Swanny: Terry Dolan and Sergeant Major

Swanny - Confessions of a Lower-League Legend
Swanny - Confessions of a Lower-League Legend
I told him I still wanted to get away and Terry assured me that if the right offer came along he wouldn't stand in my way. He would have had two reasons for that. First, Andy Payton and I were knocking in the goals and were the club's most saleable assets. If Terry needed money to re-build, he'd have to sell one or both of us. We both left before the end of the year.

Second, I was also a big character in the dressing room and he was probably a bit worried about how I would react if Hull didn't agree to let me go. I've always tended to kick off a bit if I don't get what I want and he would have realised that I could have been a problem for him.

All in all, though, I had a lot of time for Terry. I still do. He's a genuine bloke and I don't have a bad word to say about him. He respected that I wanted to go on and improve myself and I respected him fro the way he came into a struggling club. He was straight and honest with everyone from the start. Sadly for him, he'll always be remembered by Hull fans as the man who took the club down twice - from Division Two in 1991 and then into the bottom division 6 years later.

He still gets flak from the fans. I don't know enough about 1997 to say what went wrong and why, but he never really had a chance in 1991. We were rock bottom after 4 straight defeats when he took over and while we managed an unbeaten run of 6 games in March, we still needed a miracle. Struggling clubs don't get many of those.

For me, Terry's only failing was his choice of No.2, a fella called Jeff Lee. He was the typical 'sergeant major' type of coach. I thought he had a limited knowledge of the game and made up for it by making a lot of noise. He seemed more interested in abusing and bollocking players than in encouraging them or bringing in new ideas on the training ground.

I suppose Terry saw him as a complete opposite to himself. Terry was quiet, thoughtful and rarely handed out a major bollocking. He left that to Lee, who ended up upsetting a lot of the senior players and losing their respect. In Hull's situation, that was the last thing Terry needed.



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Text © Peter Swan & Andrew Collomosse 2008. Published by John Blake Publishing Ltd. RRP £17.99.