MY TUFC DREAM TEAM by Nick French

TUFC DREAM TEAM

Nick French

Nick French – @nick_french

Talking Torquay podcast man Nick picks his TUFC Dream Team

GOALKEEPER

Bobby Olejnik

The only TUFC goalkeeper I can remember making the PFA team of the year. Bobby may have only spent one season at Plainmoor before moving to Peterborough, but what a season it was, missing out on automatic promotion thanks largely to a late Nick Powell goal. A fantastic all-round goalkeeper, and one of Lingy’s Legends, pipping Big Nev by a fingertip.

RIGHT BACK

Ben Wynter

Such a consistent performer, positionally sound and with an eye for an important goal, especially a Gary Time equaliser. Scorer of one of the most iconic TUFC goals of all time, THAT equaliser at Woking which knocked the stuffing out of The Cardinals on our march to the National League South title. I, along with many others, very much appreciate Ben Wynter.

Thomas Lang Sutton Wynter
Photo Courtesy of Thomas Lang

LEFT BACK

Paul Gibbs

Goals from left back? This man provided an unusual goal threat for us back in 1997/98 with his marauding runs from left wing back. His fitness and energy levels were a huge part of our success that season. Some don’t forgive him for his defection to the green part of Devon, but a fantastic player nonetheless.

CENTRE BACKS

Darren Moore

I’m not sure if ‘Bruno’ is a politically correct nickname anymore, but one of the most imposing centre halves I’ve ever seen at Plainmoor, Darren had a toughness and no nonsense attitude which took him to international stardom with Jamaica after he left Plainmoor. He actually broke my dad’s nose late on in one match when a thunderous clearance smashed into his face. Phenomenal player who made my team with ease.

Wes Saunders

Very, very cultured defender. At one time a £60,000 record signing which is still in one of our highest fees paid and he was most certainly worth every penny. But for injury would’ve either played another couple of hundred games, or made us a substantial profit. His legacy with some may be tarnished through his time as a ‘budget’ manager of Mike Bateson’s. Wes is also my captain.

MIDFIELD

Eunan O’Kane

Tenacious yet captivating, Eunan grew during his time with us. Coming in as a bit of a scrawny kid under Paul Buckle, O’Kane grew into a mesmerising midfielder for Martin Ling and was one of the best midfielders League 2 had to offer. He’ll always be remembered for THAT goal against Argyle at Plainmoor, but he was a loyal man too, turning down a very good financial package from Crawley because it wasn’t the right move(something recent defectors could learn a lot from). Fully deserved his shot at the big time with Bournemouth and Leeds, and despite injuries, would still make a valuable addition higher up the pyramid.

O'KANE CELEBRATES 4
Photo courtesy of Paul Levie – Torbay News Agency

Alex Russell

‘Aggy’ was the man who made us tick. He was always available for a pass once Matt Hockley had wrestled possession back, and even under the sternest of pressure, could always find a pass. Many teams took to the dark arts to stop Russell controlling the tempo of games, but such was his quality, he rarely got caught by the robust nature of his opponents challenges.

Jason Fowler

Quite simply, Exceptional. Injuries limited Super Jason Fowler’s career but it was those injuries that gave Torquay fans the chance to sample Jason’s brilliance. He was Mayfair on the promotion team’s monopoly board, the Rolls Royce, the Waitrose. Not always fit, but when he was, he was quite simply ‘super’ Jason Fowler.

FORWARDS

Rodney Jack

The magician from St.Vincent and the Grenadines light up Plainmoor from the minute he arrived for a friendly with Lambada of the Caribbean. Pace to burn, with incredible skill and a real eye for goal. Rodney and Andy McFarlane were the classic big man, little man combination in our run to the 1998 play off final, and no TUFC dream team would’ve been complete without Jack.

Danny Wright

Danny was 36 when he joined us last summer and rarely has a player had the sort of impact he did, less so in the twilight years of his career. If Danny Wright had been fit for the entire season, the title would’ve been sewn up by February, unfortunately the Covid affected schedule meant a few too many Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday fixtures which took their toll. The only positive to missing out on promotion? The chance to get another year of Wright leading the line.

Wright
Danny Wright – Photo courtesy Graham Scambler

David Graham

Another who I just couldn’t leave out. It’s inconceivable now to think that at the start of our promotion season, he was kept out of the side by David Woozley, a makeshift centre forward more at home on the left side of our defence. Graham forced his way into the side with an unbelievable touch, and some stunning goals culminating in a big(ish) money move to Wigan. If you’ve never seen this man in a Torquay shirt, I can only implore you to YouTube the man, he accrued enough ‘worldies’ to fill a highlight reel that top flight strikers could only dream of.

SUBS

Neville Southall – Wonderful spell at Plainmoor in the late 90s. I’m genuinely honoured to have seen Nev play for Torquay.

Matt Elliott – Another top class centre back for us. Went on to represent Scotland at international level and lifted the league cup. He even went to a World Cup!!!

Lee Mansell – Lee signed for Torquay after Mike Bateson negotiated his contract using a puppet. ln his first 12 months he had around 5 managers, 3 chairmen, and a conveyor belt of madness. Lee was made for Torquay and I needed someone on the bench who could fill in at right back occasionally.

Kevin Hill – The record appearance holder, and a true Torquay legend. Blessed with a leap that left salmon open-mouthed, Hilly’s chant of being here, there and every f*****g where, may be the most apt football chant ever sung.

Tim Sills – Not blessed with great pace, he certainly made the most of his natural abilities. He played through the pain barrier on more than one occasion, and well, you know all about that goal…

MANAGER

The manager? Only two candidates. Leroy Rosenior or Gary Johnson and it may be a cop out but I’m just not willing or able to separate them!

img_6164
Photo courtesy of Harry Salvidge

OTHER ARTICLES

TRANSFER SPECULATION – JOE UGLOW

TRANSFER SPECULATION II – JOSEPH POPE

TRANSFER SPECULATION III – JOE UGLOW

TRANSFER SPECULATION IV – JOSEPH POPE


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