Sunday, 7 November 2010
183 Gareth Gray
Position : Goalkeeper
Played : 1991-92
Appearances : 6
Goals : 0
Ah , the wonderful world of Dave Sutton. Turning conventional wisdom on its head Sutton used the Keith Welch transfer fee to strengthen the side with experienced players in every area of the field - except in the nets where he signed a complete rookie from Bolton. Mindful of the fact that they'd let Keith Welch go for nothing they charged us £10,000 for the privilege.
On a per-game basis Gareth was probably our most expensive ever player. His League debut was delayed by injury then he came into the side and did OK-ish until a game away at Scunthorpe (on the same night Robert Maxwell fell off his boat) where he conceded six and we went back to Bolton for Kevin Rose and paid another £15,000. Nice bit of business for them wasn't it ?
Gareth though is best remembered for the Strange Case of the Invisible Defender. We played Gretna away in the FA Cup and in the second half one of their guys broke clean through with only Gareth to beat. Gareth came hurtling out of his area and took him out in spectacular fashion. It was an absolute stonewall red card and any referee would have sent him off - except one. Mr Ken Redfern of Whitley Bay really deserves a post of his own; he certainly earned us more points than a lot of the players featured here. He is the only referee in the history of the game to be biased in favour of the Dale. He produced a yellow card on the grounds there was a covering defender around . Who that was and why he was invisible to everyone else in the ground will never be known.
Gareth was released at the end of the season and signed for the mighty Great Harwood Town. He then got a chance with Hyde in September 1992 who were unbeaten at the time. They lost all three games he played conceding 13 goals in the process and that was the end of him.