Saturday, 21 May 2011
394 David Perkins
Position : Midfield (also played at left back)
Played : 2006-07 to 2007-08
Appearances : 58
Goals : 4
The third player to make his debut against MK Dons ( coming on for Simon Ramsden ) was Keith Hill's former team-mate from Morecambe for whom he'd made 176 appearances scoring once. He started out as a left back but in recent seasons had moved up into midfield. He also had 9 caps for the England semi-pro side. Prophetically his last game for Morecambe ended with a red card.
Expectations for David weren't enormous ; he was 24 (at least a decade older than he looked) and had been in the Morecambe side for 6 seasons, a long time for managers to take a look and decide against signing him. But Keith Hill took the gamble and it paid off from the start. Although David was playing on the wrong side he had a great debut constantly outwitting his opponent and then making a surging run down the pitch to set up Alfie's second goal.
I was sitting with four neutrals who had been on a walk with me that morning and one of them said as David sidestepped a tackle for the umpteenth time "He's going to get twatted any minute" which was ironic given that David proved more likely to be perpetrator than victim, never too bothered if he was slightly late with his challenges. He quickly established himself as a competitor for one of the central midfield spots though he sometimes ended up playing out wide on the left to accomodate Jones and Doolan. Though he generally wasn't as effective there that wasn't the case away at Chesterfield in January 2008 when he scored an unbelievable hat-trick , the second goal coming from a seemingly impossible angle with David near to the touchline. Soon after that Doolan faded out of the first team picture and David made the position alongside Jonah his own. Although very one-footed he was able to find the space to play and was very good at making a quick short pass to set an attack in motion especially from a free kick where he hardly seemed to wait for the whistle.
He did have the odd game at left back but never looked very comfortable there and was having a bit of a nightmare away at Grimsby in October 2007 until restored to his correct position by a very necessary substitution.
David's last appearance in a Dale shirt in the play-off semi final against Darlington was memorable for all sorts of reasons. With time running out and Darlo heading for an aggregate win Dave picked up the ball in midfield and ran on to score a deflected goal to put us into extra time. In the second period he launched into a rash unnecessary challenge to which the Darlo players over-reacted and got himself sent off. An appeal didn't succeed so David had to make do with taking part in the warm-up at Wembley and his presence was sorely missed.
In the summer he moved on to Colchester for an undisclosed fee. Despite the costly red card and his rather early departure David remains extremely popular with Dale fans and whenever there's a "Who should we sign ?" thread on the rivals website you can bet his name will come up within half a dozen posts. Such hopes were encouraged in 2009-10 when he spent most of the season on loan at Chesterfield and then Stockport for reasons not entirely clear but in the season just gone he re-established himself at Colchester and won four player of the year awards so it doesn't look like he's returning any time soon.