Tuesday, 14 December 2010
219 Ian Gray
Position : Goalkeeper
Played : 1994-95 (on loan from Oldham) ; 1995-96 to 1996-97
Appearances : (first spell) 12 ; (second spell) 66
Goals : 0
Ian was a 19-year old rookie signed on loan from Oldham after Matt Dickins's loan wasn't extended (that must have been a diffficult decision !).
It's the final irony of Dave Sutton's reign that if he'd made his last signings a month earlier things could have been very different. Although Ian was making his League debut with us h looked sure and confident and kept a clean sheet in his first game at home to Colchester. Together with Peter Valentine he steadied the ship at the back and kept 5 clean sheets in his dozen games.
Chris Clarke looked a bit shaky when he came back from injury so the Board stumped up £20,000 in the summer of 1995 to bring back Ian permanently. He was a big part of our good start to the following season but unfortunately got injured just before Christmas. After 5 straight defeats (and the 7-0 mauling at Anfield) with Clarke in the nets Ian was rushed back too quickly for a game at Scarborough and missed the rest of the season.The following season he was ever-present and made sure we never conceded more than three all season.
This form attracted a £200,000 bid from Stockport who were now in the second tier and we had to let him go. Ian was at Stockport for three seasons but only had brief runs in the first team and left for Rotherham after only 16 games (two of them coming off the bench).He was their regular keeper in the promotion season but once again found Championship games hard to come by and signed for Huddersfield in 2003. His first season there ended abruptly in November when he broke his hand at Accrington in the FA Cup. He started the following season but had to stop playing with a groin problem in October 2004 and retired at 29 in December.