In the first of a new series, former trophy-winning boss and current vice chairman, Nev Nania, selects his all-star Godmanchester Rovers team of this century . . .
There is only one selection I could make here – NIALL CONROY. A terrific keeper who seems to get better as the years go by. It would be wrong if he retired this summer as he still has so much to offer.
A couple of outstanding choices for this position . . . Lewis McDonald was a star for me during our record-breaking season, but I have to go with JASON KING. I signed him from St Ives Town, he had a tremendous engine, was quick and skilful, and could play in a number of other positions too.
A really tough call. Tom Moran was a man-mountain and Lloyd Groves was a strong signing in his one season with the club. But the two men I select are TAYLOR PARR and CHARLIE BOWEN. Taylor was exemplary in his time with Rovers and a true leader while Charlie has served the club for years and gets better and better with each season.
Two stand-out contenders – Jonny Hall (who was untouchable in his prime) and JAMIE ALSOP. I go with Jamie who played consistently well for the club and had the best left foot I’ve ever seen for crosses and free-kicks.
Jack Chandler was a top player in recent seasons with great skills and a fine scoring record when on his game, but I’m going all the way back to our double-winning season of 2011 for this position. JOHN TURNER was an outstanding winger who also played for Cambridge United. He created space brilliantly and almost always delivered the perfect cross, and really looked out of place at our level.
I could have gone for class act Mark E’Beyer or Austen Diaper for his fantastic work ethic. I could have included Jack Watson for being a great leader from a deep role or gone with ‘Mr Versatile’ Ross Munro. But I’ve got to go for the brilliant brothers – MICKY HYEM and CHRIS HYEM. Micky has been a great player for the club and is still effective and scoring important goals, while Chris is an awesome ball-winner who inspires the players around him.
I could not put together a top Godmanchester Rovers team without TOM SPARK. He is a class act who always effects the game. He can play with either foot and in several positions.
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Honourable mentions here for Paul Bass (2011 double-winner who would have gone on to great things but for injuries), Arran Mackay (who is just as good up front as he is at the back) and Russell Bull (a player still with the club and who would battle for anything up top), but my front two features JAMES HALL and TOM MEECHAN.
People will have their own views on James but he never gave less than 100 per cent and scores lots of goals each season.
Tom is one of the best signings I made for the club.
His 53 goals really helped to make my final season memorable and propelled him to a higher-level of football.
I’ll always remember his last game for us. He promised to go out with something special and hit a hat-trick as we won the Hunts Senior Cup by beating Yaxley in the final.
Four of the players have already been mentioned – LEWIS MCDONALD, AUSTEN DIAPER, ARRAN MACKAY and ROSS MUNRO.
The other place on the bench goes to JAMIE BLACKWELL who was a beast of a midfielder also capable of doing a good job up front.
I’ll take charge with my co-manager MATTY HANIVER, fitness and conditioning coach ERROL McCAMMON and goalkeeping coach GARY DEAN who all played an important role in our success.