Bake`s contribution should never be underestimated
Over the past 25 plus years, Dario Gradi has always received plaudits for the miraculous upturn in fortune at Crewe Alexandra. Beside him though, was always his faithful assistant Neil Baker.
Bakes has been a regular talent spotter at the Alex as well as assistant manager, bringing to Crewe the likes of Steve Jones, Luke Varney, Carl Martin and Justin Cochrane.
It was also made known by Robbie Savage on his talk show yesterday his respect for the assistant manager. Savage told BBC radio 5 Live: " Baker used to tell me every week what a good player I was even when others doubted me".
He has also been credited for helping Dean Ashton`s football career along. After a poor performance from Deano, baker spoke with the forward and from that day forward the Alex faithful saw a different player. The rest is history….
Baker first came to Crewe from Staffordshire side Leek Town where he held the position as manager. Baker and Dario gradually built the Alex into a Championship side before a disappointing drop in recent years.
For a short time (2009-2011) he was dropped to the role of chief scout by previous boss Gudjon Thordarson. As soon as Dario arrived back in the hot seat he was soon reinstated to a more senior capacity. At this time he was also director of football at previous club Leek Town.
Following the standing down of Dario, he was brought back into the first team fold as Assistant manager, leaving his role as Leek Town director of football. Since taking over from Dario, the two have been a revelation.
It`s not just his football knowhow that makes him an Alex legend; it`s also his passion for the club. Despite being a Stokie and previously/still a Stoke fan. "Bakes" has always been highly entertaining.
Always animated on the touchline and recognisable by his hoarse voice, in recent weeks he`s been on stage singing Alex songs at the clubs end of season party and even running on the pitch after the Alex`s late equaliser against Torquay.
Bakes, thanks for being a true Alex legend