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My Black and White Hero: John McDermott

By: Dan Humphrey
Date: 08/12/2001

I vaguely recall that, once upon a time, a young John McDermott was released by Grimsby Town, only to be re-signed within months by a new manager. A lucky break for Town certainly.

Home > Features > My Black and White Hero > John McDermott

The Mariners have relied upon the ultra-loyal right-back over the past decade more than any other player. Admittedly Paul Groves has been influential. Yes, Clive Mendonca scored a few goals, and recently Danny Coyne has kept us in countless games. But Mr.McDermott is of the dying bred; the one-club player. A loyal servant who stuck with the club even upon relegation. The relegation to Division Two was a perfect opportunity for Macca to flee to a play-off chasing Division One side, to have a go at the Premiership. Nobody blamed Mendonca for doing so, so why did Macca stay? Because of loyalty to the club and the return of Alan Buckley to the helm. At a time when the likes of Ziege, Hutchison and Barmby switch clubs before the ink has dried on their last contract, such loyalty is refreshing. But it aint enough to make someone a hero….

Macca’s loyalty was tested by more than just dropping a division. He suffered the indignity of losing his first team place to a certain Brian Laws. Hard to complain to the manager about losing your place when it’s the player-boss himself who takes the no 2 shirt from you. Macca didn’t complain, he just waited for Laws the boss to drop Laws the player, and got on with the job.

What makes Macca a hero is his consistency. He’s one of the players who is truly missed when he is injured. His ability to bomb forward and create chances, combined with his positional sense and ability to mark all-comers has been much missed in recent weeks.

I remember a trip to Wigan in our promotion season, when the home side elected to play the gigantic Graeme Jones wide left so he could torment our smallest defender. Jones hardly got a touch. Macca used his footballing brain to nullify the threat, shared the marking duties with Mark Lever, and still managed to support Kevin Donovan as the Mariners ran riot. The result was a convincing two-nil win, only a couple of dodgy refereeing decisions preventing Wigan from being slaughtered.

All season Town fans have complained about problems all over the pitch, with the obvious exception of Coyne in goal. The sooner McDermott can get back to full fitness and restored to his rightful place in the team, the better for all concerned with the club.

In the meantime, perhaps he could have a word with a couple of the young pretenders to his throne…. give ‘em a few tips?

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