Monday, 11 June 2018

Dean Court Days - coach crash memories

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The next episode from Dean Court Days, published by Pitch Publishing, that Michael Dunne has kindly provided recalls the period when Harry Redknapp and the Bournemouth team managed by John Bond were involved in a coach crash in Yorkshire!
Harry Redknapp had a few close scrapes when in charge of AFCB.
After exiting the FA Cup at Newcastle in January 1973, the Cherries returned to league action with a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe’s Old Show Ground. John Bond’s frustration with his team’s inability to take a return of maximum points from a fixture they dominated was soon forgotten when the team coach skidded off the road as heavy snow fell across Yorkshire. Redknapp recalls the frightening incident in which the vehicle he was travelling in was written off. ‘The coach was a mess,' he says. 'We were coming down the road and suddenly the coach just took off and kept going. The road turned one way and the coach just started to skid the other way. We knew we weren’t going to stop. We went straight into the wall of a garage. Kenny Brown, who was the first-team coach, got all mangled up in the wreckage and broke his thigh.’

Brown was taken to hospital in Doncaster for the night. Redknapp, who was sitting across the aisle of the coach from Brown, was fortunate to escape relatively unscathed, a happy circumstance that would not be repeated outside Rome 17 years later. The rest of the passengers were equally blessed, although captain Keith Miller lost two teeth as a result of the impact.

The front end of the coach, where Redknapp, Brown and the rest of the card school were playing, was wrecked, with not a window left intact. Despite the shock, Bond and his staff considered themselves lucky:

‘I just don’t know how we came out of it so lightly,’ said Bond. ‘There could have been five or six players badly injured considering the state of the vehicle afterwards.’

Stranded in freezing conditions, Redknapp says that little help was forthcoming for the uninjured players and staff to continue their journey south. ‘We ended up getting a train home. Nowadays another coach would come and pick you up, but not back then. We had to get taxis from where the accident happened, wait in a station, catch the milk train home, change trains and we got back about four o’clock in the morning.’

To get a signed copy of the book Dean Court Days, visit In off the Post, 901 Old Christchurch Road, Pokesdown, Bournemouth BH7 6AX on Saturday 23 June 2018, between 1-3pm when author Michael Dunne will be there to sign copies.

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