Ex-Gulls Watch by Andy Charles


Andy Charles is back with another blog about Ex-Gulls and what they’ve been up to since leaving Plainmoor

Andy C

Andy Charles – @CapitalGull

“After writing about a lot of players from the last few seasons who were not exactly world-beaters, or failed to go on to better things in the first of these articles, now it is time to consider some of those who have actually made a success of themselves after leaving Plainmoor – and a couple who maybe should have at least earned us some cash”.

MATT GREGG – 1995-98 – 39 appearances

So, talking about money, who honestly saw us getting £400,000 for a goalkeeper with only around 30 appearances to his name? Well, somehow Mike Bateson managed just that with Crystal Palace the extremely generous benefactors. Would be fair to say Matt’s career did not progress, probably as most Torquay fans could have predicted, and he made only seven league appearances for the Eagles before loan spells with Swansea City and some team called Exeter (no? me neither).

The remainder of his career, after Palace took a thumping loss and let him leave for nothing, would be spent in Ireland with some of their leading clubs – two spells at Bray Wanderers (lovely club to visit if you are ever over there) and Bohemians plus time at UCD (Dublin’s university team who he actually scored a goal for) and current champions Dundalk. Retired after his second spell with Bray and is now the owner of Just4Keepers and PATH2PRO Soccer Academy in Ireland.

RODNEY JACK – 1995-98 – 105 appearances, 28 goals

Rodney Jack (Jack, Jack) is the only player to be sold by Torquay for more than Matt Gregg, earning us £650,000 when he left for Crewe in 1998. Rodney might just be my favourite Torquay player of all time and it hurt every time he scored for another team, which he did quite a lot. Played nearly 300 more games for the Alex, Rushden & Diamonds and Oldham before a couple of non-league stops in Southport and Nantwich and retirement.

Strangely enough we never saw him play against the Gulls in all those years but a few of us did get the chance to have a good chat with Rodney when we played Oldham at Boundary Park during the 2004-05 season, when his year had long since been ended by a long-term injury. Such a warm and engaging chap. Shame that particular season ended in heartbreak at Colchester, as that afternoon in Oldham (a 2-1 win and Matt Hockley scored!) was one of the best away trips I have ever experienced.

Struggling to find exactly what he’s up to these days but more than one place hints he might just be working in an Iceland supermarket in Crewe – aka the anti-Kevin Hill! (I am fully aware this could be someone taking the mickey…but who really knows?).

MATT ELLIOTT – 1988-92 – 158 appearances, 20 goals

Another firm favourite of mine, from back in the days when I had a season ticket sat alongside my old man in the crumbling Main Stand. Hard to believe we only got £50,000 from Scunthorpe when he moved on in 1992 and they would treble their money when selling him to Oxford United less than 18 months later. His big move came in 1997 when Leicester came calling with £1.6m to spend, and what a career he would have there. Scored both goals in the Foxes’ Worthington Cup final win over Tranmere at Wembley, played in Europe and secured a place in the Scotland squad (even though you couldn’t meet anyone with a less Scottish accent).

Sadly his career was ended prematurely by a knee injury in 2005 and I remember writing the story about it for my current employers with a tear in the corner of my eye. Had some time coaching afterwards, including a spell with “manager extraordinaire” Dean Edwards at Hednesford Town and some time in charge of Stafford Rangers. Brief sojourn to Thailand followed but he’s maintained his links with Leicester by working for the club and as a pundit on local radio – he’s also done some media work for Sky Sports and that was the last time I bumped into him, when we had a brief chat about the olden days at Plainmoor and he regaled me with some stories about the characters back then, including the very well-behaved Dave Caldwell and Mark Loram!!

DARREN MOORE – 1991-95 – 124 appearances, 11 goals

Basically the next centre back off the Plainmoor production line after Matt Elliott, “Bruno” played more than 100 games for the Gulls as a very young pup before one of the strangest transfers I can recall in the club’s more recent history. Not so much that it was Doncaster who snapped him up, but that he was only one of three players to make that move at the same time, alongside Duane Darby and Scott Colcombe. Of that trio, it would be Moore going on to the biggest and brightest career – and it wasn’t even close.

Darren was a regular for Bradford when they secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time and, after a spell with Portsmouth, did exactly the same with West Brom, a club he has become synonymous with. A third promotion to the Premier League came with the rollercoaster Baggies before he left for Derby where, of course, he helped the Rams secure promotion to the top division There can’t be many players with four promotions to the Premier League on their CV.

He would spend the rest of his career in the Football League with Barnsley and Burton Albion before retiring in 2012 and becoming a youth coach back at The Hawthorns. His chance in management would come in 2018 when taking over from Alan Pardew but, despite some excellent results and a Manager of the Month award, West Brom were relegated. He did get the job full-time but was (most felt) inexplicably fired with the Baggies fourth in the Championship last March. He’s now in charge back at Doncaster where, despite mixed results, they are only four points outside the League One play-offs at time of writing.

COYY – Andy

TWITTER – @TORQUAYTALK@torquaytalkpod

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