This issue I’m going to trawl my thoughts on memorable (to me) strikers who wore a Tigers shirt during the not-so-good 90s, a decade of turmoil, terrible owners and Terry Dolan.
Johnny Eyre we nicked from Scunny, to bring him home and although not as prolific for us as he had been for the Iron, he did get some important goals for the Tigers in the very late 90’s early 2000s including the winner in the home play-off semi versus Orient, nippy and small he was a great foil for the likes of big Kevin Francis. Was a favourite of mine because we got him from Scunny and they hated it so he automatically became a favourite because I hate Scunny for some reason.
To be honest we weren’t blessed with great strikers around this time, I liked Andy Saville because he was a local lad like Eyre. Probably though the most memorable name that springs to mind and mainly for one crazy, crazy game in the mid 90s has to be Duane Darby. November 1996 freezing cold night first round replay in the FA cup to non league Whitby who had been a tad unlucky not to beat us 10 days earlier at the ‘Theatre of Chips’ (McCain stadium, Scarborough), we drew that 0-0.
Dolan was about has popular as an outbreak of Chlamydia in a convent and would’ve been lynched and paraded down Anlaby Road had we lost the replay, but up stepped Darby to drag us out the shit at the death to win it in extra time.
SIX goals he got in the match including a last minute equaliser to make it 4-4 and take it to extra time, where Whitby hit the wall and we got through, only to be hammered 5-1 by Crewe in the 2nd round. On any other day a non league player scoring a hat trick against a league club would’ve been remembered forever but Pitman (I think he was called) was cruelly over shadowed by ‘Deadly Darby’s double treble’!!
Though that was his most famous moment, Darby was a decent striker in and around the lower leagues and always put 100% in and in those days that was all we could ask for really.
Of course there was Deano in the mid 90s before we had another HMRC bill to pay so he was sold as was another decent striker before him. Andy Payton was another one flogged to the ‘glamourous’ Middlesborough (a place I wouldn’t even send my mother-in-law), Boro were the beneficiaries of another forced sale or relegation fire sale.
Andy had pace, a lovely hair cut and an eye for goal. He got about 50-60 goals for us in about six seasons before emigrating to the kingdom of Darkness before going to jock land and back to Barnsley, with over 200 career goals to his credit. Unlike Deano, Payton never did come back to the ‘Ark or the KC. Interestingly Andy seems to have passed his goal scoring genes onto one of his off spring, his daughter, Georgia recently scored all 5 goals for Burnley Ladies first team in a 5-0 win. Andy is now 1st team coach at Northwich Victoria.
Another local lad this time from the mid 80s who was never going to be the best but he was one of ours was Andy Flounders, who scored a few that helped us along the way, another who gave his all to the cause and like so many ex Tigers found his way back to North Ferriby United after frequenting such glamourous places as Scunthorpe and Rochdale along his career path, players like Darren France, Deano and Ferriby Legend Gary Bradshaw did much the same to a greater or lesser degree.