Dave Cusack

Dave Cusack

Kettering Town manager from June 1992 to September 1992.

Dave Cusack can arguably be considered one of the unluckiest Kettering Town managers, not ironically because of anything to do with his very brief managerial record at Rockingham Road, but for the poor timing of his accepting the post and his reputation being tarnished by association with his appointer, then chief executive Mark English.

The previous Poppies manager, Peter Morris, had resigned during the summer of 1992, apparently having some foresight of the impending disaster about to overtake the club under the ownership of Mr English. Cusack was appointed Morris’ successor on 1st June 1992, apparently oblivious to the coming storm he would encounter during his brief tenure at the club.

Dave CusackDave Cusack was born in Rotherham and played for Southend, Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall, before taking on player/manager positions at both Doncaster Rovers and Rotherham Utd. The 6ft 1″ central defender then signed for Boston Utd under the managership of George Kerr and succeded Kerr as manager on the former’s departure following Kettering’s 5-0 hammering of the Pilgrims during the 1989-90 season.

One of Cusack’s immediate changes at Rockingham Road was to ‘revert’ to the 1970’s era strip of Red & Black striped shirts and Black shorts and shortly after taking charge, Kettering won the Maunsell Cup by beating Peterborough Utd 1-0 courtesy of a strike by Dave Riley (ironically making his debut on-loan from the Posh).

Cusack’s first league match in charge of Kettering on August 22nd 1992 was away to Slough Town. Not a happy start to the season for the Poppies’ new manager, the club’s travelling supporters demonstrated against owner Mark English before the kick-off and their mood was hardly lightened by the time the match had ended when Kettering lost 3-0.

Three Days later and things didn’t improve for Cusack as Kettering lost their first home match of the season 1-0 to Woking and the situation off the field was even worse, eventually plunging the club into arguably their darkest hour. Without going into great detail about the dodgy dealings of Mr English, suffice it to say that the Police were eventually called in and English handed over control of the club to chairman Michael Gill-Anderson. Gill-Anderson stated at the time, “It would seem that Mr English had a funny way of dealing with people and all the recent publicity has damaged the club”.

Kettering’s next match offered some comfort for manager Cusack, a 1-0 victory at Rockingham Road over Macclesfield Town courtesy of Richard Hill’s goal. However the brief respite was short-lived and a 0-0 draw at Kidderminster harriers was followed by a 2-1 defeat away to Yeovil Town. While Cusack was struggling to kick-start Kettering’s season on the pitch, the off-field activities following the departure of English finally revealed the full extent of the damage done to the club.

Gill-Anderson departed and former chairman Jim Lynch took over as it was publically revealed the club was left with horrendous debts and headed for a hearing in the High Court to decide their fate. Against this depressing backdrop, Dave Cusack tried to continue his managerial task and Kettering won their next match 2-1 at home to Farnborough Town on September 8th with goals by Tomlinson and Nuttell.

Ironically it was to be Dave Cusack’s final game in charge at Kettering, the club was now in the hands of Messers Panell, Kerr, Forster, and Cusack had been suspended, the players reportedly threatened to walk out on the club before the kick-off of the away fixture on September 16th against Telford Utd and subsequently lost the match 3-1. By the time the next game came around on September 19th, Cusack had been sacked and a new ‘temporary’ manager (in the shape of Graham Carr) arrived at Rockingham Road.

Dave Cusack had officially been in charge at Kettering Town for just 7 matches, arguably he was a ‘victim’ of his appointer Mr English and Cusack undeniably bore the brunt of the Poppies supporters’ anger and frustrations once English had departed. Tarnished by the same brush, who knows whether he would have actually made a decent manager or not.