Writers for Sporting Heroes

  • GOLF
  • David Scranage
  • n/a



Ron Casey has had a lifetime interest in athletics despite his own mediocre achievements in the sport.

After dabbling unspectacularly as a long jumper at school, Ron gave away any active participation in athletics before being drawn into the fun run revolution in the late 1970s, where his involvement included his completion of several marathons.

Ron has always been fascinated with statistics, and spent his entire working career (33 years) with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, before retiring in August 2004.

This fascination with statistics has also encompassed the sporting arena (predominantly athletics and cricket), and as a hobby, Ron has been contributing statistically related articles to cricket and athletics journals for many years. He has been a member of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians since 1973, and the Association of Track and Field Statisticians since 1989.

Ron's pet peeve is the amount of errors he finds in biographical details of athletes on the internet, often in 'official' websites, and he prides himself in ensuring that the material he provides for the Sporting-Heroes website is totally accurate and error free.

Ron was born on 12 August 1951 in Brisbane, Australia, where he has lived all his life. He and his wife Cathy live in an old 'Queenslander' home, just 500 metres from Brisbane's famous 'Gabba' Cricket Ground.



Born in Romford, Essex, Bob has been a journalist in West Wales since 1973 and has specialised in writing on cricket since 1990.

He has been an occassional scorer for Dafen C.C. in the South Wales Cricket Association, and is honorary statistician for the Welsh Schools Cricket Association and Tom Cartwright's Wales under 16 team.

This position has enabled Bob to watch the development of Matthew Maynard, Stephen James, Steve Watkin, Robert Croft, Mark Wallace and Simon Jones, as well as seeing schoolboy cricket from the likes of Graham Thorpe, Alex Tudor, Marvan Attapattu and even Rob Howley and Phillip Neville.

Bob is a long standing member of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians, and has written extensively on the game in their journal the Cricket Statistician. He has also contributed to The Journal of the Cricket Society, and other publications.

Bob is the author of 'Criced - A History of the Development of the Game in Wales' (1980); Bridgend Cricket Club 150th Anniversary Book (1990); The History of Llanelli Cricket Club (1991); Images of Wales: Llanelli Rugby Football Club (1997); Don Shepherd: His Record Innings by Innings (1999), and Dafen Welfare Cricket Club 75th Anniversary 1925-2001 (

The latter includes a chapter on former England fast bowler Jeff Jones and Glamorgan and Sussex off spinner Euros Lewis, and is available from the author for £6 inc p&p from 20, Hilltop, Swiss Valley, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, South Wales, United Kingdom, SA14 8DF.


Alistair Aird

Alistair first became intoxicated with all things Rangers when his dad took him to Ibrox in March 1988 to watch the Light Blues take on Motherwell. In this era of cash at the turnstiles and multi-coloured seats, he sat in the brown section of the Broomloan Road stand and watched Ian Durrant score the only goal of the game.

On that March afternoon Alistair witnessed a Rangers side that were on the cusp of one of the most successful eras in their history, and he watched with great delight as they emerged from a spell in the doldrums in the 1980s to embark on a decade of domestic domination that brought nine successive league titles to Ibrox in addition to numerous triumphs in the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup.

That epoch gave rise to a multitude of memories, but it was 2008 before Alistair achieved his ambition when he saw his heroes play in a European final. Although defeat against Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Cup Final tainted the occasion somewhat, it was still a special moment for all supporters of a light blue hue. Aside from that day when he joined around 150,000 fellow supporters in Manchester, Alistair has fond memories of two Old Firm wins over Celtic (4-0 in March 2000 and 5-1 eight months later) and the two final-day SPL title triumphs in 2003 and 2005.

Alistair's list of heroes includes Brian Laudrup, Paul Gascoigne, Jorg Albertz and Ally McCoist, and it was the latter that provided the subject matter for his first book, Ally McCoist - Portrait of a Hero, which was published in May 2008.

A season-ticket holder in the Bill Struth Main Stand since 1999 and a shareholder ­ he is extremely proud of every one of his 133 shares - Alistair is married to Sharon, one of the few people in his life that doesn't play second fiddle to his beloved Rangers.

Kelvin Barker

Kelvin was just 5-years-old when, in December 1970, his father took him to Stamford Bridge for the first time. Chelsea beat Newcastle 1-0 courtesy of a Keith Weller strike and Kelvin was hooked.

