As promised, we bring you the following article from WIE 32, which was originally published in August 2000…
Game for a Laugh
After selecting my all-time favourite Wings XI in the last issue, I set my mind to thinking about an all-time worst XI. I am sure that most of you will agree that this was a much harder selection, but I’ve finally come up with a team having whittled them down from a preliminary squad of 87!!
I should stress that this is a purely personal selection and consists of players who have appeared in the last ten years or so. My sincere apologies to anyone who is upset at being selected or not selected as the case may be. There are undoubtedly worse players than some of those listed below, but my team is based on performances in a Welling shirt and the amount of effort and commitment shown whilst playing for the Wings.
This team would adopt a very trendy 3-4-3 system and, in my opinion, would certainly be good fun to watch!!
Goalkeeper: Jeremy Parsons
This was probably the toughest selection of the lot with so many outstanding candidates to choose from. I was very tempted to pick the fans favourite Maurice Munden who, much to my horror, has actually played one game for the Wings. However the vote went to Jeremy or “Gluegloves” as he was affectionately christened by some fans. If you can’t recall him, think back to an FA Cup visit to Swansea where he almost single handedly turned a 2-1 halftime lead into a 2-5 defeat.
Centre Back: Steve Perkins
I have a theory that any ex-d*rtford players who turn out for the Wings deliberately set out to sabotage our club. This theory will be borne out by one of my later selections. Steve is obviously an automatic choice after his full Conference debut against Scouseport where he found the net twice before halftime (unfortunately the net that we were defending in the first half!). Sadly Super Kev denied him the chance of a hat-trick by substituting him although we did manage to score another og in the same game.
Centre Back: Christian Barrett
Quite possibly another unfamiliar name to some of you. A player who graduated through the Kent League, and in true Welling tradition, was chucked in at the deep end with very little experience. We had been promised great things by the Welling hierarchy but, alas, Christian disappeared after about 15 first team appearances. I do recall that he had a little party trick where he took throw-ins which never actually made it on to the field!!
Sweeper: Micky Crowe
Playing in the middle of the centre backs would be Mr Crowe. My fondest memory of him was during a home thrashing many years ago by a Stan Collymore inspired Stafford Rangers. Poor Micky was having a terrible time and actually proceeded to help the opposition by putting one in his own net. At this point, my dad exclaimed “Crowe, you’re the worst centre half I’ve ever seen”. Bearing in mind that he has seen a lot of football including a great deal of Sunday morning football, this was indeed quite a compliment!
Left Wing Back / Midfield: Michael Harle
It has not been my policy to select current players, but now that he has been released and as Phil Neville has never played for the Wings, then Michael can claim his place in the team. Although I only really attend home matches, I can’t recall him having a good game and I’ve certainly heard some horror stories about his performances away from PVR. Another master stroke to have a younger, skilful and more committed player for the same position but rely on the ex-pro instead. At the end of the season Harle released and Harney retained. Nuff said.
Right Wing Back / Midfield: Steve Finnan
Or to give him his full title Steve (you should see what he does in training) Finnan. This may be a shock to most fans but, when you think about it, he achieved very little playing for the first team. Admittedly he was hampered by a virus for a long spell but was a very frustrating performer. I suppose in the long term the club has benefited financially and certainly Steve is carving out a very promising league career so good luck to him. But purely on his displays for the Wings, no one could have suspected that a league career beckoned (Ah, but you should see what he…..zzzzz).
Midfield: Luke Anderson
Another one in a long line of stereotype Welling midfielders. Probably owes his selection to the lengths super Kev went to sign him, only to bomb him out after a few games! From the programme notes you would have thought we were signing Roy Keane, but, as usual, he was just another very ordinary player. Perhaps he was played out of position – as Ruthers was the first choice – but he failed to make an impression and I believe is now plying his trade with Gravesend??
Midfield: Steve Robinson (Capt.)
