Worksop Town Football Club have been homeless since they were kicked off their Sandy Lane ground in 2008 – but that hasn’t stopped them from attracting some exciting talent.
An incredible number of recent ex Tigers are now playing at a higher level, including Marc Roberts who is at League One Barnsley.
I’ve put together what I consider to be a team of the best players to pull on a Tigers shirt since I started covering the club in the 2007/08 season, with honourable mentions for those just missing out.
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Goalkeeper: Jon Stewart
Worksop Town had no real right to sign a goalkeeper with the pedigree of Jon Stewart, especially when he rejoined the club in the NCEL. A big, intimidating stopper who loved having the ball at his feet and would regularly produce a Cruyff turn to baffle chasing strikers. Dominated his area.
Honoruable mention: Jon Kennedy, the three-time Tiger who is showing this season that at 35 he is still capable of consistent, excellent performances.
Right-back: Ryan Clarke
Another player who was a surprise signing, dropping down from Conference North to join Simon Clark’s Tigers. Started countless attacks that led to goals, but didn’t score any himself. Versatile enough to play elsewhere on the park, but at his best at right-back, rarely looked under pressure and was remarkably consistent.
Honourable mentions: Alex Pursehouse, the former Kilmarnock youngster who could fly up and down the wing all afternoon; Terry Henshaw the rock of consistency.
Left-back: Kevin Davies
A mainstay during the Pete Rinkcavage era. Davies loved a slide tackle with impeccable timing. Showed himself as a leader during the club’s exile, on and off the pitch. Made over 300 appearances for Tigers.
Honourable mention: Phil Roe, the jinking full-back who is in his second stint with Worksop and provides an attacking threat.
Centre-half: Luke Shiels
The first name on the team-sheet for more than one manager. Could head and tackle all day long, and had the ability to pass or dribble his way up the field. Not a huge defender, but athleticism made him a real threat from set-pieces. Made 145 club appearances.
Honourable mentions: Tom Burgin. Another imposing and dominant centre-half, with leadership qualities; Martin McIntosh, a former professional who still had it all, except perhaps the hamstrings needed to last a full 90 minutes.
Centre-half: Marc Roberts
Might not have shown all of his true potential or ability at Worksop Town, but has since gone on to prove it beyond doubt. There were glimmers, with some dominant performances, especially against direct and physical teams. One player the club lost out on financially, instead allowing Buxton to nurture him and reap the benefits of his subsequent move to Halifax, and then Barnsley.
Honourable mentions: Matt Wilson, who impressed during a short spell while Tigers were at Ilkeston; Adam Quinn – as solid as they come; Andrew Boyce, who came from Doncaster Rovers on loan as a youngster and looked a real prospect. His career ascendancy ever since proves he was.
Central midfield: Adam Murray
Worksop fans got a glimpse into the quality of this Mansfield Town player during his loan spell. On his debut he displayed a passing range that will not be bettered at Sandy Lane for many years. Pulled the strings and was evidently from a higher level of football.
Honourable mention: Jake Scott, who was the steel and the drive behind the Worksop Town side since they dropped into the NCEL. Tough tackler with an eye for a pass, and competed very well in the air.
Central midfield: Shane Clarke
Under-rated after a slow start to his time as a Tiger, but grew into a real force in the middle of the park. Got back to stop attacks and put Worksop on the front foot again. Has since shown attacking threat at Tamworth in National League North.
Honourable mentions: Danny Anson, who would not only happily go in for a 50:50 with a brick wall, but often resembled it for the opposition; Craig Clay, who was at the club briefly but evidently had pedigree. Now at Grimsby.
Central midfield: Mark Hudson
The attacking creativity and goalscoring threat Tigers needed on so many occasions. Would take the free-kicks for this ‘dream team’, and probably score a fair few. Took time to settle at Worksop but once he did was a huge asset.
Honourable mention: Gary Townsend, the mecurial Worksop legend was towards the end of his career when he last featured during exile, but could still produce magic. In his prime would have waltzed into this team.
Striker: Leon Mettam
You can’t leave out a 50-goal striker. Mettam was the ultimate poacher for Tigers, gave defenders a torrid time and won more penalties in a season than most will win in a career. Scored some screamers too.
Honourable mentions: Jamie Jackson, the man who made Worksop home and delighted Tigers fans with some wonderful individual goals. Could tear teams apart when he was on form; Kevin Sanasy – a fox in the box who became a fan favourite.
Striker: Tom Denton
And you can’t have Mettam without his ‘foil’ - big Tom. Denton won all the aerial battles and took all the bruises to put Mettam in space. They linked up time and time again, and Denton himself was a mean goalscorer for Worksop. Unplayable in almost every game.
Honourable mention: Andy White. Perhaps the most likable Tiger of the past eight years, who formed a great partnership with Sanasy. A player who needed confidence and came into his own when he was on form.
Striker: Ben Tomlinson
Another prolific striker who came out of the club’s Under 19s and earned them some money. Incredible pace and strength, and a cool finisher. Deserved his move to a higher level.
Honourable mention: Jack Muldoon. A player who could hare past you or run right through you, before sending in a great cross or going on to score himself. Another who earned a big move with some fantastic performances.