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Played for Both No. 1 - Graham Rodger
By: Paul Holmes
IN EARLY 1991, then Mariners' boss, Alan Buckley brought in two loan players to help with the fight against relegation. One was Clive Mendonca from Sheff Utd - the other was Luton Town's Graham Rodger.
Rodger had been a bit-part player for Coventry for 5 years, despite featuring briefly in the historic 3-2 cup final win over Tottenham in 1987, his career had never really got of the floor. In 1989 he moved to Luton where he suffered the same fate of being a squad player.
The Glasgow-born centre back's arrival at Blundell Park was well-timed with Town struggling at the wrong end of the table and veteran defender Paul Futcher injured in Rodger's debut game. Both Mendonca and Rodger started their first game against Oxford.
Rodger helped Town to 1-0 win against their fellow strugglers. Town then travelled to high-flying Cambridge for Rodger's second outing and came away with a shock 1-0 win thanks to a solitary Jim Dobbin goal. This vein of form was halted in the next game with Town losing 3-2 to Blackburn, who had recently seen Kenny Dalglish take over as manager.
Despite conceding three early goals Town fought back but heroics from Rovers keeper Bobby Mimms prevented Town from taking what would have been a deserved point. Town survived that season and looked to build for the next season.
With the loss of Shaun Cunnington to Sunderland, Rodger became first team captain and led by example scoring his first Town goal in the 3-2 win against Watford. Rodger's height at set pieces was a constant danger and his 7 goals in 27 appearances, a fantastic record for a centre back, helped Town to finish in 9th position.
Only a poor run-in prevented Town from reaching the play-offs. The following season (93/94) saw Rodger continue his goal scoring with 4 goals from 20 games. However a combination of injury and the form of Mark Lever and Paul Futcher along with the emergence of Peter Handyside prevented Rodger from making more appearances.
For the next four seasons Rodger would be plagued by injury.
After helping Town to regain their first division place in 1998, Rodger retired due to injury. Rodger is currently the club's Youth Development Officer.
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