What are we talking about?
- Gary being signed by Lawrie McMenemy and coached by his son Chris as a youth player at the Charlie Hurley centre, and watching us slip into the third division;
- The arrival of Denis Smith and the amazing football roller-coaster that followed, featuring double promotions, multiple Wembley trips, and getting taken under the older lads wings;
- England youth call-ups, getting battered with planks in Poland, passport woes with Bobby Robson as well as witnessing that famous speech of Robson’s on the plane journey home;
- That 1990 playoff derby against the mags, sticking the boot in where necessary, getting chased off the pitch and avoiding swinging fists at Sid James’ when the lads won in the rain in one of the most electrifying matches in club history;
- His treasured memories of the lads he played alongside, their fantastic bond, the impact of players like Marco and Bracewell, the parties in Fino’s, the coach rides to the match and the overall feeling of pride playing for the club;
- His memories of the fans; the huge away followings, adoration even in defeat, and the pure passion of the era..
- The times ‘a changin’ as the Denis Smith era ended, and his opinions (holds a few back) on the managers that followed, as well as his thoughts on just missing out on that Reid era;
- His career that followed his leaving the club, and his work in developing and protecting youth teams for grassroots/trying to stop the rampant poaching of talent by bigger clubs;
This is absolutely packed with some brilliant memories, another wonderfully honest reflection on his career and how it compares to the modern era by a man who experienced more in a few years than most in a lifetime in the game. Hawaaaay!
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