Clive blogs about his top ten Yellow loanees (in no particular order!)
Clive Hayward – @Byehorse
Alan McLoughlin (24 games, 4 goals)
A fine midfielder with an eye for goal, Alan played an important part in Stuart Morgan’s shoestring, skin-of-Bryn’s-teeth escape from the Big Drop during his time with the club in 1986/7. Good enough to be on Man Utd’s books as a youngster, Alan was initially struggling to make an impact at Lou Macari’s Swindon Town when we borrowed him.
He never really looked back after that: new Swindon manager Ossie Ardiles made him an ever-present in a very successful team. Although promotion to the top flight was denied due to financial irregularities at the County Ground he had scored a Wembley winner in the Play Off final against Sunderland and he was good enough to make the Republic of Ireland squad for Italia ‘90.
For several years a squad player during the best football years the Emerald Isle has ever experienced he did, of course, go down in history as the scorer of one of the Republic’s most important goals. In the winter of 1993, Belfast’s Windsor Park was packed for a critical World Cup Qualifier between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The locals apparently gave the “Fenians” a very hard time in what has been described as a poisonous atmosphere, but Alan took the wind out of their sails with an equaliser which sent Jack Charlton’s men to the USA where they stunned Italy and, had they been a little further North, would certainly have “drunk Canada dry”.
The FAI doesn’t, historically, have a good reputation for looking after its players, as Roy Keane memorably pointed out when throwing his toys out of the pram at the 2002 World Cup. Alan was extremely peeved when they forgot to invite him to a 25th anniversary commemoration of the Belfast game, and memorably told The Irish Independent:
“I generated millions for the FAI; put up with crap hotels; suffered death threats from Combat 18: you name it”.
Well Alan, you also helped dig the Gulls out of the shit in 1987, and for that we shall always be grateful.
Kieffer Moore (4 games, 5 goals)
Kieffer is a yellow. He is also from Paignton, which is my hometown (although, because even when there was a hospital there it was deemed too risky to allow it a maternity unit, I have the honour of having “Torquay” on my birth certificate).
Apart from being more local than Roger and Brian (“Bleddy Hell Umerah!!”), Kieffer is about 6 feet 14 and a better header of a ball than John Charles.
He is, truly, a living legend. Although we didn’t deserve him, he came on loan from Forest Green in the dark days of 2016. He scored an unforgettable hat trick for us against Solihull and even when he had to go back to The Lawn he point-blank refused to score against us even whilst his teammates were running us ragged.
He should really be paying for Juventus but something has gone horribly wrong and after being too good for Ipswich he is currently plying his trade for Cardiff City. I hate that club with a passion and every goal he scores there is like seeing the ex you still love with a new bloke who isn’t good enough for her.
If he wants to play international football that’s his business but in my completely uninformed opinion I reckon he’s about as Welsh as Robert Mugabe.
Whenever you’re ready Keiffer. We will wait for you, with love in our hearts.
Jason Andre Davis Roberts MBE (14 games, 6 goals)
Very good genes, Jason: nephew of the late, lamented Cyrille Regis, no less.
If we’re honest, many loanees from higher division clubs arrive looking to gain experience. They’re a bit raw. Sometimes a bit soft. Bewildered, even. Not Jason. This lad was a beast. Quick, strong and aggressive, he would have ripped up the fourth tier if we’d persuaded him to put pen to paper. It was never going to happen, of course. He was the catalyst for a run of 7 wins on the trot propelling Kevin Hodges’ wingback wonders towards the play-offs and it’s one of my biggest regrets that I turned down a midweek car trip to Chester to watch him. Mates who went still eulogise about our 3-0 win that night – by all accounts he & Rodney Jack tore them a new one!
Jason was at Wolves when we pinched him. Bristol Rovers took a shine to him though, and put their money where Mike Bateson was never going to put his. They had a bit of a centre forward production line going at that time (think Nathan Ellington & Ricky Lambert) and after scoring goals left, right & centre for the Gas, Jase was soon sold on to West Brom where he is fondly remembered.
He played in the Premier League & Championship for Wigan, Blackburn & Reading too and must be one of the best players ever to turn out for Grenada. The Caribbean island (otherwise famous mainly for its 1983 invasion by the USA, an organic banana growing comeback in 2002 and England’s 9 wicket win in the 2015 Test Match) honoured him with an MBE for Services to Sport. Well played sir!
Dean Sturridge (10 games, 5 goals)
Dart. Touch. Finish.
1994/5. No idea who it was against, but I watched it from the Popside and it was just class. The sort of goal you see Jimmy Greaves sliding in on Sixties compilations. Speed of thought and deadly execution. Jermaine Defoe was of similar ilk.
Clearly, the Derby youngster was too good for us and on his return to his “parent club” (ugh) he banged in 20 goals to get the Rams promoted to the Premier League, where Wiki goes on to tell me that he scored the club’s first goal in that division*, part of a brace against the mighty Leeds in a 3-3- opening day draw at the Baseball Ground.
Dean played for Derby for the next decade before moving on to Leicester & Wolves. The Sturridges are a force to be reckoned with, because his brother Simon was also a goalscorer at Birmingham and Dean’s nephew is none other than Daniel, he of Liverpool, Man City England and Turkcell Superlig powerhouse Trabzonspor.
*Don’t tell Brian Clough or Franny Lee.
Adam Smith (16 games, 0 goals)
Buckle did well to get this lad.
