Groves still a hit with Latics fans
Date published: 15 October 2013
ALAN Groves is the people’s choice to be permanently commemorated as part of Athletic’s new North Stand.
The wing wizard, whose displays wowed supporters at Boundary Park between 1974 and 1977, was a player whose character and skill combined in a potent, crowd-pleasing mix.
The news that he was chosen by fans as the 10th legend — adding to nine already selected by Athletic officials — was met positively by Les Chapman, who was good friends with the late Groves.
“Alan had great balance and good pace and he used to glide past players with ease,” said Chapman, of the Southport-born player who made 140 appearances for Athletic after signing frm Bournemouth.
“He was certainly a character as well and he could do things with the ball that marked him out as special. It is excellent he has been recognised in this way and I am sure he would appreciate it.”
There was a lot of competition for recognition - particularly from players who appeared under Joe Royle.
“I am sure Alan would have been equally as effective in Joe’s team. Alan was good enough that he would have had an impact in any given era.”
Groves, who died in tragic circumstances aged 29, was one of the main protagonists behind the club’s rise to become champions of Division Three in 1973-74 under Jimmy Frizzell.
The club remained in Division Two for 17 seasons, before elevation to the top flight under Joe Royle.
Groves saw off competition from Ernie Cooksey, Earl Barrett, Frank Bunn, Neil Redfearn, Rick Holden, Gunnar Halle, Jim Fryatt and Andy Goram, who were the other members of the fans’ top 10.
Groves joins the already-established selection of legends Joe Royle, Andy Ritchie, Roger Palmer, Bert Lister, Bobby Johnstone, Eric Gemmell, Ian Wood, David Eyres and Jimmy Frizzell, to form an as-yet unspecified part of the fabric of the new construction at Boundary Park.
Have Your Say