June has been a bit of a washout in the last few days and finding myself off work on annual leave I have been left scratching my head looking for a bit of local football fun to have and I’ve got it! My all-time Gloucestershire XI….well from 2011 that is.
For those who don’t know the Severn Sport story won’t know that originally I am from Reading and have only been involved with local football since 2011, when as a student I joined Matt Yates at Tigers Radio – the pay per listen radio commentary service that Gloucester City had at the time. From there the rest is history.
Switch to 2019 and on and off I have been watching football in Gloucestershire for 8 years now and have seen a plethora of talent. A couple of weeks ago I saw this Tweet from Gloucester City fan Mark East and it got me thinking…
I’m bored so here’s my all time @GCAFCofficial Xl,it’s probably wrong & I expect I missed some
A squad of 22 here’s the rest
— Easty (@HerrOst) May 30, 2019
Now due to not knowing most of the historical Gloucester City legends before 2010, it made no sense to do a Gloucester City XI, that is for another day! So I decided to give it a thought and name my all-time Gloucestershire XI.
*Years denotes years I saw them play for their respective clubs*
Goalkeeper – Jasbir Singh (Gloucester City 2014-17)
Singh beats Mateusz Wieczorek. Just. At the time Tim Harris brought him to the club, City were crying out for a keeper to cement the number one jersey after the departure of Mike Green. During the record breaking 2016/17 season for the Tigers he was ever present (as he had been the season prior) and was a major part in City finishing just outside the play-offs.
Right Back – Keiran Thomas (Cinderford 2015/16 & Gloucester City 2016-18)
Now some Gloucester fans may think “what about Mike Green?” and for me I don’t believe I truly saw the best of him. Where as with Thomas I saw one of the two best full-backs in the National League North for the 2016/17 season. Thomas and Salford’s Michael Nottingham were by far head and shoulders above the others and Thomas makes the side for being a role model on the pitch for young and old players a like. He narrowly pips Sam Turl to the right back slot.
Centre Back – Matt Coupe (Gloucester City 2011-14 & Cirencester Town 2016/17)
An absolute man mountain. When I first started watching Gloucester City, Matt Coupe was the epitome of what I thought non-league football would be. Rough and tumble yet brilliant and entertaining to watch. We used to joke on commentary that you would always get one a game from Coupe where he was late, full blooded into the challenge and of course it would see him pick up a caution. One of Dave Mehew’s go to men at the Tigers and loved by all.
Centre Back – Chris Greenhough (Brimscombe & Thrupp 2017-19)
When picking a second centre half for the team it could have been easy to pick Coupe’s City partner Tom Hamblin and whilst I would say Hamblin was one of the best defenders I had seen for City, I don’t think I saw enough of him to really put him in this side. Greenhough however, for me, is nearly the perfect defender. He calls for everything, his positioning was superb and he must have been a delight to play alongside. He will be missed in the changing room this season at the Meadow for sure…and by me on commentary despite butchering his name over the years.
Left Back – Adam Mace (Slimbridge 2017/18 & Bishops Cleeve 2018/19)
Left back is taken by Adam Mace. For entertainment value alone he gets in, let alone based on ability. His impact at Kayte Lane this season saw him make the cut for the Severn Sport Team of the Year, as well as being named in the Gloucestershire Live equivalent. For performance level alone he is up there with Lewis Binns as best left back in the county in my opinion. He doesn’t shut up for 90 minutes, but his commitment to the cause makes him an asset to any side.
Right Midfield – Lee Smith (Cirencester Town 2013/14; Cinderford Town 2015/16; Slimbridge 2016/17; Fairford Town 2017/18; Tuffley Rovers 2018 & Tredworth Tigers 2018/19)
An absolute journeyman but an absolute legend of the local game. Throughout my time watching local football I have been told about how much I would have enjoyed watching Lee Smith in his prime. In reality, he has been pretty good in his twilight years as well! Another member of the 2015/16 title winning Cinderford Town side, Smith has always performed wherever I have seen him play. He has played up front for his most recent clubs, but when I first saw him at Cirencester, he came in off the right, as he did at Cinderford and Slimbridge so the right wing position is his.
Centre Midfield – Tom Webb (Gloucester City 2011-19)
First name on the team sheet. Not just for me but for City since I can remember. What a player and servant to the local game over the years Webb has been. I don’t need to talk too much about stats and figures but 600+ games over 19 seasons is unbelievable at any level let alone local level. An absolute gentleman off the field. I was lucky enough to go round his house to speak to him as part of a university project and from there on he always had time for us here at Severn Sport, something I won’t forget.
Centre Midfield – Darren Mullings (Gloucester City 2011-14 & 16-18)
One of my favourite players to watch from the beginning. From the very first game I covered (City’s 7-2 win vs Truro in the FA Cup in 2011) Mullings was a player who was a joy to watch and was an important member of Mehew’s City side at Whaddon Road. Along with Webb they worked their asses off for City and when he returned in 2016 I was delighted to see him back in a City shirt. On reflection one of my favourite Gloucestershire players in my time.
Left Midfield – Warren Mann (Tuffley Rovers 2017-19)
Left midfield had me scratching my head. There were a number of worthy candidates, including a young Adam Mann. But it is namesake Warren who takes it. Mainly because can you imagine him playing down the same side as Adam Mace…the linesman is in for the hardest 45 minutes of his life! When I first started watching Tuffley he and Shayne Bradley stood out. Mann may be a shorter forward but his personality and ability makes him a big unit. He played half of last season with a damaged knee, just because Rovers needed him. That is the sort of player who deserves a spot in this team.
Striker – Darren Edwards (Gloucester City 2011-2014)
Darren “The Business” Edwards. The nickname I gave him on commentary for Tigers Radio because he took care of business in front of goal. Scoring 15 goals in just 27 games in the 2010/11 season followed by 20 in 42 the season after saw Edwards finish as City’s top scorer and cemented his place as City’s main forward. Partnered by Will Morford, Steve Davies and a young Joe Parker saw City maintain their National League North level, despite tight budgets and high turnover of squad…where have we heard that before?
Striker – Brad Martin (Longlevens 2017/18; 2019 & Bishops Cleeve 2018/19)
Now. This is the one I feel I will get the most “stick” for. Martin makes the squad over Shayne Bradley, Ethan Moore, WIll Morford, Charlie Griffin, Lance Smith & Ben Whitehead amongst others for the level of consistency. When I first started watching Longlevens under Mark Moore in 2017, Martin scored in a 5-1 defeat against North Leigh in pre-season – but he was the best player in red & black that day. He would go on to score goal after goal in the first half of a season that saw Longlevens finish in their highest position ever. To then go to a Bishops Cleeve side determined to gain promotion and score goal after goal there to keep them in the title picture for so long, then going back to Longlevens and helping them stay up. That is unbelievable really. He was about four points away from winning the league and staying up in the same season.
Honourable Mentions: As mentioned there are a few who were nearly made the squad. They included:
Sam Turl (Gloucester City 2012-14; Slimbridge 2016-18 & Cinderford Town 18/19)
Danny Andrew (Gloucester City 2012/13 loan)
Tom Hamblin (Gloucester City 2011-14)
Jack Harris (Gloucester City 2011-15)
Jack Twyman (Slimbridge 2016-18)
Shayne Bradley (Tuffley Rovers 2017-18)
Luke Thomas (Gloucester City 2016/17 loan)
Ben Whitehead (Cirencester Town 2017-19)
Zack Kotwica (Gloucester City 2013/14; 2016-19 & Cirencester Town 2015/16)
Who makes your All-Time Gloucestershire XI? Tweet us @SevernSport to let us know!