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Story posted: Sunday, 12th January 1986

The making of Laws
Story courtesy of
In 12 months at the Moat Ground helm manager Frank Northwood has made more signings than any other Gresley Rovers chief.
Many have been tried and tested Banks’s West Midland Premier League players who have slotted without difficulty into Northwood’s well-oiled Rovers machine.

Others have failed to do the business and have faded away almost as quickly as they arrived.

Yet one current member of the Northwood’s army who struggled to find form in his early days and could easily have become another Moat Ground flop is now a key cog in Gresley’s midfield mechanism.

Like many of Northwood’s signings, John Laws began his soccer career as an apprentice at Wolves.

But he failed to make the grade and moved on a free transfer to Fourth Division Mansfield Town, making only one appearance as substitute before dropping out of the League and joining Willenhall Town.

As a non-league player Laws was going places as were Willenhall and the blonde-haired Peterborough lad, who now lives in Stoke, blasted 16 goals last season as Willenhall successfully made the transition from Southern Midland to Southern League Premier status.

In summer he joined former Moat Ground favourite Dave Wintersgill as a soccer exile in Finland and was linked with Gresley when Northwood appeared poised to re-sign the talented midfielder.

But it was Gola League Scarborough and not Gresley who signed Wintersgill leaving Laws to face a torrid baptism at the Moat.

The 22-year-old struggled to make an impact in a central midfield role but Northwood persisted and when he switched Laws to a wider position the move paid off, his first goal for the club providing Gresley with an away point at Malvern Town.

Since then Laws has been a revelation and was one of Gresley’s star performers in a gripping encounter at Tividale.

Another star of that performance was central defender Glen ‘Pepsi’ West, who was making his debut.

An uncompromising figure at the centre of the defence West, the former Atherstone United and Tamworth player-coach played a cool and cultured game at the back and had the satisfaction of putting big Reg Priest away to cross for Brian Beresford’s and Gresley’s second goal.

His signing has allowed Steve Dolby to take up a central midfield position and Laws to continue in his wider role.
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
12 Peterborough Sports 42 -8 51
13 Spalding United 42 -10 50
14 Loughborough Dynamo 42 -17 49
15 Sheffield FC 42 -19 45
16 Belper Town 42 -44 45
17 Gresley 42 -42 43
18 Kidsgrove Athletic 42 -20 42
19 Carlton Town 42 -10 41
20 Newcastle Town 42 -24 39
21 Market Drayton Town 42 -46 39
22 Romulus 42 -37 35

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