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Dave Boylen
Dave Boylen

Take the Gauntlet, Town!

By: Dave Boylen
Date: 08/08/2008

THE first League game is nearly on us, Rochdale at Blundell Park on Saturday, and I know from my time as a footballer at Town that everybody wants the manager to pick you in the team for the first game of the season.

Home > Features > Dave Boylen > Take the Gauntlet


Town have not impressed in the pre-season games it has to be said. It seems that we are still leaking goals, but it does take time for new players to get to know one another and I am sure that hopefully they will begin to knit together very quickly now the real games have started.

There is nothing like the first game. It is usually very hot and nobody wants to make a mistake, but the nerves soon go out of the window when the tackles come crashing in, believe you me that is when you realise that you are playing professional football. You have got to get into the game and play well for your club and more importantly look after yourself out on the football pitch.

Town's new signings are Rob Stockdale, Richard Hope, Matt Heywood, all defenders; Chris Llewellyn is a clever midfield player. Apparently Manager Buckley is still looking for that exclusive striker to possibly pair up with Butler, who I believe owes Town a vote of loyalty, because make no mistake Butler can be a class act and by giving him the number nine shirt Manager Buckley is showing him the confidence he has in his ability to score goals. I am sure that Alan knows that he has got to be careful on how he handles his young players i.e. Hegarty, North, Bennett, just to name a few who I am sure will be breaking a neck to establish themselves in the first team. These young players have to be nurtured into the first team, and that's what happened last season. Sometimes fans used to scratch their heads and wonder why they were not playing on a regular basis, but there is a point where managers and the coaching staff know better than anyone when a young player is ready to settle into the first team, so trust the judgement of Alan Buckley and his staff. They see these players on a day to day basis out on the training ground. They will know whether their temperaments are right, or whether even physically they are ready.

I have to say this though. I think everybody in this town and I know at the football club from the Chairman, Manager, Players, coaching staff, want to get out of this dreadful league and I do think that we have got the squad to be pushing from the very start to make a realistic effort to stay up there with the leaders. The most important thing is to get a good start to the season and in my eyes we need a good home win against Rochdale to start the ball rolling. The first good result is vitally important because that is where you get your confidence from, and the longer it takes to get that vital first point the more pressure piles onto the players who can quickly get their heads down.

If I was a young player at Town at this present moment in time, I would be thinking that this is the season I am going to break into the first team on a more permanent basis.

I think Alan Buckley has thrown the gauntlet down to his young players, there is your opportunity are you capable of taking it, Just look at some of the Grimsby born and bred who went down that road in the past, players like Kevin Drinkell,Tony Ford, Kev Moore,Terry Donovan. They all grasped the chance and look at the careers these Grimsby lads had. In fact Tony Ford holds the record for the number of games played by a professional player in the Football League, he took it of Terry Paine who played for Southampton for years. Ford then went onto get a MBE For his services to football. What an end to a great career for a lad who grew up on the Nunsthorpe estate.

Come on you young lads I so wish I was in your shoes. The opportunity is there for the taking, grab Buckley's gauntlet and take this club into a higher division and establish yourselves as proven first team players

Dave Boylen
GTFC 1966/1977

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