Town Arrange Four Friendlies To Start With
By Cuth
July 8 2002

The Shaymen have now lined up four pre-season friendlies to prepare them for the new season. The opposition sees us pitched against different levels of quality which should help Chris Wilder decide on his first eleven.

Friendly Or Foes

The first friendly sees us travel up to Cumbria to take on Barrow at their Holker Street Stadium. Last season they finished a respectable 8th in the Unibond Premier Division.

This will see us up against some old faces.

Lee Turnbull who had a spell at the Shay as a coach is now a midfielder and assistant manager at Barrow to Kenny Lowe who is the manager.

Another past Town player now plying his trade at the end of the World in Barrow is Ian Duerden. Ian was part of the team that started Town's first season back in the league in 1998. He made an immediate impact with some decent displays especially in his debut at Peterborough United in which the Shaymen won 2-0. Unfortunately he soon fell out of favour, for whatever reason, and was carted off to Doncaster Rovers where he went on to be player of the season.

One more ex-pat is Grant Holt who joined the Shaymen in the autumn of 1999. He made four league appearances without scoring, but did manage to score in a the league cup match against Tranmere which was played at Bradford's Valley Parade stadium. Grant was often seen accompanying Peter Butler on his public image missions which included going into a Butchers shop and threatening the Fred Elliot wannabe.

The next three friendlies are all at home.

Rochdale have done us a favour in agreeing to make the short journey across the border hopefully bringing many fans to boost the empty purse.

Through the 90's and because of the rise of Burnley, Rochdale have become the team that Town fans love to hate.

Last season at the Shay we saw one of the only games in which we got 100% from the players. But of course we still lost. Things were not helped by the one way vision of the referee and Stoneman's ill-discipline. It was Neil Redfearn's second spell in the season as caretaker manager, and it was him who scored the opening goal for the Shaymen which gave Halifax the lead until the 81st minute. Stoneman had walked on 38 minutes and it was always going to be a struggle for Town after that.

The knife in Town's chest was turned when in the last minute Rochdale stole the lead to send their fans home happy. Bloody Lancashire ****.

On the 3rd of August, first division Sheffield United will be at the Shay. This friendly was more than likely arranged because of Chris Wilder's links with the club after playing 120 games for the Blades in his career.

The last time we played the Blades was in the 1981-82 season in which the Blades finished top by 5 points. At the Shay that season it was a match full of action.

Town took the lead but it was short lived with Sheffield coming out 5-1 winners. The away supporters that day were in the Scircoat stand in which a wall collapsed. Mind you, there was 8,077 there that day.

Our final friendly that has been arranged so far is a Leeds United xi on the 13th of August. I have never understood what these matches were the xi is used. Now what is all that about? Will it be a Leeds xi from the past 30 years? It would be good to see Jackie Charlton back kicking a ball. Or does it mean that they will be sending a Leeds United team but they will all be juniors who nobody has ever heard of?

Lets just hope that come August the 13th we will have enough players to make sure it is a xi a side and not a v a side.