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Note that this page is from our Gresley Rovers archive.
It may not be related to the new club Gresley FC.
Story posted: Monday, 6th August 2001

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John McGinlay passes on his experience (Picture: David Linney, Empics)

John McGinlay passes on his experience (Picture: David Linney, Empics)

Ex-Scotland hero McGinlay promises Gresley a rough ride to Dr Martens glory.
Former Scotland striker John McGinlay winced as he recalled his managerial baptism of fire at Dr Martens League side Gresley Rovers, but promised: "We'll be a different team this season."

Straight-talking McGinlay admitted that he had to bite his tongue and suffer as the Premier Division champions of just four years ago fought for their Western Division lives last season.

The 37-year-old joined Gresley as player-manager in their bleak mid-winter and, in his own words, 'tolerated a lot of things because there wasn't a lot I could do about it'.

Salvation finally arrived when Rovers rallied from two goals down to win 4-3 at Redditch and guarantee safety. McGinlay, on the score sheet himself added: "We showed a bit of character that day, but it didn't happen very often."

Frequently the football underdog himself in his ultimately illustrious playing career, the former Bolton marksman guarantees his new look Gresley side plenty of hard work an ethic, which he believes, has served the club well off the field in the last few years.

"This club very nearly went to the wall a few years back, but chairman Mark Evans brought a more business-like approach and has worked day and night," he said.

"Now, although still in debt, we can see the daylight financially and need to get it right on the field. We'll get the players fit, instil a lot more discipline and run the team by my rules this season.

"If I've learnt from any manager, it was Bruce Rioch, who demanded discipline and was always up front with his players."

McGinlay in his Bolton heydayMcGinlay, who got his own Football League big break as late as 24 and went on to taste Premiership football at Bolton as well as striking four goals in 14 games for Scotland, is prepared to back his words with action.

Already he has put in place a new youth structure to ensure Gresley have sides from under-nines upwards and reshuffled his managerial pack to utilise former reserve team and caretaker boss Alan Titterton in an administrative role and long-term pal Andrew Mason as coach. He has also made a number of pre-season signings to bolster Gresley's squad.

The newcomers include Alex Green, a left-sided midfielder from Stalybridge Celtic, creative midfielder Chris Gray, from Shepshed Dynamo, experienced utility man John Allcock, prolific Mickleover striker Chris Parkin and Ashley Brown, a defender who has tasted Western Division life with Shepshed.

These five, plus England Universities goalkeeper Mark Sheils, signed from Redditch towards the end of last term, inspired McGinlay to predict: "The hardest task we may face is holding on to some of our players. A number of them have very good futures."

Loyal Gresley fans, who made the club the fifth best-supported Dr Martens club despite their struggles last season, will also be pleased to know McGinlay is again adding his own name to the squad. "It's in the club's best interests for me to give it a go," he said, despite an Achilles injury that effectively ended his professional career more than two years ago. "After all, if I do play I'll save the club a few bob!"

McGinlay, formerly player-coach at American club Cincinnati River Hawks is acutely aware that Gresley remain paupers compared with some clubs at their own level.

"It makes you think when some players are paid 200 to 250 a week or you speak to a young lad and he asks you to telephone his agent," said McGinlay.

There will be no such pretentiousness about McGinlay's approach even if some still fondly recall the all-conquering Rovers team of 1997 under Gary Birtles and Paul Futcher.

"The truth is we're still paying for that success literally," he said. "I aim to build realistically within the club's means and will do so with players who want to play for Gresley."

McGinlay, a player who made it to Wembley with Bolton and scored the winner for Scotland in a World Cup qualifying tie, admits his managerial ambitions are high.

He added: "Sure I'd love to manage in the Football League, but what I will do is leave Gresley Rovers in a much healthier state."
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
12 Spalding United 40 -5 50
13 Peterborough Sports 40 -8 48
14 Loughborough Dynamo 41 -18 46
15 Belper Town 41 -42 45
16 Sheffield FC 40 -22 42
17 Kidsgrove Athletic 40 -19 41
18 Carlton Town 39 -7 40
19 Gresley 39 -32 40
20 Newcastle Town 41 -26 36
21 Romulus 41 -37 34
22 Market Drayton Town 39 -49 33

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