Next to compile his Torquay United ‘Dream Team’ is TT Contributor Sean Dudley…
When asked to compile my Torquay United dream team, I quickly had to clarify with Torquay Talk’s Dominic that my first game had been 3rd January 2000. I was ten years old and had been to a few live football matches before, but had never seen anything quite like it. My dad, a Newton Abbot native, took me up to Field Mill Mansfield, which at the time had two stands missing due to re-construction work. The Gulls lost 4-3 that day in what was an absolute humdinger, and I was hooked from there on in. So my dream team is very much from this century – it seemed remiss to include anyone from before then. There are some controversial inclusions, some obvious ones, and some very good players didn’t quite make the list. Enjoy!
Goalkeeper: Andy Marriott
Since 2000 The Gulls have had some very good players between the sticks. In fact Neville Southall was in goal that day at Field Mill! But I don’t think I’ve seen any better than Andy Marriott. He was commanding and played in arguably some of the worst sides we have put out since 2000, which only made him look better in my opinion. He joined part way through the League One season in 2005 and from my memory almost single-handedly kept us from double relegation the year after from League Two. A fantastic professional.
Right-Back: Durrell Berry
The first controversial selection! I can see many fans thinking he’s not done much to warrant a place, but I’ve believed from his first match for us on the TV against Barnet in 2014 he was assured, confident and disciplined, and I really hope his career takes off again once he recovers from that terrible injury he sustained last year. I’ve always been a massive Durrell Berry fan and I’d have him back in a flash. His selection is admittedly somewhat helped by the complete dearth of quality we’ve had at right back since 2000; a selection of emergency RBs and players of questionable ability – Dale Tonge anyone?
Centre-Half: Steve Woods
With almost 250 appearances between 2001-09, Woods was an obvious inclusion. A composed figure who played exceptionally in our 2003-04 promotion season, he was a great servant for the yellows over the years. I remember a great headed goal of his at Cheltenham in that fantastic April of 2004 in the searing heat – a great day!
Centre-Half: Craig Taylor
Our captain in 2003-04, leading us to promotion, and one of the best headers of a football I’ve ever seen! Wore his heart on the sleeve at all times and lead us to an unlikely spot in League 1, which when on the terrace at some of the Conference grounds, I often think back to and sigh…
Left-Back: Kevin Nicholson
It was a close call between our current gaffer and Brian McGlinchey of the 2003-04 team, which it is I admit, sometimes hard to look beyond. But in his pomp Nicholson was excellent for The Gulls, and was a crucial part of the team that got us back into the Football League. Though his managerial tenure has been somewhat tricky (some factors have certainly been beyond his control I acknowledge!), his passion for the club is irreplaceable.
Right Midfield: Kevin Hill
Torquay’s record appearance maker, Hilly was a local lad come good and is now rightly a club legend. A brilliant header of a football who seemed able to leap up to 10 foot in the air on a good day (poetic license), he scored some crucial goals – including the second at the Battle of Underhill don’t forget! His limits as a footballer were countered by true hard work and commitment to the cause, be that going for promotion or avoiding relegation (tends to be one or the other, doesn’t it)
Centre Midfield: Eunan O’Kane
A player who has rightly gone onto better things in the highest echelons of English football and indeed international football, Eunan was a stalwart during the Martin Ling period, which was a good time for the club. He brimmed with talent and on his day could run the show with consummate ease. Just a shame we couldn’t keep him for longer!
Centre Midfield: Alex Russell
Without a doubt the best player I have seen in Torquay blue and yellow. Enough said.
Left Midfield: Chris Zebroski
Another controversial choice, but in the Buckle years Zebroski was a great asset with blistering pace and a great eye for goal. He was sometimes deployed as a striker, but I’ve got him on the left wing here. Hopefully if I write this again in a year or so Dan Sparkes can take his place!
Forward: Jo Kuffour
A quick, agile and hugely skilful striker, Jo Kuffour scored some crucial goals for Torquay and set up plenty for his team-mates. The kind of player a Gulls fan looks back at and says ‘God what I’d do to have him in the side now’. A quality player.
Forward: David Graham
Terrace hero and top goal-scorer in the 2003-04 season, Graham was a proper striker who The Gulls fans were lucky enough to see in his pomp. He also scored the third goal at the battle of Underhill! 47 goals in 120 appearances in his first spell at Plainmoor put the Scotsman firmly in Gulls folklore.
Leroy Rosenior – got us into League 1 for goodness sake!
Berry – Woods – Taylor – Nicholson
Hill – O’Kane – Russell – Zebroski
Kuffour – Graham