Stockport County Supporters Cooperative and Help the Hatters have joined forces to launch a crowdfunding campaign to commission a statue of the club’s former manager, Danny Bergara.
Affectionately known as ‘The Man from Uruguay’, Bergara (pictured) transformed the club’s performances on the pitch in the 1990s. To mark his success, the supporters groups have set up a fund to raise £50,000 to erect a bronze statue of the former manager outside Edgeley Park, with the venture having already been endorsed by Stockport County.
In the two decades prior to his arrival at Edgeley Park in 1989, The Hatters had never won more games than they had lost, never scored more goals than they conceded, and never finished above 11th position in the basement division. The following six seasons would see the club’s supporters enjoy a constant feast of ‘play-offs’, promotions and Wembley Finals.
In his first full season Danny led his team to their first ever ‘play-off’ experience, which ultimately ended in disappointment, but placed in true context of the club’s achievements over the previous twenty years, it was to prove to be the beginning of a massive turnaround masterminded by the Uruguayan.
The 1990/91 season saw Danny Bergara’s Stockport County promoted as runners up in the Fourth Division, his team being made up of a mixture of free transfers and bargain buys.
Having arrived in Division Three for the 1991/92 season, Danny’s team proved to be inspirational, starting as they meant to continue, with an opening day five-goal thrashing of Swansea City. The club finished the campaign in fifth place and gained a place in the end of season ‘play-offs’.
At the end of that season Bergara became the first County boss in history to lead a team out at Wembley Stadium when the team faced Stoke City in the Autoglass Final, in doing so he became the first manager born outside the UK, to lead an English club side out at The National Stadium.
Amazingly the following weekend saw him proudly lead his side out at the same venue again, in the Play-off Final against Peterborough United. Bergara was to lead his team out twice more at the World’s most famous stadium over the next two seasons, once each in the Autoglass Trophy and play-off finals.
Despite the fact that the team were to suffer defeat in all four of their visits to the capital, the little Uruguayan had transformed Stockport County from a ‘music hall’ joke into a team that any football supporter could be proud of. Danny had made a massive impact on County supporters and changed the direction of the Club utilising his personal brand of magic!
During his time at Edgeley Park he showed an uncanny knack of unearthing a player for little or no money and transforming them into outstanding performers. He brought in the likes of Chris Beaumont, David Frain, Neil Edwards, Jim Gannon, Mike Flynn, Andy Preece, Kevin Francis, Lee Todd, Alun Armstrong, Tony Dinning, Sean Connolly, Peter Ward, Paul R Williams and Paul A Williams; all gave years of great service to the club and in many cases moved on for much larger ‘fees’ than they had arrived for.
Both the Supporters Cooperative and Help the Hatters have agreed to donate £2,000 each to start the statue fund on its way, and will raising funds via Just Giving page, linked to a ringfenced bank account for the project, as well as a dedicated website.