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Story posted: Friday, 9th September 1988

Travelling man
Story courtesy of
There aren’t many pastures new remaining in Midlands non-league football for Gresley Rovers midfielder Graham Fearn.
Since first lacing his boots in earnest as a Derby County apprentice the elegant midfielder has plied his trade in the Southern League, the Northern Premier and in an earlier incarnation of what they now call the Conference during a career that has passed through Burton, Shepshed, Stafford, Bedworth and Nuneaton.

Home is where the heart is though and, even if it’s a decade or so since Fearn showed off his skills along Eton Road he still has a big soft spot for Burton Albion.

“I’m still an Albion fan and theirs is the first result I look for every time,” the 29-year-old admits. “There’s nothing like your home team. But having said that Gresley’s my home team now and there’ll certainly be no love lost should we happen to meet Burton along the way.”

Gresley and Burton, though, face differing prospects in a season that ties both clubs by a common bond: the expectation of success.

And Rovers, so often the nearly team in recent seasons, could well come good this time around, says Fearn.

“We’ve got a good squad at Gresley and that’s vital. We’ll be up there at the end of the season all right – provided we get the right breaks. There’s a lot of competition for places but you’ve got to have 15 to 16 capable of playing first team football if you’re going to win championships. We all know that someone else is after our shirt and that keeps us on our toes.”

Having pursued a career at higher levels in the past, Fearn is finding life a little different in the Banks’s League and admits: “It’s not always possible to play football in this league. Sometimes you’ve just got to knock it on and take your chances when they come along.”

Not having trained during the summer, Fearn is still seeking full match fitness and has been occasionally swept under in the early season hurly burly but is nonetheless enjoying his football still – and particularly the ministrations of Gresley coach Phil Marandola.

“Phil seems to know a lot about the game and what players want. He always wants a bit more from you which is good. The club’s on the right lines – but it’s a long season and we’ve got a long way to go.”

And with natural flair such a rare attribute, it could take a Graham Fearn to guide Rovers to a successful conclusion this time around.
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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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