“Strange thing, my first season there we went on strike on New Years Eve.”

It was the lockdown we could all see coming, but Boris Johnson ignored the advice and warning signs. The Labour party knew it, independent SAGE knew it and anyone with common sense could see it. As soon as we beat Tiverton at home the country should have been locked down, but no. The PM waited until we beat Gosport a fortnight later but it should have been clear what a Dorch win means. We’ve won three competitive games at home all season, two have been followed by nationwide lockdowns. Us winning a game has become an unofficial sign of the apocalypse.

As with the first lockdown, something was needed to pass the time. When in the bar for the WSM home game a few of us, for reasons best known to ourselves, tried to put together a side of players to have played for both us and Weymouth and done well for both. Being ‘good’ for both sides is quite subjective so there will be obvious differences in opinion. There are many to have played for both who are still at one or the other, the likes of Cam Murray, Billy Lowes, Andy Robinson etc, and many who were at both but had significantly more success at one club such as Brandon Goodship, Ian Hutchinson, Tony Diaz. Trying to find players that were good on both sides of the Ridgeway was more of a task and one that would require a different viewpoint as despite watching a fair bit of Weymouth in my youth (I blame my Dad, don’t hold it against me…), going back more than 20 years would have been an issue.

Enter Nigel Biddlecombe, the ex-Weymouth chairman amongst many roles he has had with the club and his wealth of knowledge of all things claret and blue. As mentioned, the criteria of being ‘good’ for both sides is down the the individual and some positions had more options than others. Some had lengthy spells at one and a shorter but impactful spell at the other, some over a hundred appearances for both, and one player barely played a hundred games for both combined, but he was a bit useful. So, with Nige’s considerable help, we’re left with what’s a pretty fair XI to both sides of players who have had reasonable spells at both, as well as a manager and bench. It of course has a slight Dorchester slant to it, but it is a Dorchester blogsite after all. It’ll be a 4-4-2 for ease with some slight adaptations to some players best position, but here is a combined Dorchester and Weymouth XI of players who were ‘good’ for both sides.

Goalkeeper; Jason Matthews.

The first name on the team sheet was an easy one really. With 464 Weymouth appearances (as well as a single goal) across many years that included promotion to the Conference National in 2005-06, an FA Cup first round televised replay at home to Nottingham Forest, and a spell as manager, his place in Weymouth history is more than secure. But it is his Dorchester contribution that is of more interest to us on the North side of the ridge. Signed by then manager Phil Simkin in 2012, Jason’s solitary season was a memorable one as we would record our highest finish and points tally in the Conference South, but it was his clean sheet in the memorable FA Cup win over Plymouth that cements his place between the posts here. A famous day for the club, memorable for all involved, and really the last decent side we had given what has followed, Jason’s role in side was as important as anyone’s. Although it was only one season before he moved on, it a memorable one and the best in recent memory. A thoroughly nice bloke, bloody good keeper and very deserving of being in goal for this obscure side.

Right back; Pete Morrell.

One of only two players in this side to go for a fee between the two clubs when he moved from Weymouth to Dorch in June of 1984 for the sum of £500, Pete is also the first man on this list to have played over 100 games for both sides with 107 appearances with 9 goals for Weymouth before his move to Dorch where he would make 398 appearances and net 85 goals. His time at Weymouth would see them in the upper to mid-table of the old Alliance Premier League but it was his contribution to their FA Cup run in 1982-83 that would be his standout achievement. Pete would score two goals in the first round in the 4-3 victory over Maidstone and play in both the 3-2 victory over Cardiff in round two, before eventually falling to a 1-0 defeat at Cambridge in round three. His first season at Dorchester would see us finish 14th before a disaster of a season would follow as we finished rock bottom and Pete would suffer a serious leg break. However, we’d be reprieved from relegation would surprise even ourselves by bouncing back to win the league the following season, with Pete netting seven goals in his 34 games. His Dorchester career would last well into the 1990‘s and he’d be a key part of the side as we moved from the old Avenue ground to the new Avenue Stadium. As consistent and wholehearted as they come with over 500 appearances for both clubs, Pete takes the right back slot.

Left back; Simon Radcliffe.  

