Boxing Day Memories by Clive Hayward

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Clive Hayward delves into his Boxing Day memory banks…

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Clive Hayward – @Byehorse

City (a) Boxing Day 1994

Hark now hear the Torquay sing

The City ran away

And there will be a massacre

Upon this Boxing Day!

Complete nonsense, of course. Although many of us talked a good game, crowd trouble at this fixture has been practically non-existent over the years and although we frequently avoided defeat at St James’ Park, victories haven’t in truth, been all that common over the years.

This one was about as close as we’ve ever got to fulfilling the chant though, and here are a few memories augmented by the Express & Echo’s match report here:

https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_event=exeter-city-vs-torquay-united-10

After a nice drop of Port for breakfast Chez Hayward, we set off for the traditional early kick-off.

I loved that old away end at Exeter, sadly now covered & sanitised but still, in the mid 90s, delightfully ramshackle and close enough to the players for them to smell the booze many of us would still have reeked of at such an unsocial hour.

Don O’Riordan’s team were probably on their way down by this point. Having finished in a play-off spot in 93/4, they fell short in 94/5 and this was sadly a preface to the Scunthorpe debacle (1-8) which brought Don’s tenure to a close in 95/6.

We fielded a pretty strong team here though, and if you’ve had a better Boxing Day than coming from a goal down, battering the Grecians and waiting for the final seconds before delivering the coup de grace then I can only say fair play to you.

All three goals went in at our end.

  • City scored (against the run of play, naturally) after 33 minutes to suggest that we were in for a long morning.

  • The fabulous Darren Moore nodded in an equaliser on 63 minutes.

  • “The Don” was on hand to nod in a last minute back-stick header right in front of us to cause complete pandemonium. We had forced a string of corners and finally, by golly, you beauty we got lucky.

A deserved three points for the Yellows, and cold turkey all round on the Big Bank. We repaired to the quaint village of Ide for a couple of quiet ones before returning to play with our kids’ new toys. 

The mighty hoops (as we then were: https://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk/1993-95-torquay-united-home-shirt-very-good-l.html) lined up as follows (shirt numbers & formation very approximate!):

  1. Ashley Bayes (never a favourite of mine: error prone & kicking once memorably described by Dave Thomas as “bizarrely inept” after a forgettable afternoon at Fulham. Rumoured to have been romantically challenged by Paul Buckle).

  2. Chris Curran (decent defender- tough but good on the ball: played for all 3 Devon sides: may have been centre half on the day, conceivably even midfield).

  3. Tom Kelly (Scottish left back. A veteran of Cyril Knowles’ team from the late 80s. Divided opinion in his 2nd spell – having won a 4th division title with City in between: I still liked him).

  4. Lee Barrow (probably centre half but possibly right back. Pretty limited, from memory. His chant was rather unimaginative too: “Lee, Lee, Lee Barrow!”).

  5. Darren Moore (mountainous, sunny disposition, Baggies legend, never touched Paul Raynor!).

  6. Don O’Riordan (Irish, player-manager, classy; sweeper?).

  7. Gregory Goodridge (quality footballer, Caribbean, pathfinder for the insanely talented Rodney Jack!).

  8. Richard Hancox (married the Chairman’s daughter).

  9. Chima Okorie (wholehearted Nigerian striker; my mate Roy used to fix his car; anagram of “I choke Maori”).

  10. Dean Sturridge (on loan from Derby; Brummie, fabulous finisher as evidenced by his 5 goals in 10 games for us. Played for over a decade in the top 2 divisions, notably for Derby and Wolves).   

  11. Ian Hathaway (short, Northern, winger, one good game in four, could be frustrating).

COYY – Clive

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