Wednesday, 8 June 2011
It was always my intention to conclude the blog at the end of the 2009-10 season - to end on a celebratory note and see 2010-11 as the start of a different story. Keith Hill’s departure doesn’t change that because he only entered the previous story in 1996 , halfway through it. I also didn’t want to be recording hasty impressions of the current squad which would be inevitable if the blog became open-ended. I was hoping to finish before the end of 2010-11 anyway but life got in the way !
I should just mention that there were other players who put on a Dale shirt but haven’t featured because they only appeared in Cup ties and the blog was primarily concerned with the League story. Most famous of these is the guy above, Steve Bywater, who became our record export despite conceding 6 in his only senior appearance in the Autoglass Trophy. Along with Gary Jones he is the only survivor of the Barrow era still playing League football. We also had Steve Wilkinson a useful striker for Mansfield , Preston and Chesterfield who played in a couple of League Cup ties in 1996 while on loan from Leicester. Then there were the mysterious Karl Rose who made his debut in the same Auto Windscreens game as Paddy McCourt in 2001 but was never seen again and David Walsh whose only outing was a substitute appearance at Ewood Park during the 6-1 mauling in the League Cup in 2000.
Keith Hill’s reign was also noted for the number of players who came and went on short term deals without making an appearance. So honourable mentions to Charles Comyn-Platt , Stephen Vaughan , David Button, Lewis Montrose, Jerome Watt and Michael Lea who never got the chance to show us what they could do.
Then there were some notable appearances in pre-season where the player didn’t actually sign for us. Former Liverpool super-sub David Fairclough scored against Blackburn in the Lancashire Cup in 1986 but that was his only game. Jamie Doyle was apparently one of the brightest prospects in Scottish football when I was getting Shoot ! in the late 70s but failed to impress Eddie Gray in the Lancs Cup games of 1987.
Most bizarrely of all Chris Armstrong was taken on after being released by Leeds then bought by Queen of the South before the start of the season in 2004, a nifty bit of business by Steve Parkin particularly as the player has achieved little in the game since.
So that’s it. The Comments facility will remain open and perhaps some of the picture gaps will be filled but otherwise it’s finished . Maybe in years to come there’ll be a continuation but at the moment I have no plans for that. While remaining a season ticket holder I missed most of the away games in 2010-11 ( surely the worst set of fixtures ever for a travelling fan ? ) and I can’t see a return to the commitment of the early seasons covered here. Despite my best efforts my son might want to do other things on a Saturday and fanaticism in your forties isn’t desirable anyway, suggesting deficiencies elsewhere in your life.
Thanks for your time and perhaps you might like to explore some of the other blogs under the Clarke Chroniclers umbrella ?
Up The Dale !