Hall of Heroes: Sean O’Driscoll

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Sean O’Driscoll was a bit of an unsung hero back in the early 1980’s and often didn’t get the recognition he deserved.

Sean signed from Alvechurch (who were then in the Southern League 1st Division North) in November 1979 by Bobby Campbell for a reported £12,000.  It was naturally hoped we had unearthed another gem from non-league following the success of Gordon Davies.

He made his debut in a 1-1 draw later that season away to Notts County (1 March 1980) and the following month scored his first goal in a 1-0 victory at home to Charlton Athletic.  That was though a relegation season from Division 2 (now the Championship).

It was the following season that Sean established himself, making 46 + 3 sub appearances in league and cup matches.  After a reasonable start to the season a bad run of 6 defeats and only one goal saw the replacement of Campbell as Manager by Malcolm Macdonald.  That brought about a change in fortune and far more entertaining football.  It was at this time that Sean was given the nickname “Noisy” owing to his very quiet demeanour in the dressing room.

Sean missed the first 6 matches of the 1981-82 season due to injury but played all the remaining matches in our promotion season, chipping in with 7 goals.

His first goal of the 1982-83 season away at Crystal Palace

Back into Division 2 the 1982-83 team under Macdonald’s leadership were hugely entertaining to watch playing a sharp brand of one touch football.  The midfield four (Ray Lewington, Robert Wilson, Sean O’Driscoll and Ray Houghton) played virtually every match that season with 3 ever-presents.  Robert Wilson missed just 2 matches.  That was an astonishing record, albeit a fortunate one in terms of lack of injuries to the quartet.  Sean played on the right-hand side of the diamond and set up many attacks / chances with his delicate touches.  The season concluded just missing out on promotion to the first division in that farcical match at Derby County.

During this season his high standard of play did not go unnoticed at International level and he earned 3 caps for the Republic of Ireland

The standards reached in the 1982-83 season were not repeated the following season and this saw the start of the decline of the club with the asset stripping by the Chairman, Ernie Clay.

Sean was allowed to leave far too early.  Following his final appearance for the club (as a substitute at :Leeds United in January 1984) he was allowed to leave to join Bournemouth, initially on loan.  Including cups, he played 166 + 10 matches, scoring 13 goals.

He stayed at Bournemouth for 11 years and made 423 league appearances, at the time a record for the club.  Following the ending of his playing career Sean went into coaching and then later management of numerous clubs in different divisions earning considerable success at lower levels.