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Story posted: Friday, 1st May 1992

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It has been the season of the veteran for Gresley Rovers.
And, as fans cast their votes in the club’s player-of-the-year poll, I hope a sizable majority will follow my example by picking out Rovers’ elder statesmen as their choice for this year’s honours.

I don’t mind saying that my choices this year were Brian Beresford, Gil Land and Neil Lovell.

Beresford because, at an age at which most footballers have been pensioned off, the 38-year-old Peter Pan of the Moat Ground has shown he still knows where the net is by hitting the goals that clinched the West Midlands League title.

“Bezza” was left on the bench at the start of the season but set the tone by coming on in Rovers’ opening game hit a brilliant winning goal against Cradley – the first of his 33 this season.

Only when injury caught up with him was Beresford less than potent – and that’s when Rovers have struggled for goals.

Land because the formidable defender was another who seemed destined to lose his automatic place in the side with the emergence of Stuart Evans and Jason Minton as Gresley’s new-look central defensive partnership. But the former Burton Albion stalwart forced his way back into contention with a string of powerhouse performances to become Rovers’ most consistent player.

Lovell because the diminutive midfielder – always at odds with manager Frank Northwood – bounced back after being shown the door by Rovers’ former manager to add character and heart to the side. Inexplicably, in my view, Lovell has been the target of the boo boys but has never let the heckling get to him, seeing off a string of rivals for his No.11 shirt.

Other contenders – like ever-dependable full back John Barry – may emerge as the honours are handed out at the club’s dinner-dance on May 15th. But players like skipper Richard Denby and last season’s joint top scorers, Kieron Smith and Paul Acklam, have not matched the standards set in the club’s Wembley year, Craig Weston did not produce consistently good form until the latter stages and injury has hampered the claims of Martin Dick and Scott Elliott.

Meanwhile, for young hopefuls like Evans, midfielders Richard Wardle and Ryan Venning and keeper Simon Harrison the best may be yet to come.

Rovers’ campaign may not have risen to quite the heights of last year, but it has been a remarkably successful one nonetheless and there are plenty of players who can consider themselves as candidates for supporters’ accolades.

For this year, at least though, Gresley fans should pay tribute to the old stagers who played magnificent roles in the second consecutive title triumph.
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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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