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Tony Crane
Tony Crane

The Fall From Plaice - Part 1

By: Gainsbro Mariner
Date: 14/12/2012 (Last updated: 20/01/2013)

HAVING contributed to the seemingly endless Forum thread "Ex-GTFC players thread" and being a self confessed stats geek, I have taken small chunks of my day in constantly keeping in touch with some of our former talent.

I mean let's be honest here "Grimsby Town Football Club" is probably more common on CV's nowadays than "McDonalds" or "Tesco", the amount of players who have pulled on the famous black and white stripes in recent years has been astronomical. Even more astronomical is the demise and "Fall From Plaice" if you like of some of our most recent players. Some of them promising, some of them shocking, some of them we thought could only go on to bigger and better things, so what went wrong? Hopefully here I will be able to add a bit more of a fine touch than I could on the thread, I have taken some of the most surprising falls around and added them to this feature..prepare for a shock!

Tony Crane

Signed from Sheffield Wednesday by Paul Groves following our relegation from what is now "The Championship" in 2003, Craney was a hard-hitting centre half. Maybe not the most gifted defender we have ever seen, but wore his heart firmly on his sleeve..may too much at times. Though what sticks out most in the memory is the header scored against his former club Wednesday and then goading the Owls fans in the Osmond, and needlessly flooring Daniel Nardiello in the 6-1 win over Barnsley..not to mention the red card that followed.

Crane left Town in somewhat confusing circumstances, having started the 2005-06 season as a favoured centre half with Rob Jones he became injured and in this time appeared to eat the contents of his fridge several times over, when he regained fitness (if you can call it that?) he was ordered to lose weight or risk being sold. The process lead to a surprise loan to Conference North club Worksop Town, regarded as a big step down for Craney. The loan turned permanent and Craney's career began to diminish. A relegation eventually with Worksop and with the club in financial ruin he was released in 2007 and joined Boston United on a free transfer. Whilst with The Pilgrims he was briefly handed the captain's armband and became a firm fans' favourite for his awe-inspiring and passionate performances from the back. The more and more his form improved so did his waist size, manager at the time Tommy Taylor commented that it would help if Craney stopped turning up to training with a Big Mac. A local newspaper reporter described how Crane fitted into the clubs XL size kit like he was a cyclist wearing lycra. Enough was enough for Taylor after he busted Crane for playing in goal for a Sheffield Sunday league team whilst under contract. Taylor fuming at this decided to release Crane at the end of the 2007/08 campaign after also losing patience with his lack of enthusiasm for his fitness.. but it must be noted he was never once criticised his on the field performances.

17 months later and after a failed return to Boston United which saw him snubbed a contract he signed with United Counties League side Hallam Football Club. However after playing for the club for no more than two months he departed and was clubless again by Christmas 2009. In 2011 Crane, who now resides back in Sheffield, resurfaced again by signing for amateur club Hackenthorpe FC, however it was the Hackenthorpe B team who he would go on to feature for. Tony made a whopping 5 appearances during the 2011/12 season, and continues to be listed as B team player at the slender age of 30.

To be continued....

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