The Crewe Alexandra Supporters Group ‘The Railwaymen’ are proud to launch a new initiative called The Former Player Association.
The Aims and objectives of the association are
- To celebrate Ex-Players achievements and help keep alive the memories each player contributed to the history of Crewe Alexandra Football Club.
- To help promote Crewe Alexandra Football Club and develop links with the business community and the CAFC fan base
We are proud to announce that former Crewe Alexandra star Gareth Whalley has agreed to become the president of the group.
Gareth fitted every possible criteria making 179 appearances for The Alex after graduating through the clubs academy and also represented the club at Wembley on two occasions.
Gareth said It’s a privilege to be asked to represent the Ex-Players Association. I am excited to, hopefully, bring together the many talented ex-players that have passed through Gresty Road. I really look forward to seeing you all soon.
Gareth Whalley is the President of the Crewe Alexandra Former Players Association. A popular midfielder, he enjoyed two spells with The Railwaymen, making 179 appearances in his first period at the club, between 1992-1998 and scoring nine goals.
Whalley left Gresty Road for Bradford City in 1998 for £600,000, going on to make 103 appearances for The Bantams, 35 of which were in the Premier League.
Gareth briefly returned to Crewe on loan in 2002, making a further 7 appearances for The Alex.
Whalley also represented Cardiff City, Wigan Athletic, Swindon Town and Altrincham throughout a 15-year playing career, as well as the Republic of Ireland B team at international level.
Whalley was included in a number of Republic of Ireland senior squads under Mick McCarthy’s stewardship and was incredibly unlucky never to have won a full cap.
Gareth was appointed as an assistant coach for Manchester City under-18 team in July 2014.
Dean Ashton made over 240 appearances as a forward in the Football League and Premier League for Crewe Alexandra, Norwich City and West Ham United, and was capped by England. He was highly praised as a talented centre forward, but had a career frustrated by injury. He retired on 11 December 2009, aged 26, after failing to recover from a long-term ankle injury sustained during international duty with England.
Born in Swindon, Wiltshire, and raised in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, Ashton spent his youth career playing at both Stoke City and Crewe Alexandra. He was a product of Crewe’s renowned youth development policy under manager Dario Gradi.
He signed scholarship forms as a 16-year-old in 2000 before making his first-team debut on 28 October as an 83rd-minute substitute in Crewe’s 1–0 win at Gillingham and became one of the youngest players to represent the club. He waited three months for his second appearance, again as substitute, in a 3–1 victory over Grimsby Town, and his first goal for the Railwaymen was in their 4–2 victory against Burnley.
His first start arrived in an FA Cup clash against Cardiff City in January 2001. He finished his first season at the club with eight goals, including crucial ones against Bolton Wanderers, Portsmouth, Gillingham and Wimbledon towards the end of the campaign as Crewe secured their First Division status.
His second season at the club was disrupted by injury and a temporary loss of form, but in spite of this he scored ten times and began to win international honours with England at under-16, under-17, under-18 and under-19 level. Ashton scored 16 more times in the 2002–03 season as the club bounced back to the First Division after just one season in the Second Division. Ashton had a number of notable displays for Crewe, one of which was in the 4–0 win against Luton Town, where he scored two goals and set up David Vaughan’s goal. Crewe manager Dario Gradi said: “These have been his best performances and people are right to say he has a bright future in the game.”
In the 2003–04 season, he scored 19 league goals in the First Division, including his first Football League hat-trick in a 3–2 win at the JJB Stadium against Wigan Athletic on 6 March 2004 – a match in which he converted two penalties. During the season, Ashton was reportedly linked to a number of clubs, Wolves were among the clubs interested in signing the striker at the time, however Dario Gradi regarded all the rumours as just speculation.
Having previously played for England at Under-19 level, he stepped up to the under-21 team that season, scoring against the Netherlands and Sweden.
Ashton scored 18 times for Crewe in the 2004–05 season prior to becoming Norwich City’s record signing at £3 million.
After retiring from football, Ashton has worked primarily as a commentator and pundit for televised football matches.
Ashley Ward was a centre forward who made 61 appearances for Crewe Alexandra between 1992-1994, scoring 25 goals before moving to Norwich City.
Before joining The Railwaymen, Ashley had a spell with Manchester United in the 1986–87 season, making 16 appearances for the club’s Junior B team. He then played for Cheadle Town Youth, and chose to become an apprentice at Manchester City above an offer from Blackburn Rovers.
He played for at least a dozen different clubs in a long career, including: Norwich City, Derby County, Barnsley and Blackburn Rovers and Bradford City, after he’d made his name at The Alex.
Ward contributed to Derby’s 1996-97 Premier League campaign, scoring a late winner against Chelsea and one of the goals as Derby memorably beat Manchester United 3-2 at Old Trafford.
Barnsley signed Ward from Derby in September 1997, shortly after their promotion to the Premier League. Throughout their debut season in the Premier League he scored some crucial and memorable goals including the only goal in 1-0 wins against Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield and Villa Park respectively. However, he was unable to prevent Barnsley’s relegation at the end of that season.
Ward retired in 2005 and now runs a number of businesses with his wife, including:
• A commercial property business.
• Operating Abafields, a nursing home in Bolton bought for development but now operating under a manager
• Managing a £15million luxury property development company Bilton Ward Developments. Formed in 2002 the company specialises in the building and renovation of luxury homes, many for footballers including Kevin Campbell and Wayne Rooney. Interior design is often done by former Changing Rooms designer Laura McCree.
Stephen Foster was a ball playing centre half who made 242 appearances for Crewe Alexandra between 1998 and 2006, scoring 18 goals.
