Friday, 26 October 2018

Sunderland's best ever scorer of goals was who? David Halliday tops the lot

When it comes to scoring goals, David Halliday scored more per game for Sunderland than anyone else. Few Sunderland fans though know much about him. 

David Halliday is the only player to have notched 30 top-flight goals in four consecutive seasons and his record of forty-three in 1928-29 not only earned him top-spot in the scorer’s charts that season but makes him Sunderland’s highest scorer in a single season. 

The Scotsman’s career straddled the change in the offside law, when, alarmed by the shortage of goals, officials changed the rules in 1925 so that a forward could only be offside if there were fewer than two, rather than three defenders, between him and the goal. 

Even before the change, Halliday was already a prolific striker of the back of the net and had finished top scorer in the Scottish League with Dundee in 1923-24, hitting home 38 goals in 36 appearances. With such a pedigree, it was no surprise when he was lured south in April 1925 to play for Sunderland.

The Wearsiders were who looking to rebuild their side after a disappointing seventh place and Halliday’s arrival marked the end of Charlie Buchan’s time at Roker Park, the league’s highest scorer just two season earlier moving on to play with (further) distinction at Highbury.

Halliday’s role was a ‘simple one’ - get the ball into the goal. At 6 feet tall and 12 stone and four pounds in weight, he was powerful enough to give any opposing centre-half a hard time, especially as he was lightning quick and fearless in front of goal. 

He started with a bang, hitting ten goals in his first four games and although he could never have hoped to keep up such a record he had hit 106 for Sunderland in the League when the 1928-29 season got underway with the Wearsiders one of the favourites for the title under manager Johnny Cochrane. 

Halliday scored on the opening day, but Sunderland lost 3-1 at Burnley. Back at Roker Park he was, for once, missing his shooting boots when Blackburn came to town. Determined to put right his mistakes Halliday then hit home a hat-trick in the home game with Derby that followed. 

Two more followed when Bolton travelled north, the centre-forward profiting from some lovely moves down the home right involving Bob Wallace and Johnny Lynas. After eight games he’d hit home seven goals. 

Sunderland though were struggling down near the bottom with just six points, and in attempt to freshen up the side, Bobby McKay was signed from neighbours Newcastle United.

The Scotsman was a bundle of tricks and a sublime passer of the ball and was to use his position at inside right to scheme a host of goals for Halliday as the season progressed. Both men were on the scoresheet in a 5-3 defeat at Maine Road, and a few short weeks later each hit a double in a 5-2 Roker Park demolition of Newcastle, McKay playing particularly brilliantly.

Bury’s defence was never going to be strong enough when Sunderland visited Gigg Lane in November, McKay and his fellow inside forward Tom McInally threading the ball between the two full-backs during a period in the game of football when three defenders in a centre-half and two full-backs was the norm. Halliday hit two and soon after when Bury’s near neighbours Manchester United journeyed to Roker Park, his rich vein of goal-scoring continued with a hat-trick in a 5-1, Alf Steward twice being beaten with thundering drives. It wasn’t long before a third hat-trick of the season followed, although it still didn’t stop Sheffield United taking a point back south in a 4-4 draw. 

Arsenal were building a team that would go on to dominate English football in the 1930s, but Halliday showed they still had much to learn by scoring three times over Christmas and the New Year as Sunderland earned a draw at Highbury before hammering the Gunners 5-1 at Roker Park on New Year’s Day.

When Sheffield Wednesday travelled to Roker Park fans got the chance to compare Halliday with Jack Allen, who was competing with him for the honour of finishing at the league’s to scorer come the season’s end. Allen did grab a 30th-minute goal but by then Halliday had hit two. Both came in the first six minutes, with a neat finish from eight yards and a cracking 2—yard drive soon after. It might have been four, but Wednesday ‘keeper Jack Brown twice reacted brilliantly during intense second-half pressure from the home side in a 4-2 win that put them in touch near the top with their defeated opponents. 

Halliday’s goals were putting the Wearsiders in with a chance of a first title success in sixteen seasons, especially as the following weekend, he again hit two in a 5-0 defeat of Portsmouth. Winning away from home, though, had proven difficult, and so when a falling backwards Halliday headed Adam McLean’s cross into the net at Leeds Road it was a big boost as Sunderland then withstood strong pressure to win 2-1. 

