Frank Patcham (John Salthouse) 1997-1999 / 2007

First Regular Appearance: 1.1 (#1)  Tuesday 14th October 1997

Last Regular Appearance: 2.76 (#140)  Thursday 20th May 1999

Guest Appearance 1: 3.7 (#147)  Tuesday 12th October 1999

Guest Appearance 2: 10.31 (#418) The Final Whistle Part 1  Sunday 27th May 2007

Duration: EP: 1 - 140, 147, 418 ½ SE: 1.1 – 2.76, 3.7, 10.31

Position: Youth Team Manager (1992-1999) / Temporary First Team / Assistant Manager (1999)

Last Seen: In a new flashback to just before his original exit, presenting schoolboy forms to a 12-year-old Jason Porter.

 

Frank Patcham was a part of a Harchester team which oversaw a highly successful period for the club in the late 1970's. With Harry Sidwell as his manager, Frank was one third of Harchester’s "Three Musketeers" of the day, alongside Ken "Sammy" Hocknell and Jonny Fletcher. Off the pitch Frank was the more level-headed and moralist of the three, Jonny and “Sammy” quite wild when it came to women and booze, even after they had married and had young sons of their own. Frank settled with his wife Helen and they had a daughter, Lucy, who became strong willed like her dad and inherited his red hair.

 

As the 80's began, Frank moved on from Harchester, as Ken had already left for Newcastle, leaving Jonny the last remaining of the trio with the Dragon's, where he was determined to be Mr. Harchester. Frank re-signed for Harchester following their first ever Title win in 1986, and saw out his playing days with his old pal Jonny at the club they loved. Frank's wife had passed away in 1989, forcing him to fully-parent young Lucy alone, and rethink his future as his retirement from playing was fast approaching. By January 1992 the opportunity comes in the dream role of Harchester's Youth Team Manager, and Frank began coaching in the area of football where he found most rewarding - moulding out the talent of tomorrow in the youth sides, using the motto he carried throughout his playing career - "Play the game. Not the occassion".

 

The position allows him to personally train up Premier League and European stars of the future; Karl Fletcher, the son of his old team mate Jonny, Carl Caskey and followed later by Ken's sons Dean and Sean Hocknell. Frank could not be happier when Dean begins dating Lucy, he sees him as the perfect son-in-law and player, especially when Dean is called up to the first team. Sean however, he feels he needs to push, and knowing he has the same major skill as his brother Frank wants him to flourish, though Sean doesn’t see it that way. When Dean cheats on Lucy with Chairman Michael Jacobs' daughter Georgina, he loses the respect Frank had for him.

 

Two others under Frank’s watchful eye are Conor McCarthy and Warren Masters. Conor is only 16-years-old, and is naïve in the squad, causing him to run away back home to Northern Ireland. Frank goes to persuade him to return, but he doesn’t improve as a player and to be cruel-to-be-kind, Frank has to let him go. Warren on the other hand, is moody and rebellious, in trouble with the law. Frank knows he has potential however, and often helps Warren out of his scrapes, and tolerates his behaviour when he otherwise wouldn’t. Frank presents Warren and Sean with professional contracts and is proud to see them make the first team.

 

With Lucy now in London, a sports reporter for Sky, Frank becomes involved with club canteen manager Denise Wilkinson, accompanied by her wayward son Alex. Alex causes trouble in the youth team, targeting Hari Lal, a signing he knew had been forced upon Frank by Jerry Block. Frank also has a rocky relationship with new educational officer Helen Jensen, and after she is persuaded into going drinking with the youth team lads, he is forced to fire her, but she later impresses him enough to rehire her. Following Ian Coates’ suspension, Frank takes management of the first team, and despite not losing one game under his charge, he turns down Jerry’s offer to become permanent manager, knowing his passion is with the youth team. For the final weeks of the season, Luis appoints Frank as his assistant, and he spends the remainder of his time at Harchester with the first team.

 

When Denise learns how Alex has set up fellow youth-teamer Leon Richards for drug taking, and threatened Leon with the safety of his young son, she goes to Frank. With Luis, Frank oversees the process of Alex being thrown out of the club, though his already-strained relationship with Denise seemingly doesn't survive this. After accepting the role of youth team manager at Bristol City, Frank briefly returns to Harchester for the memorial service held for the victims of the plane crash, including two of his former youth team lads Sean and Leon.

 

A former professional player for Crystal Palace in his youth, John Salthouse moved from in front of the camera on Dream Team to producing the series alongside Jane Hewland in Seasons 3 and 4. Five years later he returned to production as Series Producer for Dream Team 80’s, followed by a return to his former role as Executive Producer for Dream Team Season 10.