Matty Hayward – @mattyhayward96
Here’s the bad news: according to the club’s official site, Liam Davis is going to be out injured longer than expected. That’s a real kick in the teeth for Liam, who has been plagued by injuries over these last few seasons. It’s also a kick in the teeth for the Yellows, for whom he has played excellently when fit.
The good news is, we won’t be without a left back as the season starts (well, actually we might be, um, we’ll get to that). We’ve signed a left back! And a good one! Dean Moxey was announced as a Torquay player on Tuesday afternoon and with him came a flurry of excitement. But who is he? What’s his style? Has he ever scored a screamer in the second round of the FA Cup to earn his team a trip to Old Trafford? Allow me to help you with those questions.
Moxey started his career in Devon’s rugby capital, breaking into the Grecians’ first team in 2003 as a 17 year old winger. Five years later, he was earning the Man Of The Match award at Wembley as – after marginally squeaking past the Yellows in the semi-final – City won promotion to the Football League via the playoffs. The following year, he was instrumental in the club’s promotion to League One.
That summer, though, he saw sense and moved to a proper club: Derby County. By now he was a left back by trade, making 31 appearances in his first season in the Championship before dropping out of favour the next campaign. As injuries plagued Nigel Clough’s men, Moxey made a shock return to the first team as a striker, where he scored first time out and dedicated his goal to the recently deceased Adam Stansfield. He soon reclaimed the left back spot until a bid came in from Crystal Palace in the January of 2011.
His only goal in red and blue stripes came at Selhurst Park in a 2-2 draw against Derby. He would go on to feature both as a left winger and a left back in the 2012/13 campaign which would see The Eagles reach the League Cup semi-final and promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs.
Dean was released at the end of the following season and reunited with former Palace manager Dougie Freedman at Bolton. After their relegation from the Championship in 2016, Moxey would help the club to second place in League One and complete his feat of being promoted from the fifth, fourth, third and second tiers of English football. That summer, he rejoined his home town club and would reach two playoff finals in three seasons with the St James Park side.
He’s spent most of his career as a defender, ok? So he’s not going to be banging in screamers on a regular basis. However, I have managed to source (via this great thing called a search engine) three strikes ranging from “decent” to “absolute worldie”.
Here’s the most recent, the 996th goal scored for Exeter since they became fan owned. It’s a good hit.
Now for his first Bolton goal, a 20-yard daisy cutter into the bottom corner.
But has he scored a screamer in the FA Cup second round to take win his team a game at Old Trafford? Yes. Watch this offensively grainy video from 30 seconds onwards to see it.
The word often used for players like Dean Moxey begins with S and rhymes with “pithouse”. Torquay have had – and often lost – our own battles with him in the past. He’s the sort of player we lacked last season. He’s hard, and he’s hard to play against. Not afraid of a tough tackle and appears to have been a fan favourite at most if not all of his previous clubs. Of course, sometimes this bravery tips over into recklessness, and that’s something we’ll need to look out for. In the League Two playoff final this June, he got himself sent off with something of a clumsy (that’s probably being polite) tackle. I don’t think anyone in the world knows if that means he’ll be suspended for our first game(s) of this season – with a bit of luck everyone will have forgotten by then and he’ll slot in without issue.
He’s obviously much more than just hard, though. At 34, Moxey adds more experience to our backline, which is something we’ll need if Davis is to be out for as long as feared. He’s also a good footballer, you only have to watch the parts of the playoffs he stayed on the pitch to know that he can pass the ball, is good in the air, and is clearly an organised defender too. Gary likes him already: he has “shown his character, commitment and quality in training over the last few days.”
Where He Fits
In the immediate term, you’d expect Dean to be a direct replacement for Liam Davis, either slotting in at left back or left wing-back depending on our formation. However, if either Davis comes back or Johnson opts for someone more mobile at wing-back, he can play (as demonstrated in his most recent spell at Exeter) on the left side of a back three or (as demonstrated elsewhere in his career) further forward.
This is clearly a very good signing. A player who was good enough for a good team in the league above last season is undoubtedly good enough for us. He adds valuable experience, great versatility and genuine ability in positions where we needed cover. We have to take Dean on his word that he’s not just here to wind down his career or pick up a paycheque, but that he wants to add another promotion to his already impressive CV.
COYY – Matty