It meant that thousands of the side’s followers travelled expectantly to St James’ Park for the local derby, and although their side played well, they returned disappointed after witnessing a 4-3 defeat in a match that revealed the Scottish selectors continued selection of Hughie Gallacher, who, with 3 minutes left, superbly headed a Tommy Lang cross home.

Gallacher had been a major part of the previous season’s Scottish side that had wiped the floor with England by winning 5-1 at Wembley, and it was his brilliance that meant Halliday never even played once for his country. 

Newcastle’s last-gasp winner seemed to take the wind out of Sunderland’s sails in the title run-in and when only five points followed in seven matches, it meant only 10,000 were at Roker Park for the final home game of the season. That was a shame because they missed Halliday finish off with a flourish, scoring another hat-trick described as follows in the Newcastle Daily Chronicle:

Halliday scored a hat trick with his first goal coming after a fierce bombardment, the second when he cleverly took a pass from McInally and the third after the interval was the best of the lot. He started a dribble over 40 yards out and finally drew Hufton from goal to shoot into the empty net.

The Sunderland man had blasted 43 goals to finish at the top of the scorers’ charts. 

Despite the success, the Scotsman departed to Arsenal before 1929 had ended. Robert Gurney was ten years younger and his time had arrived. The local lad was, in fact, to enjoy a magnificent career at Sunderland remains the Wearsiders’ record goalscorer with 228 goals from 388 appearances. His strike rate, however, never matched that of Halliday with 162 in 175 appearances. 

Halliday stayed a year Highbury before moving on to Manchester City, with later spells at Folkestone, Clapton Orient and as player-manager with Yeovil and Petters United. As a manager he was highly successful, leading Aberdeen to Championship and Cup success and Leicester City to the Second Division title. He died in January 1970. 

Article taken from GOLDEN BOOT book that was published in 2012. 

