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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: Tuesday, 18th March 1986

Now Moatmen face up to life without Brian
Story courtesy of
Brian Attley’s decision to abandon Gresley Rovers’ relentless pursuit of honours in the West Midlands League has presented manager Frank Northwood with an unexpected problem.
After a blistering start to 1986, Gresley are almost in touching distance of league leaders Halesowen Town and, as the season moves swiftly towards its climax, the last thing they wanted was to lose a key player.

The reasons behind Attley’s decision to join neighbouring Stapenhill are fully understood at the Moat Ground.

But they make the deep sense of loss no easier to accept for those who have admired the Welshman’s huge contribution this season.

His breathtaking control, flamboyant skill and superb anticipation have endeared him to the supporters and there are many who believe that Rovers’ flowing attacking play stems from the former Derby player.

Fortunately, Gresley are well – blessed with players who, in the short term at least, could fill the breach effectively.

For a start, Northwood could choose to switch Ian Earley to the right flank thus allowing the talented Mark Bromley to regain a regular first team spot.

Or Northwood could choose to move Clive Arthur to the role in which he made most of his 274 appearances for Burton Albion.

Or, as is often the case with Northwood, he could make up for the loss of one player by going out and signing another.

The first option seems the most likely. Bromley is a naturally left sided player, while Earley, currently enjoying a brilliant spell, would probably be just as effective in the number two shirt.

The idea of moving Arthur to a defensive position would not be a new one for Northwood.

He did it in the FA Cup at Oldwinsford earlier in the season and knows that the ex Brewer is a very capable defender.

There would, however, be the risk of unbalancing an attack that is currently the most prolific in the league – and that is something Northwood would want to avoid.

Northwood’s track record on the transfer front suggests that it is this area which he will probably turn to in the longer term.

That is always assuming, of course, that he remains in charge at the Moat Ground.

Neil Warnock’s decision to part company with Burton Albion has prompted speculation that Northwood might be offered the job of revitalising fortunes at Eton Park.

Still, it is by no means certain that Northwood’s credentials – impressive as they are – are necessarily those which will appeal most to Albion.

He has spent his entire managerial career in the West Midlands and his lack of knowledge of the Multipart League clearly weakens his case.

Albion will probably also be mindful of the fact that relations with Gresley could be strained to breaking point if Northwood was lured to Eton Park.

It happened once before, Sammy Crooks, the former England winger, was a highly successful manager for Gresley in the late fifties.

Albion, envious of the success being enjoyed over the river, persuaded Crooks to become their manager – and most of the Gresley team went with him.

Rovers crumbled and within a couple of years they were pushed to the brink of bankruptcy.

It is said that officials of the two clubs never willingly spoke to each other for the next 20 years as a result.
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
12 Loughborough Dynamo 28 -11 31
13 Spalding United 25 -7 30
14 Lincoln United 24 -11 30
15 Newcastle Town 25 -12 26
16 Market Drayton Town 26 -22 26
17 Carlton Town 21 0 25
18 Kidsgrove Athletic 23 -11 25
19 Gresley 24 -16 24
20 Sheffield FC 24 -11 23
21 Peterborough Sports 26 -13 23
22 Romulus 27 -34 22

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