We trace the Fleet­wood side that reached the 1984-85 FA Vase fi­nal

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Neil Fissler






















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.

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