Former Mildenhall Town midfielder Gareth Simpson picks his All-Time XI from the players he has played alongside
Among his list of former clubs, Gareth Simpson had a few spells at Mildenhall Town, whom he helped to win a league and cup double in 2016/17.
Here, Simpson – who also played for the likes of Diss Town, AFC Sudbury, Cambridge City and Wroxham – has picked his best XI from the players he has played alongside.
Simpson opted for a 3-5-2 formation and said: “I have picked players that I had a real understanding with on the pitch and ones that had big impacts on the teams I played in.”
GK: Josh Pope
The season we won the double at Mildenhall Town, Josh saved the day a number of times.
There were certain situations where if there had been someone else in goal, we would have probably dropped points at key times. In those tight and nervy games he was always pulling out big saves.
Josh was also brave and courageous – you would lose count of how many times he would get kicked in a season, but he put himself on the line for the team every week.
CB: Steve Gawthorpe
Steve was a real physical presence at the back and a real leader – a proper captain.
I played holding midfield during my early years as a player at Cambridge City and Mildenhall, and you know that with someone like him behind you, he always had your back.
CB: Luke Butcher
Butch held everything together for us at Mildenhall. Playing in midfield and him at the back, and with him being captain and me being club captain, I felt we worked really well together.
He leads by example on the pitch and is a great captain – nothing gets past him and he also pops up with some important goals.
You always noticed when he was playing, but you maybe noticed even more when he wasn’t there. We were much more vulnerable without him.
CB: Mat-Mitchel King
One of Mildenhall’s best ever players. Mat was a real athlete and someone you thought you had beaten in training, only for one of those long legs to come from nowhere to swipe the ball away.
He played midfield during his first spell at Mildenhall and was actually better with his feet than he gets credits for.
When he came back in the double-winning season he played centre-half, having made a professional career in that position, and relaxed everyone at a time when we were wobbling a little bit.
We kept clean sheets at a key time of the season and with him in the dressing room the nerves disappeared.
CM: Paul Miles
Paul was one of the best players I played with at that level – I could not leave him out.
He could play as part of a back four or alongside me in midfield. When he played in midfield, it allowed me to get forward and score some goals for a couple of seasons.
Great in the air, loved a tackle and his passing was fantastic.
CM: Gareth Simpson
I had three or four spells during my playing days where I felt really good.
The first was a youngster at Cambridge City, then at Mildenhall under Trevor Munns. I scored quite a few goals during a couple of those seasons.
I also played well for a good period of time at Sudbury and then back at Mildenhall in the double-winning season. I was voted Player of the Year that season.
RW: Matt Clements
I played with Matt as part of the Diss side that had a good run in the FA Vase before we got put out by Brigg.
He was one of the quickest players I ever played with and was a dream for a midfielder like me at Diss, Mildenhall and Sudbury.
He often made a run from outside to in and all you had to was slot it between the full-back and centre-back – you knew Matt would get there. He was unplayable at times.
AM: Niall Inman
Clemmo played on one side at Mildenhall and Inners was on the other, buthe tucked in a lot more.
Niall had unbelievable technique. It was a physical league at the time and I suppose you could say he was quite slight, but he was pure footballer. He never complained despite getting kicked quite a lot.
We would do these shooting drills in training and while others were putting balls in the conifers behind the goal, Niall would pass it in to either the top or bottom corner.
He was also great in the dressing room – king of the one liners!
LW: Ozie Foster
I could not leave Ozie out. He could play central midfield, right wing, left wing or up front.
He was quick, but also brilliant with the ball at his feet and was part of some successful sides. He had a great workrate and was a real honest player.
He lived in London and that was unfortunate because it meant we did not have him for too long at Mildenhall.
CF: Coren Hardy
We went on a run at Diss under Robert Fleck when Coren was unplayable – he had the ability to go pro.
He had a low centre of gravity and had this ability to roll defenders so effortlessly.
Coren was super confident and backed himself, but you need that in a successful forward.
When we were under the cosh, you knew you could get the ball up the pitch and he’d hold off the centre-half, spin him and then be in on goal. He was a talisman at times.
CF: James Rowe
We had so many good players at Sudbury but Rowey was the main man.
He was quick and could finish. He always backed himself and had every right to do so.
James was capable of scoring spectacular goals but he also had the knack of popping up where he needed to be.
He got injured in the year we lost in the play-offs and cup final. Had he been fit I am sure we would have won both.
More by this authorLiam Apicella