Saturday, 30 October 2010
176 John Ryan
Position : Midfield (also played at left back)
Played : 1991-92 to 1993-94
Appearances : 70
Goals : 2
John was signed for a small fee from Chesterfield. He began his career at Oldham where he made a big impact in Joe Royle's first season as manager, as a raiding left back scoring 8 goals in 1982-83. This got him a £200,000 move to Newcastle where he played 22 games in their Second Division Championship winning side. The First Division proved a step too far and John's career began a slow downwards curve. After 6 games he was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday in September 1984 but only played 8 games for them. By the beginning of 1985-6 he was back at Oldham where his form was disappointing and he was eventually displaced by Andy Barlow. After only appearing once in 1986-87, he dropped into the lower divisions with Mansfield where at least he could command a regular spot though more often in midfield. He had two good seasons at Mansfield then moved down the road to Chesterfield with similar results.
John was a stocky player who mainly played on the left side of midfield. He was one of the most one-footed players we've had ; I remember my friend's dad suggesting he be fitted with a castor on his right. That was the main problem with him - he could still put over a good cross but the laborious way in which he got the ball onto his favoured foot and lack of acceleration slowed the attack down and made him largely ineffective. He was passable in his first season but after turning 30 his performances deteriorated badly and when he played full back he was a liability. I recall a classic Sutton quote after his performance away at Barnet in December 1992 "Even though he was at fault for both goals I thought he was the best player on the pitch". We lost 2-0 by the way.
The arrival of Mark Suart in 1993 made him largely surplus to requirements and after some whinging he was transferred to Bury. He never actually made a League appearance for them and joined Stalybridge Celtic in the summer of 1994. He later played for Radcliffe Borough. He was last heard of doing a stretch in Walton jail in 2005 but I don't know what the offence was.