IT WAS all change at Leeds Road as Town manager Ian Greaves plotted a quick return to the top flight after a miserable season which brought only six wins from 42 matches and ended in relegation alongside Nottingham Forest.
Trevor Cherry and Roy Ellam had both left for neighbours Leeds while keeper David Lawson had joined Everton, with the boss, having failed in an audacious bid to bring Denis Law back to Town, reinvesting some of the receipts of a combined £215,000 by signing Manchester United striker Alan Gowling (pictured below) for £67,000 and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Graham Pugh for £60,000.
Star striker Frank Worthington was still with the club, with his proposed £150,000 move to Liverpool falling through after a medical showed high blood pressure, but he was clearly set to leave, and Greaves left him at home as he took his squad on tour for games against Dunfermline, Jimmy Lawson clinching a 1-0 win ast East End Park, and St Johnstone, where Gowling grabbed his first goal for the club from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw at the Perth club’s former Muirton Park home.
ALAN GOWLING was about to go (to Newcastle for £70,000 having topped the goal chart in each of three seasons at the club) and Town had slipped into the basement division after a tough first managerial campaign for Bobby Collins, whose team had finished rock-bottom of Division III.
The former Leeds and Celtic ace, who had to work to a tight budget, had made three summer signings, seasoned ex-Leeds and Ipswich striker Rod Belfitt, who had been on loan from Sunderland the previous season, young Aston Villa frontman Bobby Campbell and Nottingham Forest centre-back Steve Baines.
Collins, who had won 31 Scotland caps, chose his homeland as the pre-season destination, with Town going down 3-1 at Arbroath, where Martin Fowler was on target, before drawing 2-2 against Greenock Morton, one of the manager’s former clubs.
Brian O’Neil and Belfitt, with a penalty, scored at Cappielow Park, where Town had played in the Texaco Cup in 1971.
Town then popped back over the border into England to face Berwick Rangers, who were 3-2 winners at Shielfield Park, where Barry Endean and Campbell counted.
FANS will still smarting from the disappointment of missing out on the previous season’s play-offs, but that didn’t stop more than 800 heading up the M6 to see Town finish a three-match tour of Scotland with a 1-1 draw against Motherwell at Fir Park, where Chris Beech got the goal.
Town, who had looked in line to make the top six of the Championship before losing their final two games against Stockport and Fulham, had done little business during the summer.
But Bruce, brought in 12 months previously after managing Sheffield United, was optimistic after seeing his side win 2-1 at Livingston, thanks to goals by Dutch star Dean Gorre and Delroy Facey, and 2-1 at Dunfermline, where Clyde Wijnhard and Chris Hay were the men on target.