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Ned Payne: 'The non-league circuit won't be the same'
TWICE a week during the football season, for five years, I spoke to Dave Turner about how his team was getting on.
I can remember it striking me in the early days how pleasant he was and what an easy job it was to interview him.
He quickly became one of my favourite contacts. It was a virtual guarantee that regardless of the time of day or night I rang him, I’d get an answer or an immediate call back.
Once on the phone, Dave was upbeat, straightforward and honest, and would give a full and frank answer to any question I posed. He made the process of interviewing ridiculously easy.
I will always remember that when Wootton Bassett reached the FA Cup second qualifying round under Dave’s leadership in 2012/13, he invited me to travel with the team to Dorchester in our first conversation following the draw.
When I turned up at Rylands Way first thing on the Saturday morning, he made it his mission to make sure I was at home straight away, ushering me into the club house and preparing me a cup of tea and a bacon roll, at the same time speaking of his nerves and excitement at the day ahead.
“I can relax now,” he said, after handing me the mug.
And off he went to gee his players up for one of the biggest games in the club’s history.
Aside from his personable nature, Dave was clearly a cracking manager.
Twice he got Bassett promoted from Hellenic League Division One West as well as taking the club on its best-ever runs in the FA Cup and FA Vase.
It was evident that he loved working with players in training and then watching them put everything into practice on matchdays.
There were periods in the five years I knew him where Dave found his side struggling, but his passion and enthusiasm remained undimmed.
All he wanted to do was sort things out in midweek, go out on Saturday and get three points. And afterwards, we’d chew it over.
“You know I’ll always speak to you, win, lose or draw,” he’d often say.
That was one of the many reasons why I had such respect for Dave.
For him it wasn’t about taking the credit after a victory, it was just about being involved in the cut and thrust of daily life in football. He loved every minute of it.
Well, Dave, I loved knowing you too mate. The non-league circuit won’t be the same without you.
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