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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: Friday, 22nd January 1988

Frank under fire
Story courtesy of
Frank Northwood is unquestionably the most successful Gresley Rovers manager of modern times.
Since arriving at the Moat Ground three years ago he has transformed the club from perpetual West Midlands strugglers to one of the major forces in the Banks’s League.

Last season he guided the club to the Fourth Round of the FA Vase for the first time in its history. This season he has gone one better by putting the Moat Ground club into the last 16 of the competition.

His astonishing league record in three years of almost unparalleled success is:
Played 122, won 78, drawn 32, lost 12, goals for 268, goals against 110.

In the 1984-85 season Northwood took Rovers from the bottom three to eighth in the league in half a season. Since then Rovers have finished second and fourth in the table and currently stand third.

Yet as Northwood celebrates his third anniversary at Gresley this weekend he is coming under increasing criticism from within the club.

The veteran Northwood, of course, is quite used to criticism but he was absolutely seething this week when he came under fire again – in an article published in the club’s own programme.

The article, produced by supporter Ken Heath from an interview with fellow fan Bill Stretton, casts doubts over Rovers’ recent successes and criticises the club’s recruitment policy.

So it was more than slightly aggrieved Northwood who answered back this week.

“I don’t know mind criticism from the terraces and I don’t mind if people write to the Mail’s Sporting Soapbox calling me down. The fans pay their money and they’re entitled to their opinions.

“But you could search the length and breadth of Great Britain and not find another club that criticises itself so harshly in its own programme. This article criticises our performance against Ransomes in the Vase, a difficult tie against a team that never stopped battling that we won 2-1 after a replay, but it doesn’t mention our 3-0 win over Mile Oak from the Southern League in an earlier round.

“It also says we should spend more money on covered accommodation for fans and less on bringing new players to the club. Well, I can tell the chap that if we hadn’t signed the players he would be standing under covered accommodation all on his own because there wouldn’t be a team to watch.

“I’ve spoken to the chairman about this but he hadn’t read the article at that time. Quite frankly I just couldn’t believe that the club would allow itself to be dragged through the mud in its own programme. It’s just diabolical.”

Readers of the publication, which Northwood says is otherwise “excellent,” have a treat in store, however.

First team trainer Keith Milner shares Northwood’s feelings and is composing a reply to the criticism.
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
2 Marske United 12 8 22
3 Brighouse Town 13 7 22
4 Lincoln United 13 4 21
5 Tadcaster Albion 12 6 19
6 Belper Town 12 0 19
7 Gresley 13 -10 19
8 Ossett United 12 6 18
9 Pontefract Collieries 12 3 18
10 Sheffield FC 12 5 17
11 Stamford AFC 12 3 17
12 Frickley Athletic 12 -6 16

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