WHERE ARE THEY NOW? THE 2004 HEROES by Danny Burnell


Danny Burnell – @TheTQOner

Roots Hall, Southend, 2004. A phrase that should make every Gulls fan beam from ear to ear. A day Rosenior’s men won promotion to League One in style. Needing a win to secure promotion, and hoping Huddersfield slip up, the Gulls headed to Roots Hall in 4th position. Early Goals from Woods & Graham gave Torquay the perfect start, before Southend hit back. But with the Gulls holding on to win 2-1, and Huddersfield only able to manage a draw at Cheltenham, the Gulls were promoted to the Third tier, much to the euphoria of the Yellow Army.

I take a look at where the team that played that day are now and what happened after their Plainmoor days.

Manager – Leroy Rosenior

TUFC Career: 2002 – 2006, + 10 minutes

The spearhead and guider of that team, Leroy cemented his name in Gulls folklore when he won promotion. An established playing career with the likes of Fulham, QPR & West Ham, Rosenior went into management in 1996, where he player-managed then Southern Prem team Gloucester City. Bateson appointed Rosenior in July 2002, and it didn’t take long for Rosenior to pay him back with success, as his second season showed.

In January 2006, Leroy left the Gulls by mutual consent after a difficult season. He joined Shewsbury as assistant manager the March of that year, before becoming Brentford manager in the summer. He would last only 5 months after a turbulent campaign, before a short stint as Sierra Leone Manager.

Post-management, Leroy plays a key role in combatting racism from football, and was awarded an MBE in December 2018 for his work in this field. He is the current the vice president of ‘Show Racism the Red Card’, and has also released a book, ‘Its only banter’, about his experiences of racism over his career.

GK – Arjan Van Heusden

TUFC Career: 2002 – 2005

TUFC League Appearances: 47

United’s only non-British player that day was our Dutch stopper. After starting his career in his native Netherlands with VV Noordwijk, Arjan moved to England and had decent spells with Port Vale, Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter & Mansfield, before joining the Gulls in November 2002. He went on to make 47 appearances over a 2 ½ year span, with his last appearance coming in a 4-3 win over Yeovil in the LDV Vans Trophy on 28th September 2004. He was forced off with injury in the 50th minute, never to appear again.

After returning to his homeland, the former keeper took a role in the Police Force, and continued to play semi professional in the lower leagues. He was on the books of FC Lisse and SV Alphense Racing Club between the periods 2008-2011.

Arjan is still currently in the Police force in Rotterdam, where he is enjoying life post Football.

Defence – Reuben Hazell

TUFC Career: 2002 – 2004

TUFC League Appearances: 84

TUFC Goals: 2

A solid, versatile defender, Hazell arrived at Plainmoor In January 2002. Initially on loan from Tranmere, Hazell made the permanent switch down south, where he stayed until the summer of 2004. Following his stint in Devon, Hazell went on to feature for Chesterfield & Oldham, where he racked an impressive 149 appearances for the Latics, and finally Shrewsbury, before a mutual termination of his contract in October 2012. Hazell subsequently retired from football.

Following his playing career, Reuben turned his hand to coaching, and in particular took charge of the Panjab Football Team at the 2018 ConIFA World Football Cup. This is an international football tournament for states, minorities, stateless peoples and regions unaffiliated with FIFA. Hazell’s Panjab finished 2nd in their group, before being knocked out to Padania.

Post football, Reuben is the now a successful entrepreneur and the current Company Director of Lazy Lunch Limited, a business providing catering services in the Birmingham area.

Defence – Craig Taylor

TUFC Career: 2003 – 2007

TUFC League Appearances: 128

TUFC Goals: 5

Captain and leader that day, Taylor made 128 league appearances over a 4 year period. Often forming a formidable defensive duo with Woods, the two became pivotal to that promotion season. A Devonian by birth, Taylor started his career with Exeter, before a spell in non league with Dorchester Town. Taylor’s performances earned him a recall to professional football with Swindon and later Plymouth, before joining Torquay to make it a Devon treble in February 2003. Initially on loan, Taylor made the permanent switch where he would stay until the end of the 2006/07 season.

Unfortunately for Taylor and fans alike, recurring injuries forced retirement. Rather aptly, the Gulls defender scored on his final appearance, in a 1-1 home draw with Barnet on 3rd February 2007. He retired that summer.  

I will concede defeat on this one. Not much information can be found on Taylor’s career post football. But one things for sure, he was a great leader in Leroy’s team.

Defence – Steve Woods

TUFC Career: 2001 – 2009

TUFC League Appearances: 249

TUFC Goals: 11

Woodsy, the other half of the formidable centre back pairing that season. A loyal servant to the Gulls, Woods started his career with Stoke, before moving on to Plymouth & Chesterfield. Signed by Roy McFarlane in August 2001, he went onto make 249 league appearances for the Gulls over a 8 year period, forming great partnerships with the likes of Taylor, and later Robertson. Buckle’s arrival ultimately spelled the end of Woods TUFC career, with players like Todd, Ellis & Robertson the preferred defensive options.

