WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
We trace the Fleetwood side that reached the 1984-85 FA Vase final
ALAN TINSLEY literally got his hands dirty as he helped to get Fleetwood Town off the ground back in 1977. They were born a year after Fleetwood FC were placed into liquidation and had to play in park football for the first year of their existence. And even though 19 years later Fleetwood Town folded, the seeds were sown.
The club returned in 1997 as Fleetwood Wanderers, were renamed Fleetwood Freeport as part of a sponsorship deal and then took on the name Fleetwood Town again in 2002.
In 2003, Andy Pilley arrived at Highbury and the club started their rise through the divisions and into the Football League.
Tinsley said that despite being born and bred in Fleetwood, he initially didn’t want the playermanager’s job when he was approached to join the club.
“I had been playing in America and I was moving back to Fleetwood. The club got in touch and offered me the job but I wanted something full-time.
“However, I went for a chat and decided to take it on. It really was starting from scratch. Highbury had grass about four foot high, the stand had been burnt and the pitch run over by the fire brigade!
“There were bikes and glass on the pitch.We put up lights from the pits on telegraph poles and we only got proper floodlights with the money we got from Wembley,” he said.
Fleetwood’s glory run to Wemb- ley ended with a 3-1 final defeat against Halesowen Town, but they did brilliantly to get there.
“We could easily have been knocked out by Maghull in the preliminary round.We won 3-2 but they missed a couple of chances.
“I don’t know how many hundreds of teams entered the Vase that year, but suddenly we started to get closer and closer.
“We lost the first leg of the semifinal 3-2 at Exmouth and we could have been buried. They scored an own goal in the second leg which took us to Wembley.”
But he does have one Wembley regret.
“Instead of going there and enjoying it like we did, we should have gone there and not worried about how we played as long as we got the result,” he adds.
Tinsley admits he’s stunned by the progress his old club have made in the last decade.
“I cannot believe what’s happened,” he said. “It’s a different world. I honestly believed that if they got 500 to watch on a regular basis they would have done very well.”
1. Alan Tuson: The trainer was a former Fleetwood player. He worked in the building trade as a roofer and plasterer before becoming a scaffolder until retirement. 2. Jimmy Bedson: The first team coach ran a roofing company with his brother for many years and is now working for the Fleetwood Fish Firm. 3. Alan Kennerley: A bricklayer, he went onto manage Poulton Town. Is now running his own company that supplies bricklayers to the building industry. 4. Chris O’Donnell: A midfielder who had a trial with his home town club Blackpool and has worked as a carpet fitter in the local area. 5. Laurie Milligan: The defender played in the Football League for Blackpool, Portsmouth and Rochdale. Went on to manage Fleetwood, Morecambe and Wren Rovers and was a confectionery salesman. 6. Roy Dobson: A goalkeeper who was player/assistant manager, he worked as a tax inspector. Is now retired after living in Leeds for the last 26 years. 7. Gary Hudson: After working in the Fleetwood area in the packaging department of ICI, he was relocated back to his native North-East. 8. Steve Trainor: A forward who was a professional at Blackpool. He worked as a driver until switching careers. Started working with young offenders. 9. Stuart Robinson: A long serving central defender who also had a spell at Blackpool. Is still living in the Fleetwood area and is working as a scaffolder. 10. Howard Taylor: A striker who had spells playing in the United States. He has worked as a schoolteacher in the United States and Blackpool, and is now in Canada. 11. Mickey Rudd: A utility player who is still working as a manager of a printing company in the Blackpool area. 12. Alan Tinsley: Fleetwood-born, he also had two spells in charge of Lancaster. He has worked as a scaffolder, a machine operator in an engineering firm and is now back in scaffolding. 13. Chris Robinson: Brother of Stuart, he was a printer. Now lives in Fleetwood and works for a Haslingden scaffolding company. 14. Roy Whitehouse: A central defender who was a sales representative for a bathrooms company. Now a tennis coach for David Lloyd Leisure in Blackpool. 15. Jimmy Hall: A midfielder who also served Blackpool and Blackburn. He has worked as a social worker on his native Merseyside and now works with young offenders. 16. Glen Hadgraft: The full-back is still serving in the RAF. A warrant officer, he has also coached a number of representative sides in the service. 17. Norman Moran: Scored Fleetwood’s goal at Wembley. A former Preston player who also played in New Zealand, he worked as a scaffolder until two years ago when he went to work for local employer Fisherman’s Friend. 18. Ian Cain: A former Blackpool junior and still lives in his home town. Has worked as a wages clerk and is now a delivery driver as well as managing a youth side at Lytham St Annes, YMCA FC. 19. Keith Bowey: A former professional with Blackpool until injury ended his career. Has been a postman in the local area for nearly 30 years. 20. Mike Strachan: A former Blackpool and Cardiff junior, he is another player who has worked as a scaffolder in the Fleetwood area since leaving school. 21. Gary Benfold: Another player who was native to Blackpool. Worked at the local pleasure beach and is now vice-president of technical services for IMG City of Arabia having travelled the world.