I think it might be time to don my trusty tin hat again. Just to remind you dear reader, this poll was produce using the votes of hundreds of Latics fans, so please stop shouting at us via social media “WHO THE F***ING HELL VOTED FOR THAT USELESS T***!!” You did the voting not us!
Like a certain Welshman before him, there can be no doubting that Gary Teale had unique football talent: pace, guile, the ability to smash one in from thirty yards like he did at Ipswich that time. I suppose the great divide came over his heart and reticence to partake in that proper Wiggin Mon’s tradition of “getting stuck in where it hurts”. When you think, he’s Scottish as well…..
He also seemed to be the archetypal confidence player: when he had it, he could be a world beater; when it was on the wane, he’d be looking for a place to hide on the pitch. Nevertheless, Gary played a pivotal part in some of our great seasons of success on the way to the Premier League.
I don’t know whether he was discovered by accident but I do know that, around about this time of year in 2001 I went up to Ayr for the weekend for a cheeky Euro pre season friendly, and not with standing how cold it was and how drunk the Tennents got me, I also witnessed us get walloped 4-0 (or was it 4-1) by Ayr United.
Clearly, he had created an impression on then manager Paul Jewell as he went back to sign him several months later and went on to become a galloping winger, who Paul Jewell famously quoted as “being able to catch pigeons”. His other moment of note came in Walkabout toilets a couple of years later singing his own song “Teale will tear us apart” drunk as a mott after clinching the Second Division promotion title. Well, it was Ryan Giggs’ song technically but never mind……
Gary arrived at the JJB Stadium on 14th December 2001 for a fee of £275,000 from Ayr United. He arrived hot on the heels of new goalkeeper John Filan who was signed for £600,000 just a couple of hours earlier. He made his Latics League debut the following day against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park as Latics drew 1-1. By the end of season 2002/03 he had established himself as a first team regular as the Blues clinched the Championship. He kicked on during the First Division campaign and by the end of that historic 2003/04 season he had made 89 League appearances and scored 5 League goals.
Gary was a member of the squad that won promotion to the Premiership by the end of the following 2004/05 League campaign scoring 3 League goals in 29+9 League appearances. It is interesting to note that Gary was one of EIGHT players who played in the promotion winning game against Reading and the Second Division Championship winning side who played against Barnsley in the final game at the JJB Stadium in 2003. He signed for a further two years at the JJB Stadium on 17th June 2005.
On 6th December 2005 he played for the Scotland B team in a 2-0 win over Poland, having a hand in both goals. On 1st March 2006, just days after his Carling Cup Final appearance for the Blues he made his full Scotland debut against Switzerland at Hampden Park. He was a 46th minute substitute for Barry Ferguson but he couldn’t help the Scots salvage anything from a 1-3 defeat.
He featured in 20+4 Premiership games for the Blues without scoring, this brought his Latics career total up to 104+32 League appearances and 8 League goals scored. He was also a member of the team that played in Latics’ first major Cup Final, a 0-4 beating in the Carling Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium. Gary took part in the Kirrin Cup in Japan for Scotland immediately prior to the season finishing. He earned his second full cap when he played in the team that beat Bulgaria 4-1 on 11th May 2006.
Two days later he played against Japan as Scotland won the tournament after a 0-0 draw against the hosts. He left the JJB Stadium on 11th January 2007 to sign for Derby County for a fee of £600.000. His last league game for Latics was the Premiership clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day 2006, a game the Blues lost 3-1. His final Latics league career total read 111+37 appearances and he netted 8 league goals. His time at Pride Park saw him loaned to both Plymouth Argyle, Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday on 28th July 2010.
He is currently (January 2012) plying his trade with St Mirren. I’m sure Gary won’t mind us making an assumption on his behalf by saying that it’s fair to say that he has enjoyed the best moments of his career whilst wearing the blue and white of Wigan Athletic.
Thanks as ever to Bernard Ramsdale for the stats
THE TNS TOP 50 RUNDOWN
37. Gary Teale
38. Eamon O’Keeffe
39. Joe Hinnigan
40. Ian Kilford
41. Hugo Rodallega
42. James McCarthy
43. Mickey Worswick
44. Noel Ward
45. Simon Haworth
46. Gary Caldwell
47. Mike Pollitt
48. Bert Llewellyn
49. Bryan Griffiths
50. = Graham Barrow
50. = Maynor Figueroa
50. = Paul Jewell
50. = Graham Kavanagh
50. = Henri Camara
50. = Lee Cattermole
The TNS Top 50 was compiled last year and collected over 2,000 votes from Latics fans across a variety of platforms. There have been initial discussions with the club and other fan sites to turn this into a bigger survey and produce a book of the Top 100 Latics players next year with pen pictures written by fans
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