Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Small World

I thought there was something familiar about the fierce-looking bald bloke who had suddenly popped up on the QPR bench under John Gregory, but at first just put it down to the fact that fierce-looking bald blokes are ten a penny on football benches these days. Yesterday, though, it finally clicked that I had seen the guy before somewhere. Richard Hill is his name and he was manager at Stevenage Borough for a spell when I lived in Hertford and used to pop up to Stevenage every now and then. A quick bit of googling brought it back, Hill succeeded Paul Fairclough as Stevenage manager. You may remember that under Fairclough, Stevenage won the Conference but were denied entry to the league because their ground wasn't up to scratch [1]. They also famously drew 1-1 with Newcastle in the FA Cup when the Premiership club and in particular Kenny Dalglish plumbed new depths of classless boorishness.

In Hill's second season Boro won their first six games and looked odds-on to go up. However they tailed off badly from that point and Hill didn't even see the season out. I do remember him copping a lot of stick from the fans at one point.

The other amusing fact that I googled up while searching this out is that Martin Rowlands was at Wycombe as a youngster but Gregory, under the recommendation of Hill, let him go. Rowlands went to Farnborough before coming back into the league at Brentford. I expect that bygones are bygones by now but you have to wonder what Rowlands thought privately when first Gregory and then Hill arrived at QPR !

[1] Coincidentally (it may even qualify as light irony) Fairclough now manages Barnet whose ground doesn't meet league specifications but they were allowed to come back up because they were doing their best to remedy the situation.


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