Another Town, Another Train

Posted on 22nd May 2007

Crewe Alexandra FC

Crewe Alexandra FC

Dario Gradio is the longest serving manager in English league football. In fact he's possibly the longest serving football manager in the world. On July 1 2007, he plans to hand over the reigns of Crewe Alexandra to the first team coach, Steve Holland, after 24 years as manager. Dario isn't leaving the club, as he will take on the role of Technical Director, but he will be missed as he's made a significant impact on the club and fans, even rivals, and will leave a lot to live up to, with an amazing legacy that will be a long time before anyone equals or betters it.

From the age of 11, I went to Crewe County Grammar School on Ruskin Road (now a comprehensive), and passed Gresty Road on the bus to and from school for 5 years. During the 70s the club was the butt of several jokes, as they were always struggling near the bottom of the fourth division. I can remember a few times when they were fighting relegation into the Conference League. I left Crewe in 1982, a year before Dario took over at the club. Partly because I missed the town and partly because I didn't feel any affliation to any club near Hinckley, my support of Crewe Alexandra grew. I've never been much of a football fan, but I did follow their exploits in the press and watch the games whenever they got televised, but I wasn't what you would call a die hard fan. For a while I was a member of the Alex Exiles, but never got to any of the meetings, as they mostly seem to congregate in London.

I still feel that my club is Crewe Alex, and even DanDan has answered Crewe Alex when he's been asked who he supports. The reaction is quite amusing, as he gets quite a lot of respect. That's mostly thanks to Dario Gradi, as he's been the longest serving manager for a good reason. He's given the Railwaymen a club to be proud of. Next time I go up to see friends in Crewe, I'm hoping to drop by the club shop and get DanDan some memorabillia. A 2006/7 strip would go down nicely, so he can wear it when he goes to football practice. Maybe I'll even get to take him to a game next season too ;)

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