WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
We trace Cheltenham’s 2001-02 Division Three play-off winners
CHELTENHAM TOWN had been in the Football League for only three seasons but they were hungry for more success after their longest ever FA Cup run.
Jamie Victory had scored the winning goal against Yeovil Town to take Cheltenham into the Football League in 1999.
Three seasons later, they reached the FA Cup fifth round with wins over Kettering, Hinckley, Oldham and Burnley.
And even though a Danny Dichio goal put them out at West Brom, it sowed the seeds of ambition to get the Robins out of the Football League’s basement division that same season.
“Playing in front of 27,000 at the Hawthorns was great and we wanted more of that,” said Victory. “And the only way of getting more of that was by achieving more success – and that meant us getting promoted.”
Full-back Victory, who played more than 250 league games for the club before his career was ended by injury, says their team spirit was crucial.
“It was a tough league to get out of but we managed it. There were far bigger budgets than us, but the spirit, which was excellent, got us through it. We were very consistent.”
The Robins didn’t win any of their first six games but started to slowly climb the table during the course of the season.
They eventually finished fourth with 78 points, a point behind third-placed Mansfield, who beat them in the run-in, and some way behind champions Plymouth (102) and Luton (97).
“We didn’t have the best start to the season but we kept going – that was the good thing. We knew that we weren’t far away and kept working hard.
“Then we just missed out on automatic promotion. There was a game up at Carlisle and we needed to win but we drew, which was gut-wrenching.
“Instead, we needed the playoffs, beating Hartlepool on penalties, and playing Rushden & Diamonds in the final at the Millennium Stadium.
“Martin Devaney put us 1-0 up, but Paul Hall equalised after virtually running through the whole team!
“It wasn’t the best of games, but then Julian Alsop and John Finnigan scored in the second half. It was a fantastic way for us to get promoted.” BACK ROW (left-to-right) Brian Tarren: The kit manager left the club in 2002 and died in November 2003. Andrew Mitchell: After working as physio at Burnley and Wigan, he is a physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation lecturer in York. Russell Milton: Ran Arsenal Soccer Schools, worked in local radio and lectured at the local university. He returned to Cheltenham to run the youth team and is now first team caretaker-manager. Hugh McAuley: The son of a professional footballer, also Hugh, owned Formby FC before they disbanded last year. He runs the Innovation Group, financial and property investment companies. Keith Hill: Is currently back in his second spell in charge of Rochdale following a two-year stint with Barnsley. Neil Howarth: After a stint as Cheltenham’s assistant manager, he is now head of operation and player analysis at Bury. Jason White: After going to work in the financial services industry in Birmingham and Shanghai, he is now a senior financial advisor in Hong Kong. Shane Duff: Has settled in Gloucester where he runs his own soccer school. Martin Devaney: Is now coaching at Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy in Leeds and also for Barnsley’s Academy. Antony Griffin: Has returned to his native Bournemouth to play Non-League football and is working in the local area. John Atkinson: Reserve team physio was connected with the club for 34 years until his retirement in November 2008. Mike Heather: He has been a groundsman for nearly 40 years after starting out as a greenkeeper at his local golf club. MIDDLE ROW (left-to-right) Lee Howells: A former scrap metal dealer who started to run his own barber shop in central Bristol. Also manages Bath City. Michael Jackson: Is living in the Bishop’s Cleeve area and is a postman. Steve Jones: Has been Bishop’s Cleeve’s assistant manager and is an electrician. Jamie Victory: Is still at Whaddon Road as Head of Academy Coaching after working in the radiography department at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Gareth Hopkins: Lives in his native Tewkesbury and is training to be a physio. Julian Alsop: He ran his own football careers company in the Bristol area. Mike Davis: After serving the club as assistant manager, he is now under-16 manager and has been general manager for CDW Systems. Steve Cotterill: Has managed Stoke, Burnley, Notts County, Portsmouth and Nottingham Forest. Is now in charge of Bristol City after coaching at QPR. Graham Allner: After a spell as manager at Cheltenham, he is now centre support manager for The Scouting Network. Michael Duff: Now 37, but is still playing in the Premier League with Burnley. John Brough: After a spell as Cheltenham’s head of youth, he went onto manage Bishop’s Cleeve and now Cinderford Town. Neil Grayson: Still playing in Non-League alongside his son for Central Midlands League side Glapwell, where he is also assistant-manager, at the age of 50! Lives in the Chesterfield area. Mark Yates: After going into coaching at Burnley, he managed Kidderminster before bossing Cheltenham until last November. Richard Walker: Went into car sales in Nottingham and is business development manager at Inchcape Mercedes Benz. Chris Banks: After doing a physiotherapy course at the University of Salford, he became Stoke City physio in 2007 and still works at the club today. FRONT ROW (left-to-right) Steve Book: Has been the Robins’ goalkeeping coach since returning to the club in 2010. Carl Muggleton: Became a driving instructor after retiring, but has also been goalkeeping coach at Notts County, Gillingham and currently Northampton Town. Arthur Hayward: A former chairman and is a director of AWH Utility Services. Barrie Wood: A director of a television production company, Ragdoll Productions. Colin Farmer: Has been on the Cheltenham board since 1992 and has a property company. Paul Baker: The current Cheltenham chairman is a local businessman and also a Liberal Democrats councillor. Rod Burge: Had interests in windows, property and cladding. Died in April 2014. John Wood: A director of a Bishop’s Cleeve engineering company, Deburring Services, for the last 23 years. Brian Sandland: He was a director of BS Oil Associates until his death in 2003. Shane Higgs: Is now based in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire and has ran some art exhibitions selling his own work. Steve Benbow: Is a police community support officer with Cheltenham town centre safer community team.