1980-1997: Robinson the Saviour - Boring, Boring Dolan
Feature by Historian
Updated Wednesday, 2nd January 2002
Things were to get worse rather than better, for three seasons later, in 1980/81, they were to be relegated again, this time to Division Four for the first time in their history.
To add insult to injury, the spectre of financial hardship was also coming to the surface yet again. In February 1982 the club was placed in administration. Harold Needler had died some years before and whilst his son had taken over the mantle of his father and continued to underwrite the vast bulk of the Club's finances, he did not appear to have his father's passion for the club. His decision, taken on the advice of his own financial advisers, meant the possibility of bankruptcy and extinction was rapidly turning into a reality.
The following two seasons saw the Tigers reside in the lower half of the table. The departure of Horton was followed by a succession of managers who failed to provide the club with the desperately needed place in the top flight of English football. A second spell as manager for Colin Appleton was short lived and unsuccessful, winning only one game (and that in a Football League Cup-tie) in his fifteen-match reign. When Robinson announced his own departure as Chairman, Appleton was swiftly replaced by the new Chairman, Richard Chetham, who then appointed Stan Ternent, a man with no previous managerial experience to revive the club's fortunes. This proved to be unsuccessful and Ternent's dismissal in January 1991 saw the appointment of Terry Dolan.