My TUFC Dream Team by Martin Salloway

TUFC DREAM TEAM 

“Never made the top flight his skill and bravery deserved” – Martin on Dave Caldwell

Season ticket holder Martin Salloway is next up to name his TUFC Dream Team

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@MartinSalloway1

Me, a dream team? What do I know about football? Going to the game is not about football. It’s much more important than that.

I exaggerate, of course, but when I was asked to do this, a degree of panic set in. The others who had done it tended to know what they were talking about. Me, I’d never played the game at any level. My relationship with it was emotional, rather than analytical.

It is possible, I’m sure, to watch football dispassionately, appreciating the skill of the competitors. It’s just that I never have. I can watch tennis or cricket like that but not football. It’s a drug, upon which I was hooked from the moment I went though the turnstiles at Plainmoor on January the Third, 1977. Why? The game itself? No (although it is in the record books for the fastest ever own goal). The crowd noise? Partly. The smells? The beer and and bovril essence of football, a bit. And then I read a book by Alexi Sayle, yes him, great comedian, even better writer, who had it. It was the colour: ‘I loved the colours you found at the football match, colours of a purity you never got in real life, The acid-clear reds and blues of the shirts the players wore, the impossible green of the grass on which they ran, the total black and whiteness of the balls they kicked and tossed and bounced off their heads’.

So all this is as uneducated and highly subjective as love affairs are.

Favourite matches. All in the FA Cup. I’m a sucker for the glamour of the cup. In reverse order:

3. Coventry City 2 Torquay United 0

In many ways my favourite but you can’t really have a defeat as your top favourite. Competing on equal terms throughout with the cup holders and that overhead kick from David Caldwell. If only that had gone in… What a performance his was. I think it was David Thomas who remarked that the scoreboard had not been altered, so read, Football League Division 1: Coventry City 2 Torquay United 0. And we didn’t feel out of place.

2. Bristol City 0 Torquay United 1 (Caldwell)

Him again, with a diving header. I was living in Bristol at the time and went to watch the Robins. That was my only time in the away end at Ashton Gate. My fellow supporters were looking forward to the 400 Club that night. Me, I had a good few at the Lansdown in Clifton Village

1. QPR 0 Torquay United 1

What a free kick from Mick O’Brien. I was with Janine, a fellow lawyer with whom I had a professional friendship. The roar of delight and embrace that followed the goal  was not something that  was a feature of the solicitors’ office in which we worked. And the tube ran just right, getting us to Paddington for the 5.30 train.

And so to the players:

Goalkeeper

Kenny Allen

A character. Part of the Cyril Knowles side that made us believe. Great tash.

Right Back

Gary Nelson

He wrote a book you know.

Left Back

Ian Twitchin

Played in that first game and hundreds of others. A local boy (Teignmouth) and a great club servant. Died far too young.

Centre Half

Wes Saunders

Wor Wes. A friend of Gazza. I met him when we sponsored a game. Top bloke,

Wes Saunders
Wes Saunders – Photo courtesy Paul Levie – Torbay News Agency

Garry Monk

A class act. Went on to higher things.

Midfield

Mick O’Brien

See above. England schoolboy international. Oodles of skill. Never made the top grade. Wound people up. I loved him.

Alex Russell

A metronome. Kept the game ticking over. Was appreciated by those with an eye for the game, which is why I chose someone else (I forget whom) as man of the match when we were sponsors. David Thomas disapproved.

Alex Russell
Alex Russell – Photo courtesy Paul Levie – Torbay News Agency

Peter Coffill

Tricky winger. A joy to watch.

Centre Forward

Les Lawrence

Torquay’s first black player. Tall and rangy. Was an awkward customer for opposing centre halves, which was a good thing.

Inside Forward

Steve Cooper

As tough as teak. Signed after Mike Green watched him demolish a breeze-block wall when he skidded off the pitch. Said wall collapsed onto him. Many careers would have been ended. Coops got up and played on. Gave Brian Kilcline a torrid time when we played Notts County. Mr Kilcline was to come across Torquay United again a few years later.

Steve Cooper
Steve Cooper – Photo courtesy Paul Levie – Torbay News Agency

Inside Forward

David Caldwell

My all-time favourite. Never made the top flight his skill and bravery deserved. On his own account, perhaps there was a refuelling issue, which adds to the legend. By the time of the Coventry City match, Kilcline was playing for them. He didn’t enjoy that experience any more than the earlier one. Met DC in Castle Circus after I’d had a night at the Hideaway. Asked for his autograph. He obliged. Top bloke.

Substitutes

John Turner – Wayne Thomas – Rodney Jack – Colin Lee – Mark Loram

In Charge

Manager: Cyril Knowles – Head Coach: Leroy Rosenior – Director of Football: Frank O’Farrell

 
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