TURNED OUT GRAND - women's rugby league

The rugby league season’s centrepiece takes place on Saturday in Manchester – but it won’t only be men taking part. Mark Metcalf reports on the recent growth of the women’s game. 
On 13 October 2018, Wigan Warriors Women’s team beat Leeds Rhinos Women 16-12 to win the Women’s Super League Grand Final for the first time. The article that appears here was in the Big Issue North magazine in the week leading up to the final. 
The second Women’s Super League takes place on Saturday (13 Oct) in Manchester. It will be followed later in the day by the more established men’s final – the showcase of rugby league. The players’ passion and commitment will be the same – but only the men are professional. 
The women’s final will feature the winners of the semi-finals between Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers, and Wigan Warriors and St Helens, which took place after Big Issue North went to press. 
This toughest of sports is increasingly popular with women, and there are more teams and players at every age range. Although even the highest level players, such as Emily Rudge, Gemma Walsh, Chantelle Crowl and Lois Forsell, are amateur, hopes are high that the sport’s recent progress will enable it to emulate the women’s football, cricket and hockey games, which have all embraced professionalism in recent years. 
The RFL Women’s Rugby League of 13 teams was started in 2014 and Thatto Heath Crusaders of St Helens were the last winners in 2016. Following discussions between the development team at the RFL – the sport’s governing body – and the men’s professional clubs, an elite women’s competition was created in 2017 and won by the Bradford Bulls. According to Sarah-Jane Grey, the RFL’s public affairs director: “Clubs such as Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos were asked to wrap their brands around the women’s game to help it grow. The impact of the professional clubs being involved in the women’s game has helped inspire more girls and women to play rugby league. In turn, we have worked hard to ensure that the marketing, organisation and promotion of the Women’s Super League is done professionally.” 
The women’s game’s structure, consequently, is now similar to the men’s, with 20 sides in three leagues, as well as fast-growing youth divisions. It was very different when Wigan Warriors captain Walsh was growing up in the 1990s and was keen to follow her father David, who played for Wigan professionally in the 1980s. 
“I was brought up playing rugby league but there were very few female teams,” says the 34-year-old stand-off, who has represented England in three World Cups. “Like most young girls I ended up playing in a virtually all boys team as there were no mixed teams allowed. My father’s friend established a side but it was often a struggle to find opponents.” 
Walsh eventually joined a local side in Hindley before moving to Yorkshire to play with Wakefield Panthers – subsequently Featherstone Rovers – for 15 years before becoming Wigan Warriors’ first captain. Like her, Rudge, Crowe and Forsell all also speak of how difficult it was to find sides to play for as they grew up. 
Canadian-born Crowl, who represents St Helens, recalls an unsuccessful attempt to develop a women’s side associated with Widnes Vikings, her local professional club. 
“The Rugby Football League were not keen to promote or advertise the women’s game and we didn’t have the facilities to make it attractive to newcomers. I might have quit myself but I really love playing rugby.” 
Crowl says playing rugby league as a youngster helped her overcome racial abuse, her parents’ break-up and her emigration to Britain. But she has an ankle injury and may not play if her side makes it to Saturday’s final, and has been desperate for her physiotherapist to give her the go-ahead to start training. 
“I would love to be fit and able to play, especially as there is also an England international later in October,” says the back-row forward. “Injuries are part and parcel of any competitive contact sport.” 
Like Crowl, Forsell, who plays for her hometown team of Leeds Rhinos, is also currently out injured. Her torn anterior cruciate ligament means she certainly won’t be fit should the Yorkshire side play in the final at the Manchester Regional Arena on the Etihad Campus. With the Men’s Super League final set to be played later in the day at Old Trafford the hope is that, at least, some of those amongst the sellout crowd there will take the time to watch the women’s final.
Forsell was delighted to collect a league winner’s medal last season with Bradford Bulls before becoming Leeds Rhinos Women’s first ever signing in December 2017, where she had also been working as a development officer. The women’s side is coached by Rhinos’ male forward Adam Cuthbertson. 
Forsell featured in every game for England at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup and earlier this year was appointed the sport’s first ever national women’s player ambassador. 
“I had always wanted to play for the Rhinos and it was a joy to pull on the shirt at the start of the season,” she says. 
St Helens are playing Wigan Warriors away in the semi-final, bringing Rudge up against Walsh. That might make things tricky over the breakfast table as the pair were married in February this year. 
At the start of the decade the RFL began to try to lessen the barriers for LGBT people who want to be involved in the sport. Information packs were distributed to clubs to assist with tackling homophobia and an LGBT online forum was created for all RFL staff, players and coaches. As a result in 2012 the RFL won LGBT charity Stonewall’s Sports Award. 
Rudge says: “I have never had a problem with being gay and playing rugby league. There are other gay players in our league. I can understand though why gay sports players in more high profile sports decide not to come out as there remains a lot of negativity out there from people.” 
St Helens usually play home matches at Thatto Heath but played their game against Castleford last month at the St Helens Stadium as a curtain-raiser for the men’s game featuring the same sides. In league games with Saints this season, Wigan have triumphed both times. 
“It is always good to beat St Helens, who are our local rivals,” says Walsh, who recalls that in one of the games “Gemma made a very strong late tackle on me that led to the referee awarding an infringement”. 
The pair met in 2008. Rudge, who believes she has greatly benefited throughout her life by being surrounded by strong female personalities in her mother, two grandmas and her sister, is a physical education teacher at a secondary school. “It is a demanding job and that means if, like Gemma, I want to play rugby league at the highest level I often have to miss out on seeing my friends and family. 
“We train as a squad two nights a week. It is much more intensive than in the past and we also practice routines and new ideas and develop a team spirit that can help in big games such as against Wigan next time – when I am confident we will win. 
“We also have to fit in two weekly gym sessions. Add in a match at the weekend and there is very little spare time left. It is a big commitment but you need to maintain a high level of fitness and strength in order to compete.” 
Rudge, who joined St Helens from Thatto Heath Crusaders, first played at the 2008 World Cup for her country on her seventeenth birthday. There have been five women’s world cups, with Australia capturing their second title in 2017 to leave them just one behind New Zealand. England, where the next tournament will be held in 2021, were heavily beaten by both countries last year in Australia. 
Nevertheless, Crowl was “delighted” to have got the chance to play in the World Cup. She was highly impressed by the training facilities and the grounds the games were played on in Australia. 
“There is clearly a drive to help the game move forward. Good facilities help attract more players, make it easier to train and unsurprisingly the sport is growing strongly amongst women of all ages. Australia also play more international games with regular games against New Zealand. This raises standards considerably and it is something we need to do here. 
“If we want to be able to compete internationally and raise standards to attract more people to play the game and also come and watch the domestic games then players need to be able to train
and concentrate full time on the game. Hopefully the 2021 tournament can play a big role in developing a professional women’s rugby league competition in Britain.” 
Grey hopes that Saturday’s final will be a stepping stone towards that. With the men’s Super League final to be played later in the day at Old Trafford the hope is that some of those among the sellout crowd there will take the time to watch the women’s final. 
“The season has been outstanding so far with some great games taking place. The standard has clearly risen overall and I expect to see a tight, competitive match and whoever wins will be worthy champions. If you’ve never watched a women’s rugby league match before please come along as you won’t be disappointed.”

