Finding your footballing fix in between seasons is tough, but the Masters football competitions certainly help to break us into the new season nicely with some light-hearted football entertainment. This summer gave us some added entertainment with a number of ex-Gills turning out for some of their other clubs in the various Masters regional tournaments.
Up until recently I thought the Masters was the domain of the big clubs, but when I noticed clubs like Rotherham were included in the lineup, it made me wonder if Gillingham could enter a side for next season. I’m sure if someone did put a team together to represent the Gills, they’d be superbly supported.
The rules say you can have a squad of ten players, with six-a-side on the pitch, consisting of players over the age of 35 years of age.
While watching the Masters, I had a little think about who I might pick in my Gills Masters side. Obviously they’d have to be over 35 next summer, and they’d have to still be fit enough to be able to play a bit. So here’s my 10-man Gills Masters squad, packed with cult heroes and personal favourites, but each one a true Gills legend. Would you pay to watch this lot in action next summer? I certainly would!
1. Vince Bartram
We’d have to poach him from Arsenal, but as the main main between the sticks during our most successful ever period, he’d have to be our keeper.
2. Joey Dunne
Arguably the number one cult hero in Gills history, he proved in the FOGFC v Gills Legends game that he can still play a bit. Well worth including just so the fans can rekindle his famous song, plus of course he can fill in between the sticks if necessary!
3. Alan Walker
Every side needs a stopper, even in the Masters, and Alan Walker, although he’d be the most senior member of the squad, is still in good enough nick to do that job.
4. Gavin Peacock
The former Gills midfielder went on to bigger and better things with the likes of Chelsea and Newcastle, but he was a hero at Priestfield – and would be a hugely popular inclusion in this team.
5. Mark Saunders
He’d make the over-35 age bracket next year, and he’d provide the same drive, determination and athleticism that he always did at Priestfield. He’d put a few crunching challenges in, too.
6. Steve Lovell
Stevie Lovell was the main man up front at the Gills when I first started watching them, so I’d definitely want him in my Masters side.
7. Andy Hessenthaler
No Gills Masters team would be complete without Hess. Still good enough for League Two football, he’d be the skipper of the side.
8. Andy Thomson
He turns 36 in April 07, so Wembley hero Thommo would simply have to be in for next year. The archetypal goal-poacher’s game would be a perfect fit for the Masters.
9. Steve Butler
Another of our Wembley heroes, and the oldest Gills player to score at the old Wembley. Showed he can do the business in Masters football for Watford this year, but if we had a team he’d have to leave the Hornets to get on with it and join us instead.
10. Robert Taylor
My one wild card. I don’t care whether he’s fit or not, I just want to see Super Bob in a Gills shirt again.