Latics coach reflects on his time as a team-mate of the late, great Bobby Campbell a year on from his passing.
- Former Latics and Bradford defender on a goal scoring hero for both clubs.
- Atherton discusses his time at Valley Parade in the Premier League.
- Coach wishes Stuart McCall’s side all the best, but only after Saturday.
It’s been little over a year since the sad news of Bobby Campbell’s passing on 15th November 2016, a man whose goal scoring prowess on the pitch and charming character off it, captured the hearts of Latics and Bantams supporters alike.
Campbell is still to this day Bradford City’s record goal scorer with 121 goals in 274 appearances between 1979-86, before seeing out his career with 27 goals in 69 games at Latics ahead of his retirement in 1988.
There couldn’t be a more appropriate fixture three days on from the one year anniversary of the Northern Irishman’s passing, and ahead of the game on Saturday, Campbell’s former team mate Peter Atherton paid tribute.
“I was only a youngster getting into the squad at the time Bobby was with us,” Atherton began.
“I remember training against him with him being a striker up against me as a young defender, every time it was a physical challenge with the way he played the game.
“He was a lovable character and he’d always spend time chatting with us younger lads.
“I came through with the likes of Joe Parkinson, Alan Johnson and a lot of other young lads, so we needed someone like Bobby around us for experience. He scored a lot of goals in a short period of time and he really left a mark on the club.”
Atherton moved to Bradford ahead of their second season in the Premier League back in 2000, having burst onto the scene at Latics in the late 1980s.
Describing his time at Valley Parade, Latics’ Development Squad Coach continued:
“I signed shortly after the club’s first season in the Premier League. I moved from Sheffield Wednesday at the same time Paul Jewell switched to by manager at Hillsborough.
“It was an exciting time for me playing alongside players like Benito Carbone, Dan Petrescu and Stan Collymore. We had a good squad so it was disappointing that the season ended in relegation.
“We had an unbelievably difficult run of games at the start of the season against Liverpool, Chelsea, Leicester City, Manchester United and Arsenal, but we came away with five points when we expected zero. After that we played the teams in and around us who we expected to pick up points against and we were unable to turn performances into wins and that really caught us out.
“I had a lot of injuries during my time at Bradford. I’d never experienced that before in my career, so it was disappointing in that respect, but I made a lot of good friends over there and I’ve got fond memories of playing with their current manager Stuart McCall.
“He's a legend at the club and he’s been involved at varying levels in four different periods so he’s obviously a very popular figure there.
“We want our win this Saturday, but after that I really do wish him well because he’s a good man.”