Stan Anderson on his time as manager at Doncaster Rovers.

Taken from Stan's 2010 autobiography Captain of the North, which I assisted the Horden born player to write. 

Managing at the bottom
About four months after leaving QPR I got a call from Doncaster Rovers asking if I would consider taking over from Maurice Setters. With the club struggling near the foot of Division Four there was every chance they would be forced to apply for re-election and if unsuccessful go out of the Football League, especially as they had finished in the bottom four the previous season.
I didn’t think the job would interest me but I was prepared to listen to what was on offer and met Ben Rayner and Tony Phillips, the chairman and vice-chairman, at the Scotch Corner Hotel on the A1. It was Saturday February 1 1975 and Doncaster had earlier that day played at Gay Meadow, where they had lost 7-4. The defeat left them twenty-third; only Scunthorpe were below them and they had two matches in hand!
After a couple of hours, during which Ben and Tony did their level best to persuade me that things weren’t that bad – there were after all sixteen games in which to pull things round, they pointed out – I agreed to go to Doncaster on the Monday morning and have a look around. I wasn’t that convinced I was doing the right thing but, after a year away in Greece and my time in the unfamiliar territory of London, at least it was work in northern England.
Arriving at Belle Vue, I met the coach, ex-Nottingham Forest player John Quigley, who was just about to take training. The first thing I noticed was how poor the kit was, and I thought it wasn’t perhaps too surprising the team was struggling. The dressing rooms and ground were also a shambles, but when I went out to examine the pitch I was delighted to find it was first class, as good as anything I had ever seen. The groundsman, who I learned was George Foster, clearly cared a great deal about his trade and I hoped that in time I could produce a side to do justice to it.
After more discussions with Ben and Tony I decided to take the job. I knew, however, that to save the club I needed to get off on a good footing with the players straight away and raise their morale. The club had won only one of the previous fifteen league games, nine of which had been lost.
So I began by asking who had supplied the training kit and was told it had come from a director called Hubert Bates who ran a sports shop. I asked that new kit be obtained by the following Monday, if not sooner. Mr Bates wasn’t happy but we eventually got on well enough, and I ended up admiring him after he told me of his experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war.
My first match was at home to Torquay United and we played much better than I had dreamed was possible, winning 3-0. We then travelled the short distance to Oakwell and thrilled our small band of travellers by beating Barnsley 1-0.
Mansfield Town were top of the league, yet before a crowd of 7,278 we beat them 4-3 in a cracking game. They had lost only twice in twenty-nine league games and Colin Foster and Terry Eccles had them two up just before half-time. Steve Uzelac got us back in the game by whipping home a loose ball and at half-time I urged the players to double their efforts.
Then Brendan O’Callaghan nodded on a free kick and Peter Kitchen turned and shot at the same time to pull the teams level. Terry Curran made it 3-2 but Eccles grabbed his second and a draw seemed certain. I would have been happy with that but with just two minutes left Peter got his second, pushing the ball past Rod Arnold from close range. It sparked wild scenes among the previously goal-starved Doncaster fans. Three matches, three wins. It then became four, then five in a row. Rotherham put an end to the sequence but two further victories made it seven from eight and from looking certainties to apply for re-election we rocketed up to fifteenth, eventually ending seventeenth on forty points.
Despite the run in which we took twenty-one out of a possible thirty-two points I was under no illusions that the team needed improving if we were to look to compete at the top rather than just staying away from the bottom four. The problem was that there was very little money for transfer fees to bring in better players – £5,000, equivalent to around £50,000 in today’s terms I’d guess, was a lot of money for the club to be spending on one player. That I soon realised would at best buy a player only ten per cent better than what I already had – so it would be a huge gamble.
I decided to concentrate on trying to improve the players already at the club. I hadn’t seen much Fourth Division football. In fact, after I agreed to go to Doncaster I’d taken the opportunity to watch a game with journalist Vince Wilson and been shocked at how poor it was – some of the passing was terrible. I realised quickly that I had to set my sights a little lower with some of the players, most of whom with the right encouragement would give you everything.
When I did buy players I concentrated on getting those I already knew, men such as the ex-Huddersfield and Carlisle United midfield player Chris Balderstone. I felt his experience and ability on the ball would prove useful. In fact, Chris came six months too late, during the summer of 1975 and his lack of pace proved a real handicap.
