… And thinner, faster, didn’t drink as much and was better at football.
You know the debate about how past heroes would have fared in the modern game (let’s call it the Campbell conundrum)? Or the one about whether more recently departed players would have coped with stepping up a division or two (the Ellington enigma)? Well this is about neither of those this is about those players you wish were good enough and young enough to be rocking the blue and white stripes in the premier league but never got the chance.
A popularity contest? Maybe but it’s a slightly different question than who’s your favourite, best, heroic player. And yes, Yep, I realise that this was a list thing but you’ll have to trust me that I’m doffing my cap in every which direction and especially over at Mudhuts Towers, but only in the hope that ‘orrible Ives will share his egg custards next time around.
5. This is a cinch, he might have come to Latics too late in his career, after the beer and fags had caught up with his athletic prowess, but there’s absolutely no chance ever that Bobby Campbell wouldn’t make any list of top Laticsmen. On the pitch his character was there for everyone to see and he’d have fit right in with all the foreign lads because no one could tell a word he said either.
4. He features so early on the list purely because he got his chance in the greed league with Barnsley. Andy Liddell is the epitome of the attitude that has served Latics so well over the last 5 years. Better than he ever really got credit for, Lids got on with the job quietly. Positionally he’d fit into Plan B-obby perfectly and I bet he’d love playing on the left and cutting onto his right for the odd piledriver or 6.
3. As you might have guessed, I feel biased for choosing Neill Rimmer, but he’s another one that got less success in his time at Latics than he probably deserved. Any arguments that he might have seen more success if he’d spent less time injured or not been in (seemingly) perpetual contract dispute may be well founded, but they’ll fall on deaf ears round here.
A lot of Rimmer’s appeal might come from the fact that he missed big chunks of the really bad times and the suspicion that he might have been good enough to make things that bit better, but mostly that in a time of drab and mediocre players he was streets ahead of most of his colleagues, in a prototype Jimmy Bullard/Wilson Palacios fashion.
2. Don Page was everything that you need from a cult player. Plucked from relative non-league obscurity, an England semi-pro international he was just that bit short of being really, really good which left him in that frustrating “could do better” bracket. And then Brian Hamilton came along and Page’s face didn’t fit and even though he did start to do better (without looking it was about 11 goals in half a season) he was dropped from the team, with no reasoning.
Worth a place in any team just for the smile, but definitely a Laticsmon that deserved better.
1. The epitome of what this list is about; if Bryan Griffiths had been a little bit taller and a little bit faster (and perhaps got rid of the ‘tache) he needn’t have spent most of his career between Latics and Southport. He worked hard, he beat his man, he got crosses in and most of all he scored goals. But he was about as tall as Master Perm, who’s tall for a three year old, but not for a grown man.
You perhaps expected someone else to head this list, but (and I’d love a copy of the picture if anyone has it) his antics as he scored Latics’ second goal to beat Bolton back in 1990 squarely place Griff in the legend category. A moment that should become as mythical as Harry Lyon’s broken ankle. “My dad reckons Bryan Griffiths once scored a goal against Noblot, right, and then he ran the full length of the pitch shouting ‘you F***ing W***y Wanderers’ before showing his arse to the visiting fans and giving them the fingers with both hands, that Adebayor he’s nothing, right, or so my dad says”.
Well, that’s it from me, now over to you. Who’s your favourite, who are you sad you missed out on (Pat Gavin anyone?), would you love to see running on the DW pitch these days? Sign up and tell us on the message-board, or leave us a comment below.
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