DOB: 22nd September 1955
Other clubs: Leeds United, Norwich City, Northampton Town, Stockport County, Swansea City, Bromsgrove Rovers
Neil, a former England Youth International, was signed by Ian McNeill from Swansea City prior to Latics’ first season as a Football League club and he proved a huge hit with fans for his ‘no nonsense’ style of play. Neil, who is in the Latics record books as the first Football League player to be substituted, made his Latics League debut during Latics’ first ever Football League game against Hereford at Edgar Street on 18th August 1978 in a game that resulted in a 0-0 draw.
He made just 10+2 League games during a campaign that was hit badly when he ruptured a tendon in his foot.. By the following season he had recovered from a bad leg injury and was a virtual ever present before breaking his leg for the second time during a home game against Tranmere Rovers on 25th October 1980. The horrific injury was heard all around Springfield Park and many fans knew straight away that Neil’s football career was over.
In his first game back from that injury the same leg was shattered in a benefit game for Johnny King and John Rogers against Altrincham at Springfield Park ten months later. He was released by Larry Lloyd at the end of the 1981/82 League campaign after making 66+2 League appearances and scoring 1 League goal for the club.
Neil, who became a jeweller on the Fylde Coast after retiring from the game sadly passed away on 23rd December 2011.
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