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Dario Tops Football League Poll

17 April 2014

Nick Powell voted Crewe's best ever player in 125th anniversary poll

Dario Gradi has been voted as Crewe Alexandra’s greatest manager by the club’s fans in a poll conducted as part of The Football League's 125th Anniversary celebrations.

The 72-year-old first took the Crewe job in 1983 and it was under his stewardship that the club gained its reputation for nurturing young players and leading them on to better things – names like David Platt, Robbie Savage and Danny Murphy trip off the tongue immediately.

Gradi led Crewe to promotion from the Fourth Division in 1989 after they had spent 25 years there and although they were soon relegated, they went up again in 1994 and reached the second tier of English football three years later.

He was recognised by The Football League for his ‘Contribution to League Football’ in 2011 and his reputation as a manager who likes football played in the right spirit and in the right way stayed with him throughout his three spells in charge of Crewe, totalling more than 1,400 games.

Behind Gradi in the poll were current incumbent Steve Davis, and Ernie Tagg. Davis has been in charge at Crewe since 2011 and his first season won the vote as the club’s greatest, ending as it did with promotion back to League 1 via the Play-Offs.

With all those great names having come through the Crewe system, choosing someone as the club’s greatest ever player was always going to be a tight call and in the end it was Nick Powell, with 35% of the votes, who came out on top.

Powell, whose last game – and goal – for Crewe was in that 2012 Play-Off Final, before he joined Manchester United, came out ahead of Dean Ashton (24%), David Platt (21%), Danny Murphy (15%) and Frank Blunstone.

Gradi sits alongside legends of the game including Brian Clough, Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Tom Finney, Billy Wright, Sir Stanley Matthews, Trevor Francis, Billy Bremner and Herbert Chapman who have all been named in a list of the greatest contributors to clubs’ league history in a vote as part of The Football League’s 125th Anniversary celebrations.

The results have been announced on the anniversary of The Football League’s formation on 17th April 1888 to bring down the curtain on a year of activity celebrating the start of the world’s original league football competition.  The polls were run by The Football League to celebrate each club’s own contribution to the last 125 years of league football. The names feature in lists for each of the current 72 Football League clubs’ greatest in various categories including managers, players, captains, fan favourites, matches and seasons.

Nearly 100,000 votes were cast in the polls after clubs were first invited to compile their own shortlist for each category based on fans’ nominations via social media.

A list of the winners in each category can be seen at, and a club-by-club breakdown for each vote with more detail on the winners can be seen at

  Fans also still have a chance to visit a special exhibition called ‘Game Changers’ at the National Football Museum in Manchester celebrating 125 years of The Football League, with contributions from every club. Supporters can find out more about The Football League’s 125th Anniversary at

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