Born in Warrington, Cheshire, Steve Foster signed for The Alex as a trainee in August 1997 and made his debut later that month in a 1–0 loss to Bury.
After Crewe’s relegation from The Championship in the 2005–06 season, Foster, who was out of contract, decided to turn down a new offer by Crewe in favour of joining Championship side Burnley on a free transfer.
Foster made 20 appearances for Burnley before a £100,000 move to Barnsley, where he went on to become a firm fan’s favourite, making 210 appearances, and scoring 10 goals.
A move to Tranmere followed in 2013 where Steve made 4 appearances before mutually terminating his contract at Prenton Park.
Born in Crewe, Cheshire, Hulse began his career at Crewe Alexandra, having been part of the club’s youth system since he was nine years old. A sudden spurt in height during his late teens left Hulse with a serious back injury, side-lining him for 12 months.
When Rob returned to fitness, he was given a two-month loan to then-Northern Premier League side Hyde United, where he scored 9 goals in 11 appearances during the 1999–2000 season. The successful loan spell led to Hulse’s first team debut for Crewe, in their 1–0 win over Norwich City. It took Hulse a further three appearances to score his first goal for the club, which was in the club’s 2–0 away win over Barnsley.
Hulse quickly became a fans’ favourite at Crewe, thanks to his high work-rate and finishing the 2000–01 and 2001–02 seasons as the club’s top goal scorer with 11 and 12 goals respectively. The club were relegated at the end of the 2001–02 season, but Hulse, along with Dean Ashton and Rodney Jack, proved to be too much for fellow Division Two defences to handle in 2002–03. Hulse finished as the club’s top goal scorer for the third season in succession, scoring 23 goals. His performances during the season earned him the club’s Player of the Year award, as well as appearing in the PFA Division Two Team of the Year.
Despite Crewe’s promotion back to Division One, Hulse rejected a new contract and manager Dario Gradi decided to sell him instead of letting him go on a Bosman. A whole host of clubs were interested in Hulse. Fellow promoted club Cardiff City were close to signing Hulse for a fee believed to be in a region of £750,000, but Hulse did not wish to sign for the Blue Birds.
It was West Bromwich Albion that would secure the signing of Hulse for a fee of £750,000. He also went on to play for Leeds United, Sheffield United, Derby County, Queens Park Rangers, Charlton Athletic and Millwall. Amassing 123 career goals in 395 games. Hulse scored a total of 8 Premier League goals in 36 appearances for WBA, Sheffield Utd and Queens Park Rangers.
Rob’s Crewe record saw him score 51 goals in 131 appearances for his hometown club.
Macauley played 246 league games for Crewe, plus 16 in the Football League Cup and 20 in the FA Cup, plus 22 other assorted appearances. He is credited with having played an important role in the club’s promotion to the First Division of the Nationwide League in 1997, and subsequent successful battles to stay in the division.
His partners in defence included Ashley Westwood, later of Sheffield Wednesday, and Dave Walton, later of Derby County. He also played alongside future Premiership players such as Danny Murphy, Neil Lennon, Rob Hulse and Dean Ashton. Although a centre half, he did play a number of games as a forward during a striking injury crisis at the Alex during the mid-90s.
During his spell at Crewe, the club reached the 1992-93 play-off final against York, only to lose on penalties, before being promoted the following season. As mentioned above, they then rose into what is now the Football League Championship following victory at Wembley against Brentford on 25 May 1997.
In the summer of 2002 after an injury-hit final season during which he was loaned to neighbours Macclesfield Town, Macauley joined Rochdale but only made six league appearances. During this time, he was two further loan spells at Macclesfield before joining them on a permanent basis.
He eventually retired from League football at the end of the 2003-04 season having had a joint testimonial with fellow former Alex defender Shaun Smith at Crewe’s Alexandra Stadium in 2003 (the game was held over from the previous year). The two players’ careers had become linked through their many seasons together in Crewe’s defence after both joining during early 1992.
After leaving Macclesfield in 2003-04, he went on to play for semi-professional Lancashire club Bamber Bridge in the Northern Premier League.
Shaun Smith spent the majority of his career at Crewe Alexandra, playing in 399 League games and more than 400 overall.
The highlight of Smith’s career came when he scored the winner for Crewe Alexandra in their 1-0 victory over Brentford in the 1997 Division Two play-off final. This took Crewe into the second tier of English football for the first time in around a century. He had also played in the 1993 Third division final at Wembley, which Crewe lost on penalties to York City.
During the first division era Smith played mostly at left back for Crewe and was popular with the supporters, especially because of his legendary goal from the halfway line away at Brentford. He won the supporter’s player of the year award in 2000-01.
Smith eventually left Crewe in the summer of 2002 to join Hull City, and a year later had two joint testimonial games (alongside fellow player Steve Macauley) at Crewe’s Alexandra Stadium against Merseyside clubs Liverpool and Everton.
In June 2010, Artell signed a two-year contract with Crewe Alexandra after joining on a free transfer. He said that the chance to work closely with manager Dario Gradi excited him, and that Gradi’s status as a renowned coach convinced him to join the club. Artell was immediately appointed as co-captain, alongside Lee Bell and Ashley Westwood.
Artell captained The Railwaymen” to victory over Cheltenham Town in the 2011-2012 League 2 play-off final at Wembley. Despite this he was released from the club just five days later.
In July 2014 he became Academy operations manager at former club Crewe Alexandra whilst still playing for Bala Town.