In addition, he was now more committed to cricket, which had taken a back seat in the 1960s when he concentrated on football. Chris had been the star man at the Benson and Hedges Cup final at Lord’s in 1972, helping Leicester to their first-ever trophy. As his cricketing standards rose, the possibility of his playing for England was being mentioned when he came to Doncaster – something he achieved only months after we mutually agreed not to renew his contract at the end of his first season.
In the summer of 1975 Leicestershire were competing at the top of the County Championship, hoping to win it for the first time. It had been agreed when Chris signed that football would take priority but he was naturally desperate to play in the last game. This was against Derbyshire at Chesterfield, but the problem was we had a game with Brentford on the evening of September 15.
I arranged to go with Phil Day, an employee of the chairman, and collect him at close of play. When I arrived Chris was batting, and continued to do so right up until stumps, finishing on 51 not out in a game that helped his side win the championship.
As soon as play ended we packed him, still in his whites, into the car. It is about thirty miles from Chesterfield to Doncaster and we were making good time until we approached the ground and the traffic was so congested it seemed we would miss the kick-off. Ordering Chris to take off his clothes I told Phil to drive down the outside lane, shouting out of the window that Chris Balderstone was in the car and needed to get through. Thankfully the policeman directing the traffic saw the funny side of things and waved us through, helping us to arrive in the nick of time.
When Chris ran out to play in the 1-1 draw he became the only man to have played first-class cricket and League football on the same day. He was back batting the following morning and made 116 before taking three for 28 as Derbyshire were bowled out for 140 with just five minutes remaining.
I also bought Joe Laidlaw, ex-’Boro and Carlisle, who did a competent job when I was hoping for a bit more. Mickey French came from QPR, scored a few goals at the start but soon faded and I had to let him go.
It was a matter of constantly looking for bargain buys, and that meant watching two, if not three, games a week. On a Monday it might be Mansfield, Tuesday Barnsley and Friday Stockport. Then our own game and Monday back to Chesterfield. I am sure some months during the football season I hardly slept more than four or five hours a night. By the time I’d got home, watched a bit of television or chatted with Marjorie, if she was still up, it was usually well after midnight when I went to bed.
Even then I often didn’t sleep, particularly after a bad performance. I’d find myself going over formations, thinking how to motivate certain players and generally being unable to switch off. When the team were doing better the pressure was different – supporters would get excited, such as at Middlesbrough when we were third or fourth at Easter. Then I’d lie awake working out how to win the vital games to snatch promotion.
No matter how well or badly I slept I was almost always back in for training at 9.00am the following morning. Training at Doncaster then was held on municipal pitches not far from Belle Vue because the club didn’t have its own training ground. You’d get cars going past with fans, even some of our own, winding down the window to have a go at certain players.
We lost Terry Curran before the start of the following season. He was an attacking midfielder who also played on the wing. My old mate Brian Clough had rung to say he fancied one of my players and I wasn’t surprised when he said it was Terry – along with our combined strike force of Brendan O’Callaghan and Peter Kitchen he was the best of the bunch I inherited. The offer was £65,000 and, as you always did in those situations, I said I didn’t think it was enough but I would put the offer in front of the board and get back to him.
Quite naturally the board was keen to sell, and it was a good move for him. However, as I was keen to bring in a couple of players I got them to agree to me negotiating with Brian about taking Dennis Peacock, a ’keeper, and Ian Miller, a right winger and natural replacement for Terry, as part of the deal. I wanted to do the negotiating but in the event it was agreed that the chairman Ben Rayner would accompany me to the Baseball Ground and sort out the deal.
When we arrived Brian was all charm. I had it in my mind that we wanted £40,000 plus the two players, valued at £10,000 and £15,000 respectively – a total of £65,000. Brian, however, was playing hardball and suggested that the two players were worth £35,000, which I wasn’t having, and he knew it. Next thing he suggested he would pay £70,000 for Terry but that we then pay £35,000 for the two players. 
I was just about to start laughing at his audacity as that meant Doncaster would get only £35,000 rather than the £40,000 cash I knew he would have paid for Terry alone when Ben jumped in and said it was a deal. It was only afterwards when I told him what he’d done he realised he’d just lost the club £5,000. There was, at least, some consolation in that Miller was later sold to Blackburn for £200,000 and Dennis Peacock subsequently joined me at Bolton for £60,000. I couldn’t help but think of Len Shackleton’s views on directors as we drove away from Derby!
