous challenge from Burnley's John Francis in December over which the club pursued legal action and didn't seem quite the same afterwards. A good stand-in performance from newly-arrived winger Kevin Formby at the end of the season seemed to persuade Sutton to release Jimmy in May 1994. Off the pitch Jimmy married one of a group of female cheerleaders that he attracted whilst at Dale (yes, have another look at the picture !).
Dolan rescued him by taking him on at Third Division Hull City. He played 39 games for them in 1994-95 but the following season he was hit by injury again and was released following their relegation. He signed for Guiseley and later played for Lancaster City. He now works as a social worker in his native Glasgow.