On 8 January 2017, Artell was appointed as Crewe Alexandra’s first team manager, replacing Steve Davis. One of his first moves was to appoint another ex-Crewe player and former Bala Town teammate Kenny Lunt as assistant manager.
Lee began his career with Ashton United, before signing for Crewe Alexandra of the Football League. He made his Crewe debut against Wycombe Wanderers on the opening day of the 1995–96 season, with his debut goal following 11 days later in a League Cup match against Darlington.
He played over 150 senior games for The Alex, including winning promotion in the Division 2 play-off final at Wembley against Brentford in 1997 before moving to Bury on a free transfer in July 2000. He played 175 senior games for Bury before leaving the club in March 2006.
Unsworth later played for Leigh Genesis, from where he was signed by Radcliffe Borough in 2009. He made 11 appearances for Radcliffe in the 2009-10 season before leaving the club.
Terry Conroy is an Irish former professional footballer. A winger and forward, he scored 74 goals in 372 league and cup appearances in a 14-year career in the Football League from 1967 to 1981. He also scored two goals and won 26 caps for the Republic of Ireland in a seven-year international career from 1969 to 1976.
Terry signed with Crewe Alexandra in 1980 in a move that reunited him with Tony Waddington, his former manager at Stoke City. Crewe were bottom of the Fourth Division when Conroy arrived, and though they only improved by one place by the end of the 1979–80 season, Crewe were re-elected to the Football League. He went on to play 30 games in midfield in the 1980–81 campaign as The Railwaymen improved to finish in 18th position.
Wayne Goodison (born 23 September 1964) is an English former professional footballer who made over 200 appearances in the Football League, as a right back. He is currently joint manager at North West Counties Premier Division side 1874 Northwich, having previously been the interim manager of Ramsbottom United.
Born in Wakefield, Goodison made 209 appearances in the Football League for Barnsley, Crewe Alexandra and Rochdale, before playing non-league football for Hyde United.
Goodison made 94 appearances for The Alex from 1986-1991, scoring one goal.
Steve Jones is a Northern Irish footballer who plays for Northern Premier League Premier Division side Nantwich Town. He has been capped 29 times by Northern Ireland and played for 18 clubs in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Jones made his debut for Crewe in the league game against Manchester City on 25 August 2001. He replaced Rodney Jack in the 82nd minute of the 5–2 defeat at Maine Road. On 27 October, he made his first start for the club in the 1–0 defeat by Sheffield United at Brammall Lane. Despite being a regular goal scorer in the reserves, Jones found first-team opportunities scarce in his first season at Crewe, so it was decided he would join Third Division side Rochdale on a month’s loan in February 2002. He returned from his loan in April and featured in two of Crewe’s remaining games in the First Division, coming on as a substitute in the away defeats to Gillingham and Wimbledon.
Following Crewe’s relegation to the Second Division, Jones started to feature in the first-team more prominently at the start of the 2002–03 season. He made his first appearance of the season on 13 August, replacing Dave Brammer in the 60th minute of the 3–0 defeat by Notts County at Gresty Road. Jones scored his first goals for Crewe in the league match against Queens Park Rangers, he netted both goals in the 2–0 win on 5 October. He followed that up by scoring the third goal in the 4–1 win at Stockport County a week later. He scored a brace against Colchester United in January 2003 and another against Northampton Town in February, these went towards the 11 goals in all competitions he scored that helped The Railwaymen to a second-place finish in the Second Division, gaining them promotion back to the First Division.
Prior to the 2003–04 season, Jones signed a new three-year contract with the club that would take him through to the end of the 2005–06 season. He started in Crewe’s first game back in the First Division on 9 August, playing the full 90 minutes in the 3–1 defeat against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. Three days later, he scored his first goal of the season in the 2–0 League Cup first round win against Wrexham. A brace against West Ham United on 17 March 2004 took Jones’ tally for the season to 16, this coupled with the 20 goals scored by strike partner Dean Ashton helped Crewe to an 18th-place finish in the league. His efforts throughout the season earned him the Supporters Player of the Year award.
Jones scored on his first start of the 2004–05 season on 24 August, scoring two first half goals in the 4–1 League Cup first round win against Blackpool. Four days later, he helped Crewe to their first league win of the season, scoring two goals in the 4–2 win against Derby County at Pride Park. On 26 October, he started against Manchester United in the League Cup third round, playing 68 minutes of the 3–0 defeat at Gresty Road. On 8 May 2005, Jones scored the winning goal in the 2–1 league win against Coventry City, the goal gave The Alex their first win in 19 games and saved the club from relegation on the final day of the season.
At the beginning of the 2005–06 season, Jones indicated to Crewe manager Dario Gradi that he wanted to leave at the end of the season when his contract expired. In October, Preston North End manager Billy Davies declared his interest in bringing Jones to Deepdale, however Crewe were not interested in the player part-exchange offer that was being tabled. Queens Park Rangers took an interest in signing Jones in January 2006; however, they were unable to meet the club’s valuation of £300,000 for him.
Despite the uncertainty about his future, Jones was still a regular in the team throughout the season and managed to score 5 goals overall, including a goal in his final appearance against Millwall on 30 April.
Crewe were relegated at the end of the season, and despite a very good contract being offered, Jones confirmed his decision to leave. He wanted to stay in the Championship and thought he could make more money elsewhere. Overall Jones made 173 appearances for Crewe and scored 45 goals.
Burnley announced on 3 May 2006 that Jones would join the club on a Bosman signing, with the move being completed on 1 July. He signed a three-year deal with the Championship side.
