“Never stopped running, never stopped jumping, never stopped. My all-time favourite TUFC player” Helen on Kevin Hill
Helen Chamberlain picks her Torquay United Dream Team for TT:
HC – “Was invited to do this and knew it would be hard, but didn’t realise just HOW hard. It’s one thing having a clutch of personal favourites that nicked a bit of your yellow heart, and another having to fit them all together on the pitch. I think most Torquay fans will understand that choosing defence through to midfield was a lot harder than picking forwards, as over the years we’ve had seasons where our top goal-scorer has ended the season with 4”.
“So after going round in circles for about a month I decided to throw all formations out the window and choose 11 players that I wanted to, after all, it’s called a dream team, so in my dreams it doesn’t matter they are all left footers, they will all line up perfectly nicely, and if Barcelona played with three left footed centre backs, then Torquay can play with about 7 of them. Lets call it the parsnip formation”.
“Ps. Apologies for the considerable amount of cussing that seems to be littered throughout the piece, it’s all relevant and completely necessary : )“
I did consider putting Stuart Jones in here based on THAT penalty save at Barnet…. But, you know, he’s Neville bloody Southall, I remember QPR in the 3rd round of the FA cup at Loftus Road. They went one up after 9 minutes and then threw everything at us – EVERYTHING. Nev lolloped about as casual as a fun charity game and just picked and plucked and punched and parried without a huge amount of effort. It was absolutely spectacular. Then Mick O’Brien equalised in the 82nd minute. Delirium from the away end. Scratched heads from the home end.
Across the Back:
Paul Gibbs and Andy Gurney
Gibbs on the left, Gurney on the right. The pairing was superb and a joy to watch. Every time the Gulls broke they’d be bombing up the wings with the pop side roaring in their ears, ready to put in a lethal cross, or ‘whippage’ as Gibbo used to call it.
I really really really want to put Kev Nicholson in, so he is, Kev is in, yes you read that right. IN. I don’t know how, but I’m not leaving him out. From the off, he wanted to play for Torquay, and that’s unusual, he settled in the area with his family and actually cared about the club on and off the pitch. A fantastic player that every League Two manager wanted in their side. Was chuffed when he was given a chance to manage, although I sent him a text that just said ‘Don’t f*ck this up’ and he said it arrived a minute after Lee Mansell sent him ‘For f*ck sake don’t pick yourself’.
The next player who is firmly in my mind is – another left footer. Mind you he started out in midfield so he’s just going to have to shove over a bit. And that’s Mr Tom Kelly. One of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met, and he makes my team for this sentence alone – after scything down an Exeter forward during the derby and conceding a penalty (we lost the game). Saw him afterwards and he was absolutely devastated, but wailed through fingers clutched over his face “I had to do it, I HAD to, the f****er was clean through on goal”. I forgave him.
Massive Matt. Bruiser. Exactly what you want a centre-half to look like. You’re not coming past. And scores goals. Proud he went on to bigger things.
Another player who cared passionately – and that’s the key here. In the season we should have been relegated and the football was awful, he was like a Jack Russell tearing round the pitch – the pop side had two songs for him. To the tune of the Adams family we’d sing the duddle-a-da bits and click our fingers and add “His name is Charlie Oatway, and he’s as hard a f***”. The second one was when he’d get knocked off the ball and his teeth would clench and he’d go back after it with a “Charlie’s gonna get ya, Charlie’s gonna get ya” playground chant ringing round the pop side (And he usually did ‘get him’). He’d played non-league football and said he didn’t want to go back there, whether the football was pretty or not, he played his guts out.
Kevin ‘The Engine’ Hill
I bloody love Kevin Hill. Never stopped running, never stopped jumping, never stopped. My all-time favourite TUFC player. Also, great left foot, because I don’t think I have enough left sided players in this squad…..
Just 33 appearances all in for the Gulls, good hard tackler, but will forever stay in my heart for scoring against Exeter (pen) up the away end, running straight to the baying crowd where a couple of, erm, full sized ladies were sticking their fingers up to him. He planted in front of them, held his arms out like he was wearing a fat suit and puffed his cheeks out. Cue a handful of enraged Exeter fans spilling onto the pitch and chasing him briefly up the pitch. I don’t remember the rest of the game, but I regularly have a chuckle remembering that.
First Torquay player I ever saw wearing gloves in winter which I thought was fancy. Compact, tricky and a damn fine player.
Before my time at Plainmoor, and sadly no plethora of YouTube videos to drink in of the legendary Stubbs. He goes in because the stats speak for themselves, and those that were there when he was in his prime talk and talk and talk of him. And then they talk of him some more. I’m sad I never saw him play, I’m glad I have had the opportunity to shake his hand. 120 goals in 217 appearances. Thank you Robin Stubbs.
Bobby Olejnik: Damn fine keeper / Stu Jones: Because of Barnet.
Paul Holmes: Love him, and loved it that he had a decent career then came back to the Gulls
Lee Mansell: Deliberately in the subs so Nicho can give him some shit.
Alex Russell: Sprayer of ball. Taker of pens (Don’t mention Lincoln). Dependable.
Tony Bedeau: Just for the ironic cheers from us when away announcers never once got his name right. Bedoo, Beedoo, Beddyo, Beedow, Bedoww…
Tim Sills: The mask, the final, the goal.
I wish Martin Ling had been with us longer, but for me, it’s Gary Johnson. I couldn’t believe it when he was announced as our manager with us in the position we were. I mean, here was the guy who nearly guided Bristol City to Premier League football, and was mentioned as being in the running for the England job. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen as I had visions of a couple of weeks in, some kind of embarrassing early exit with the words ‘can’t work with this’ subtly hidden somewhere amongst the official statement. If he stays and delivers us league football again, I’ll start crowd-funding for a statue outside Plainmoor.