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It may not be related to the new club Gresley FC.
Story posted: Friday, 21st October 1988

Beattie is the 7-day wonder!
Story courtesy of Andy Parker
Full back Dave Beattie had a surprise for Moat Ground chief Frank Northwood this week.
He told the Gresley Rovers manager: “I’m having a cartilage operation at the weekend boss – pencil me in to play the week after!”

Six weeks is usually an optimistic forecast for a cartilage op lay-off but, Beattie revealed, revolutionary new techniques have made the surgeon’s knife unnecessary in modern treatment of some cartilage injuries.

Explained the 24-year-old Irishman: “A loose piece of cartilage has to be removed. First they’ll locate it with a probe then, if it’s a big piece, they’ll break it up with a laser and just suck it out.

“All it’ll need is a couple of stitches in the knee. If it’s a straight forward job, I’ll be playing again in a week to 10 day’s time.”

Beattie’s injury cropped up after the FA Cup triumph at Gainsborough – just as the former Irish youth international was beginning to find form that made him a top target for Moat boss Frank Northwood for more than two seasons.

The Belfast-born defender with an eye for goal spent three seasons at Wednesfield Social after failing to break into full-time soccer in spells with Liverpool, Wolves, Derby, Stoke and Gillingham and a stint at Bilston.

Social finally agreed to release him from his contract during the summer and Northwood moved quickly to bring the talented 24-year-old to the Moat Ground.

Now, Beattie, who works for a sports supplies firm in Solihull, is desperate to get back into the frame and reclaim his right back spot. But he knows it won’t be easy.

“It’s such a strong squad you can’t afford to be out of the side for too long – otherwise you just have to wait until somebody has a nightmare or gets injured.”

Yet it was the depth of talent at the Moat Ground that helped attract Beattie to South Derbyshire in the first place – a decision he has no regrets over.

“I was talking to Stourbridge and Rushall but as far as I’m concerned Gresley was the right choice. I firmly believe we’ll win the league by six or seven points. We had a hard start to the season and dropped some silly points, but the bad patch is over now and we’re still near the top of the table.

“It’s not going to be easy to string together a good run because every week you’re up against teams that really want to beat you – they all think we’re the team to beat in this league. You can see the delight when anyone scores against us – when Halesowen Harriers got a point at the Moat Ground earlier in the season it was as if they’d won the FA Vase. Everyone wants to rub our noses in the dirt because we’ve been a top side in this league for so long. We’ve always got to be on top of our game to get over it.”

Now Beattie, who says there’s “nothing worse than standing and watching,” is setting himself a double target of the Gresley number two shirt and a hatful of goals.

“I’ve got three goals in nine games so far so I’m aiming for 15 for the season. I got 12 at Wednesfield last year and that was a poor side. The fans will have to get used to me getting forward – Frank and Phil Marandola encourage me to do it. I built up an understanding with Andy Moore when we were together at Wednesfield and he knows when to drop in and cover. I don’t worry about wingers – I let them worry about me.”

And once Beattie gets back to top form, it’s a fair bet that they’ll be a few worried wingers in the Banks’s League before the season’s over.
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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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