Sunday, 19 December 2010
225 David Bayliss
Position : Centre half (also played at left back)
Played : 1994-95 to 2001-02 ; 2005-06
Appearances : (first spell) 185; (second spell) 4
Goals : ( first spell ) 9 ; (second spell) 0
We round up 1994-95 with a real stalwart whose unbroken stint has only recently been bettered by Gary Jones. Dave was a YTS trainee, the only real product of the much-vaunted youth policy "masterminded " by former Burnley winger Jimmy Robson. He was on the bench for one of Sutton's last games but made his debut under Docherty at home to Barnet in April 1992. He had a sound game marred only by a very harsh obstruction decision against him from which they fashioned an equaliser for a 2-2 draw.
That was his only game in his first season but he was called upon almost straightaway the following year as Peter Valentine struggled for fitness.He played 28 games in his first season as a pro and acquitted himself well. There was nothing fancy about his game, he tidied up behind the big man (he wasn't quite six foot himself) , tackled well and wasn't afraid to boot the ball out of the ground on occasion. It has to be said that he wasn't a great distributor of the ball but that's a luxury in a lower division centre half.
Dave had to fight harder for a place under Graham Barrow who always made sure we were well-stocked with centre halves but he did like Dave for his clean tackling saying he had thought it was a dying art till he saw Dave in action. Consequently he was picked at left back for the first part of the 1996-97 season. He wasn't as comfortable there - it exposed his woeful distribution - but he stuck diligently to the task until he was sent off at Brighton in January 1997 and didn't play again that season after his suspension. He got more chances in his correct position the following season due to the injuries to Alan Johnson and John Pender and scored his first goals, two in the league and one, a deflected free kick winner , in a dire Auto Wndscreens game at down and out Doncaster. That win was marred by crowd violence incited by Barrow, not deliberately of course but it was his impulse to celebrate a scraped win - over a team full of Sunday League players down to 10 men - with a gesture towards his critics that sparked it off. 1998-99 was almost identical with Dave getting just under 30 games as third choice centre half or filling in at left back for the oft-injured Dean Stokes. The departure of Mark Stuart in the summer made him our longest-serving player at 23.
Dave got injured early on in Steve Parkin's first season but once he came back in November he held down a place to the end of the season, Parkin appreciating his no-nonsense style. The following season he finally broke the 40 game barrier and might have been ever-present but for 11 yellow cards. His place seemed secure the following season with the departures of Keith Hill and Mark Monnington but he was injured in September then Richard Jobson was brought in and Dave couldn't reclaim his place. It seemed crazy to me; Jobson still had a bit to offer but at 38 it was hardly worth upsetting one of our most dependable players. Parkin left shortly afterwards then Dave was allowed to join Luton for nothing after an argument with caretaker boss David Hamilton. This was even crazier - what was the Board doing letting the seat-warmer take such an important decision ? It cost us dear at the end of the season when Jobson was found wanting in a crucial game at Lincoln then we had to bring the dreaded Simon Coleman on in the play-off second leg against Rushden.
By that time Dave had already played against us for Luton and been sent off at Spotland, trying to take out substitute Lee Todd on the way to the tunnel. He was part of the team that went up but only made 19 appearances over the next two seasons in what is now League One. Having only played in Cup games in 2004-05 he went on loan to Chester in December 2004 playing in both games against us without incident thugh he was sent off in his final game for Chester in February 2005.He didn't play again until the following season having joined Wrexham on a free in the summer. He started well there but soon started acquiring cards again and became available for loan in the New Year. Steve Parkin mended fences by taking him on and he had three good games before Wrexham cannily allowed him to play against them at Spotland. The gamble paid off, Dave got his marching orders and they went home with a 1-0 win.
That was Dave's last League appearance and he joined Lancaster City in the summer of 2006 still only just 30. Financial problems (they finished the season on 1 point !) soon led him to move to Barrow. After a year there he was appointed joint-manager with Darren Sheridan and they have been doing well, winnining promotion to the Conference and hanging on in there and capturing the FA Trophy in May this year. He is still registered but doesn't play regularly. Who knows if Dave may return once again to us in the future ?