Former teacher coached miracles out of Crewe

1st March 1996 at 00:00
Whether through insight, or just good fortune, I would like to congratulate Michael Barber on his choice of Crewe Alexandra to lift the European Cup in his vision of a healthy future (TES, February 9).

Many of us who support Crewe still cannot believe the miracle which Dario Gradi (ex-teacher) has already wrought at our beloved Gresty Road. We could have gone the way of Southport and Warrington: instead we find ourselves near the top of the second division, playing some beautiful one-and-two-touch football and regarded as the model progressive club.

Michael, I have the privilege of sitting behind Dario Gradi during matches and recognise the quality of his coaching. He is unfailingly positive with his players ("well done Rivo!"), clear about his philosophy ("pass it", "patient!") and clear in his directions to his young charges ("attack the space Rob!"). I've never yet heard Dario insult any member of the opposition team, though he does get annoyed with the referee at times! It is perhaps as a consequence of such methods that not only have Crewe had great success on the playing field over recent seasons but have also received the Fair Play Award from Players' Football Association chairman Gordon Taylor for the past two seasons.

I've shown your comments to our chairman, Michael. You have secured two tickets for our European Cup Final.

All you now have to do is choose the opposition. Now let's see . . . should it be Benfica, AC Milan, Barcelona . . .

TIM WHITNEY Crewe Alexandra supporter English teacher St Thomas a Becket Catholic comprehensive Wakefield West Yorkshire

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