10:03am Friday 12th March 2010
By Matt Donlan
THE roar of ‘Zico... gol’ echoed around international stadiums in the 1980s as the iconic Brazilian legend took the footballing world apart.
And now that same cheer could well be going up around Dark Lane, especially if Rossendale United’s new signing can fire the Stags away from UniBond League First Division North relegation trouble.
The man with the most memorable name in non-league football, Ryan-Zico Black, has joined up with the Stags and he is on a mission to steer them to safety.
And so far he has made a big impact as United have won one and drawn one of his two games to date.
“It’s been good so far,” said the 28-year-old former Northern Ireland Under 21 international and Guernsey star, who has answered the calls from Dark Lane chief John Hughes to spearhead the club’s revival.
“I have not played a lot of football this season because of an injury and then a 56-day ban, and I was thinking I would give it a miss until next season.
“But United kept on phoning and I thought I would come here.
"It’s a really good set-up and they are all good people here.
“I am enjoying it already.
“And, yes, I am determined to get us out of relegation trouble because no-one wants to be down there.”
The vastly experienced Black made more than 100 Conference appearances for Morecambe before playing for Glenavon, Northwich Victoria and Lancaster City.
And he was Paul Gascoigne’s first signing when the England legend was boss of Kettering Town.
Gazza paid the Dolly Blues £15,000 for Black but he returned to Lancaster a year later.
Black, who works as a community coach with Sammy McIlroy’s Shrimps, has also played in Spain and in Australia as well as for Barrow and AFC Fylde - and he has all the experience to lift the Stags, especially now he is fit and raring to go.
Black’s hefty ban came as a result of a red card in a reserve team game for Bamber Bridge - and then his protests to the referee as he left the field.
“It was my first game after a long spell out injured,” he said.
“I had gone on as a substitute and there was about a minute to go when I went in for a tackle.
“I was slightly late and possibly it was a yellow card but the referee gave me a straight red and then I mentioned to him what I thought of the decision.
“The Lancashire FA gave me a 35-day ban for the red card and then another 21 days for speaking to the referee. It was a real blow.
“But I suppose I didn’t miss as much football as I could have done because of all the bad weather this winter - and now I am ready to make up for lost time.
“I am hoping to be good for Rossendale and with a bit of luck we can string a few more results together.”
Black and company look to make it three games unbeaten tomorrow when they make the trip to derby rivals Chorley tomorrow.
“It’s going to be a good game,” added Black. “I know a few of the Chorley players and it should be entertaining - especially if we can get the win.”
For the derby, Chorley could field Lee Pugh, who has joined Chorley from Bury on a work experience loan deal along with Richie Branagan and Krishnan Patel.
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