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Author Topic: Great Scapecoats of Our Time  (Read 589 times)

martin@

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Great Scapecoats of Our Time
« on: December 07, 2019, 09:36:17 PM »
John Dunn Life wasn’t always easy for John Dunn. A promising young ‘keeper at Chelsea, he found his way barred by one Peter Bonetti, chiefly remembered for his performance against West Germany in the 1970 World Cup but also a fine club custodian who lived up to his nickname of ‘The Cat’. With Bonetti’s fitness record an admirable one, it was likely that Dunn would have to move if first-team football was the aim. So it proved. Chelsea’s then-manager Tommy Docherty sold him to fourth division Torquay United where he might have been expected to drift off the football map. Torquay, though, were doing well under Frank O’Farrell, a promising acolyte of the old West Ham school of football which had already produced one top scholar in Malcolm Allison. O’Farrell took his side to promotion and this progress did not go unnoticed. Tommy Cummings, attempting to arrest the long slide at Villa Park, knew he had no realistic deputy for the heroic Colin Withers so paid a small fee to secure Dunn’s signature. Big Colin remained the first choice but Dunn stepped in for the odd game and did well enough. The following season, 1968-69, saw any progress achieved the previous year undone as Villa struggled from the off. With few goals scored, plus an ineffective and leaky defence, Withers did as he had done for the previous few years and performed minor miracles in an unavailing attempt to help the team out of trouble. After a final, crushing defeat at St. Andrews he was left out for the final time and Dunn was given the chance to stamp the place as his own. No great improvement was evident; as the same poor side was in front of him it was hard to see how things could change. Nevertheless, he did well enough. Dunn was solidity personified; there were few spectacular moments and even fewer errors. He was courageous and through his first season Villa never conceded more than one goal in a home fixture.

 

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