We began the 1975–76 season in decent form and in the second round of the League Cup we entertained Crystal Palace, then managed by Malcolm Allison. After we beat them Malcolm said he was sick of the sight of me, recalling no doubt that when he’d been manager of Manchester City I’d helped Middlesbrough knock them out of the FA Cup in January 1972, winning 2-1 at Ayresome Park after the first match finished 1-1.
When we beat Newport County in mid-November we were only a point outside the top four promotion spots. We had also fought our way through to the League Cup quarter-finals, in which we were to meet Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
The last time I’d been involved with a cup match at the Lane it had been with Sunderland and we’d lost by five goals. History was about to repeat itself. Backed by a decent following we started really well, taking the lead on nine minutes when Brendan O’Callaghan outjumped Willie Young and nodded the ball forward for Alan Murray to score with a diving header. We then had further chances to stretch the lead before goals from John Pratt and John Duncan put Spurs in front at half-time.
I said to the players during the interval that they had played well enough to be at least level, which is exactly what we were after fifty-one minutes when Pat Jennings pushed away Brendan’s header and Peter Kitchen, following up, made it 2-2.
Not long after this match Peter was invited to train with Bobby Robson’s Ipswich but sadly Bobby decided Peter wasn’t for him. He lacked a yard of pace but later moved on to Orient, where he did pretty well, especially during 1977–78 when he scored seven FA Cup goals as the O’s made it to the semi-final where they lost to Arsenal.
Spurs restored their lead with a poor goal, Les Chappell knocking the ball into his own net. Things went from bad to worse as Duncan hit a hat-trick to make it 7-2. I had again lost by five at Spurs, but the score flattered the home side.
The heavy defeat took the stuffing out of the team and we won only two and lost six of the next eight to lie eleventh after twenty-six matches. We ended up tenth with forty-nine points, nine behind Tranmere Rovers in the fourth promotion spot. Considering the previous two seasons it was a fine achievement but I knew it would still need a big improvement if we were to win promotion.
Sorting out the retained list is always one of the most unpleasant parts of a manager’s job. It’s never the easiest thing to tell a player, especially in the lower leagues, that you’re letting them go on a free transfer. You call them in, tell them your decision and then they get an official letter. You hope to get a fee for some so they are in the awkward situation of not knowing where they’ll be moving.
One of the most difficult situations I ever faced was having to tell Stan Brookes I wasn’t renewing his contract at Doncaster. He’d done well for me, was only in his mid-twenties and was totally dedicated to the club. He also had a good rapport with the fans. But I felt he needed to go somewhere else as he’d only ever played in a struggling team and this had affected his confidence and self-belief. I hoped he’d find a club where he’d do better. He was deeply upset.
I also gave Steve Uzelac a free transfer because he, too, deserved to better himself.
Those two brought me problems with the directors. After talking to them I established that, although they had each been at Belle Vue for more than five years they had not received the £750 they were due. I told the board they were duty bound to pay it and they had to part with £1,500. To a struggling club that was a significant amount.
In 1976–77 Doncaster finished eighth with fifty-one points, eight behind fourth-placed Bradford City. We’d been fairly successful in parts, enjoying a fabulous unbeaten run in January and February, when he won eight games out of ten, including six in a row. We’d lost Peter Kitchen to Orient but I had managed to hang on to Brendan O’Callaghan, who eventually went to Stoke in March 1978 after knocking home sixty-five goals in 184 starts, a good record. He left behind a club that finished twelfth in the Fourth Division at the end of the 1977–78 season, eleven points off a promotion place.
I had said when I joined that I intended staying only two years, but by the end of May 1978 I’d been there for three-and-a-half seasons. I wasn’t convinced, with the resources at my disposal, that I could get Doncaster promoted. Neither did I feel we would be required to apply for re-election. I wasn’t sure what my future might hold that summer.
I was frustrated. The side started poorly the following season and in November 1978 we fell into the bottom four after losing 2-1 to York City. I hadn’t managed to sign the players I’d wanted and the loss of O’Callaghan was starting to show up the gaps in attack. I was convinced we could get out of trouble and had no thoughts of quitting at such a difficult time. But without warning Ian Greaves, the Bolton manager, rang to ask me to join him at Burnden Park as his assistant. The post had become vacant after my ex-Sunderland colleague George Mulhall had moved to Bradford City to replace John Napier as manager.
Bolton had been promoted to the First Division the previous season but were struggling near the bottom. It meant we would have to leave Doncaster, so Marjorie had to agree. Fortunately she did because I was really keen to get back to the top level. 
After almost four years in charge I left Doncaster Rovers having played 174 games, winning sixty-seven, drawing forty-seven and losing sixty – not a bad record considering the lack of financial backing.

