Let's hear it for the boys - part one

Cod Almighty | Article

by Tony Butcher

17 June 2022

They signed in hope of a better life and a better life we now have.

There's a mixed bag of sadness and shrugging shoulders as ten contracts are not renewed. Some were here ten minutes, one was here eleven years, but they all deserve a mentions in despatches, to be memorialised for posterity. 

We now have time to stand and stare at those bit-part actors, extras, voice artists and special guest appearances who made up the numbers and contributed at leisure to our pleasure. Every little helps.

Here are the first five.

Luis Adlard
Signed: 1 September 2019 (he’s one of our own)
Appearances: 4 (all as substitute)

Young Luis made his debut as a sub against plucky Scunny in the Boycott Trophy just two days after signing up and then…three substitute walk-on parts in the bore of the League the following season.

This year? Some desultory doodlings and dawdlings in pre-season friendlies followed by a magical mystery tour of the North.

A grand total of 34 minutes on the pitch in adult football for Town.

Young lad, local lad and probably the best player at school. Not tall, not small, not fast, not slow. The boy was neither one footballing thing nor another and  always seemed destined for the conveyor belt leading to the Lindum Club. At least the lad gets to say something to his great grandchildren that we never will: "I used to play for Town, you know".

You lived a dream, but now? Oh well Luis, Luis, you got to go to Love Lane Corner.

Scott Burgess
Signed: 14 January 2022 (released by Port Vale)
Appearances: 13 (7 as sub)

Signed to be the creative cover for Big John McAtee, the ungreat Scott has nice hair and was the rhythm section for the post-play-off party, so he had his uses.
Having knocked around the northern circuit in ever-decreasing circles since 2014, for Town Burgess was an ephemeral will o' the wisp, a phantom, barely a footnote in our fantasy football season. A nice pass sideways here, a poke out for a throw-in there. But hey, every little helps.

Sometimes a transfer doesn't work out, it's one of dem tings dat happens. We, and he, will always have that image of his play-off party paradiddling.

No hard feelings eh?

Giles Coke
Signed: 12 February 2021 (from Hereford, sort of)
Appearances: 44 (4 as sub) 1 goal

Heh-heh, listen you're gonna love this, right, eh, listen, yeah, no, listen. A Manc walks into a bar and is ordered by Coke to sign for Town… The greatest contribution Calmer Giles ever made to the gaiety of our nation was the evening he wandered into bar in Manchester with Loveable Lennie and bumped into Big John McAtee.

Hurst came back into a hell hole of mercenaries and borrowed boys. He needed a leader, he needed a man and so Giles Coke – an old head with older legs, receding into the Futcher zone of fading starlets, falling through the divisions like a parrot's feather – was plucked from Gosh Jowling's Hereford in our darkest hour in murky circumstances. It was a long and winding road that led old Calmer Giles to our door with a right hoo-hah over registration nearly holing this lifeboat before it was sunk.

He's played for proper teams in proper divisions, with Town being his thirteenth club in a career that just petered out from 2012.

You don't have to be on the pitch to make a difference. Gentleman Giles foresaw his own career mortality last summer, even as he was made club captain:
"Even if I don't play every game, I will always try to help everyone in the team as much as I can, so we can all be successful."

And so it came to pass, as Calmer Giles was eased out of the team, then out of the squad, and his greatest contribution to our road safety was his sheer professionalism in supporting his colleagues from within his tracksuit.

Watch the footage of the bits between full and extra time in the play-off games – he's there geeing up the players and is part of the brains trust. He didn’t play much from mid-winter but he played his part in Town’s rock’n’roll circus magic carpet ride to infinity and beyond.

A good man, but an old man - his body just cannae take it anymore, despite being Captain.

There we are: Giles Coke the embodiment of selflessness and the culture of the club – all for one and one for all.

Adam Crookes
Signed: 9 July 2021 (from Port Vale)
Appearances: 25

It all started so well.

This Lincoln lad was a stalwart of the sensational start but this ex-Imp was a central character in the pre-Christmas implosion.

Swapping the pop art of Port Vale for sensible stripes, Young Adam wowed and wooed with slides and glides in his sensible hair and sensible boots. He just stood in the right places and dedicated himself to defending the realm, rarely promenading in front of the Pontoon.

And then Town played Solihull. He was never the same again as the confident clatterer withered and shivered in fear of flying wingers, finally falling out of the treehouse after another laceration at Halifax. And that was the end.

A decent mid-table Bananarama defender. He'll keep you up, but not get you up.

There we are, Adam Crookes: a solid, stolid defender fatally exposed to pace, not quite a left-back, not quite a left-sided centre-back, who fell between two stools at Solihull and never got up again.

Max Wright
Signed: 2015 (he’s one of our own)
Appearances: 55 (31 as sub) 4 goals

Oh Maxi, Maxi, Maxi, such a lovely lad, so dynamic, so quick, a heart of oak, but so, so flimsy of frame. Of all the leavers your departure is the most maddening and saddening.

Where did it all go wrong for Mr Wright? After four months at Sutton Coldfield winter and spring of 2017, the next season saw Max's star rising on the horizon. The buzz about the boy grew as he made his Town debut on 14 August 2018 in a League Cup thrashing by Rochdale. Max made 'em swoon in Scabby with his zigger-zagger daggers into the heart of visitors to Flamingo Land. Don't feed the goat!

And on 9 April 2019, in front of a rollicking raucous black and white army at Notts County, he came on for 40 minutes and was the only right stuff in a dreadful performance.

The world was waiting and he delivered: a game-sealing frolicking finish after their keeper came up for a corner sealing a first-day victory at Morecambe in August 2019.

Twenty-nine appearances in the 2019/20 season wasn't too shabby, but it turned out to be a career chimera. Little niggles turned into big problems.

Poor Max, perky, bright, direct but infirm of body. Just one start this season and just one goal, a fantasy finish to finish off Hollywood's Wrexham. We will not forget one of our own.

Good luck, old boy.