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Story posted: Friday, 18th August 1989

Gresley up for it
Story courtesy of
On a May Saturday at the end of last season Gresley Rovers travelled to struggling Stourport Swifts with their hopes of the Banks’s League title having all but faded away.
They needed to beat the no hopers to stay in with a chance of lifting the championship title which, for so long, they had been clear favourites.

As it turned out Rovers struggled to grab a last gasp draw despite dominating a game they should have won easily.

Had they done so, the two additional points would have made them champions.

Instead Rovers finished runners-up on goal difference Blakenall and their application for Beazer Homes membership was controversially turned down for reasons that have never been palatable to the club or its followers.

So there are two tasks in hand for the Moatmen as a new seasons dawns. The “easy” one is to get the Moat Ground up to scratch for Beazer Homes League membership. Considerably the more difficult is to repeat their success of last term – only this time to go a touch better and win the title.

Manager Frank Northwood has repeatedly dismissed the notion that it will be difficult to motivate the players to go through exactly the same league programme again – the constitution of the league is unchanged – and this time, to coin his favourite phrase, “do the business.”

“We’ll be there competing again. And at the end of the day, we are the team they’re going to have to beat.”

Pre-season pundits in the West Midlands have left Gresley out of the title reckoning, listing sides like Oldbury United, Hinckley Town and champions Blakenall – now under the guidance of ex-Walsall boss Tommy Coakley – as the teams most likely to grab the glory.

“They’re all tipping other sides – but that’s the way I like it,” says Northwood. “But I was pleased to see Ronnie Smart – manager of Oldbury – say: “ Don’t write off Gresley.”

Northwood has been careful to maintain the nucleus of last season’s side, felt by many to be the outstanding team in the league, but has strengthened in key departments, bringing in Paul Turner from Borrowash and ex-Brewers stopper Gil Land to add extra class and power to defence, gibing Jon Laws another chance to prove he’s “one of the best midfielders in the league on his day” and investing in the proven goal power of former Moat favourite Brian Beresford.

“We’ve set our standards high and the squad is as good as it ever was. We just hope for a bit of good fortune – to win games instead of drawing them – and that we can clear our injury problems up.”
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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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