Jones made his re-debut for Crewe on 29 March 2008, playing 85 minutes in the 2–1 defeat by Luton Town at Kenilworth Road after re-joining on loan from Burnley. Over the next month, he made two substitute appearances against Cheltenham Town and Bournemouth respectively, before he signed off his second spell at The Railwaymen with a goal in the 4–1 defeat by Oldham Athletic on 3 May.
Born in Stafford, Staffordshire, Walker attended Wolgarston High School in Penkridge, playing for Penkridge Juniors until signing for Crewe Alexandra at age fourteen. After working his way through the ranks to the first team, he made over 100 appearances for The Railwaymen in seven years, making his debut in November 2000 as a 20-year-old. Before making his professional bow, he had been sent out on loan to local non-league side Northwich Victoria to gain first team experience, making ten appearances at the Drill Field during a six-month loan during the 1999–2000 season.
The following season, he made only a handful of appearances for Crewe, and was farmed out on loan to Southern League Halesowen Town for a month in March 2001 for more first team games.
The 2001–02 season saw Walker make only one substitute appearance for Crewe, though he was still offered a new two-year deal. The following season saw him become a virtual ever-present at Gresty Road as the club won promotion from the Second Division in 2002–03. He agreed a new three-year deal in June 2003, keeping him at Crewe until the summer of 2006.
The next two years saw Walker continue to play regular football. He was not offered a new contract by Crewe at the end of the 2005–06 season, and instead joined near neighbours Port Vale on a free transfer in June 2006.
Donaldson’s move to League One club Crewe Alexandra was completed on 18 August 2008 on a three-year contract for an undisclosed six-figure fee from Hibernian. The contract could not be signed until international clearance was given from the Scottish Football Association, which was received on 22 August 2008.
He made his debut as an 81st-minute substitute in a 2–1 home victory against Walsall on 23 August 2008. Donaldson’s former club York tried to re-sign him on loan in October 2008 but were told to make an inquiry four weeks later as he was injured. Despite this, he came on as a substitute in Crewe’s 3–0 away defeat to Scunthorpe on 11 October 2008, which was followed a week later by his first start in a 2–2 home draw with Milton Keynes Dons. He scored his first Crewe goals against Huddersfield Town on 1 November 2008 in a match that eventually finished as a 3–2 away defeat. He displayed the ability of long throw-ins, which he initially developed while in the Hull youth team, on several occasions, including a 3–2 home victory over Scunthorpe on 17 January 2009, a match in which he also scored. He scored three goals in four matches later in the season, with the final goal, against Carlisle United, proving to be his last of 2008–09. Donaldson finished the season with 43 appearances and 7 goals.
He broke his fibula during August 2009, which resulted in him being ruled out of playing for eight weeks. He finished 2009–10 with 39 appearances and 13 goals. His first appearance of 2010–11 came in the opening match, a 1–0 home defeat to Hereford on 7 August 2010, in which he missed an early opportunity to score, shooting wide of the goal having been one-on-one with goalkeeper Adam Bartlett. His first goals of the season came after scoring twice in a 7–0 home victory over Barnet on 21 August 2010, the first a shot into the bottom left of the goal and the second a close-range header. He finished the season with 48 appearances and 29 goals, including 28 goals in the League Two, making him the division’s top scorer
Chris Lightfoot is an English former professional footballer who played in the Football League for four clubs. He later managed in non-league football.
Lightfoot spent much of his career with Chester City, where he came through the youth ranks to make his debut as a 17-year-old on 19 September 1987 in a 1-0 win over Grimsby Town. He scored his first goal in his next appearance against Walsall in November 1987 and ended the season with 17 first team appearances to his name. Lightfoot joined fellow youngsters such as Brian Croft, Robbie Painter and Colin Woodthorpe in emerging from the Chester youth set-up to become first-team regulars during this period.
In future seasons Lightfoot was a regular in the Chester side, making more than 30 league appearances in each season until 1993–94. By this point Lightfoot had been converted by Graham Barrow from a central defender to an attacking midfielder, reflected in his 14 goals as Chester won promotion from Division Three.
In the summer of 1995 Lightfoot followed Barrow to Wigan Athletic for a tribunal fee of £87,500. However, by March 1996 he was on the move again when he joined Crewe Alexandra. In May 1997 Lightfoot appeared as a substitute as Crewe beat Brentford in the Division Two play-off final at Wembley Stadium, giving Lightfoot his first chance to play in the second tier in English football.
Lightfoot’s final taste of league football came during a loan spell with Oldham Athletic in the early weeks of the 2000–01 season. At the end of the campaign he left Crewe and joined Conference side Morecambe, where he played for one season.
In September 2011, he joined League Two side Crewe Alexandra on a 10-week trial. In February 2012, he signed his first professional contract with Crewe, on an 18-month deal. In March 2012, he joined Northern Premier League side Leek Town on loan, where he made a total of 8 appearances.
He made his professional debut for Crewe on 23 October 2012, in a 2–1 win over Swindon Town in League One, coming on as a late substitute for Michael West. He scored his first professional goal on 27 February 2016, against Barnsley.
The following month, he signed a new contract at Crewe through to the summer of 2017and in August 2016 was offered a new contract beyond 2017. In March 2017, he was side lined with a hernia problem.
On 23rd May 2017 it was confirmed that Guthrie would be leaving the club
On 22 June 2017, Guthrie agreed to join League One side Walsall on a two-year contract.
