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My Career At Blackpool: Derek Spence

20 January 2015

Forward Looks Back On Time In Tangerine

In 1976 Derek Spence moved to Blackpool from Bury to start the first of two stints in tangerine, either side of a season in Greece with Olympiakos. Here he reflects on his time at Bloomfield Road.

What can you remember about your debut?

It was against Nottingham Forest. I signed for Blackpool on the Thursday after scoring the equaliser against Hull for Bury on the Wednesday. I trained with the lads on the Friday and made my debut against Forest, who were a top team and went up that year and then went on to win the European Cup. We beat them 1-0 and I remember thinking that I’d joined a half-decent team. 

What would you say your favourite goal for the club was?

My favourite goal for Blackpool was probably the first one that I scored, away at Cardiff City in the last minute. We were 2-1 down and I did a Kenny Dalglish, I dinked the ball over the keeper with my left foot.

In my second time round I was under a bit of pressure for my place because I hadn’t scored in a few games and I went on to score a second-half hat-trick against Carlisle. That was quite good.

If you could re-live one game from your career in tangerine, which one would you choose?

I think when we beat Ipswich 2-0 here at Bloomfield Road. Ipswich were a top team in the top-flight and everybody played fantastic that night. It was a brilliant game.

In terms of dressing room banter, what was the best prank you witnessed?

I couldn’t describe many of the pranks going on in them days. You used to find all sorts of stuff in your bag when you got home, and all sorts of stuff went missing as well. Steve Harrison was well known for some of the things that he used to do.

On reflection, what achievement are you most proud of?

I was just delighted to have had a career that spanned almost 15 years as a player, being able to hold down a place, most of the time, at all of my clubs. I’m quite proud of that. 

TEAM-MATES…

Best player you played with…

That is a real tough one. There wasn’t many better than Paul Hart at centre-back, he was good. Mickey Walsh was a terrific striker, Bob Hatton was a real goalscorer, and I was fortunate enough to come along just when Alan Suddick was finishing. Suddick was wonderful.  

Worst trainer…

Probably me. I was a moaner, I always wanted to play five-aside.

Unsung hero…

Dave Tong was a fantastic player for Blackpool, Billy Ronson was a good little player and Alan Ainscow probably didn’t get the acclaim he deserved at Blackpool because he’d come through the ranks. 

The Joker…

Steve Harrison, without a doubt. Paul Hart was his sidekick. They used to put a show on and it was always very funny.

Who did you see as most likely to become a manager in future?

Paul Hart, who went on to be a manager, I always thought would. I thought Peter Suddaby may have gone on to manage but he went to Tottenham as academy director. Steve Harrison always had plenty of confidence so it didn’t surprise me to see him as a coach. Defenders make better managers than forwards.

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