My first reaction on hearing Keith Peacock had signed Terry Cochrane was “Blimey, I’ve heard of him!” An Irish international, he’d once scored against England at Wembley, and I could clearly remember him netting for Middlesbrough with a brilliant overhead kick on Match of the Day.
Cochrane had fallen out with Boro manager Malcolm Allison, who was not even picking him for the reserve team, and arrived at Priestfield unfit and sporting a rather nasty moustache.
He made his debut against Preston in October ’83 and, despite having a quiet game, managed to score a superb goal, launching a shot into the far corner of the net from way out near the Gordon Road touchline. For the next three years Gills fans had the pleasure of witnessing his sublime skills as he patrolled the wing in highly entertaining fashion.
For Terry Cochrane was one of the last of a dying breed. An out-and-out winger whose job was to stay out near the touchline, and attack with menace whenever the chance arose. Not for him the forty-yard chase to tackle back, or tucking inside to help out in midfield. Cochrane was there for one purpose and one purpose only – to supply the ammunition that would allow the Gills forward line to score the goals. And for the three seasons Terry Cochrane galloped down the flank, the Gills scored goals in abundance.
Clearly Cochrane loved the game. He liked nothing better than mercilessly destroying opposition fullbacks – something which he did with alarming regularity. I can still recall fondly his display against Chelmsford City in the 84-85 FA Cup campaign, when he tormented the non-leaguers’ fullback to such an extent that the poor sod didn’t know whether he was coming or going. It was almost too cruel, but also utterly compelling viewing.
Cochrane is probably best remembered for his goal against Bristol Rovers just after Christmas ’84 when he lobbed the hapless Pirates keeper from fully 45 yards (although the distance seems to get further as the memory becomes more distant). However it would be unfair to remember him for this single moment. Week-in, week-out Terry Cochrane provided us with moments of high drama and skill. I don’t believe there has been anything in my 29 years of following the club than Terry Cochrane advancing down the wing, ready to tie another hapless defender in knots. I doubt we’ll ever see his like again.
131 apps, 21 goals