There really is no accounting for taste and having seen the maverick Kings Road playboys of the Seventies and the cosmopolitan trophy winners of the Gullit and Vialli eras, Kelvin unashamedly admits that his favourite Chelsea team is John Neal's vastly underrated mid-Eighties side which included the likes of Kerry Dixon, Pat Nevin and Mickey Thomas.

His memories of Chelsea's trials and tribulations throughout that decade form the basis of his book, Celery! - Chelsea in the 1980s. The book features exclusive interviews with a number of Chelsea's most significant players of that period and will hopefully be published some time in 2004.

Having suffered his very own 30 years of hurt (well 27 to be precise), Kelvin said that he had achieved his ultimate ambition when he saw Chelsea lift the FA Cup in 1997 but, buoyed by Roman Abramovich's billions, he has now revised his targets and says he will not rest until Chelsea have won the Premiership. His other ambition is to see a Jesper Gronkjaer cross reach its intended target, but he feels a Premiership title for the Blues is a far more realistic prospect.

Married with three children, Kelvin has swapped his old Shed end days for a seat in the Stamford Bridge Family Section with his eldest son, Daniel. His other children, Poppy and Sam, have precious little chance of avoiding the same fate!

Duncan Holley

Pedigree - Great Grandfather was original shareholder; Grandfather was at the 1927 FA Cup semi-final; Father bought house in Archers Road to be near ground.

First match at The Dell - Stoke City May 1963. Stanley Matthews was due to play but cried off at the last minute - the first of many Dell letdowns.

Favourite player - as a boy, Ron Davies without a doubt one of the best headers of a ball there has ever been, as a grown-up Matt Le Tissier for his sublime skills, his icy coolness (46 out of 47 penalties will never be beaten) and his loyalty.

Claim to fame - was present at every match in the 1976 FA Cup run (only met 3 others so far).

Profession - Cabin Service Director with BA, 28 years.

Part-time profession - Official Historian to Southampton FC and co author of 3 books. A Complete Record 1885-1987 (Breedon Books 1987), The Alphabet of the Saints - A Complete Who's Who (Polar Press 1992) and In That Number - A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC (Hagiology Publishing 2003). Please see www.hagiologists.com for details.

Interests - Photography, history and football and working out ways to combine all three!

Family - married to Louise, three children Joanna, Alfie and Ruby, living in a village 6 miles north of Southampton!

Ian Penney

Ian was born in Manchester in March 1957 less than a mile from City's new home, the rather long-winded but otherwise splendid City of Manchester Stadium.

In May 1966 he was taken to City's former home at Maine Road for the first time. It was the last game of the 1965/66 season. City drew 0-0 with Southampton but paraded the Second Division Championship trophy around the pitch at the end of the game. He was taken to the game by his late father, incidentally the only Red in a family of Blues. His dad knew straight away that his son was hooked and gave up there and then trying to persuade him there was another team in Manchester.

The young naïve Ian thought that City were given a trophy at the end of every season and for the next few years that seemed to be the case as Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison turned the Blues from a slumbering Second Division side into one that went on to win the European Cup Winners' Cup, all in a five-year period.

Regrettably though things never last and although the glory days since 1970 have been few and far between (the saying thick and thin has at times read thin and thin following City) Ian's support for the Blues has never faltered during that period.

He began work in the book trade after leaving school in 1973, a career he is still in today, and one that gave him the opportunity to write The Maine Road Encyclopedia in 1995. That was followed twelve months later by Blue Heaven and The Essential History of Manchester City in 2000. Working with Malcolm Allison, Tony Book and Neil Young he published Manchester City: The Mercer/Allison Years in 2001 whilst his latest work is The Legends of Manchester City, a personal choice of a hundred former stars of the club. He has also had articles and features published in the fanzine King of the Kippax as well as the matchday programme and the club's official monthly magazine.

Ian was invited by the club to be on the selection panel for their inaugural Hall of Fame launched in January 2004.

He has two godsons, Christopher (19) and Adam (9), who have been well and truly indoctrinated into the Blue faith and are already showing signs of being just as affected as their godfather. His long-suffering wife Sheila just humours him.

David Scranage

This loyal servant spent over twenty years at Associated Sports Photography/Sporting Heroes. He started out life with the company as the office junior but worked his way up to the dizzy heights of website editor. Known as 'statto' to many of his friends, his vast knowledge of sport has been put to good use on Sporting Heroes and stops him boring his pals to death quite so often.