I eventually moved back to Doncaster and still live there and I’m thrilled they are now in the division I knew as the second in my playing days. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Call for mental health first aid

Call for mental health first aid 
Big Issue North, 15-21 October 2018 

Manchester man wants support in workplaces 
One of Barrie Golden’s closest friends committed suicide five years ago. His sister suffers from mental health problems. 
Now, as an employee at a food multinational, the Manchester man wants legislative changes that would force all companies to develop a mental health policy under which the mental health first aider (MHFA) role would have equal parity with a general first aider. 
Almost 200,000 MHFAs were trained in the UK in the decade from 2007. Training was first developed for members of the public but more recently there has been a jump in training in workplace settings. 
The absence of a workplace mental health policy meant it took Golden 18 months to persuade his employer to allow him to undertake two days paid training to become a MHFA. 
Trainees are helped to spot signs of mental health problems, given a deeper understanding of the issues affecting people’s mental health and provided with practical skills for everyday use. 
One in four suffer 
“The course was very helpful,” said Golden. “Like other students I left enthusiastic to help people and believe I have done so. 
“I find people who know of my role are more likely to open up about their problems. Just like first aiders I can signpost people if they need further specialist help. 
“The training demonstrated how widespread mental health problems are, with one in four people suffering throughout their life. The economic impact is damaging for individuals, their families, companies and the economy.” 
MHFAs have a different status to first aiders who are identified under Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981. These regulations require all employers to provide appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure employees receive immediate attention when injured or taken ill at work. 
They also require employers to undertake a needs assessment, to ensure that first aid provision reflects the workplace needs. As part of the assessment companies may decide to train MHFAs but the majority do not, although there are no official figures. 
Golden believes the law should be strengthened so that employers must have a mental health policy that includes a requirement placing the MHFA role on a par with a first aider. 
“As an elected union rep I get stand-down time at work when I represent people but no such policy exists for my MHFA role,” he said. “I have though now persuaded my employer to examine introducing a European-wide mental health policy and I am also gathering support, including within the Labour Party, for nationwide legal changes.” 
Strong evidence base 
Fionuala Bonnar, chief operating officer, Mental Health First Aid England, the body overseeing training courses, praised Golden’s initiative. 
“We are calling on the government to ensure all workplaces are required to make provision for mental health first aid, as they do physical first aid,” she said. “Nearly 200,000 people
have shown their support by signing the campaign petition so far.” 
Bonnar contends that mental health first aid has a strong evidence base, with over 70 international studies highlighting its effectiveness. 
But that has been questioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 
A spokesperson referred to a study commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. “The early findings from research into the effectiveness of mental health first aid has found that the training has value in raising participants’ awareness, but participants often feel it is used by organisations to bypass wider responsibilities to staff,” said the spokesperson. 
“The research was also not able to ascertain whether the training is the best, or the only, means for alerting participants to mental health problems at work. There is no evidence it is cost effective.” 

The HSE is reviewing evidence relating to the impact of workplace mental health first aid. 

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Great exhibition on Spanish Civil War

A great exhibition on the Spanish Civil War is now up at Halifax Central Library from 4 October to 10th. The exhibition is from the International Bridge Memorial Trust and which I am a member of. Why not consider getting it up at your workplace or library etc?