Torquay United Players As Festive Foods (And Drinks)


Matty Hayward blogs about…food

Matty Hayward – @mattyhayward96

Pandemics can give birth to great literature. T.S. Elliot wrote The Waste Land (which by my reckoning is absolute dross, but is pretty well-received as one of the best poems of all time so I guess I’ll allow it) while recovering from the Spanish flu; William Shakespeare (the playwright, not the newly vaccinated octogenarian) wrote King Lear and Macbeth during a vicious outbreak of the bubonic plague; and Albert Camus’ novel The Plague, about a virus-ridden city in Algeria, is literally on its way to me in the post as I type because I thought it looked so good while researching (and desperately scrabbling for) a third example to complete this now incredibly laboured tricolon of contagions.

On that note, we begin this latest pandemic-penned piece, entitled “Torquay United Players As Festive Foods (And Drinks)”.

The premise for this is perhaps even simpler than you originally thought – “surely he’s not just going to list off all the Yellows players and compare them to mince pies etc. Surely he’s going to put a bit more effort in than that?”. Nope. That’s the article. As you’ll see, I’m even going to be lazy enough to select more than one chocolate from a box of Celebrations. And yes, stat fans, it’ll be in squad number order.

Shaun MacDonald – A Snickers From A Box Of Celebrations

The nuttiest of the pack. For some, Shaun is the number one choice, while others – despite not seeing him for the best part of a year – still find a reason to slag him off at the earliest opportunity.

Ben Wynter – A Mince Pie

(You think I’ve gone early with the mince pies, don’t you.)

It’s impossible to think of mince pies without thinking of Christmas. Despite being bloody brilliant all year round, they are inextricably linked with one day, one festival of joy. Similarly, the second anyone says Ben Wynter (or, indeed, mentions the coldest season), one’s mind is immediately transported to the 6th April 2019. To a long throw, to a blocked shot, to an actually – in retrospect – extremely fortunate deflected goal. A mince pie and ice cream would be an excellent desert at any time of the year, just like Wynts is an excellent right back whatever the weather, but he’ll always be remembered for that day of utter jubilation.

Liam Davis – The Galaxy Truffle From A Box Of Celebrations

A bloody tasty snack. Nobody wanted to see the GT removed from the box, and everyone will be a damn sight happier when it returns.

Kyle Cameron – Baileys

Great. Really good stuff. Just the thought of having him around really warms the cockles. Cam is always the dominant defender, and Baileys at Christmas is always the dominant tipple. Very seldom seen on the rocks.

Fraser Kerr – The Gin You Buy Your Dad Every Year – Which To Be Fair To You Is In The Middle Of The Price Range – Because He Once Said He Likes Gin But He’s Actually Not Overly Keen And Quite Often Pours Half Of It Away When You’re Out On New Year’s Eve But He Feels Too Bad To Say Anything Because It’s A Nice Tradition

Scottish, isn’t he? Like Gordon’s gin. Your dad loves a big bastard Scottish defender who pays no regard to the modern “passing it out from the back nonsense”. Or at least you’re sure he said that once while watching Grant Hanley on Match Of The Day.

Gary Warren – Stuffing

Been around forever. Ripe for a good-natured joke, but generally a solid accompaniment to a well organised meal.

Photo courtesy of Graham Scrambler

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – Clementines

Citrus, lemon, do I need to do all the work here? Clementine-Evans, isn’t that enough for you? Ok – clementines in stockings are supposedly symbols of Saint Nicholas’ generosity. Who, in the team, is more generous than (joint) leading assist-maker Connor?

Asa Hall – Pigs In Blankets

Take pigs in blankets out of a Christmas Dinner, what do you get? A normal roast. Yeah, that’s fine. It’s a top-half of the league meal. But add pigs in blankets and it’s transformed into a meal of champions. Just, simply, the best bit.

