Thirty-five years ago, with Swindon Town languishing in the old Fourth Division, manager Lou Macari gave a raw, unknown young striker his League debut at Rochdale. In need of a big target man in the mould of Andy Rowland – who had by now moved back to the centre of defence – Lou took a gamble by including triallist COLIN GORDON.
Colin recalled that day well. “It was very cold and very wet ! I remember Garry Nelson suffering from hypothermia at the end of the game – it was that bad”. The result could not have been better, however, as the newcomer headed the only goal of the game to send the few hardy Town fans in a sparse 1,071 crowd home happy.
The performance earned Colin a contract five days later. He soon took over the number nine jersey as Swindon embarked on a run of nine successive home wins - and 17 goals for the campaign made him ‘player of the season’.
He collected another 16 as Town romped to the Fourth Division title in 1985/86, but before they kicked a ball in the following season, Colin had signed for Wimbledon - then newly promoted to the top flight - for a fee of around £90,000.
But he found the step up of three divisions a stiff challenge and was unable to establish himself in a side which stormed to the top of the table after winning four of their opening five fixtures.
A month on loan at Gillingham, where he partnered Tony Cascarino, put Colin back on the goal trail, but he made just three First Division appearances for the Dons before heading back west to join Reading in July 1987.
There he smashed eight goals in five games during the October and despite not playing after January, was top scorer that season !
Further spells followed at Fulham, Birmingham City, Leicester and Kidderminster - and a number of loan moves - before hip and pelvic injuries took their toll and forced Colin to hang up his boots in 1994.
After taking on the player-manager’s job at his home town club of Stourbridge and a period coaching the under-16’s at Wolves, Colin decided to change his career path.
When the late Bert Head spotted Colin turning out for Southern Leaguers Oldbury United, he was working as a salesman for a stationery company. Nowadays, he ‘sells’ to prospective clients in the professional game.
In 1999 Colin teamed up with the former Hearts, Celtic and Millwall winger John Colquhoun to form their own sports management and consultancy company. “We have around 60 players and 12 managers on our books”, he said. “Dave Hockaday, now a coach at Watford and Jimmy Quinn are with us – as is Colin Calderwood”.
“We (Colin) go back a long way”, he added. “We shared digs when I first came to Swindon and we took our coaching badge together”.
(First Published by Wiltshire Newspapers/Swindon Advertiser November 2005)