Saturday, 15 January 2011
257 Graeme Atkinson
Position : Winger
Played : 1997-98 ( on loan from Preston ) ; 1999-2000 to 2001-02
Appearances : ( first spell) 6 ; (second spell) 51
Goals : (first spell) 0 ; (second spell) 5
Graeme arrived on loan from Preston in December 1997 as Barrow experimented with a wing-back formation. He started out at Hull making 149 appearances and scoring 23 goals before an £80,000 move to Preston in October 1994. He played in their title-winning side of 1995-96 , much of it in a central midfield role. However he found games harder to come by in the Second Division and David Moyes told him he wouldn't have a regular place in his side.
Graeme was only with us for a month first time round. He wasn't great defensively but put some very good crosses over. He then returned to Preston and went out on loan to Brighton in March. He signed for them on month to month terms upon his release in the summer of 1998 but was let go in October after 7 appearances. He had a brief stay at Scunthorpe featuring once as a substitute then signed for bottom of the table Scarborough making 16 appearances and scoring once before Jimmy Glass's famous goal put them out of the League.
Steve Parkin rescued him by making him one of his first signings as the new Dale boss. He acquired the nickname "Lazarus" for his survival as a League player. He scored on his debut away at Cheltenham which leads into the one thing that everyone remembers about him ; he never scored at Spotland. He seemed to need the extra space he got in away games ; tightly marked he couldn't wriggle free. His control and touch were well above Third Division standard but he was a bit soft and avoided challenges. His best moment was the late winner at Rotherham in September 1999 a classic breakaway goal after we'd been reduced to 10 men.
Unfortunately Graeme picked up a serious injury in April and missed the whole of the 2000-01 season He made 11 appearances in 2001-02 but was more timid than ever and completely ineffective. I was astonished that John Hollins thought he was worth another contract and have wondered whether that influenced the Board to sack Hollins in the same way that the decisions on Hall and Thompstone doomed Docherty. The offer was withdrawn before Graeme could sign it and he went into non-league with Lancaster City while working for Leyland Trucks.
He currently works as a coach at Myerscough College;s football centre of excellence and is also chief scout for Barrow FC. He still turns out for his former clubs in charity matches.
You know who's coming next don't you ...?