#Favoured23 – Torquay United

In this #Favoured23 article, I select my 23-man Torquay United squad. The squad is made up of players who have impressed at a variety of levels, from National League South to League One. The players must have worn the shirt number that they are assigned to in the squad, and must have played for United after the introduction of squad numbers in 1993.

  1. Neville Southall.

Internationally-acclaimed names are few and far between on the English Riviera. The Welshman was arguably well beyond his prime, but a sensational performance to earn the Yellows a point away at Queens Park Rangers wrote his short stint into local folklore.

  1. Ben Wynter.

Torquay’s best right-back of the past few years, and one of the few positives that Gary Owers’ regime brought to the club. Wynter squeezed home a late equaliser away at Woking last season – a goal which effectively won the National League South title.

  1. Kevin Nicholson.

A fan-favourite left-back with over 300 appearances to his name, ‘Kev Nics’ went on to become player-manager, in a torrid campaign that saw the Gulls scrape survival.

  1. Mark Ellis.

Ellis was a tall, stocky, no-nonsense centre-back who made over 100 appearances for the club.

  1. Angus MacDonald.

Now plying his trade in the Championship, MacDonald was a fiery defender with a fighting spirit who was shrewd in his play style but never far from the red mist. He made headlines in 2015 for verbally abusing Torquay supporters in a playoff semi-final loss to Wrexham.

  1. Chris Todd.

Todd was a defender who was impartial to a header, scoring seven times in 67 appearances. He now manages the under-18 team.

  1. Jamie Ward.

The Northern-Irish international came to the south coast very early in his career and netted nine times in his 25 appearances for Torquay United. He then went on to a successful career in the Championship.

  1. Tim Sills.

‘Sillsy’ is best remembered on the terraces for two things: ‘that mask’ and ‘that header’. He penned his name in the history books in 2009 when his towering header sealed a playoff final victory against Cambridge United at Wembley.

  1. Elliot Benyon.

Also a key part of Paul Buckle’s famous playoff-winning squad, Benyon was a time-tested talisman at Plainmoor, scoring 42 times in 168 matches.

  1. Eunan O’Kane.

The Irish midfielder did not appear on the scoresheet often in his 106 appearances in yellow, but he was the lifeblood of the side and a playmaker through-and-through. O’Kane moved on to Premier League football with AFC Bournemouth.

  1. Kevin Hill.

Hill made over 400 appearances for the Gulls, most of which were played from midfield. He is the only United player to have his very own fan club.

  1. Opi Edwards.

A recent addition to the club who was brought in alongside a selection of the finest young talent that Bristol City had to offer. Edwards is unproven in the eyes of many, but his blistering pace and spectacular agility is undeniably a major threat to opposition.

  1. Martin Rice.

Rice spent much of his six years at Plainmoor as a back-up goalkeeper, making 81 appearances in that time.

  1. Chris Hargreaves.

Hargreaves scored the opener as he captained Torquay’s victory at Wembley. He subsequently managed United for a short period of time but failed to keep them in the Football League, despite an upturn in form.

  1. Billy Bodin.

The Welsh international’s time on the English Riviera was cut short by injury, but he always stuck out as a player who had a knack for creativity.

  1. John Marquis.

Marquis’ short-lived Torquay career spanned just five games, but his three goals left the fans wanting a permanent move. Unfortunately, it never came.

  1. Nathan Blissett.

Still to this day, Blissett is one of the tallest players to ever don the yellow-and-blue strip. Towering at 6’5”, he scored 12 times for United and played a significant role in Nicholson’s set-up.

  1. Nathan Smith.

Smith spent a season at Torquay on loan from Port Vale. The 19-year-old centre-back played with a maturity well beyond his years. He picked up both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards and was instrumental in the side’s survival.

  1. Jamie Reid.

Affectionately known as ‘Reidy’, he has been a beacon of hope in United’s recent dark years. He has scored 78 times in 144 appearances for the Yellows, and secured the National League South’s Golden Boot in 2019 after an impressive 32-goal campaign helped Torquay to the title.

  1. David Graham.

Graham enjoyed two spells in Torbay. The Scottish striker scored 47 in his 120 matches for the Gulls.

  1. Dan Lavercombe.

Lavercombe was a young goalkeeper with bags of potential. He played 35 times for United (his hometown club) after coming through the ranks. It was not long before he drew attention from bigger clubs, and he left Torquay for Wigan Athletic in 2016.

  1. Jackson Longridge.

Another new addition to Gary Johnson’s Torquay United set-up, Longridge joined on loan from Bradford City and immediately established himself as the first-team left-back. His incisive passing poses real threat to opposition, and his creativity has left the terraces in bewilderment on multiple occasions.

  1. Guy Branston.

Branston was a no-nonsense centre-back whose Torquay United highlights include the club’s 2011 Player of the Year award as well as featuring in the PFA Team of the Year for League Two.

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