Vital Football

Latest Crewe Alexandra News

Your Views - Champagne Charlie

Your Views - Champagne Charlie

I can`t imagine there have been too many comparisons made between the Alex and Manchester United down the years but I think the one I`m about to make is relevant to the Alex`s current position . I`d even go as far as to say it could give us a few answers to some of the questions that are being asked about what the future holds for Crewe Alexandra Football Club.

First of all we need to rewind almost 40 years to 1969. Lily the Pink was top of the hit parade, Richard Nixon was on the verge of becoming the 37th President of the United States and the Beatles were just a fortnight away from performing on the roof of Apple Records in London. Meanwhile, back up north, Sir Matt Busby announced that he would be stepping down as manager of Manchester United.

Busby, then a weary-looking 59 year old, had been at the helm at Old Trafford for almost a quarter of a century when he decided it was "time to make way for a younger man". The man given the unenviable task of filling Busby`s huge boots was Wilf McGuiness, a former United player and reserve team coach. After a stint as senior coach at the club, McGuiness officially took the managerial hot seat in June 1970 - by December of that year he had been sacked and was back coaching the reserves.

Granted, Steve Holland has already lasted a little longer than poor old Wilf but he must realise the difficulty he faces in establishing himself as the main man at Gresty Road. At Thursday night`s AGM, it was notable that a rather subdued gathering of 250+ supporters only came to life when a certain Dario Gradi entered the room. It`s my belief that there is one good reason for that: Dario Gradi IS Crewe Alexandra.

Now I know as well as anybody else that no one person is bigger than a club, but the impact that Dario has had in his 25 years at Crewe is nothing short of extraordinary. 1983 is a long, long time ago - I was only 4 years old myself - but I know the history of the club well enough to know that we`d never had it so good and, truthfully, may never again.

Going back to Man United for a moment if I may, they were European Champions in 1968, 6 years and 3 managers later they were relegated from the top flight for the only time in the post-war history of the club. Granted, they bounced back, finally winning the league title some 26 years after Busby had achieved it with Best, Charlton, Law and Co. That it took a club of United`s size 16 years to find the right man to replace their legendary manager doesn`t bode well for the Alex. United could, and did, attract the cream of football management but the ever looming shadow of Busby was too much for any of them to handle until Alex Ferguson arrived.

So we find ourselves with a bit of a dilemma I guess- Is Crewe Alexandra better off with or without the services of Dario Gradi MBE? Is his presence, as Busby`s was for the best part of 20 years at Old Trafford, going to stop us from making progress under a new manager? Or, as was mooted at the AGM, do we need Dario around to continue to attract a certain calibre of player to the club?

It`s a toughie, I know, but the evidence of the season so far suggests we could be better off without Dario lurking behind the scenes. To win over the Alex faithful is a difficult enough task for Holland as it is without the added pressure of a living legend sitting in the background.

So for me, it`s got to be a big thank you to the man who dared to dream that Crewe Alexandra could play in the second tier of English football and who made that dream a reality with a stylish brand of football to boot. But, like all good things, it has to come to an end. Dario`s successes are now in the past and, as hard as this might be to take, for the club to move forward his tenure at the club has to be too.

Champagne Charlie

Date:Monday March 3 2008
Time: 9:17PM


It's a good call but the man is going nowhere. Bowler was more than defensive of DG at the AGM whilst Dario almost threatened the club "If I go, I'd take the best kids from the academy with me". Unless there is a take over at the top, which there won't be because it'd require a very rich man to be interested, then DG, Bowler and the rest of their gang will be staying put. I'd personally have no problem with that if their vision for the club would change, but that's just another thing that is stuck in 1999. Sadly everything and everyone who built this club to what it is are slowly but surely taking it down again.
03/03/2008 22:22:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Crewe Alexandra Articles

Reaseheath Review 24/04/17

Steve Johnson looks at the non-first team picture from the last week.

More Reliable Than A League 2 Octopus? (24/4/17)

Time for the new special computer that crunches the numbers to determine the final League Two positions for 2016/17.

3 Scholars Offered Professional Deals At Gresty Road

Defender Ross Woodcock, midfielder Josh Lundstram and striker Lewis Reilly all have been offered deals whilst 6 more are released.

Stats: Crewe Alexandra v Leyton Orient

All the stats from Crewe Alexandra (3) vs (0) Leyton Orient, Alexandra Stadium, 15:00 22/04/17 Att: 3,745

Archived Vital Crewe Articles

Vital Crewe articles from

Site Journalists

Steve Johnson
Editor email
Josh Ravenscroft
no email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Man of the Match - Leyton Orient (H)
Suggested By: Steve Johnson

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
P Doncaster 44 25 10 9 85 33
P Plymouth 44 25 8 11 83 24
P Portsmouth 44 24 9 11 81 33
4 Luton 44 18 17 9 71 22
5 Exeter 44 20 8 16 68 18
6 Blackpool 44 17 16 11 67 22
7 Stevenage 44 20 6 18 66 7
8 Mansfield 44 17 14 13 65 5
9 Wycombe 44 18 11 15 65 4
10 Carlisle 44 16 17 11 65 -1
11 Cambridge 44 18 9 17 63 7
12 Colchester 44 17 12 15 63 6
13 Accrington 44 16 14 14 62 3
14 Grimsby 44 17 10 17 61 -2
15 Barnet 44 13 15 16 54 -6
16 Notts County 44 15 8 21 53 -22
17 Crewe 44 13 13 18 52 -11
18 Morecambe 44 14 9 21 51 -18
19 Crawley 44 13 11 20 50 -16
20 Yeovil 44 11 16 17 49 -13
21 Cheltenham 44 11 14 19 47 -16
22 Newport 44 11 12 21 45 -22
23 Hartlepool 44 10 13 21 43 -21
R Leyton Orient 44 10 6 28 36 -36
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Crewe Alexandra Results (view all)

Crewe Alexandra Fixtures (view all)

Apr 29 2017 3:00PM : Plymouth Argyle (a)
Sky Bet League Two
May 6 2017 5:30PM : Barnet (H)
Sky Bet League Two

Vital Members League Table

Vital Football Comment