Thursday, 3 February 2011
274 David Flitcroft
Position : Midfield
Played : 1999-2000 to 2002-03 ; 2006-07 - ? (hasn't appeared since 2008-09)
Appearances : (first spell) 160 ; (second spell) 1 (at time of writing)
Goals : (first spell) 4 ; (second spell) 0
"Flicker" has a tenuous claim to be the second player we've come to who's still playing League football .
Dave was originally signed on a Bosman from Chester in the summer of 1999. Having played for Barrow there it may be he was on his way anyway but he must be listed as a Parkin signing. The middle one in a trio of footballing brothers, David began as a YTS player at Preston in the early 90s and made 8 appearances for them (plus 2 on loan at Lincoln in 1993) scoring twice. In December 1993 he was released to join Chester and helped them to win promotion at Preston's expense. He played 169 games for them in total scoring 18 goals but turned down his new contract in May 1999.
David's a difficult player to assess because his form fluctuated somewhat during his first spell.With a frame best described as chunky Dave started out as the midfield enforcer alongside Jason Peake and certainly he intimidated opponents when he charged at them, with or without the ball. Unfortunately he didn't always have great finesse and a lot of his passes were overhit. He was also noted for his wildly off target shooting , the usual result of his bursts through the middle. One early exception to this was the pass to Graham Atkinson for the winner at Rotherham.
David made a serious mistake by getting sent off in his third game at home to Southend which let in Gary Jones to stake a claim for his role and thereafter Dave could never be totally sure of his place in the side. When he attracted criticism the answer came back that he was "very good in the dressing room". By this time I finally had a Dale-supporting colleague at work whose response was "so is the shower but I don't want to see it on the pitch". In 2001-02 Michael Oliver got ahead of him in the selection and he was restricted to coming off the bench. Macclesfield came in with a £10,000 bid which the club was ready to accept but Dave turned it down. This proved a wise move as Steve Parkin then took Jones with him to Barnsley and Dave got more chances in midfield.
The following season was Dave's valedictory year. While everyone else struggled for form or became demotivated under Paul Simpson , Dave seemed to find a new gear and started doing things no one thought he was capable of before. He had an absolute blinder away at Bournemouth at one point winning the ball with an extraordinary backwards tackle on the touchline. He then set us on the way to victory over Coventry with a sublime pass for Paul Connor's goal. He won Player of the Season and that was the least he deserved for keeping going when everyone else seemed to have given up.
Unfortunately Dave then lost patience with the Board as they delayed in appointing a succcessor to Simpson and walked out to join Macclesfield. That didn't work out; when we went there in September and called in at our usual pub the first words the landlord said were "You gave us Fatcroft !" After being out in the cold since November Dave signed for Graham Barrow's Bury in February 2004 and went on to make 100 appearances for them although latterly he was supposedly undermining manager Chris Casper in the dressing room and he was eventually paid off in October 2006. He made 7 appearances for Hyde before the invite from Keith Hill arrrived.
Since then Dave has maintained his registration as a player although his only appearance to date was coming on in the last game of 2008-09 at home to Gillingham where, despite speculation that he was coming on to take someone out before we faced them in the play-offs , he avoided getting into any trouble.