Unfortunately for the loyal servant, he was not offered a contract for the 2009/10 season, and went onto sign for Stalybridge Celtic, and later his near home town of Northwich Victoria. He retired shortly after 2011.

Woods is now a fully qualified Physiotherapist working in his local area of Northwich. Since qualifying, he has worked in settings such as the NHS, GP’s and outpatients. His specialist area of expertise is with spinal issues. Away from work, its nice to hear he also has a hand in helping run local kids football.

Defence – Brian McGlinchey

TUFC Career: 2003 – 2006

TUFC League Appearances: 72

TUFC Goals: 0

Brian McGlinchey was a good solid full back who quickly established himself as the #1 choice. Again, like Hazell & Taylor, McGlinchey arrived at Plainmoor initially on loan from Plymouth in October 2003, before making his move permanent in January 2004 and playing for Torquay 34 times that promotion season. He started his youth career with Man City, before moving onto Port Vale, Gillingham & Plymouth. He has also represented Northern Ireland at U21 level.

He was only 28 when he was forced to retire, at the end of the 2005/06 season. Back problems, and a slipped disc would be the cause of this, and would ultimately force his hand to retire from the game.

McGlinchey had a complete change of scenery when he studied to become a Mortgage Adviser on a PFA funded training programme.  Working for a leading UK bank in Plymouth, McGlinchey forged a career in the industry after gaining keen interest in the property market. He later went onto become a Mortgage Broker for Lloyds.

Brian McGlinchey
Brian McGlinchey – Photo courtesy of Herald Express

Midfield – Liam Rosenior

TUFC Career: 2004

TUFC League Appearances: 10

TUFC Goals: 0

The youngest member of the team that day at just 19, the manager’s son spent the later stages of the 03/04 season on loan at Plainmoor from Fulham. He made his first appearance in the 3-0 home win over Cambridge on 20 March 2004, and remained in the team for the rest of that season, covering various defensive and midfield positions.

A very decent career entailed, including spells with Reading, Ipswich, Hull & Brighton, as well as representing the England U21s on 7 occasions. It was Hull where he had most success, earning an impressive 144 appearances from 2010 – 2015. He would retire at the end of the 2017/18 season after his stint with Brighton. Following this, he went into coaching, and was assistant manager for the Brighton U23’s, as well as doing punditry for Sky Sports.

Perhaps the easiest to research, Liam is now the assistant manager of Derby, under the guidance of Wayne Rooney. Initially brought in as first team coach by Philip Cocu in July 2019, Rosenior has climbed his way up the coaching ladder, where he was appointed in January 2021 as assistant. He will be hoping for a better campaign next season.

Midfield – Matt Hockley

TUFC Career: 2000 – 2008

TUFC League Appearances: 239

TUFC Goals: 10

I really liked Hockers, he was the grafter of the team. The donkey work he often put in, allowed the likes of Russell, Graham, Kuffour to flourish. He would often go about his work in the most systematic of ways, under the radar and under-rated, and his passion for the club was never in doubt. A true yellow at heart. He missed just one game in the promotion season of 03/04, it just goes to show he was every bit important to that team as the flair players. The Gattuso of the Bay.

Born in Paignton, Hockley came up through the youth ranks at Plainmoor, before firmly establishing himself in just about every manager he played under. His 8 year stay with the Gulls included promotions/relegations heartbreak and jubilation, and it was a sad day when he left the club in the summer of 2008. Missing out on an appearance at Wembley at the FA Trophy final, that would be his final involvement in Yellow, when Buckle released him that summer. He had spells in non-league football with the likes of Truro, Bideford, where he was captain, & Dereham Town (Norfolk) of the then Ryman North league.

Unsure what Matt is up to now, but he is held in great esteem by the Yellow army.

Midfield – Alex Russell

TUFC Career: 2001 – 2005

TUFC League Appearances: 153

TUFC Goals: 20

Alex Russell, the midfield maestro. Give him the ball, and he will do stuff with it. A real classy player who oozed elegance on the ball, Russell was an absolute mainstay in his 4 years at Plainmoor, arriving from Cambridge in the summer of 2001, he would rack up 153 appearances until his departure in June 2005.

Fundamental to the Leroy puzzle, his performances throughout his TUFC career were never doubted. It was a shame to see him leave, but upon our relegation in the 04/05 season, it was a sense of inevitability, and he was duly snapped up by Bristol City, playing a further part in their own promotion campaign. Following this, Alex had spells with Northampton, Cheltenham, Exeter, Bath City, Yeovil and Clevedon Town, before announcing ‘retirement’ in March 2013 on his twitter. Coaching spells at Bristol City, Oldham and Southport were had, before playing semi-pro football in the Bristol area with Shepton Mallet & Bristol Manor Farm.

Now considering Russell was 32 when he left the Gulls in the summer of 2005, you may be surprised to hear he is currently still playing. After emigrating to Australia, Russell joined up with former gull, Jamie Gosling, coaching in a football academy in Cairns. As at Feb 2021, and at 48 years of age, Russell is currently Assistant Coach/Player for the Leichhardt Lions, who hail from Cairns, Queensland, and ply their trade in the Football Queensland North – Northern conference, the 5th tier of Australian Football.

