Saturday, 7 May 2011
375 John Doolan
Position : Midfield
Played : 2005-06 (initially on loan from Blackpool) to 2007-08
Appearances : 84
Goals : 3
Nearly nine years after we first tried to sign him John finally arrived, initially on loan though we signed him permanently after a few days. John began as a trainee at Everton but went to Mansfield on a free transfer in 1994 without making a League appearance. He became a regular there and Graham Barrow wanted John as a replacement for John Deary in exchange for Steve Whitehall but their manager, one Steve Parkin, outwitted him and ended up with both players. However John soon moved on to Barnet for £60,000 in January 1998 after 131 appearances and 10 goals for the Stags. John stayed there for 5 years despite relegation to the Conference in 2001 making 182 appearances and scoring 12 goals. In March 2003 he switched to Doncaster Rovers and went back into the League with them through the play-offs. The following season he won a Division Three Championship medal with Rovers and played regularly in League One the following season. He moved to Blackpool in the summer of 2005 and made 19 appearances but was told he could leave in the window.
John made his debut away at Mansfield in January 2006, a game I took in as part of a "Sherwood Forest" weekend I organised for Bolton Outdoor Group though no one from the otherwise all-female party came to the game with me. Although looking slightly overweight he was our best player in an awful game that we lost 1-0 , looking very comfortable on the ball and passing it well. However he soon dropped that level of performance and looked lethargic and complacent for the rest of Parkin's tenure.
Keith Hill gave him a kick up the arse and he started to look more useful and aggressive. He was the hard man holding player allowing Gary Jones to get forward. His main weakness was a tendency to think he was a younger and better player than he actually was and give the ball away trying some fancy stepover. He gave away more than one goal doing that. He is remembered for the last home game against Hartlepool in 2007. Glen Murray got clobbered by their Andy Monkhouse who got away with a yellow card. The next time the ball came in his vicinity John took him out with a "tackle" that had absolutely no connection to the wherabouts of the ball. Both players were then sent off for fighting.
John started the next season in the side ( after serving his suspension of course) but his powers were waning and he rarely appeared after Christmas with David Perkins establishing himself as Jonah's partner. That came back to bite us when the latter was suspended for Wembley and John was deemed not sufficiently match-fit to play so Simon Ramsden had to try and fill the hole instead.
John moved on to Southport as player-coach but had only made 4 appearances by the time he left in February 2009 after a disagreement with the manager.