Sunday, 20 November 2016

Rebel Robinson - Blackport Rovers - Part 1

Bill Robinson was president of the Footballers' Union and inside-left for Second Division Blackport Rovers. Bill had two ambitions, to see Blackport back in the First Division and to improve the working rights of every professional footballer in the land. His crusade had led the press to give him the nickname "Rebel"...

Rebel Robinson - Blackport Rovers Part 1
Rebel Robinson - Blackport Rovers Part 1
Rebel Robinson - Blackport Rovers Part 1

Friday, 11 November 2016

Scotland vs England

This is an unfinished story I started many years ago. It seems appropriate to release it now...

Scotland vs England - Roy of the Rovers
Scotland vs England - Roy of the Rovers

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Opponents No. 17 - Danefield United

The arrival of Viktor Boskovic as manager and return of Hard Man captain Johnny Dexter early in the 1978/79 season was the turning point in the history of Danefield United. Boskovic, probably the greatest manager in the world and Dexter, one of the top five midfield players, soon brought glory.
Danefield United's talisman Hard Man Johnny Dexter

The disastrous reign of Bobby Crane, who had replaced the popular Harry Telfer as manager on the eve of the 1977/78 season, came to and end with United stuck at the wrong end of the Second Division.

Boskovic made an immediate impact, his intense training sessions, upsetting two established first team players. Don McIntyre and Terry Winston won't no part of the new rigorous regime and were given transfers. It was the first of many important decisions Boskovic would not shirk. The next was to promote a young right-back from the reserves.

Danny Churchill, tall and quick, gifted going forward as well as in the tackle, was given his chance. The number 2 shirt would remain on his back for years, as his confident displays were enough to earn England caps in the early 80s.

Bob Baker, the current England right winger, signed for a big fee. Eastgate goalie, Andy Watson joined soon after for a massive £350,000. Boskovic had swiftly assembled an exceptionally gifted team.
Danefield United's star goalie Andy Watson

Promotion was secured with a third place finish and Danefield were soon challenging for honours. Kevin Taylor, Dexter and Baker were England regulars. Watson, Churchill and Parker would soon receive call-ups. But it was Boskovic who made United tick. Fluid attacking football, balanced with tough, organised defence. The tactics were perfectly suited to the F.A. Cup and in his first full season in charge, Boskovic took United to Wembley.

Kelburn were beaten 5-3 in a classic Cup Final and Viktor has now set his sights on the title!

Danefield's diamond formation was the key to success:

Danefield United 1979/80 Line-up

Dexter's all-action midfield displays worked alongside the wingplay of Baker and Mindford, which supplied goals for the front three of Carter, Parker and targetman Taylor.

Danefield United SquadDanefield United's Dick KirkbrideAt the back, veteran former captain Dick Kirkbride formed a solid partnership with Jerry Winstanley. While Churchill's raiding runs up the right were balanced by the unspectacular Scotsman Jock Findlay at left-back. But again Boskovic had spotted as weakness before his competitors. In pre-season after the cup win, Gerry Carlisle was signed from the Fourth Division. A ball-playing defender who was confident stepping up into midfield, Carlisle's positional interchanges with Dexter added a new dimension to United.

Danefield United League Champions 1980/81A long title battle was played out alongside a promising first European campaign. Italian giants Canazaro would end United's Cup Winner's Cup run in the 3rd Round. A dramatic penalty shootout saw the experienced Kirkbride miss the vital kick. Distraught, the defender retired with immediate effect. Boskovic saw the decision as a blessing and brought Winstanley back into the backline. While Kirkbride's physical presence would be missed, Winstanley's greater mobility and passing ability again meant United adapted.
 Everpool were the main challengers in the league. Going into the final weekend of the season, The Blues were level on points with Danefield, a win for United against Walford, however would secure the title. And what a performance, when it really mattered, Boskovic's men ran out 3-0 winners and a first league title was secured!

Part 2 next week