WHERE ARE THEY NOW? – NOTTS COUNTY (A) 2009 by Danny Burnell

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Danny Burnell – @danny_burnell92

Danny looks at the TUFC team from our 2-2 draw back in 2009.

Torquay United and Notts County haven’t met all that often over the past decade, in fact, just 7 times in the past 13 years. Torquay staged a fantastic comeback in front of the Sky cameras back in 2009, whilst County were getting over that strange Sven/Sol Campbell phase. They even had one Kasper Schmeichel between the sticks that day….

I take a look at the TUFC team from that afternoon, and their career paths since leaving the Bay.

GOALKEEPER

Michael Poke

The South Coast stopper is no stranger to Devon life. Initially signing on loan in 2008, he had 2 further loan spells with the Gulls, before signing permanently for Martin Ling in the summer of 2012. A fantastic shot stopper and reliable between the posts, that save against Histon remains in TUFC folklore. Upon leaving Torquay, he had spells with Eastleigh, and most notably Woking, before hanging up the gloves at the end of the 16/17 campaign. 

Poke is now first team Goalkeeping coach at Fratton Park. Having spent 18 months their in his playing days, he failed to register a single appearance. 

TUFC appearances: 211(2)


DEFENCE

Chris Robertson

The big versatile Scot made a surprising number of appearances in his 5 year spell at Plainmoor. Although he scored on his debut against Wycombe, he was prevent the Gulls from falling into the Conference for the first time. Robbo continued to play a huge part in the Torquay revival, primarily under Buckle, and assisted in that promotion at the second time of asking. Strong performances earned him a respectable move to League One Preston in January 2012, where he stayed for 18 months. He most notably signed for Port Vale & Swindon, via a trip up north to Ross County, before dropping down the league pyramid at the turn of the decade.

Still only 35, he is now playing for Coalville Town in the Southern Prem Central, where they sit in 2nd spot, pushing hard for promotion to the National League South.

TUFC appearances: 194(9)


Mark Ellis

The Kingsbridge born defender is a familiar face to Gulls fans, seemingly pitching up at Plainmoor every other week in one form or another. Another one who signed permanently after an initial loan spell, the tough tackler made a name for himself with determined performances and high work rate. A number of teams claim to be on Mark’s CV, including Shrewsbury, Carlisle, FGR, Crewe & Tranmere. It is the latter two where he made established himself most, with a keen eye for goal, which was most prominent in last season’s loan spell at Notts County. An incredible 6 goal haul in 21 games was enough to propel them into play-off contention, where they eventually lost at Plainmoor. And yes, it was his tackle that gave away the penalty for the 4th goal!

Mark shows no sign of letting up with his string of impressive performances. That was evident when Solihull came to town in January, where he continued to command at the back. He is currently on loan at Damson Park from League Two strugglers Barrow.

TUFC appearances: 133(8)

Stevens and Ellis
Photo courtesy of Mark Ellis

Kieran Charnock

A player many might not be familiar with, Charnock spent the 09/10 season at Plainmoor under the stewardship of Buckle. Signed from Peterborough, he made the position his own during the campaign, before being deemed surplus to requirements the following season. Spells up north for the Wigan-born defender followed, with the likes of Morecambe, Stockport & Chester among his repertoire. 

After a spell in Non-league with Bamber bridge, he hung up his boots in 2020.

TUFC appearances: 31(5)


Kevin Nicholson

I needn’t tell you the story and career of Kev Nicholson. A modern TUFC legend, whose goals and performances delighted the Yellow Army for many a year. The one time Scarborough defender made the move to Devon in the summer of 2007, going on to make countless appearances, and scoring some spectacular goals in the process. His bromance with Mansell helped lift the Gulls back into the FL and push for those League One places. Upon his release from the club in 2014,  he had short spells with Kidderminster and latterly Bath City. He had only been in Somerset for a matter of months, but when Torquay came calling for the top job in 2015, he couldn’t refuse. The great escape remains his biggest achievement, and what was done on such a small budget, should not to be underestimated. 

Following his departure, a spell as head boss at Mousehole was had, before a return to coaching with Exeter, where he is now head of coaching. A post he has held since 2019.

TUFC appearances: 336(14)


MIDFIELD

Lee Mansell

Mansell remains a player held in top regard at TQ1. Signed from Oxford in 2006, ‘Manse’ endured countless promotions, relegations and near misses with the Gulls in his 8 year tenure. A workhorse with an eye for a goal, and versatile to boot, having slotted in at right-back on a number of occasions. His departure to Bristol Rovers, where he equally excelled, was unfortunate, and that was further evidenced as his penalty kick sent Rovers back into the FL at the first time of asking. 

After hanging up his boots in 2017, Lee continued at the Mem under a coaching role, a position he stayed at for four years. In September 2021, Lee took his first steps into management as he has announced interim manager of home-town side Gloucester City. He was later given the role on a permanent basis, where he is currently contracted until the end of this season.

