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Player Database: John Cockerill
By: Richard Hubbert
|John Cockerill||1988/89-1991/92||122 (8)||23 goals|
"Cockers" was the tenacious son of Ron "Cannonball" Cockerill who was signed by Buckley in 1988 for Â£21,500 from Stafford Rangers. For a player who failed to make the grade at professional level before joining the RAF and becoming a lorry driver, Cockerill was a true find by Buckley. Cockers was a broad, heavy (just ask my Uncle who carried him off on a stretcher - he said he'd never carried such a big football player off before!) and aggressive midfield player who could also play a bit. He scored a fair few goals from midfield, whilst his partnership in central midfield with Shaun Cunnington became reminiscent of the strong pairing of Paul Groves and Wayne Burnett some years later, that saw Town rise to where they are today.
Cockers became a true hero when he bagged two goals on the last day of the 1989/90 season - a brace that saw Town secure promotion. Unfortunately, his short but sweet career in football lasted just over three years, when he broke his leg in 1991 against Bristol City. The sight of him laid on the floor, holding his leg, motionless, could tell a thousand words and it was no surprise he never played for Town again. John was a terrific servant for the club in those 9 years that followed his injury - he was Football in the Community Coach, Youth Coach, Reserve Team Manager, Assistant Manager and Caretaker Manager. Some believe that he should have been given the manager's job when Buckley left both times, but more importantly when Laws was sacked - he wanted to be and he could have been the man to save Town from relegation. However, the board would not appoint him because he wanted money to spend on players. The bitter way in which he left the club was sad to see, overlooked for the manager's job when Lennie Lawrence was fired in 2001, Cockers was sacked/left of his own accord. People can believe what they want over his departure, but one thing is for sure, Cockers is a Mariners legend and was tremendous servant in the 13 years he was connected with the club.
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