Callaghan was born in Dublin and began his career with English club Stoke City progressing through the youth ranks at the Victoria Ground and signed a professional contract in 1984. Stoke were having a woeful 1984–85 season and with the team already relegated Callaghan was given the chance to play First Division football playing in five matches towards the end of the season. He began the 1985–86 season on loan at Crewe Alexandra where he made 10 appearances. On his return to Stoke he played in eight matches under the management of Mick Mills. He made just three appearances for Stoke in 1986–87 and was sold to Oldham Athletic in October 1986.
Callaghan remained at Boundary Park for two seasons making 21 appearances before joining Crewe Alexandra in May 1988. He spent four seasons at Crewe helping the side gain promotion in 1988–89 which was followed by relegation in 1990–91. In total he played in 197 games for Crewe scoring ten goals before leaving for Preston North End. He spent two seasons at Deepdale making 44 appearances scoring three goals before returning to Ireland to play for Shelbourne. He then went on to play for Crusaders, St Patrick’s Athletic, Dundalk and ended his playing career with Longford Town.
Born in Wythenshawe, Manchester, Little began his career in non-League football with Rossendale United before signing for Hyde United.
After being spotted by Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi he signed for them for £50,000 in the summer of 1996. After 228 appearances and 45 goals at Crewe he became a journeyman around the Football League, playing for Macclesfield Town and Halifax Town before being released in 2004.
Shortly after this Little signed for Altrincham. He was the club top scorer at Altrincham for the next four seasons. He scored his 100th goal for the club in the 1–0 victory away to Newcastle Blue Star in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round on 26 October 2008.
Colin Cramb (born 23 June 1974 in Lanark) is a Scottish former professional footballer and coach who played as a forward from 1991 and 2009.
He notably played for Hamilton Academical, Doncaster Rovers, Bristol City and Stirling Albion. Cramb also had spells with Southampton, Falkirk, Hearts, Walsall, Crewe Alexandra, Notts County, Bury, Fortuna Sittard, Shrewsbury Town, Grimsby Town, Stenhousemuir and East Stirlingshire. Cramb is the only player to have played in all four divisions in both England and Scotland.
Cramb moved to Crewe Alexandra from Bristol City in August 1999 for a fee of £250,000, scoring 10 goals in 50 appearances.
Colin had loan spells with Notts County (September 2000) and Bury (February–May 2001) before leaving Crewe on a Bosman to join Dutch premier side Fortuna Sittard in June 2001.
In November 2009, Steve joined League 2 side Crewe on a two months loan from Bristol Rovers with a view to make the move permanent. Phillips made his Crewe Alexandra debut against Morecambe in a 2–1 home loss. On 6 January 2010, Phillips extended his loan with Crewe until the end of the season. He established himself as number one but missed the last three games of the season through a shoulder injury.
Along with 14 other players, he was released by Rovers at the end of the 2009–10 season, and, after his successful loan period, he was signed by Crewe. He quickly established himself in the Alex team and was part of the 2011–12 side promoted to League One at Wembley after a 2-0 win over Cheltenham Town. In an effort to keep hold of his first-choice goalkeeper, Crewe manager Steve Davis offered Phillips a player/coach role in 2012.
After losing his first team place to youngster Ben Garratt, Phillips left the club at the end of the 2013–14 season to take up a coaching role with Shepton Mallet.
Efe Sodje is a former professional footballer of Nigerian origin who played as a central defender for several English football league clubs. He also represented Nigeria in the 2000 African Cup of Nations and the 2002 World Cup.
Sodje began his career at Stevenage Borough and later played for Luton Town, Colchester United, Crewe Alexandra, Huddersfield Town, Yeovil Town, Southend United, Gillingham, Bury, Barrow and Macclesfield Town in two spells.
Sodje moved to Crewe Alexandra in 2000, where he made 97 league appearances over three seasons. His first goal for Crewe came in their 4–2 win over Portsmouth on 8 December 2001. During his time at Crewe Sodje was called up to the Nigeria squad for the first time in his career and played at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan.
Born in Warrington, Wright rose through the youth team ranks at Crewe Alexandra, making his first-team debut for the Railwaymen in August 1997 as a late substitute during a 2–0 away win against Norwich City. He made three First Division appearances during the 1997–98 season, and established himself in the following season, making 20 league appearances and a substitute appearance in the League Cup. He scored his first goal during the 1998–99 season when he netted the opening goal in a 5–1 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion on 5 April 1999.
Wright went on to make 213 league appearances for Crewe in his seven years with the club. On the back of relegation to the Second Division in 2002, Wright helped the club gain immediate promotion back to Division One after finishing in the runners-up spot.
Kenneth Vincent “Kenny” Lunt (born 20 November 1979) is an English retired professional footballer and current football coach, who currently works for Crewe Alexandra as an assistant manager. Lunt previous played for Crewe, Sheffield Wednesday and Hereford United.
Lunt is one of many players to emerge from the Crewe Alexandra Academy – alongside Dean Ashton, Rob Hulse and Danny Murphy – nurtured by then manager, Dario Gradi and Crewe Alexandra “Centre of Excellence” manager Bill Prendergast.
Having attended the National School at Lilleshall, in the same group of players as Michael Owen, Wes Brown and Michael Ball, Lunt made his Crewe debut, aged 17, on the first day of the 1997–98 season against Swindon Town. He went on to score on his home debut, hitting a 6th-minute volley against Bury in the Coca-Cola Cup.
Lunt completed more than seven years of first team football at Gresty Road and was previously club captain at Crewe (replacing David Brammer, sold to Stoke City on a free transfer) – a role he shared with Steve Foster.
During Crewe’s 2002–03 season in the Football League Second Division Lunt headed the rankings of goal assists. During his time at Crewe, Lunt made over 400 appearances for the club before leaving on a free transfer to Sheffield Wednesday.