Danny Wright – Bread Sauce

When you first heard about it, you were extremely sceptical. Bread…sauce? Bread, but as a sauce? Isn’t that just, like, non-alcoholic lager or something? Who is this for?

Danny…Wright. What? The guy who was putting goals past us before you took your SATs? A number nine who’s older than Stonehenge? Shouldn’t he be playing Walking Football or something?

And yet it’s very very decent, and you just can’t get enough.

Armani Little – Christmas Pudding

Very rarely available, but bloody special when they are. The only difference is Armani doesn’t need to have brandy poured on him to be on fire.

Jake Andrews – After Eights

Better at 8, but can fill a hole at 3 if things don’t quite go to plan.

Adam Randell – Sprouts

Some things get drummed into you at a young age. Don’t talk to strangers, you’ve got to hit the target from twelve yards, never question the authority of Miss Hoolie. Another of these mantras is never trust a green. It becomes instinct: all greens are bad, suspect, to be avoided. Adam Randell, and sprouts, force you to challenge this instinct because they’re great.

Andy Nelson – An Actual Truffle

Highly rated. Elusive.

Matt Buse – Carrots

Versatile. Never the star of the show – nobody makes a roast because they fancy some carrots – but you’re always glad to have them around.

Sam Sherring – Chocolate Coins

Sound. Decent. Your grandma thinks they’re the bollocks.

Olaf Koszela – Boxing Day Leftovers

A star of the future. Even when you’re celebrating, the Boxing Day leftovers are always on your mind, their greatness lurking around the corner. Yes the hangover from the celebrations might feel bad, but these always take the edge off.

Dean Moxey – Galaxy From A Box Of Celebrations

Not flashy like the Galaxy caramel (that’s, I don’t know, Tom Cruise?), but unarguably more effective. A Rolls Royce chocolate and a Rolls Royce footballer, and Moxey very loosely half-rhymes with Galaxy.

Photo courtesy of Adam Williams.

Aaron Nemane – Milky Way From A Box Of Celebrations

Twinkly. Aaron’s star shone so brightly in his youth and, while his stock may have fallen in the grand scheme of things, he remains a cracking option among the lower snacking tiers which Torquay currently find themselves in. A decent rule of thumb is the older you get, the less you like him (and this is a bad thing).

Billy Waters – Malteser from a box of celebrations

Arguably the best in the box. Been Uncle Gary’s favourite for years and you can see why.

Lucas Covolan – The Advent Calendar

Regardless of all the knocking on doors he does, he’s not currently around for the big day. He’s a tall lad so – like the calendar – is presumably well-hung.

Ben Whitfield – The Extra Jager Bomb on Black Eye Friday

For the uninitiated, black eye friday is the name given to the last Friday night out before Christmas. It is so-called because it’s a night that tends to end badly, but that’s not the vibe I’m going for here. It’s also a night of enormous fun.

It’s usually pay day; your mate is wearing a suggestive festive jumper that just errs on the right side of acceptable; and it’s probably the last time you’ll see your mates until the Boxing Day match so you’ve all got the best intentions of spreading the seasonal good will. There is nobody in the Torquay United squad, or the world, who oozes this feeling of merry anticipation, the relentless pursuit of enjoyment, more than Wee Benny Whitfield. (To be clear, he isn’t the annoying mate who is ceaselessly screeching at you to have another shot and then asks you to pay for it. Ben knows when it’s appropriate to large it – he only makes an appearance on the Big Nights – and his bomb-timing is second to none). He is the embodiment of “Ah Go On Mate, Have Another Bomb, It’s Christmas!” Alright, Ben, I bloody will. And I’ll make an ironic “chin chin” noise as we knock our small, bleak plastic beakers together.

Josh Umerah – The Turkey

Big lad, isn’t he? Output perhaps a bit dry so far, but when he’s on the table he’s often the main attraction.

COYYaMC (Come on you yellows and Merry Christmas) – Matty

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