John Still, the current Barnet manager, once famously remarked when in charge at d*rtford that Steve Robinson is “twice the player that Andy Townsend will ever be”. So, by my reckoning, Robbo should have over 100 international caps and have commanded transfer fees in the region of £10 million during his career. He was definitely past his sell by date when gracing the field at PVR and developed ‘Paul Ince’ syndrome of shouting at others all the time while ignoring his own deficiencies.
Again the striking positions were amongst the hardest to decide upon. Whilst we have had to endure countless lazy bastards filling the forward roles at PVR, I have picked my three on a similar basis – players who somewhere deep down have definitely got ability but were just unwilling to share it with us supporters. No doubt you will have your own personal preferences, but I think my three would give defenders countless hours of… SLEEP!!
Attack: Mark Watson
His Welling career started in that world famous match with CAFC for the prestigious Crown Paints Trophy! At the time “Watto” was trying to secure a contract and spent the entire 90 minutes harrying the life out of the Charlton defence. He was big, strong and powerful and I for one was delighted when he signed. From that point on he did absolutely nothing for the cause. He appeared disinterested and, despite pleas from his teammates, appeared unwilling to contribute anything. He went to Sutton where, last season, he fared no better and has this season signed for our old friends from Woking (Jae Martin has my sympathy).
Attack: Darren Adams
There was no way that I could leave my old favourite “Dazzlin” out of this line-up. Perhaps I was against him from the start after the great swap deal we engineered by sending Mark Hynes to Dover – another great move from super Kev. Again there was obviously some talent lurking there somewhere but, at our level, people want to see effort and commitment as well. Darren occasionally produced a touch of class but antagonised the fans with his lack of passion.
Attack: Paul Sykes
Another one who was described as a wonder boy and a definite star of the future. There was undoubtedly potential there but, like his fellow two strikers in this team, his end of year report would say “very lazy and could do better”. Now plying his trade at Margitt although I believe he has suffered a long term injury. I know that the few hardy souls who travelled to Halifax some years back would be keen to see Paul again after his David Coulthard style salute to the travelling fans!!
Substitute: Les Cleevely
Almost claimed the number one shirt in his own right, but I feared reprisals if he was selected!! It is quite possible that our paths might cross again in the future so at least we may have the chance to marvel at his escapades and not be on the receiving end ourselves. The back pass rule change has not really helped Les as he tries to dribble around opposition forwards with very little success.
Substitute: Gary Collins
In keeping with a balanced team selection, here is another goalkeeper. Perhaps not a familiar name to some but a legend in his own household. I will always remember Gary for making ordinary saves look so spectacular and for one famous incident in particular. Long suffering Wings fans may remember a match at PVR in our Southern League days against Bedworth. Gary, upon “hearing” a phantom whistle put the ball down for a free kick only for the opposition striker to gleefully slam it into an empty net!! The goal stood and Gary’s cult status at PVR was assured.
Substitute: Maurice Munden
A disappointment no doubt to only make the bench, but after only one appearance it would be harsh to include him (wouldn’t it??). Maurice’s banter with the crowd was legendary and such gems as “I know where you lot drink” often caused great amusement with Wings fans. If it is any consolation at not making the starting line-up for this particular team then I’m sure that, at most other clubs, Maurice would undoubtedly have been first choice in their worst ever line-ups!
Manager: Kevin “INQ” Hales
This was clearly the easiest selection of the lot as he ‘inflicted’ a number of these players upon us. It also explains why we only need three subs as we never had five towards the end of last season as “INQ” picks his best XI and sticks with them through thin and, erm, thinner. At least I’ve selected three goalkeepers on the bench as with this team he would probably need them!
I was intending to have a right good rant about “INQ” but, on reflection, I’m just bloody glad that he has gone although we will obviously miss his “extensive list of contacts” (what a pisser that was!). I just pray that we draw Stevenage in a competition next season and, regardless of the result, the whole Welling support can show him just what they really think of him.