Date: 22nd October 2012 at 9:52am
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It has been just under 11 months since Stalybridge had knocked a Jim Gannon side out of the FA Trophy, beating them 2-1 at the Bridge in the first round replay.

Gannon was still to pick up his first win, with County really struggling and looking to be one of the main candidates for relegation.

Fast forward 11 months and a strong Stockport team sent Stalybridge out in a result that was never really in doubt once County had got going.

The team that horrific night at Celtic featured just one face that started on Saturday, which was the full back Andy Halls. He played as a wing-back that night as Gannon was tinkering with a formation, struggling to find his strongest team amongst a squad of ‘social-loafers`.

It was a case of who should be playing because they are all so poor, rather than who should be playing based on performance and who deserved it.

Matt Glennon was never a Jim Gannon man, the 34 year old was something that Gannon rarely had in his teams he had built. Gannon, preferring the young, hungry players only gave Glennon only four more games after that night at Stalybridge.

The defence, featured O`Donnell, Piergianni and Blackburn playing as a back three. It would be cruel to dispute that two of those players didn`t give their all. O`Donnell, who is still on the books at County but suffering with injury problems, is into his third season at County and has often put his body on the line for the cause. Piergianni was a talented Footballer and someone who County fans had grown a liking too, unfortunately him and County could not agree terms and Piergianni is now playing in the Blue Square regional divisions. The less said about the abilities of Chris Blackburn the better.

Joe Edwards, on loan from Bristol City, wasn`t too bad and he was a Gannon player, but as with loan players you only get so much and he didn`t have much longer at Edgeley Park.

Ryan McCann, Jon Nolan, Sean McConville and Danny Rowe made up the midfield four. Hardly the hard working combination Gannon favours and only Nolan remains at County, currently finding himself out of favour after a red card earlier in the season.

Tom Elliott was the lone front man, to be fair to him he because a ‘Gannon man` before he stabbed County in the back – leaving after months of hard work Gannon had put into making Elliott a good footballer he decided to jump ship to Cambridge in the summer.

The squad Gannon has built in just under a year is remarkable. When you think back to that night at Stalybridge, I can remember it very clearly in the mind, it was a horrible, cold night at a horrible little ground. Although it was ‘only` the FA Trophy, it still meant a lot to the pride of the County fans, so long a Football League club, getting knocked out by a club with a Stockport postcode that have never been mentioned in the same breath as County.
You look at the midfield three, Paul Turnbull, Matty Mainwairing and Alex Kenyon. The quality, work level and passion for the club in those three is uncomparable to the four who featured last year. They cover so much more ground than those four ever would and are the stereotypical Jim Gannon players.

Craig Hobson, who ironically featured for Stalybridge, is now leading the County line. He lost his partner in Danny Hattersley early on Saturday but that didn`t matter as he terrorised the Celtic defence.

Danny Whitehead, playing behind the front two, has been nothing short of a revelation. The youngster can pick the ball up anywhere on the pitch and is comfortable taking players on and is the creative spark that Gannon often has in the team.

The back four is made up Andy Halls, James Tunnicliffe, Jordan Fagbola and Sean Newton. Again it is the full back Newton who Gannon craves in his team. The ability to get up and down and support the attack is crucial, when you compare him to Euan Holden it is like comparing a Ferrari to a Nissan Micra.

Two goalkeepers, Ian Ormson and Lewis King are, again, everything Gannon wants. Young players who want to learn, and want to improve. They bounce off each other and the competition is high, both know they will get chances, but if they make mistakes then the other will be back in goals. On Saturday Ormson made a tremendous save from a Celtic penalty. The first person over to him when the half-time whistle blew moments later was Lewis King to congratulate him.

The competition for spots is healthy, you look on the bench on Saturday and you have Sam Sheridan, Danny Rowe, Tom Collins, Joe Connor to name just four. Players who can come on the pitch and make a real difference.

By no means are County the finished article, one thing you learn from watching a Jim Gannon side is that nobody is secure a spot – everybody can be improved upon and everybody can be replaced.

But when you compare the teams 12 months down the line it makes you feel so much better, County are slowing rebuilding to be back where we belong. The Football League.

 

4 Replies to “Gannon revolution 12 months on”

  • Good info Jack, as you say no one is secure with JG but that makes it so much healthier for the craving of team places. County seem far more hungry now, they want to wear the shirt and those who don’t well, ask any of the departed social loafers. Power to Jimbo’s elbow he now has the nucleus of a young hungry team.

  • PS, that picture at the top of the article, has someone nicked Jimbo’s half time pie or is he weighing up a social loafer?. Have we got a Jimbo that smiles?

  • LOL Vicman! Caption competition time! “Social Loafers” – my goodness we have come a long way already. In fact, I would change ‘slowly rebuilding’ to ‘rebuilding at speed’. AS LONG AS WE ARE OK OFF THE PITCH!

  • good read and good to know we have people to put together good articles on hols in lanzarote is it me but counties website pants?tried to get a report but its useless to get around and has no info so keep it up guys! not big on technology out here managed this from my kindle

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