Admittedly, Spurs loaned him out more often than a Hertz Ford Focus (to 7 clubs) but Adam looked entirely at home in a good League Two Torquay team in 2009/10.
It’s funny the things you remember. He played left back for us, replacing Nicho for a while, which meant that his first touch as a Yellow was right in front of me as we made our customary first half attempt to attack the Babbacombe end. “Here we go”, I thought, “let’s see what he’s got”. The ball bounced off his left foot at a Sunday League angle – but he swiftly recovered his composure and went on to give a solid, assured performance.
He was a Premier League defender for several years and as keen students of political economy will know Adam Smith was equally at home on the right wing. Which will probably come in handy at Bournemouth.
Roy Carter (6 games, 5 goals)
This is a bit niche.
It’s just that Roy, a native of Torpoint, caused me to lose my innocence as a 13 year old.
Don’t worry – this isn’t a disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse. It’s just that he REALLY annoyed me, because after hitting Plainmoor like a force of nature – 5 goals in 6 games – we were induced to sign him up. At which point he became- er- not very good. He never really got going and departed the club soon afterwards.
Fair play to him though. He had a good career throughout the South West & South Wales before and after his sojourn in the Bay (Swindon, Hereford, Exeter, Newport- basically anyone we would have drawn in the First Round of the League Cup!) and he was actually a midfielder. He played just shy of 500 pro games (75 goals), so maybe we’ll have to put his months at Torquay down as a blip.
Steve Bould (9 games, 0 goals)
Great example of the loan system helping player and club.
Young lad from Stoke City: it was 1982/3. We needed a centre back and he “needed to get games”. He did great. Didn’t stand out particularly, not like Mike Williamson for example. Nothing about him suggested that he would go on to play 300 games for Arsenal in a famous back four, win league and cup and even go on to carry Arsene Wenger’s lunch box.
Did he play for us in the Sheffield Wednesday cup tie (Torquay 2, Sheff W 3, FA Cup 4th Rd, January 1983, one of the best games I’ve ever seen at Plainmoor)?
Er, no. He didn’t! Turns out I was thinking of Mark Hughes, another good young borrowed centre half (Bristol Rovers). Steve did great for us for a month or two though.
Liam Rosenior (10 games, 0 goals)
“He’s big, he’s bad, he’s better than his Dad”.
That is a song about Stuart Broad.
In Liam’s case, more prosaically, the answers would be: “Not really”, “Definitely not” and “Possibly, but they played in different positions and it’s too soon to tell on the coaching side”.
Leroy persuaded his old club Fulham to let son Liam join us for a crucial run of games in the Spring of 2004, during our never-to-be forgotten promotion season. He brought a composure beyond his years. Good on the ball, quick and covered every blade of grass up and down the right wing. He was good enough to play for England Under 21s in 2005 and although he maybe didn’t quite reach the heights he survived 5 years in Hull and has just been installed as Wayne Rooney’s assistant at Derby.
An articulate anti-racism campaigner (very much a chip off the old block in that respect) he must have every chance of going a long way in management. Surely? What’s that: “we don’t need a Rooney rule?”
Saikou Janneh (1st spell: 28 games, 16 goals, 2nd spell: 8 games 0 goals)
The Gambian Prince (see also Mustapha Carayol).
He was good, wasn’t he? Every other Saturday in 2018/19 we would pitch up in some pleasant, leafy backwater in the South East and watch Saikou. Reidy & Kalala weave pretty patterns around hapless plasterers and delivery drivers. It was a mismatch. He may well still forge a career with Bristol City, having recently done very well on another loan at upwardly-mobile Newport Country in League Two.
It was a shame he never got going for us second time around last season, but Saikou will always be a Yellow. My affinity for the Banjaxer of Banjul is partly because he made his debut for us at Lymington, which was the first game I watched after Gary Johnson arrived at the club. He also made his second Torquay debut in the first game for which I penned a match report, Wrexham (h)!
Connor Lemonheigh-Evans (1st spell: 15 games, 1 goal, 2nd spell: 30 games, 3 goals, 3rd spell: 22 games, 1 goal)
My overwhelming emotion when Torquay got relegated into village football in 2018 was anger rather than sadness. Several years of incompetence and finally potlessness at boardroom level had left us at our lowest ebb and in hock to a property speculator and I had decided I needed to find another way to spend my Saturdays. (I make no apology for that, by the way: Torquay United had abandoned me as far as I was concerned).
Fortunately, we have had the immense good fortune to retain the services of Uncle Gary, and as we know the last couple of seasons have seen us on an upward trajectory. We’re still in a crap league but at least we get to go north of Gloucester again- sometimes!
Connor has been with us all the way (more loans than Wonga!), and what a player we’ve got on our hands now.
He looked a decent prospect when he arrived in February 2018. He couldn’t save us from dropping out of the National League (let’s be honest, it would have been a big ask for any 21 year old), but when I looked up his stats I was surprised to see that his personal record in that calamitous year was W 6, D 3, L 6.
He and his Bristol City compadres (Janneh, Jake Andrews & Opi Edwards) made many of the bullets that Reidy fired home as we stormed the National League South. He was too good for that league.
After a stalling sort of a season last year back on the ”national” stage, Connor has pledged his future to the Gulls and has looked a Football League player-in-waiting this year. A quality playmaker. Is it going to happen? Who knows. If not, I suspect he’s bound for much better things either with us or elsewhere.
COYY – Clive