A lifelong Nottingham Forest fan he can just about remember the good times although they seem an awful long time ago! He first started following the Reds at the age of 4 and blames his Dad for causing him so much distress. Apparently, when asked by little David which team the kit looked like that he had received for his birthday, Mr Scranage answered Nottingham Forest. That was way back in 1977 (when they were good!) and David has followed Forest ever since. Life could have been so much easier if Scranage snr had answered Arsenal or Manchester United ! He purchased his first season ticket in 1990 and has continued to do so each subsequent year.

David is also a keen sportsman himself and plays Football, Cricket and Golf on a fairly regular basis. He also runs regularly and completed his first half marathon in a respectable time of 1 hr 35 mins. His other likes include pubbing, clubbing and........ (here George H. used his red pencil to spare any younger readers). David currently acts as an adviser to the site and contributes cricket statistics and football stats.

Gordon Tait

Being born in 1973, the year that Montgomery, Porterfield and Stokoe led Sunderland to FA Cup glory, it seemed inevitable that Gordon would end up a lifelong Newcastle fan. Raised in Gateshead, resistance to sporting obsession was futile and he would follow closely in the footsteps of Paul Gascoigne. Unfortunately, it was going to the same school and Redeugh Boy's Club, not playing for Newcastle and England.

Willing to try any sport, Gordon represented schools in a variety of them, including Football, Badminton, Basketball and even Chess. The back lanes and schoolyards were the tutoring for the young Mr. Tait, fostering an interest in football and cricket (through a Yorkshireman, Uncle Roy). Gordon's first game at St. James Park was a Milk Cup tie against Oxford Utd in 1983 and his abiding memory of the game was the Oxford fans adaptation of Culture Club's Karma Kameleon!! Newcastle drew 1-1 with a goal from Terry McDermott.

As with the careers of Waddle, Beardsley and Gascoigne, Gordon's future lay elsewhere and University in Hull beckoned in 1991, just months before Newcastle Utd went through a revolution under Kevin Keegan's managerial reign. The move to Hull brought a brief hiatus in the sporting career as 'other interests' (beer and kebabs) were pursued with far more vigour. Sunday League football was to be the next stage for Gordon to display his footballing talents, career before a new found cricket career started in 1994, being a founder member of the Haworth Arms CC. Before long Gordon had established himself as an upper order batsman of dubious quality.

After various clubs the football career finally came to an end, at the age of 29, due to a couple of dodgy knees. The cricket career continues with the same team (after a number of guises it is, at the time of writing, back to Haworth Arms) and a role as wicket-keeper batsman ensures the dodgy knees are kept busy. Gordon also plays the occasional round of golf (badly), the odd 5-a-side and a weekly game of squash in a vain attempt to halt the rapidly growing waistline. Gordon is available for speech writing of all kinds and should an idea or project require developing to the half-baked stage then look no further.



Born in 1973, John is surprised that he was not christened Barry, J.P.R or Gareth by his Welsh rugby mad father. He has been a curse on Welsh rugby ever since and his father believes there is a direct link between his birth and the decline of the nation's sporting prowess.

Nevertheless, John - born incidentally in Lincoln - has become a long-suffering Welsh supporter, apart from one day in November 2003 when he allowed himself to support England, (sorry Dad!).

His Five Nations debut was made in the South stand at Murrayfield when Scotland entertained Wales in 1983. Wales won and the ten year old John sold his match day leek - which had travelled on the car radio aerial from Yorkshire - to an inebriated Welshman.

Sadly since then watching Wales play has not been such a joyful experience. Numerous low points included the 2003 Scotland v Wales game in which John was not alone in expressing surprise at the programme notes, which stated that Wales had a skills' coach.

A collector of rugby programmes, he has written articles for numerous magazines including New Zealand Rugby News and New Zealand Rugby World. As a sixteen year old he got his first piece published in the Canterbury programme when they entertained the Grand Slam Scots of 1990. He was a regular contributor to that programme for several years.

John can be seen in the letters' pages of newspapers moaning about the state of Welsh rugby or calling for law changes - allowing Wales to play with extra players for instance.

A secondary school teacher in North Yorkshire, John spends much of his day dreaming about British Lions' tours and playing for Wharfedale Fifth team.