Most soccer fans will know what I mean when I say that it’s a real joy recalling old player names from the past. Remembering the name of an obscure forward that played a handful of games for Arsenal in the 94/95 season may seem foolish to some, but when nobody else can remember him, a sense of pride follows. Repeatedly striving to trump your friends with the anonymity and completely random nature of the players cited is the name of the game.
Here are six players to jog the memory of veteran soccer fans, or to create fresher memories among newer fans to the game:
1. Steve Ogrizovic
Best known for his days at Coventry, he kept goal at Highfield Road for just over fifteen years and played over five hundred games in the sky blue. He enjoyed a great period of time in the top flight despite looking like a campfire myth. Although I reckon the tales may have worked in his favour when it came to penalties. The kickers were visibly shaken as they stepped up; frightened to look into his eyes in case they became his next meal.
2. Darren Moore (Big Dave)
Big Dave, who was likely better known for helping teams to be promoted to the Premier League than playing there, did play a crucial part in West Bromwich Albion’s yo-yo years. Moore was an absolute unit; he stood at well over six foot in length, width and depth. A man mountain that didn’t lose many in the air, Moore was suspect on the deck. Perhaps his size limited him on the turn, and nippy Jermain Defoe types probably enjoyed matching up against him. Darren was an all-round great guy who was adored by the fans. The born again Christian had a good career and only recently hung up his massive boots.
3. Mark Fish
Personally I remember Mark from his time at the heart of the defense up at Bolton’s Reebok stadium. He also did a sturdy job while at Charlton for five years. Overall he racked up more than two hundred games at Bolton and Charlton before heading back to his home in South Africa. I remember reading that he once turned down a move to Old Trafford. I have no idea if it is true or not, but I’m sure United are far from bothered. He was good, not that good. He may have found himself out of his depth at a club of that magnitude. No need for a fish out of water joke.
4. Phil Stamp
A stocky bullish type, Stamp could play a little. He was a good example of hard work and persistence with rather limited ability. Stamp was a product of the Middlesbrough youth team. He was the original squad rotation player, in and out the team for years. He liked to take the midfield by the scruff of the neck and stamp his authority on a match. He weaved out a nice career at Boro during a spell of inconsistent years at the club. Phil saw some real class come and go over his stint, and played in teams with internationals. He then went to Hearts on a free.
5. Albert Riera
Albert Riera never really made the impact I expected him to. When he signed, I recall it being a deadline day purchase. And I remember watching on Sky Sports News as they played short clips of him running with the ball, jinxing and cutting past opponents.
I have vague memories of him at Man City on loan a couple of years before, so I was quite excited to see him in action again. Unfortunately it never really materialized. The gangly Spaniard had a decent career and still plays at the top level in Turkey. Alas, Riera couldn’t find his form at The Kop with first team chances limited. At the time Liverpool had other options and he left after upsetting Benitez. The club took a cut price offer to get him off the books. Good player; bad time at the club. How often have we seen that happen.