His­tory hunter Neil Fissler goes on an­other nos­tal­gia trip with Wolves

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Neil Fissler

BLACK­POOL fans could be for­given for think­ing some­one was against them af­ter they blew au­to­matic pro­mo­tion in suc­ces­sive sea­sons.

For the sec­ond sea­son run­ning, they reached the Twin Tow­ers of Wem­b­ley as they bid to get out of Di­vi­sion Four.

The Seasiders were beaten on penal­ties in 1991 by Torquay United af­ter blow­ing au­to­matic pro­mo­tion on the fi­nal day.

Twelve months later, they had an­other chance to go straight up when they went into the last league game only to lose to Lin­coln City and miss out by a point.

Af­ter see­ing off Bar­net in the play-off semi-fi­nal, Billy Ayre’s side re­turned to Wem­b­ley to face Scun­thorpe United – the team they had put out in the last four 12 months ear­lier.

It could have been a dif­fer­ent story had Alder­shot not gone out of busi­ness and had their points de­ducted as Black­pool had beaten them twice.

“When we played Torquay, we were quite con­fi­dent and even went a goal ahead,” said David Eyres. “Big Dave Bam­ber missed a penalty and Torquay went on to win the game.

“We were dev­as­tated, ab­so­lutely gut­ted, but re­ally de­ter­mined the fol­low­ing sea­son that, if we could keep the same squad and maybe add one or two, we could win pro­mo­tion.

“We got our­selves into a po­si­tion to go straight up and the last game of the sea­son was Lin­coln away. If we’d won, we would have gone up, but we lost.

“It was in our hands, like the sea­son be­fore when we had to go to Wal­sall. If we had won that game, we would def­i­nitely have gone up as well. So, it was a case of fall­ing flat on our back­sides.

“When Alder­shot went out of busi­ness, it cost Tony Rod­well a hat-trick and us six points. We were gut­ted be­cause we had worked so hard in both games.


“We went to Alder­shot and won 5-2 and beat them at home 3-1 and I got a cou­ple of goals.

“The goals were wiped off and the points, whereas it gave a cou­ple of clubs around us the op­por­tu­nity to get a bit closer.

“To be hon­est, go­ing to Wem­b­ley two years on the bounce was a great achieve­ment. I have al­ways thought that, if you are go­ing to go up, the best way is via Wem­b­ley.

“It was heart-break­ing the first sea­son, one of the worst mo­ments of my Black­pool ca­reer.

“When it came to penal­ties (against Scun­thorpe), I was ab­so­lutely bot­tling it.”

Eyres scored what turned out to be the cru­cial penalty af­ter Gra­ham Alexander had missed for Scun­thorpe. He re­mem­bers that half the ground thought he had missed as well.

“I had scored the odd penalty that sea­son,” he said, “but I just made my mind up to hit it as hard as I could.

“The Scun­thorpe keeper was a big lad and I thought I needed to put it as far in the cor­ner as I could at pace. I smashed it and it hit the stan­chion and came back past me. I hit it that hard.

“Half the ground thought I’d hit the post be­cause the ball was head­ing to­wards the half­way line but I knew I had scored and cel­e­brated.”

1. Grant Leitch: Winger who be­came the leisure club man­ager at the Vil­lage Ho­tel in Chea­dle.

2. Ian Gore: Cen­tral de­fender who ran a Sh­effield firm called Lock­stock & Two Full Bar­rels.

3. Andy Garner: Mid­fielder who worked for a print­ing com­pany and as an ac­count man­ager for an agency but is now first-team coach at Bur­ton Al­bion.

4. Paul Groves: De­fender who man­aged Grimsby and Bournemouth, coached at West Ham, Portsmouth and Craw­ley and is cur­rently academy man­ager at Bris­tol City. 5. David Eyres: Mid­fielder who was joint care­taker man­ager of Old­ham Ath­letic with John Sheri­dan. He’s also been a match sum­mariser for BBC Ra­dio Lan­cashire and is now an agent. 6. Mark Tay­lor: Winger who was a physio then per­for­mance di­rec­tor at Ful­ham and Sun­der­land and di­rec­tor of foot­ball op­er­a­tions at Bolton.. He now runs his own re­cov­ery and stim­u­la­tion busi­ness. 7. Tony Rod­well: Winger and un­cle of Sun­der­land’s Jack Rod­well. Ran South­port’s pro­gramme for aca­demic and sport­ing ex­cel­lence and also works for the Press As­so­ci­a­tion news agency. 8. Steve Red­mond: Physio who spent 13 years at Brad­ford City un­til 2008. Now has his own prac­tice in Leeds and is academy physio at Hud­der­s­field Town. 9. Trevor Sin­clair: Eng­land winger, who coached at the Carl­ton Palmer Foot­ball Academy but is now work­ing as a pun­dit for the BBC and other broad­cast­ers. 10. Paul Stone­man: De­fender who was Hal­i­fax’s youth team coach and man­aged Bridling­ton Town. Now work­ing for the fam­ily build­ing firm in Whit­ley Bay. 11. Phil Horner: De­fender who qual­i­fied as a physio and worked at the Royal Pre­ston Hospi­tal be­fore re­turn­ing to Bloom­field Road as physio in 2000. 12. Carl Richards: Striker who re­turned to live in Lon­don and was last known to be a house hus­band based in Brock­ley. 13. Steve McIl­hargey: Goal­keeper who sold in­sur­ance and coached goal­keep­ers at More­cambe and Fleet­wood. He is now run­ning his own fi­nan­cial ser­vices firm, West Park. 14. Dave Bam­ber: Striker who set­tled in Black­pool, where he be­came a prop­erty de­vel­oper and now runs Bam­bers Con­trac­tors. 15. Dave Lan­caster: For­ward who lives at Bam­ber Bridge and, like for­mer team­mate Mike Davies, was an en­gi­neer for Bri­tish Aerospace at Sam­les­bury, Lan­cashire. 16. Chris Hed­worth: Cen­tre-half who qual­i­fied as an ac­coun­tant and worked in North Ty­ne­side, Aus­tralia and New Zealand. 17. Mike Davies: Right-back who coached at Black­pool, worked for Bri­tish Aerospace at Sam­les­bury, Lan­cashire, and has been a carer at a chil­dren’s home. 18. Neil Bai­ley: Mid­fielder now based on the Fylde Coast. Worked at Manch­ester United’s academy, then the PFA and was re­serve coach of Sun­der­land. Now a coach ed­u­ca­tor for the PFA. 19. Alan Wright: Left-back who coached at Black­pool’s cen­tre of ex­cel­lence and man­aged North­wich Vic­to­ria and South­port. 20. Mark Mur­ray: Full-back now liv­ing and work­ing in his na­tive Manch­ester. 21. Gary Brook: Striker who man­aged Gains­bor­ough Trin­ity, Os­sett Town and Brad­ford PA. Works at New Hall Prison, near Flock­ton. 22. Billy Ayre: Later man­aged Scar­bor­ough, South­port and Cardiff City and was as­sis­tant man­ager of Bury be­fore his death at Orm­skirk in 2002, aged 49. 23. Dave Burgess: Right-back who has coached at Pre­ston North End’s academy. 24. Andy Gouck: Mid­fielder still based in Black­pool and work­ing in so­cial ser­vices in Fleet­wood. 25. Nigel Hawkins: For­ward who is co-owner of the fam­ily mo­tor busi­ness, Berkeley Vale. Also Yate Town di­rec­tor of foot­ball.

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