1-0 (Disley)

Cod Almighty | Article

by Pat Bell

15 June 2021

Craig Disley's retirement from playing is a timely reminder of the qualities we'll need in the Conference.

There is in my mind a broken chain of midfield-captain-leaders. It began for me with Joe Waters. It resumed with Shaun Cunnington who passed the baton almost seamlessly to Paul Groves. Groves joined us when we were nearing an apex in our fortunes and kept us there. After the fireworks - Woods and Rees, Gilbert and Childs, Mendonca, Donovan and Burnett - began to fade there was Groves still: a well-timed run into the box, a well-directed header, goal. 1-0 (Groves).

Craig Disley

After Groves, the fall. That chain of midfield leaders was badly broken for many years. Many, many years, until Craig Disley came along.

As players, Waters, Cunnington, Groves and Disley are far from identical. But what they had in common was the organic quality of unselfconscious leadership: no ostentatious pumping of fists, no badge-kissing. They led because that was who they were, and that leadership transmitted itself from the pitch into the stands. Although it came before Operation Promotion, its defining image was Craig Disley in a wig, joining in one of our fancy dress days. When you see that, you know that we are all in it together: players and fans.

It is 6 March 2016. We are battling to stay in the race for the one automatic promotion place with Cheltenham and Forest Green. Our visit to the New Lawn, we thought, was vital. In the end it had no bearing on who competed in the play-offs, but when we came to play Forest Green again at Wembley, it was a handy memory to fall back on.

There are 20 minutes left and the match is goalless. Town are in possession on the left, the ball at Andy Monkhouse's feet. He sees something and chips the ball towards the far post. What he has seen is Craig Disley. A well-timed run into the box, a well-directed header, goal.

1-0 (Disley).  

This article was originally written for the Craig Disley benefit game on 31 October 2017. The picture is by Mattythewhite CC BY-SA 3.0 Send us your memories of the Town great.