Thursday, 30 December 2010
244 Robbie Painter
Position : Forward
Played : 1996-97 (initially on loan from Darlington ) to 1998-99
Appearances : 112
Goals : 30
After the failure of Mickey Brown, Robbie was Graham Barrow's next attempt to inject some pace into the side bringing him in on loan from Darlington in October 1996. Robbie made his League debut as a 16-year old at Chester in November 1987 and made 84 appearances for them flitting between midfield and attack and scoring 8 goals. In August 1991 he and Neil Ellis went to Maidstone for £30,000 but he was rescued by Burnley in March 92. This was in time to score the last goal against us in the 4-1 defeat at Spotland which was the last goal ever scored in the Fourth Division before its re-branding. Robbie never managed to hold down a regular place at Turf Moor and left for Darlington in September 1993 for £25,000. At Feethams he settled into being a striker and scored 28 in 114 appearances for them.
Robbie was still playing regularly for Darlington right up to the week before he came to us but hadn't scored in the League that season. He promptly scored in each of his first three appearances for us; I seem to recall they were all fairly similar, a long ball (what else) over the top and Robbie outpacing the defence to slot it past the keeper. It was no surprise that we signed him up pretty quickly for £15,000 after that.
As Barrow had promised Robbie's pace did improve the side and we slowly started climbing the table although Robbie only managed another four that season. The following season (generally one to forget) he was tremendous. He scored in the opening three games (counting the League Cup) and only missed one game all season. He ended up with 16 League goals including three braces. One was against his old club Darlington in a 5-0 thrashing at Spotland in October 1997 that was probably the highlight of Barrow's time at Spotland. Another was in a 4-0 defeat of Scarborough in April 1998 which killed their play-off aspirations and as a club they never seemed to recover.
But that was only half the story. With Steve Whitehall gone, Mark Leonard past it , newbie Graham Lancashire in the treatment room and Mark Stuart criminally left out, Robbie was often the only attacker in the line up and you'd see him working like a trojan running into the channels after long balls. There's no doubt that he kept us afloat that season and deserves to be better remembered than he is.
It seemed to have an effect the following year. He played like he was shattered and though he had another three game scoring run in September he didn't score after January finishing the season on 6 and losing his striking role to Michael Holt though he still featured in most games.
Steve Parkin wanted to keep him on but allegedly at the insistence of his wife* he moved on a Bosman to Halifax. He had a reasonable first season with them scoring 8 in 42 appearances but had a wretched time in 2000-01 failing to score in 15 appearances. Released in the summer he began a gradual descent down the non-league pyramid playing for Gateshead, Bradford Park Avenue, Ossett Town , Emley , Guiseley and Glasshoughton Welfare, his last known club in 2005.
* I've never heard a detailed account of this ( not being connected at the time I didn't want to appear ignorant ) so if anyone knows the full story please use the comments facility.