Lee began his career at Crewe Alexandra, also representing Burton Albion, Mansfield Town and Macclesfield Town, before returning in succession to Crewe, Burton Albion and latterly Macclesfield Town on loan from Burton. Bell retired from playing in the summer of 2015, aged 32, and re-joined Crewe as under-18s coach, later (January 2017) becoming under-18s manager.
Bell was born in Alsager, Cheshire. He is a product of the Crewe Alexandra academy system, having signed schoolboy terms with the club in 1997, on the same day as David Vaughan.
In January 2001 he had a training ground bust-up with Colin Cramb, who subsequently left Gresty Road and indeed the country. Despite this, Bell was awarded a professional contract in February 2001. He made his debut for the first team, coming on as a substitute on the opening day of the 2002–03 season against Northampton Town. A week later to his debut, Bell scored his first professional goal, in a 2-0 win over Colchester United. His playing time at Crewe soon earned him a new contract in February 2003. He made 22 appearances in the 2002–03 promotion campaign, mostly as a substitute.
However, in the 2003-04 season, Bell lost his first team place following the arrival of Justin Cochrane and joined Football Conference side, Shrewsbury on loan in October 2003, but an injury restricted his opportunities and he returned to Crewe in January 2004. Bell established himself in the first team in December 2004, starting 18 times in the remainder of the 2004–05 season, and signed a new two-year contract in June 2005.
After falling down the pecking order at the start of the 2005–06 season, Bell joined Burton Albion on a one-month loan in October 2005, which was extended for a further month. After a two months loan spell at Burton Albion, Bell returned to Crewe and made 18 appearances in the 2005–06 season. During in which, Bell scored two more goals against Reading and Brighton & Hove Albion.
A broken foot and an ankle injury caused Bell to miss the start of the 2006–07 season. After being limited to one first team appearance, he had a request to leave Crewe granted in January 2007 and joined Burton Albion on a contract until the end of the season. After making twelve appearance for the club, Bell was released by the club.
He was re-signed by Crewe Alexandra on a two-year contract in May 2010, with manager Dario Gradi looking to add experience to the squad. Upon re-signing for Crewe, Bell revealed he took a pay-cut, in order to join the club despite other interest.
Bell’s first appearance since leaving the club three years earlier came in the opening game of the season, when they lost 1-0 to Hereford United. During the 2010–11season, Bell was one of three regular club captains, along with David Artell and Ashley Westwood.
He helped the club to reach the play-offs in 2011–12 and was a last second substitute as the Railwaymen secured victory in the League Two play-off final at Wembley Stadium. However, he was released by new boss Steve Davis a few days later, and was heavily linked with a move to nearby Port Vale.
Bell retired from playing in the summer of 2015, aged 32, and re-joined Crewe as under-18s coach, and was promoted to under-18s manager in January 2017 during a coaching reshuffle following the appointment of David Artell as new first team manager.
Rodney Jack (born 18 September 1972 in Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) is a professional football player from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He is best known for his spells with Torquay United and Crewe Alexandra. He has also played internationally for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines national football team.
Jack was spotted by Torquay United manager Don O’Riordan when playing for Lambada, a Caribbean select side. O’Riordan signed him for the Gulls on 10 October 1995. He joined Newcastle United on trial in September 1996, Kevin Keegan offering £250,000 for him, but the deal fell through due to problems with his work permit. With the attention being placed on him from higher levels it was inevitable that Jack would move on at some point, and on 17 July 1998 he moved to Crewe Alexandra for a club record fee of £650,000. He had played 110 times, scoring 30 goals for Torquay.
He immediately settled into the Crewe side, scoring nine goals in his first season, but injuries and international call-ups hampered his progress. He played 188 times and scored 42 goals for Crewe before signing for Rushden & Diamonds in 2003 playing 49 games and scoring 13 goals before following manager Brian Talbot to Oldham Athletic in 2004.
His time with Oldham was blighted by injuries and the club released him in 2005. He spent the summer on trial at newly relegated Division Two side Wrexham but failed to win a contract at the club and signed for Irish side Waterford United. In the summer of 2006 he re-joined Crewe Alexandra on a one-year contract, at the end of which he was released on a free transfer.
Mark Rivers born 26 November 1975 in Crewe is an English former professional footballer who played as a forward from 1994 until 2006 notably for Crewe Alexandra and Norwich City.
Norwich initially bid for Crewe striker Mark Rivers on Transfer Deadline Day in March 2001. Another bid was made in May 2001 as Nigel Worthington sought a pacey striker to partner Iwan Roberts and share the goal scoring responsibilities. Both bids were rejected but in June 2001, Crewe and Norwich came to agreement over a deal worth approximately £1,000,000. Whilst Rivers was on holiday and hadn’t signed a contract or passed a medical, the deal was concluded by both clubs as a forgone conclusion. Mark finally signed for Norwich at the end of June 2001. Twenty-five-year-old Rivers had scored 58 goals in 239 games for Crewe, including 10 goals in 38 appearances in 2000/01.
Rivers made 37 appearances during Norwich’s almost-successful 2001/02 campaign but only completed 90 minutes on one occasion giving the Carrow Road faithful concern over his long-term fitness. He started the 2002/03 season well but suffered an injury against Watford that saw him miss over a month’s action. He finished the campaign with 32 appearances and 4 goals to his credit.
