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Tuesday, 07 July 2015

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HAVE YOUR SAY: Workington Reds dream team

Like most spectator sports, football is a game of opinion. Here, lifelong fan and journalist JOHN WALSH, who has been watching his Borough Park heroes since 1953, names his best ever Workington Reds XI

With such a wide spread of people to choose there have been some skilful and entertaining players left on the sidelines.

There is no place for Johnny Martin. Nor did Clive Colbridge, Joe Wilson, Kit Napier or Keith Burkinshaw make the final cut.

From the non-league era Gerard Fisher, John Reach, Martin Henderson, Kyle May, Grant Holt and Glenn Murray would certainly have been in the frame, but just missed out.

GOALKEEPER: Malcolm Newlands would have been a Scottish international but for his short fuse. That’s why Workington got him cheaply from Preston in 1952.

Highly regarded, he represented Division Three North in the annual game against Division Three South in 1956.

Newlands’ clashes with opposing strikers - particularly Carlisle’s Alf Ackerman - were legendary.

He once kicked the ball in temper at a Chester forward and it flew back past him into the net for the winning goal.

Strong in the air on crosses, a great shot stopper and fearless, Newlands played 250 for Workington and was one of many Scots who stayed in the area, running the Black Bull, Cockermouth.

RIGHT BACK: Workington lad John Ogilvie, who played 390 league games between 1962 and 1974 and you could count the poor ones on the fingers of one hand.

Unfortunately for him, one was when Tottenham boss Bill Nicholson came to make a personal check and Oggy had a rare stinker.

A quick, counter attacking full-back, who did his main job of defending, with equal aplomb.

Currently living in Scotland, but a regular visitor to his home town.

CENTRE BACK: George Aitken was a stylish centre half. Not the biggest but proved to be a rock for Reds and one of the most respected defenders in the old Third Division North.

Having joined from Middlesbrough in 1953 for the princely sum of £5,000, it was probably some of the best money Reds ever spent.

Aitken was involved with the club for 16 of the 25 years they spent in the Football League, as player, trainer, coach and manager.

He earned a benefit match after 262 league games for the club and later was part of the Brighton management team which took the Seagulls to Wembley.

CENTRE BACK: Bobby Brown joined in 1956 from Motherwell and went on to play a record 420 league games for the club, skippering them to promotion in 1963/64.

A wiry, mobile defender who earned selection for the Third Division North representative team in 1957.

Another player who earned a deserved benefit from the club and until a recent illness, the 80-year-old was still a regular supporter at Borough Park.

LEFT BACK: John Lumsden played 253 league games for Reds, mainly at left back after being signed from Aston Villa as a centre half.

Joe Harvey brought him to the club having played just one friendly for Villa.
Another strong, determined defender and member of 63/64 promotion team.

At one point he played 142 consecutive games for Reds and was a popular member of the club’s most successful team in league football.

RIGHT WING: Norman Mitchell was probably not the most eye-catching winger Reds have possessed, but as honest as the day was long, so again, I’ve gone for a player who could get up and down the park.

Not the most skilful, but a grafter, good crosser from either flank and another determined player, ideal for this set-up and line-up.

Although he made just 140 league appearances and scored 23 goals he was part-time with Reds, working down the pit in his native North East.

MIDFIELD: Box-to-box, hard-working Dixie Hale was a tidy passer, and fierce competitor.

He was the perfect midfielder in many ways.

Capable of playing as a schemer as the creative phrase used to be called, but also much respected as a ball winner as well.

He was the perfect engine room player to operate alongside the skilful Jimmy Moran.

Ten goals in 131 League games for Reds after joining from Barrow in the first season in the old Third Division (1964/65).

MIDFIELD: Jimmy Moran, probably the cleverest footballer in Reds league history.

He was a talented play-maker who created the opportunities for the front men through his varied and astute pass selection but he was also a fierce competitor.

Jimmy made 100 appearances and scored 21 goals and during that time was troubled by a knee injury which had kept a check on his career.

LEFT WING: Geoff Martin was not the most skilful of wingers, but ideal in a 4-4-2 format.

His work-rate was phenomenal, so strong and persistent.

Actually swapped by Carlisle for Frank Kirkup, who was a decent winger in his own right for the Reds, but Workington got the better of the deal.

Martin made 144 league appearances and scored 26 goals and ended up at Chesterfield with ex-Reds team-mate Lumsden.

STRIKER: To this day, Jim Dailey’s 26 goals in the 1956/57 season remains a Reds record.

Fearless, strong in the air, he was a natural goal scorer who could hold up and link play well.

Jimmy regularly scored diving headers in a crowded six yard box, which other players wouldn’t have attempted.

During his Workington career (1953/57) Jimmy scored 81 goals in 176 League games and there was much anguish among the fans when he was controversially allowed to join Rochdale.

STRIKER: Dave Carr was a key member of Reds promotion winning side, as he was another fearless, hard-hitting striker, prepared to work hard for opportunities.

I’m starting to drool at the mouth at the tasty prospect of Dailey and Carr teaming-up in a dream team.

They would have been sensational as a pair.

Dave scored 47 goals in 108 league appearances before he followed old boss Ken Furphy to Watford, where sadly his career was ended by a very serious car accident.

MANAGER: Don’t forget we’ve had the likes of Bill Shankly, Joe Harvey, Keith Burkinshaw and Tommy Cassidy in charge at Borough Park.

But it has to be Furphy - the man who put together, on a succession of free-transfers, the best Workington team of all – which won promotion in 1963/64.

Have your say

Kit Napier was the one for me.Wirey,8st.wet through but was very skilful on the ball.once saw him score 4 goals against Swansea on a wed.and the following Sat.score 3 against Exeter.Scores were..7-0 and 6-1 respectively.

Posted by Colin on 7 March 2015 at 13:45

Kit Napier has to be up there, and so does Glenn Murray. The Workington connection with Brighton is strange, but it also includes George Aitken. First football match I ever saw was Brighton v Workington, 1966-67 season, Kit Napier was playing for Brighton by then.

Posted by Phil on 5 March 2015 at 17:17

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