Midfield – Kevin Hill

TUFC Career: 1997 – 2008

TUFC League Appearances: 417

TUFC Goals: 52

What is left to say about Kevin Hill, Torquay’s record appearance holder. The very definition of a TUFC legend. Famed for his fantastic leap, ‘Hilly’ scored 52 league goals mainly from the left wing over an 11 year span for the Gulls. ‘That’ goal against Stockport amongst the highlights, which you will probably find on any ‘Own Goals & Gaffs’ style DVD or Youtube video. The cheek of it!

Plucked from non-league Torrington by Kevin Hodges in 1997, the record appearance holder outlasted many managers in his time, including Hodges, Rosenior, and others we will fail to mention. His first appearance coming way back on the opening day of the 97/98 season, as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat to newly promoted Macclesfield Town. Like many, Hill was one of the many United legends that Buckle deemed surplus to requirements, with his last appearance in a Yellow shirt coming on as a late substitute in the FA Trophy final defeat. He did score in his last league appearance at Plainmoor, that play off defeat to Exeter. Post Plainmoor, Hill went on to play for Dorchester Town, Tiverton & Exmouth.

Initially signing for Exmouth in 2013 in a player/coach capacity, Hill re-joined Exmouth as player/manager in June 2018 after a spell with Budleigh Salterton. He is the current manager of Exmouth Town in the South West Peninsula League, and we wish him all the best for the 21/22 season. Oh, an it’s good to see Hilly still donning a Torquay shirt in a supporter capacity! He’s here, he’s there…..

Striker – David Graham

TUFC Career: 2001 – 2004, 2007

TUFC League Appearances: 120 + 7

TUFC Goals: 47 + 0

DG, what a player. Gulls top scorer that season with 23 league goals, it was hardly surprising he would move onto bigger things. It was that season were he was thrusted into the limelight, and his talent and goal-scoring knack was there for all to see. I’m convinced had Graham had stayed on for the 04/05 season, we would have been far from relegated that season.

Graham joined from Scottish football in March 2001, and as well as scoring at Southend, also bagged one as Torquay survived on that eventful day at Underhill in May 2001. 47 goals later, and after Torquay had won promotion on that glorious day in 2004, Graham had an offer he couldn’t refuse. £215k it would take for Wigan to prize him away, and leave a Graham-shaped hole in our front line. Not entirely working out, Graham went onto a host of clubs including Sheff Wed, Huddersfield, Bradford, Gillingham, Lincoln, Sheffield FC, Ilkeston, Worksop & Hucknall Town. In between that, he did return to Plainmoor for a brief period in 2007, but was unable to re-kindle his heroics as Torquay fell out of the Football League for the first time in 73 years. Graham retired shortly after 2011 after his final spell with Sheffield FC.

Graham turned out at Plainmoor 4 years ago, as part of the Compton Boys reunion, alongside the likes of Kevin Hill & Lee Canoville. What a player.

Fowler, Russell, Graham
Paul Levie – Torbay News Agency

Striker – Jo Kuffour

TUFC Career: 2002 – 2006

TUFC League Appearances: 148

TUFC Goals: 30

Deployed as a striker that day, in favour of Martin Gritton, Kuffour showed moments of absolute quality in that promotion season. Often played out wide, to allow a Graham-Gritton partnership, Kuffour showed every bit of his Arsenal up-bringing, chipping in with 10 goals in the promotion campaign.

After failing to make the grade with the Gunners, Leroy signed Kuffour in October 2002, and quickly became a vital cog in the 4 years that followed. Often dazzling defenders with his quick feet, the winger/striker would go on to make 148 league appearances up until the end of the 2005/06 season, at which time he joined Brentford, once again linking up with Leroy at Griffin Park. A solid career followed, with Kuffour shining for the like of Bournemouth, Gillingham, Wycombe & most noticeably Bristol Rovers, where he racked up 130 league appearances. His final hurray came at non league Sutton United where he played a handful of times before retiring in 2014.

Kuffour, now living in London, is a working as a marketing consultant and partner in a local gym. Jo is also very involved with Charity work, and does a lot for the local community.

Sub – Martin Gritton

Now living in London, the retired footballer regularly broadcasts on the radio, with appearances on BBC Radio Devon for live commentaries of the Plymouth games. Viewers of the Helen Chamberlain Soccer AM days, may have recognised Gritts occasionally rock up at the studios of Sky in the car park game also.

Sub – Lee Canoville

Its nice to see Lee has stayed in the football world, he is the owner of Canoville Coaching, a football & Mentoring company based in Nottinghamshire. Lee is also the founder of the charity ‘Brighter Futures Through Sports’.

Sub – Tony Bedeau

The former Gulls trainee established himself as a Gulls legend throughout his time there. The former Grenadan winger is now working for a leading UK bank.

Sub – David Woozley

After retiring shortly after 2014, Woozley worked as a firefighter. He now makes a living as a Driving instructor in the Berkshire area.

COYY – Danny




INSTAGRAM – torquaytalk





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