Another good start to 2003/04 saw him quickly established as the Canaries’ leading scorer until injury again forced him out of the side. When fit, he could not displace either loan signing Kevin Harper or youngster Ian Henderson. Rumours from Carrow Road also suggested a bust-up between Rivers and manager Nigel Worthington. Unable to get a first team place, Rivers made it clear that he needed first team football. Crewe offered to take him on loan in January 2004, but Norwich refused, and he returned to the Norwich team in the 1-0 defeat to Bradford on 10 January 2004, albeit as a substitute.
In June 2004, Rivers was the subject of speculation linking him with a move to Burnley. At the beginning of July 2004, Norwich and Rivers agreed to cancel his contract as he wanted first team football. He joined neighbours Ipswich Town almost immediately, playing in their pre-season friendly against Peterborough on 10 July 2004. When Ipswich decided against taking him on, Rivers returned to Crewe on trial. He signed a two-year deal with his former club on 20 July at half-time during Crewe’s friendly with Everton.
On 23 January 2006, Rivers signed for Carlisle United until the end of the 2005/06 season. He parted company with them on mutual terms on 28 April 2006.
Born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, Murphy made his debut for Crewe Alexandra on 13 December 2008 in a 1–0 home win against Swindon Town. He scored his first goal for Crewe in a 4–1 away win against Hartlepool United on 28 December 2008. His second goal for the club came in a 3–2 FA Cup replay loss to Millwall on 13 January 2009.
He finished his breakthrough season with 11 appearances as Crewe were relegated from League One. He scored his first goal of the 2009–10 season in a 5–3 away loss to Accrington Stanley and scored his second and final goal of the season in a 3–2 away win against Chesterfield on 2 December.
Murphy scored his first goal of the 2010–11 season on 11 September 2010 in a 3–0 win against Bury. He scored again the following game in a 1–1 draw against Burton Albion. His third goal of the season came in a 5–5 draw away to eventual League Two winners Chesterfield.
Murphy extended his contract with Crewe in November 2010.
Murphy missed the final month of the 2010–11 season after having a hernia operation. During the 2011–12 pre-season Murphy who had been playing as a right winger was moved into his favoured more central position alongside Ashley Westwood. His 10th league goal for Crewe came in the 2011–12 season, during a 3–2 against Plymouth Argyle, where he scored two goals. He scored his fifth goal of the 2011–12 season in a 2–0 home win to Accrington. He ended the season with 8 goals and helped Crewe secure promotion after beating Cheltenham Town in the 2012 League Two play-off Final at Wembley Stadium, to win promotion back to League One.
After the departure of Ashley Westwood to Aston Villa, Murphy was appointed as the new Crewe Alexandra Captain in August 2012. In September 2012, Murphy signed a new 2-year deal at Crewe. On 7 April 2013, Murphy scored the first goal in the Football League Trophy final against Southend United, which Crewe went on to win 2–0. In the final match of the 2012–13 season, Murphy led out a Crewe Alexandra side against Walsall in a 2–0 win in which Murphy scored the opening goal for Crewe. The game made history being the first English fixture a side had fielded a team entirely made out of their academy players.
Murphy who was the captain of Crewe Alexandra collected the club’s Player of The Year award for the 2012–13 season, a season in which he scored nine goals, gained 12 assists and captained Crewe to victory for the Football League Trophy. Murphy also finished 4th in the voting for the League One player-of-the-season for 2012–13.
Murphy was also named in the 2012–13 PFA Team of the Year for League One. After the season Murphy proclaimed that he was ready to step up to play at a higher level. Murphy was heavily linked with a move to Premier League side Aston Villa to join up with ex-teammate Ashley Westwood. On 25 June, Crewe assistant manager Neil Baker revealed he expected Murphy to leave the club for a higher level and that he would go with the club’s blessing.
Wayne Collins (born 4 March 1969) is an English football Midfielder.
Collins began his career at Crewe Alexandra and made 117 league appearances.
Wayne signed for Premier League side Sheffield Wednesday in August 1996. He went on to score 6 goals in 31 league appearances for the club, before being sold to Fulham, then in the third tier of English football, in January 1998.
At Fulham Collins helped them to two promotions. He made five league appearances during Fulham’s 2000/01 season after which they were promoted to the Premier League.
In Summer 2001 Collins returned to Crewe Alexandra, where he scored once against Manchester City, and also had a spell at Stockport County.
Ademola “George” Bankole (born 9 September 1969) is a Nigerian former footballer who played as a goalkeeper in the Football League. As a journeyman having played for 15 different clubs during his career, his most notable stint came with Crewe Alexandra, a club he played for on two occasions, registering over 50 league appearances. He was the goalkeeping coach at Colchester United for nine years.
Born in Abeokuta, Bankole began his career with Shooting Stars in his native Nigeria. He moved to England in 1995, signing for Doncaster Rovers, spending a month with the club prior to signing with Leyton Orient. He left Orient in September 1996 having registered no games, joining Crewe Alexandra. He made six appearances for the club between 1996 and 1998.
He played seven games in 1997 on loan at Hyde United, earning the man of the match award in the Cheshire Senior Cup final in a 3–0 victory over Macclesfield Town. In 1998, Bankole moved to Queens Park Rangers, making only one substitute appearance for the club. Bankole was sent out on loan to Bradford City while the club were in the Premier League, acting as cover.
Bankole returned to Crewe for a fee of £50,000 in the summer of 2000. Here, he had his greatest success as a player, featuring in 52 league games. While contracted to Crewe, Bankole was called up to the preliminary Nigeria squad prior to the 2002 FIFA World Cup but did not make the final squad. Towards the end of his stint with Crewe and being out of the first-team, Bankole joined Barnet in a three-month loan deal. In the summer of 2004, Bankole was released by Crewe.
