My Greatest Barkingside Team
Adam Dennehey has settled in to his new life in Norfolk, and has written a great article for us on his best ever Barkingside XI.
During the last fortnight or so before my family’s move to Norfolk I began to think about what my greatest Redbridge and Barkingside teams were that I had seen during my involvement with both Oakside clubs since 2006. Both sides have had good and bad times during those years, which I could go into great detail about at another time.
Before one of my last Barkingside games I gave one of my old football books to their historian and super fan Rob. In the opening couple of pages to the book I jotted down a ‘thank-you’ message to Rob – for being a good mate over my seasons spent at the club – which included what I believed to be my Greatest Barkingside XI.
After my move to Norfolk, after chatting to two of Barkingside’s current players Mark Steadman and Richard Oxby on Twitter after their weekend win against Barking, I decided to tweet the picture of my team jotted down in the book given to Rob to see what some of Barkingside’s current and ex-players would have to say after mentioning to Steadman that he was in the side.
So below if you haven’t already seen it is my Greatest Barkingside XI, including subs as every great side always has to have options on the bench!
My goalkeeper had to be Leigham Stone. An immense young keeper who in all honesty is too good for ESL football. Has previously played for Barking. Despite only signing for ‘Side this season, he gets in due to shear consistency. A great shot-stopper and one who can certainly go up the leagues.
My full-backs are Harry Stevens and Paul Kavanagh. Stevens came to the fore under Tony Fenn in 2008 and had a great season with the club,. An excellent player going forwards with the ball who wasn’t scared to make a crunching-tackle when needed. Today Harry is at Southminster playing in the Essex Olympian League. Has experience with Burnham and is another one who if given the chance would do well at a higher level.
The left-back position was an easy one. Kavanagh was immense for ‘Side in 07/08 chipping in with some vital goals including a memorable free-kick against Hanwell Town in the FA Cup. Has a peach of a left-foot and is an excellent crosser of the ball. Very rarely made a bad challenge. Rejoined the club in the summer and has been a key part of manager Matt Frew’s team this season.
Speaking of Frew aka Burgers/Burgs he’s in at centre-half alongside Dave Cooper. Both players are no-nonsense defenders and will chip in with 4-5 goals throughout the season. Both are brave and not afraid to get hurt and have proven popular with the club’s ‘die-hard’ fans. A great blend of youth and experience.
In midfield it was a bit more difficult but Greg Thompson and Dominic Harkins had to be picked. Both are ‘Legends’ of the club and formed a great partnership down the years. Harkins is very much like Paul Scholes. A great passer of the ball, not the best tackler. He was always in the team and gave his all. The only thing he lacked was height. He’d be the captain.
Thompson gets in due to his work-rate and eye for goal. A great box-to-box player and a smashing striker of the ball, it was very uncommon for the midfielder not to have a pop from long-distance. A proven player at ESL level who would get you 7-8 goals a season. His link-up play with Harkins would create plenty of goals.
Sitting in holding-midfield would be Gabriel Onrieti. Like Stone he only joined ‘Side this season but has arguably for me been their player of the year. He reminds me a lot of Ramires. He’s quick, excellent going forward, a great passer of the ball and a great team-man. Arrives late in the box to score and works his socks off defensively. He never looks tired!
My attacking-midfielder just behind the strikers would be Leon Diaczuk who was at Manchester United as a youngster. Despite him being a Manchester City fan, it would be hard to leave him out. Another player with a good work-rate, he has a good eye for goal. Not bad on penalties either.
Up top it would be the aforementioned Steadman and Warren Bennett. Steadman refers to himself as the ESL’s best marksmen and despite only scoring 5 times in 25 apps this season it would be hard to leave him out. He emerged from park-football in 2007 to be the club’s first-choice striker in 2007/08 and has been a fan-favourite in his stints with the club.
Bennett for a while was my favourite ‘Side player for a couple of years after the tall forward scored a hat-trick against Stansted in an 8-1 victory in my first Barkingside match back in December 2006. On his day he could be unplayable. His last spell with the club came in 2009 when he helped them win silverware in the ESL League Cup.
On the subs bench I’ve gone for 1 forward, 2 midfielders, 1 defender and a sub-keeper.
The only pure-forward on the bench would be Chris Lewis who scored a bucket-load of goals for ‘Side in his first season. A likeable lad who would be ideal to come off the bench and grab a late-goal. I don’t think he’d be happy on the bench though!
The midfielders on the bench would be Jordan Tolan who just missed out in the starting XI behind Thompson. Shares the same qualities in having an eye for goal from long-range. Would get 10-15 goals a season without even breaking sweat. A good penalty taker too.
Mark Doyle can play anywhere really. Would give cover at the back, on the wing and up front. Doyley scored a memorable hat-trick against Stewart & Lloyds in the FA Cup in 2007/08 where his partnership with Steadman proved too hot for defences to handle. A great option to have on the bench.
The only pure defender I’ve got is Corey Ellis. A great athlete who works as Teacher. Was immense for the club over 2 spells. A popular lad who often picked up knocks as a result of being too brave for his own good. Had a mean throw-in, not that I’d want my team to just rely on them for goals!
Chris Clark is the only other keeper that came to mind when thinking about my team. Clark has just so happened to have rejoined the club as back-up to Stone and is still probably as good as he was during the 2007/08 season when he played a huge-role in the club’s success that year.
It’s great to have you back on the site Adam! Follow Adam on twitter: @ADennehey87