TUFC appearances: 381(10)

Lee Mansell
Lee Mansell – Photo courtesy Andy Styles

Chris Hargreaves

The legends keep coming, and Mr Dependable was no different. An varied career which started in 1989, saw stints at Grimsby, Hull, Hereford, Plymouth, Northampton to name just a few. Following Torquay’s relegation to the Conference, Buckle made the experienced midfielder one of his first signings following his release from Oxford. He would stay at Plainmoor for two and a half years, with great memories along the way, including THAT goal at Wembley. Following his exit, he was intent to carry on playing, as he returned to former club Oxford for the remainder of the 2009/10 season. 

After a 18 month spell as United manager, he took up an U21 coaching role with Bristol Rovers, where he stayed until February 2022. He is now a regular pundit on BT Sport games, however, a return to management may be on the cards. He was reportedly in the running for the vacant Woking job just last month.

TUFC appearances: 128(2)


Nicky Wroe

Two-time England C international Nicky Wroe completes the trio of midfielders. After impressing at York, Buckle signed the Sheffield-born playmaker in the summer of 2008. He remained a key figure in the midfield, until he moved to league rivals Shrewsbury Town on January deadline day of 2011 for a nominal fee. He continued his career with the likes of Preston, Oxford & Bradford PA, where he made over 100 appearances for the Yorkshire side.

Nicky is no longer involved in Football and works for a civil engineering firm up in Yorkshire.

TUFC appearances: 129(1)


A write up of the game below….

A CLASSIC ENCOUNTER – NOTTS COUNTY (A) 2009 by Danny Burnell

STRIKERS

Tim Sills

One of the scorers that day, it was unfortunate Sillsy struggled upon our FL return. Instrumental in firing us to the ‘promised land’, Tim will forever be held in high regard by the Yellow Army. Tim arrived with a whole host of new recruits as Paul Buckle was tasked to tackle Torquay’s first ever season in non-league. The big-man did not disappoint, and he was crowned top scorer in his inaugural campaign at Plainmoor. Following his struggles in League Two, ‘Zorro’ dropped back down to the Conference with Stevenage, before spells with Rushden, Aldershot & Weymouth. He finished his playing career with south coast club Blackfield & Langley in 2017.

The Romsey-born goal-machine is now manager at Hamworthy United of the Wessex Premier League. His side were mightily close to a Wembley outing recently, but lady luck was not with them as they crashed out of the FA Vase at the semi-final hurdle.

TUFC appearances: 125(11)


Elliott Benyon

The fox-in-the-box made a habit of scoring crucial goals across his two spells at Plainmoor. Originally on loan from Ashton Gate, he earned himself a deadline day move to Swindon for a reported £100,000+ fee in 2011. Two years later, via spells at Wycombe & Southend, he would find himself back at Plainmoor for another spell. His time at the Gulls eventually came to an end in 2015, and Benyon dropped into non-league, notably playing for Hayes & Yeading, Wealdstone and Whitehawk.

At 34 years of age, Benyon continues to add goals to his tally playing in the NLS with Oxford City. He recently scored a stunner which went viral.

TUFC appearances: 130(84)


Tyrone Thompson

The striker-cum-midfielder rounds off the starting XI that afternoon. He enjoyed two seasons at Plainmoor, initially signing at the start of the promotion campaign of 08/09. He was never prolific, in fact, just 3 goals in 61 appearances, but he remained a key figure in Buckle’s plans, before being released in 2010. He spent time at Mansfield and Grimsby before moving further down the non-league pyramid.

After calling time on his full time playing career, he took up a player-coach role at Goole in 2014.

TUFC appearances: 44(17)


SUBS

Chris Todd

The hugely respected former captain is the one player from that squad to still be at Plainmoor. After managerial spells Gloucester & Eastleigh, Todd now manages the TUFC U18’s, where they have recently been crowned champions of the South West Counties Youth League.

TUFC appearances: 84(0)

Chris Todd

Danny Stevens

Another well respected of the squad, the former Spurs youngster called time on his career after turning out for Whitehawk in the NLS back in 2017.

TUFC appearances: 145(85)


Wayne Carlisle

To the man who provided that all important assist. The former Grecian went onto play for Truro for a short while, before retiring to focus on a coaching career. He is currently assistant manager to Matt Taylor at St James’ Park.

TUFC appearances: 69(16)


Steve Adams

The midfielder’s Torquay career was blighted with injury, as he played just 23 times over a two year spell. He last played for Truro in 2010.

TUFC appearances: 20(3)


Scott Rendell

The on-loan striker made a big impact when he entered the scene in 2009. He signed a season long loan, scoring a respectable 13 goals in all competitions. Scott has played for a host of clubs since, but currently, at 35 years of age, he is on the books at Havant & Waterlooville in the NLS and scored against United in the FA Cup earlier this season.

TUFC appearances: 32(9)


Marvin Williams

The striker spent a short time on loan in 2007, before making a permanent move in 2009. He managed just 6 appearances across the two spells, and retired due to injury in 2015.

TUFC appearances: 3(3)

COYY – Danny


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