Pope was a part of Crewe Alexandra Youth Academy but was not offered a professional contract with the club. He instead was forced to make his name in the Midland Football Alliance with Biddulph Victoria after coming through the Hanley Town under-18 side to find first team football.
He also played Sunday league football for Sneyd and scored four goals for the club as they beat the Butcher’s Arms 6–4 in the 2004 final of the Potteries and District Sunday League Cup final. During this time the teenager found work as a window-fitter. He scored fifteen goals in his first season with Biddulph and added a further twelve to his tally before returning to Crewe as a professional in October 2005 — manager Dario Gradi now convinced of Pope’s potential. Pope chose to head to Crewe after two unsuccessful trials with boyhood club Port Vale.
Pope spent much of the 2005–06 season in the Conference North, playing on loan for Lancaster City and then Stafford Rangers. He returned to the division in 2006–07 with Barrow, again on loan. On 10 March 2007, Pope made his debut for Crewe in a 1–0 defeat to Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium, replacing Gary Robertson 86 minutes. He made three further appearances from the bench during the rest of the season, all three games ending in defeat.
He scored his first goal for the club against Bristol Rovers on 18 August 2007, in a 1–1 draw at the Memorial Stadium. He established himself in the Alex first team in 2007–08, and his seven goals put him as the club’s second highest scorer after Nicky Maynard.
He signed a two-year contract extension in November 2008, keeping him at The Alex until summer 2011. He believed the players could win round disgruntled Crewe fans, and blamed the players for Steve Holland’s sacking. He bettered his goal tally in 2008–09, and became the club’s top scorer with ten goals, though this was not enough to prevent Crewe from suffering relegation out of League One. His ten league goals reflected good value for his seventeen league starts, and additional nine appearances from the bench. This achievement came despite criticism from assistant manager Neil Baker that Pope lacked consistency on the pitch and professionalism off the pitch. In all he scored 17 goals in 64 games for Crewe, and he remained thankful to the club, the fans and former manager Dario Gradi for rescuing his career, despite his falling out with then-manager Guðjón Þórðarson, he later admitted that his decision to leave the club was a mistake.
Born in Bridgnorth, Westwood started his career as a trainee at Manchester United, and was part of the FA Youth Cup winning side of 1995. He never made a first team appearance for the “Red Devils”, but Dario Gradi spotted the youngster’s potential, and secured Westwood’s services for Crewe Alexandra for a £40,000 fee.
Westwood slotted in well to the Second Division side. He played fifty games in the 1996–97 season, including the 1–0-win play-off final over Brentford that took The Railwaymen into the First Division. However, he was to only play 22 games in the 1997–98 season. His swansong for the Cheshire club came on 13 April 1998, he scored the opener of a 2–0 win over near rivals Stoke City at Gresty Road.
In summer 1998, he signed with Bradford City, a tribunal later awarded Crewe a £150,000 payment from Bradford.
In 2011, Westwood returned on trial at Reasheath and the managing staff were impressed with his fitness levels and rewarded him with a short-term contract, keeping him at the club until the end of the season. He became the second Ashley Westwood in the squad, joining Ashley R. Westwood, thirteen years his junior. He made six appearances but was not retained beyond the end of the campaign.
In 2004, Williams was loaned out to Crewe Alexandra. Williams made 10 appearances for Crewe, conceding 14 goals and keeping two clean sheets during his loan spell. Williams’ teammate, David Wright, told the Crewe website that “[Williams] is top drawer and I hope we can sign him for next year. He is young so he can only get better. He is a natural. He can catch the ball and also stops shots which he has no right to. He is an all-round good goalkeeper.”
In June 2004, Williams signed permanently for Crewe, following his release from Manchester United. In his second season with Crewe, he made 23 appearances. His third season with Crewe was cut short after Williams was diagnosed with meningitis, thankfully Ben made a full recovery a couple of months later.
His fourth season for the Railwaymen did not go according to plan; already three games into the season and Williams had conceded seven goals. However, the keeper was trying to get back to his consistent form in which he impressed the majority of the Crewe faithful with his outstanding saves and was hoping to break Clayton Ince’s clean sheet record.
His contract expired in June 2008, and he rejected the offer of a new one from the club, so looked set to leave on a Bosman free transfer.
After graduating from the Railwaymen’s prestigious academy In March 2011, Manchester-born Turton joined Northern Premier League Division One South club Market Drayton Town on loan from Crewe along with Jason Oswell. He made his debut, aged 18, for Crewe in a League Two match against Stockport County at Gresty Road on 30 April 2011, which ended in a 2–0 win for Crewe. He came on as a late substitute for Mat Mitchel-King.
He scored his first Crewe goal in a 1–1 draw at Oldham Athletic on 21 September 2013.
On 9 May 2017, Crewe announced that Turton had been offered a new contract by the club, though manager David Artell gave a 22 May deadline for a decision otherwise the offer would be ripped up. On 23 May Turton reported for training but hadn’t yet clarified his decision to Artell. After a further 24 hours reflection, Turton decided not to accept the club’s contract offer and opted to become a free agent. In June, it was announced that he had signed a two-year contract with League One side Blackpool.
Midfielder Chris Cutler made 116 appearances for The Railwaymen scoring 24 goals between 1981 and 1985 having joined from Bury.
Dave joined Crewe Alexandra in 1983, spending four seasons with the Cheshire club before going Waterlooville.
Prior to signing at Crewe, Pullar played for Exeter and Portsmouth and the highlight of his career was reaching the FA cup quarter finals while at Exeter.