“A great header of the ball and a proper no nonsense defender. Although not the quickest, he lead from the back in a forever committed and enthusiastic fashion” – Lewis Blackmore on Aaron Downes
Lewis Blackmore – @LewisRBlackmore
Here’s my TUFC Dream Team from my 15 years or so of supporting United through thick and thin!
Still the stand out keeper we’ve had in my time as a Torquay fan in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some decent keepers over the last 15 years. But nothing like the quality Olejnik brought to our side in that one season with us in 2011/12 under Martin Ling.
Another proper Torquay legend, who always gave 110% through both his times as a player and manager at the club. A real voice out on the pitch and a proper left-back with a wicked left foot. You could always depend on him to come up with the goods, often spectacularly and was a real constant through the Buckle era.
Always think it was a bit harsh to sack him when we did in hindsight, especially after the two successive ‘great escapes’.
Without a doubt, the best central defender I’ve seen play for the club in my lifetime and one of the key players of the first ‘great escape’ under Nicholson. A real presence at the back, a defender with real authority who was never afraid to get stuck in.
It’s been a real shame to see him go through what he has but I’m very glad to see him back on the road to full health now, I wish him the very best.
The Aussie is forever engrained as a United legend in my mind, a proper dependable stalwart and commanded assurance in defence. I could name countless games where he came to the rescue and was there just when you needed him most. A great header of the ball and a proper no nonsense defender. Although not the quickest, he lead from the back in a forever committed and enthusiastic fashion.
His wealth of experience makes him a proper asset to still have at the club.
United’s current right-back makes my team. A very consistent, confident player who commands that right side of the pitch and is always likely to pose a threat to the opposition. Plus, there’s Woking away last season. Of course.
On his day, no right back was stopping him. His ability to reach the byline and cross the ball is like no other I’d ever seen, or since in all honesty. Plus, he had an end product – the six goals and 16 assists in the 2016/17 great escape under Nicho demonstrated that. A player I, and I’m sure many others, would love to see return to the club someday.
One of my all-time favourites and by far one of the most consistent player’s we’ve had over the last few years. His box-to-box playstyle and the way in which he could spray passes from anywhere on the field, plus his tendency to score a worldly now and again, cements his place in my team.
I really do think he could be a Football League player now if he didn’t get that knee injury, it’s a real shame because he totally deserves to be playing higher than he is. Wish we had kept hold of him, but you couldn’t blame him for wanting to move on. Would sign him up again in a heartbeat.
Another player who was always destined to go much higher, and I’m glad he’s done just that. The Irishman is probably one of the best midfielder’s I have seen play for Torquay, not my favourite but objectively one of the best. THAT goal in the derby against Argyle was enough for me to include him here.
A key figure in that Buckle playoff final side and instrumental winger under Lingy too, he’s certainly one that sticks in the memory. Pace and precision was this guy’s modus operandi and was one that often came up with the goods.
One of the very best forwards to pull on a Yellow jersey in my opinion, Howe had it all. Physical prowess, the skills to beat his man, an acute heading ability and a consistent goalscorer. A real staple of that team under Ling and a player we found it hard to replace when he left. Just as Lingy famously described him: ‘he’s big and strong and can score goals’ – he certainly fitted the bill and proved his many doubters wrong.
Possibly the best forward I’ve seen play for Torquay in my lifetime, however short that time was unfortunately. It was so obvious how talented he was from the very beginning and how he was way too good for the National League. It’s a real shame when you hear how close we were to signing him before being pipped at the post by Ipswich as well.
Great to see him doing so well with Wigan in the Championship now.
I was a real fan of the American at his time at the club under Nicho. He was an instrumental figure in keeping us in the National League in both of our great escapes. A great shot stopper and could always take command of his box. Rightfully takes his place on my bench here.
Very nearly made it into my starting line-up, but Downesy deserves his spot. Nathan Smith was a real young starlet in that team under Nicho in 2016 and a solid defender that became a real defensive rock that season. I remember the partnership he formed with MacDonald fondly, arguably one of the very best pairings we’ve ever had.
Smith rightfully deserved that player of the season award that season, if it wasn’t for that defensive partnership I do really think we wouldn’t have stayed up that season.
Now this might seem like another peculiar choice for some, but I have my reasons. A very useful asset whether he starts, or comes on as a sub later in a game, who provides a different edge to others that play in his position. A really consistent player who has tonnes of ability even if he’s just yet to really prove himself a higher level. I do think there’s potential for him to do that and really thrive at United.
Bit of an odd choice, granted, but I remember this guy fondly. A real highlight in a pretty dogged United side in 2013/14, on loan to us from Spurs. A rapid winger with plenty of end product and a real eye for goal, it’s just a shame he played for us in that League 2 relegation season. Had real potential to be special in my eyes.
Just for the past season and what we had of this season, Reidy makes my subs bench. It’s been great to see him prove his many doubters wrong and show everyone that he can do it at the higher levels. Reidy has a real eye for goal and an ability to turn a player like no other I’ve seen before. Hope he stays at Torquay for a good while because I really believe he could be part of a team to take us back into the Football League (Do I break the news to him now? – Ed.).
It was a close call between Johnson or Nicholson if I’m honest, but Johnson is the dream boss in my opinion. Purely down to the experience he brings, the quality of football he’s brought back to the club and more than anything – the passion and respect he has for us fans.