“He’d pick out a pass before anyone else in the ground had even spotted it” Matty on Alex Russell
New 2019-20 TT Contributor Matty Orton steps up to pick his TUFC Dream Team:
Matty Orton – @MattyOrton1
Big Bobby Olejnik has to be one the most flawless keepers we’ve ever had. I can’t recall the last time we had a really ‘bad’ keeper as it seems to be a position we’ve always done ‘ok’ with. I think the only mistake I ever saw him make was a clearance at Bramall Lane in the FA Cup 2nd round which in the end we were unlucky to lose. 20 clean sheets in his first season with us and one of four TUFC players who made the PFA League Two team of the year in 2012. The fact he went to (then) Championship Peterborough was testament to his skills as a keeper. The big Austrian makes the team for me.
There are two Kevin Nicholson’s in my opinion. The one I like to remember is one of the best dead ball deliverers I have ever seen at Plainmoor. He won’t be remembered for his blistering pace, but his football brain and reading of the game made up for it. Whenever you felt he was going to caught out position he’d somehow find himself in the right place at the right time. Kev’s left foot was deadly from corners and the amount of assists he notched over his time should be revered. 333 overall appearances and great servant to the club.
Steve Woods and Craig Taylor
Steve Woods – resolve, assured , composed, determined, decided, dependable, secure, settled and the list goes on. A class player who wasn’t just all about defending. He had an eye for a forward pass and found creativity at times. Kumbuyah, My Lord, Stevie Woods.
I’ve gone with Craig Taylor here, maybe not so much as an individual CB but alongside Steve Woods as a pairing. Like Woods, Taylor could get a passage of play or a move started from the back. Instrumental in that 2004 side and although sometimes it wasn’t pretty he would do whatever he needed to do to clear or win that ball.
This lad loved a bomb forward, loved a goal, never failed to entertain and always matched up to his counterpart in Paul Gibbs as the pair of them would provide a show in tandem. Simply a quality footballer.
He’d pick out a pass before anyone else in the ground had even spotted it. When him and Jason Fowler were turning the screw they were incredible. In areas he lacked such as speed, he made up for with his superb technical ability and always found himself in space. A tireless work rate and chipped in with the goals here and there. Was picked twice for the PFA Division Three team of the season in 2002-03 and 2003-04, remaining the only ever Torquay United to achieve this accolade.
The former Grenadan international perhaps somewhat controversially gets the nod from me here. Numerous rejected bids, 330 appearances in two spells and a testimonial later he will be forever entrenched in TUFC folklore. He was diverse in his utility and held his own quite comfortably in different positions on the field. He was recommended by Chris Waddle to Sheffield Wednesday for whom he consequently trained with. They made a bid but it was rejected. He was always fully loyal to the cause. I missed his single winner against Argyle in a PSF once because I’d gone to the toilet after a heavy one the night before. A Tony Bedeau goal I didn’t see, but will always remember.
I think Kevin Hill was either a salmon in a past life or was somehow related to one. The way he leapt and won headers was incredible and I will always be grateful for witnessing it in person as it was something to behold. You had to see it to believe it. He was a local lad who absolutely loved Torquay United and it showed. He had a brilliant and composed left foot. His graft and commitment shone through and he was often rewarded for his labour. Remains the club’s record appearance holder.
Although I haven’t been for a while, Torquay United can easily be found within the bowels of the National Football Museum. One feature provides local radio commentary taken from special moments from different clubs. One of three radio commentaries which were selected for us was the 3-1 thumping of Argyle at Plainmoor. I think that game was a real ‘lets enjoy him whilst we have him’ moment with regards to Eunan. A recap of what Martin Ling had to say about that game ….
“The first half was a really scrappy affair and we never got ourselves going got into the lads at half-time and the second half was superb”
“O’Kane’s first goal was superb but his second was out of this world”
“Once Eunan pulled the rabbit out of the hat, there was only ever going to be one winner”
I don’t need to say any more than that.
One of the most iconic Torquay United players who played in one of the most iconic Torquay United’s kits. The ball just seemed to stick to him we he would run with it. Frightening pace, skill and creativity. He terrorised any defence he came up against. There was such a buzz and excitement every time he got the ball. I was a young teenager in 1998, I remember clearly being on the coach on the way to the old Wembley thinking we would easily smash Colchester (which included a certain Paul Buckle) with Rodney Jack in the team. Especially after the magic against Scarborough. Unfortunately it never happened that way and I was heartbroken when he left for Crewe Alexandra. Nonetheless I’ll always remember Rodney Jack Jack Jack!
I’d go as far to say that Rene was the last true ‘target man’ in a system/style we rarely see adopted these days. His hold up play was magnificent, his strength and power would match up to anyone or anything that was thrown at him. He wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea for a dream team but he is one of my all time favourite centre forwards.
David Graham – Ian Hathaway – Gregory Goodridge – Alex Watson – Matt Elliott – Chris Hargreaves – Neville Southall
As with any dream team, they are a product of time and memory. Sometimes rose-tinted, sometimes based on fact and other times opinion. The same can be said when it comes to managers and for me it has to be Paul Buckle.
Leroy was of course up there and Martin Ling has to be acknowledged for his time at the club, but one of the most exciting periods that I have ever supported Torquay United came under Buckle. The controversy surrounding his appointment at the time caused concern, shipping out Leroy after 10 minutes for an unknown from Exeter City didn’t go down particularly well. But his recruitment was incredible.
To rebuild an entire team (albeit with handsome resources) and to not only get that team into the Football League but the brink of League One within 4 seasons was incredible. I’ll never forget one of his first PSF’s at Dawlish Town, where apart from Lee Mansell no one else was recognisable. I thought at the time how much of an unknown this team was and how uncertain the future was shaping up to be, not knowing I was looking at a team that would regain our Football League status just short of two years later (which was close to being sooner) with some incredible FA Cup runs along the way.
We then had a season of consolidation (very much like now) and kicked on to a League Two play-off final. He’ll be forever tainted for the circumstance in which he left, which may have been out of his hands somewhat, but a manager who during his time, brought some amazing games, times and memories to Plainmoor.