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Graham Baker

David Holmes - 22nd April 2009

Graham had a very distinguished career as a top-flight footballer with Southampton and Manchester City. Graham, a local lad, made his debut for theSaints aged 18 in November 1977, scoring in the opening minute, and went on to make 113 appearances, scoring 22 goals, before being sold to John Bond?s Manchester City for ?350,000 in the 1982 close season. During his time at Southampton he was also capped twice at U21 level.

He spent five seasons at Maine Road, where he notched up 117 appearances and scored 19 goals, before returning to the Dell in 1987 for another three-year stint there, which saw a further 60 appearances and 11 more goals. This spell included a brief loan period at Aldershot Town when Graham was recovering from a cartilage operation. He finished his playing career at Fulham, making 10 appearances in the following two seasons.

After hanging up his boots, Graham ran his own driving school business for a bit, having taken the necessary exams during his last couple of years at Fulham. But he also did some part-time coaching with Carshalton Athletic, subsequently becoming number two to Graham Roberts in a championship-winning season, and then coaching for four years at Fulham. In2005 Glenn Cockerill, a team mate from his second spell at Southampton, asked him to take on the Community role at Kingfield and, when Peter Johnson left the Academy to join his brother at Bristol City, Graham took over as Director.

Considering what he expected from a player, Graham told the matchday programme earlier this season - ?You?ve got to have the whole package. Desire and attitude are essential. With those qualities some naturally less gifted players cansucceed. I think of players like Paul Lorraine, and Neil Smith before him, who play each game as though their life depends on it and give their all even in training. The work ethic is critical. The first thing is that you have to run when you?re out there on the pitch: if you don?t feel like running, then there?s no hope.?

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