TIGERS ARCHIVE: Andy Plant fan focus
Every week, we run a new fan focus in the match night programme. Earlier this season, we spoke to Andy Plant.
After years of being involved with football, a close friend had a spare ticket to watch the first game played here at Telford Ice Rink.
I declined at first, but was finally coaxed into going and had to take the whole family – wife Jenny and sons, Rick and Russ.
That was around 1984, or 1985. After the game we stayed for a drink in the bar and couldn’t believe it when the players started coming in.
One of the players actually came over and spoke with us. It was Bernie Butler – so a lot of blame goes on him for costing me thousands of pounds on Russ and Rick’s hockey education.
All money well spent, of course!
Over a few weeks, I got to meet and know Chuck Taylor and from those meetings, he offered me the job of trainer. It was under the guidance of then-coach Paul Kane.
I had many years watching players come and go, seeing Russ and Rick develop through the junior ranks. As in many sports, coaches come and go, and there is one I will remember for the rest of my life.
Russ was fairly well established in the senior Tigers squad and Rick was training with them. Rick was told he would never make it as a hockey player – but he went on to play at all age levels for England and Great Britain.
It just goes to show that coaches can make or break players – and Rick wanted to prove him wrong.
I enjoyed every minute of being trainer, coach and watching the boys enjoy themselves. They’ve developed into super human beings and of course, decent hockey players!
I have met lots of hockey people, players and fans alike, who I wouldn’t have met if I had stuck with football.
I have been friends with Paul Thomason since 1985 and we’ve seen a lot of things together. There are lots of other former players, who I class as good friends, including Kel Land, who I had so much fun with. Kel is a true Telford Tigers legend, along with former netminder Ian Young.
One last one is Gerard Waslen. He is to date, the best player I have ever had the pleasure to watch in Telford (apart from Rick of course!) He had everything and I still carry his players licence – ask anyone who saw him play, and they will agree.
To finish, a little about me. I’ve been married for 45 years, have two great sons and four wonderful grandchildren.
Waking up every morning is a pleasure, as is being involved with ice hockey, the best sport in the world. Ice hockey is played by some very special people, who I have had the good fortune to meet, and see as a big part of my life.
I don’t regret a single second of the last 30 years spent working with, and supporting, Telford Tigers.