Thursday, 20 January 2011

261 Dean Stokes

Position : Left  back

Played : 1998-99  to  1999-2000

Appearances : 30

Goals : 0

Dean was a free transfer signing from Port Vale. He had apparently been an apprentice with us in the late 80s but didn’t make his League debut until 1993 when he signed for Port Vale from Halesowen for £5,000. Dean was there for over 5 seasons but only made 60 appearances in total, missing nearly two seasons with an ankle injury.

Dean was one of our smaller players , being only 5’7 and just over 10 stone but he was a keen tackler and very quick, being able to come across and cover behind the centre halves. He was the star of our early games becoming a crowd favourite immediately. Unfortunately, Dean’s fragile appearance wasn’t deceptive and after playing 90 minutes away at Cardiff in September he didn’t emerge from the treatment room until the end of February and then only made three isolated appearances to season’s end.

Memory’s playing tricks on me again. I’d never have said that Dean played more games for Steve Parkin than for Barrow but the stats show he played in half the games in 1999-2000 despite being replaced twice , first by loanee Damon Searle, then by Sean McAuley. If Parkin was concerned about his height it’s ironic that his ultimate replacement was even shorter.

Dean was released in the summer and dropped into non-league with Leek Town . He played 10 games for them in 2000/01 then dropped off the radar until being appointed player-manager of Alsager Town in 2007. He is now head coach at Rochdale Town and, despite his injury record, still playing at the age of 40.

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