Hendon Green & Gold 6 - Alan Campbell

Greensnet Editor
Mon 02 Jun 2014, 19:00

This legend is a particular hero of our club chairman, so to keep in his good books, he had better be featured sooner rather than later. Alan Campbell was a typical 1970s centre-half, and a very good one.

Signed from Finchley in the summer of 1976, it would be fair to say that he had a lot to learn about defending in the Isthmian League top division. He was blessed with an outstanding central defensive partner in Peter Deadman - more a sweeper than a stopper-centre-half - but one of the best central defenders of his era, having been a good enough footballer to be an international midfielder earlier in his career.

Alan's debut came in a Middlesex Charity Cup tie in August 1976, a 1-1 draw with Wembley, and his league bow followed two weeks later, a 2-0 defeat away to Kingstonian. There was no questioning the 22-year-old's desire, commitment or potential, but he was still very rough around the edges. In November that season, he slid in to score after 50-odd seconds of an FA Cup tie at Waterlooville, a great goal, but tactically, should a centre-half be in that position to score from open play? Sadly the Greens lost 4-1, though they gained revenge in the FA Trophy three months later. The season ended with two pieces of silverware, the Middlesex Charity Cup - in which Alan scored the opening goal of a 2-0 defeat of Uxbridge - and the Isthmian League Cup, where he netted in the last-16 game and semi-final. In that season, Alan scored his best Hendon goal, a magnificent overhead scissors kick away to Slough Town.

More than half of Alan's 31 Hendon goals came in his first two seasons at Claremont Road. He followed his seven - in 54 appearances - in 1976-77 with an astonishing 10 in 59 games the following campaign. In 39 cup ties those two seasons, he scored more than a goal every four matches. Alan's whole-hearted commitment meant he was never an ever-present, indeed only once, in 1977-78, did he play in more than 35 League games. However, amazingly, he was never used as a substitute in his nine seasons with the club.

Financial issues meant that when Dagenham came calling for his services, Hendon couldn't say 'no', so in January 1981, Alan moved to Victoria Road. This was followed by a spell at Barnet, before Ted Hardy and Alan's best friend in football Roger Wade - who will be featured later in this series - persuaded him to return to Hendon in 1986. That 1986-87 season saw Hendon play 75 matches - Alan played in 60 - but there was no silverware at the end of it, just a pair of cup final defeats in the Hitachi (League) and GMAC (Premier Inter-League) competitions.

After scoring 28 goals in his first spell of five seasons, the older and wiser Alan Campbell - he was 32 when he rejoined the Greens - concentrated more on defence and managed only two goals in 127 appearances in his three years back with Hendon. The highlight of this second spell with the Greens came on 2 June 1988, when he was in the team which beat Wembley 2-0 in the Russell Grant Middlesex Charity Cup final, watched by more than 3,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. After a fantastic start to the 1988-89 season, fuelled by the prolific Iain Dowie, things disintegrated following his departure and Alan followed him out of Claremont Road in March 1989.

However, it was not quite the end, as manager Gwyn Walters brought Alan back in November 1991. Hendon's financial woes came to a head, resolved by the takeover by Victor Green a few weeks later and it was Mr Green who dismissed Walters and appointed Barrie Williams manager, with Alan as his assistant. That was cue for Alan to hang up his boots - he was 38 - but this spell ended in January when he asked to leave - although Mr Green announced he was leaving because of his impending wedding. It was an unfortunate end to a career that was certainly among the very best at Hendon in the past 35 years.

Born: 10 December 1953

Joined Hendon: Summer 1976, returned in Summer 1986, and in November 1991; (appointed assistant manager summer 1992)

Left Hendon: January 1981, March 1989, (left as assistant manager January 1993)

Appearances: 395 (all starts)
Goals: 31
Winners' medals: Isthmian League Cup 1976-77, Middlesex Charity Cup 1976-77, 1978-79, 1988-89