Who are your favourites?
No doubt not everyones choice but just picked ‘my all time’ team at Stockport last night (since I’ve been watching):
1. Paul Jones 1996-1997 Another Welsh international goalkeeper. I can recall at least three in my lifetime. Bought from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
2. Sean Connolly 1992-2001 Plucked from obscurity in amateur football in Sheffield where studying to be a physio. Now same job at Cardiff City, up until recently under former ‘County’ manager, David Jones. ‘No smoke no fire’.
3. John Hardiker 2005 Hardiker was a product of the academy system at Morecambe where he made his first full appearance at the age of 16. The same management I’m currently assisting at Stalybridge Celtic. He moved in 2002 for a fee of £150,000 to Stockport County where he famously scored two goals in a prominent victory over Manchester City. Could have picked Paul Williams here!
4. Les Bradd 1978-1981 31 goals from central defence, some notable record. Solid player. Last time I saw him was in the commercial department at Nottingham Forest. Close run with Bill Williams; Les was mainly a striker, but in defence often at “County”.
5. Tommy Sword 1979-1986 More than 230 appearances from the Geordie defender. Bought as a player who played up front but played at the rear for the team – though did score 51 goals. Believe now runs a pub in the North East.
6. Chris Marsden 1996-1997 424 appearances in the Football League and scored 22 goals as a left footed midfielder. He first came on the radar at Huddersfield Town before successful spells at Stockport County and Birmingham City.
7. Tony Hancock 1988-1989 Got from ‘Sunday league football’ I recall. Gave you that real lift of excitement every time he got the ball with his trickery in dribbling and pace.
8. Anthony Pilkington 2006-2009 Joined County from Atherton after being spotted by scoring a hat-trick against FC United of Manchester. Prominent in the 2007 record-breaking team. Now at one of my clients, Huddersfield Town.
9. Kevin Francis 1991-1995 (+2000) Never to be forgotten. Away fans teased him with ‘circus tunes’ targeting his 6ft 7 inches (2.01 metres) frame, yet he often had last laugh as a towering goal scorer terrorising the oppositions’ defences (especially in the air!). 28 league goals in consecutive seasons with Stockport in 1992-93 and 1993-94. Obtained from Derby County reserves.
10. Micky Quinn 1982-83 Now a media pundit but once a feared striker. Always a bit on the podgy side, yet those first few steps often set him apart and enabled 39 goals in 63 appearances. We picked him up from Wigan where they got shot of him saying he’d never make it in professional football. An occasional drinking partner of mine when at College in Portsmouth.
11. Louis Cavaco 1996 -1998 Wizzard on the run, never forget that goal against West Ham in the League Cup (away). One of only a few Portuguese players to have been at Stockport.
12. Neil Edwards 1991-1997 Seem to recall got from Leeds United reserves. Welsh stopper with only real limitation that not the tallest in the game!
13. Tommy Rowe 2007 – 2009 A player with so much potential, unfortunately sacrificed at the time of the Club’s financial difficulties by a transfer for a miniscule fee to Peterborough United.
14. George Best 1975 Needs no further introduction R.I.P yet only played 4 games for the Club.
15. Les Chapman 1979 (and 1985) Midfielder; also managed the Club. Came from San Jose Earthquakes back to UK and “County”.
16. Ashley Williams 2003 -2008 162 appearances and only 3 goals. One of last must have been that scorcher against Rochdale (away). Bought from Hednesford Town. Now in premiership with Swansea City.
I know I have missed some other talented players out, but this was my first attempt at listing players that have most entertained me over the years. What a team though! 4-4-2 with Francis and Quinn up front.
Who have I had most contact with, well that’s different. Drinking or just in same place, Andy Thorpe, Carlo Nash, Micky Quinn, Paul Jones (defender), Nicky Brookman, Lee Todd etc. Absent but not forgotten are: Rickie Lambert, Rob Clare, Carl Baker, Alun Armstrong, Stuart Lee etc. They are all in my very own ‘Hall of Stockport County Legends’. Who would you pick?