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Story posted: Tuesday, 31st March 1992

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Gresley Rovers players last night pledged to continue to turn out for the club – despite failing in a bid to have sacked manager Frank Northwood reinstated.
The players and committee issued a joint statement last night after three hours of meetings in which both Northwood and committee gave their accounts of the weekend’s shock decision to give the 59-year-old boss the boot for “gross misconduct.”

The statement said that while the players unanimously agreed that the timing and manner of Northwood’s dismissal were “not in the best interests of the club” they had decided it was “their duty” to continue playing.

It scotched reports that the players were considering striking in support of their sacked supremo. And it came after a night of frenzied activity which began when the players boycotted a scheduled Moat Ground training en-bloc.

While committee men waited to explain why they ousted Northwood by leaving a sacking letter on his doormat late on Sunday night, the players and coach Steve Dolby were meeting Northwood in a Burton pub.

Northwood gave his version of the sacking, telling the players: “I’ve always backed you – you’re my boys. Now will you back me?”

As the players emerged from the meeting, midfielder Neil Lovell told me: “Frank asked us what we thought and we asked a few questions. We’re all shocked by what has happened. We all want to see Pete Hall and the committee in person and put forward the case for Frank’s reinstatement.

“From a personal point of view, although Frank and I have never had the best personal relationship I don’t think any man deserves the sort of treatment he’s had.”

A meeting between the players and committee followed at the Moat Ground before the club issued the following statement.

“Following a meeting between the players, coach and Frank Northwood, a request was made to the committee that it consider reinstating the manager until the end of the season. The players and coach were unanimous in their opinion that the timing and the way the dismissal had been carried out were not in the best interests of Gresley Rovers Football Club.

“The committee, having listened to the players’ request, felt in no way was the decision (to sack Northwood) reversible. The players, having listened to the views and feelings of the committee, felt that it was their duty to continue to play for Gresley Rovers even though they deeply regretted the circumstances.”

Dolby promptly announced that he had accepted an invitation to take control of the side for the rest of the season “with Frank Northwood’s blessing” while Northwood said: “I’ll go along with what’s been said and done.”

Northwood, who had waited in the Rovers social club for the outcome of the meeting, said: “I’ve no animosity towards the club – all I can do is wish them well. My view on life is you only pass this way once and you have to make the best of it. I’ve had my best years at Gresley and I’m proud of what I’ve done.”

Dolby said that he would not be appointing an assistant before the end of this season and revealed that players were insisting he was give the chance to take over permanently next season.
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
10 Highgate United 29 -3 38
11 South Normanton Athletic 26 0 37
12 Worcester City 26 11 36
13 AFC Wulfunians 31 -6 36
14 Coventry Sphinx 25 -19 34
15 Tividale 23 -4 27
16 Haughmond 29 -29 26
17 Racing Club Warwick 24 -29 24
18 Lye Town 28 -31 18
19 Gresley 26 -22 16
20 Selston 25 -38 13

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