This is the first controversial choice of the side. Although some excellent players have played for both clubs, left fullbacks seem to be in short supply. There were some honourable mentions in this position. Simon Browne had two spells at Dorchester but his 397 games for Weymouth were far and away the most notable part of his career, Paul Arnold played 494 times for the Terra’s but his spell at Dorchester was as manager, Ash Vickers had filled in as a full back at times, but I have elected to use editorial privilege and select Simon Radcliffe. Radders’ 220+ games for Dorch saw him form one half of a formidable left sided partnership with Justin Keeler (as Justin would admit, “good left back, he did all my running”) and his time at the club would involve some of the most memorable moments of this side of the millennium. An FA Cup first round appearance, a Dr Martens Eastern League winners medal and a part of the side that got to and consolidated in the Conference South, Radders was a very reliable part of Mark Morris’ side. His time at Weymouth wasn’t as lengthy or as memorable as they were relegated in 2010. But although he did captain the side and win the Weymouth Supporters Association play of the year, he’ll be most fondly remembered by those in claret and blue for scoring the third goal in a 3-0 thumping of Dorch in the FA Trophy. It was the solitary goal of his 41 Weymouth appearances, but after receiving some rather harsh stick from the travelling fans, when he scored the third goal to really rub salt in the wounds, he gave some in the celebration. Were we livid at the time? Yes. Would we do the same in his position? Also yes. Would we love it if the boot was on the other foot and it was an ex-Weymouth player scoring for us and giving their fans shit? Definitely.

Central defender; Hedley Steele.

The second member of the 100 club for both teams, Hedley is another man to have served both clubs well. Signed in July of 1976 by David Best from Exeter City, Hedley would be a key part in what was a fascinating period of the club’s history during his 298 appearances (29 goals). In his years at the club between 1976-84 he would experience relegation, a league title win in 1979-80, further brushes with both as we’d challenge at both ends of the table, captain the side, score in an FA Cup second round replay as we agonisingly missed out away at Bournemouth in a replay, and almost miss a game due his car breaking down en route to Canterbury when his car broke down, leaving him and Eddie Belt stranded at Dorking. He would move to eight miles further South in 1984 as Weymouth boss Brian Godfrey would sign him and Hedley would go on to make 155 appearances and net eight goals in his four years with the Terras, winning the Mark Frowde cup as well as the players player of the season in 1986/87. He would move to Gloucester after that before further success in a career which would see him play in a Wembley final and be awarded the non-league player of merit in 1993. He’d play over 1,300 career games, his last appearance coming late in the 2013/14 season for Willand Rovers at the age of 60. No, seriously. A worthy inclusion as the first of the two centre backs.

Central defender; Ryan Cross.

Our second centre back would have spells with his hometown club Plymouth, Bury and Hartlepool before he was signed for Dorchester by Stuart Morgan from Sligo Rovers. Ryan was a towering presence at the back in the three years he spent at club. Able to play out from the back as well as impose himself on opposition forwards, he would be a vitally important part of a very useful side between 1997 and 2000. We’d achieve what is still our highest ever league placing to date, fourth in the Southern Premier League, in the 1997-98 season. He’d make the move over the Ridgeway at the end of the 99-00 season and would go on to make 89 appearances and score five goals in that time, helping Weymouth secure a fifth-place finish in the 2001-02 season, before moving back closer to his South Westerly roots at the end of the 2001-02 season. A player you’d much rather have on your side than against, he and Hedley Steele will provide a solid centre to this defence as well as a good knowledge of the South West’s back roads.

Right midfield; Nick Crittenden.

A winger once subbed on for a departing Gianfranco Zola in his Chelsea days as well as making a couple of Premiership appearances, Critts would enjoy a very successful spell at both Yeovil and Aldershot before signing for Garry Hill’s newly promoted Weymouth. Critts would make 68 appearances over two seasons that would be marred by on-going financial issues. Weymouth had been seventh in the Conference Premier table when cost cutting measures saw the whole squad placed on the transfer list and Hill departed, but Critts would remain at the club until the end of the following season as the club would stay in the now named Blue Square Premier. After enduring an eventful two seasons at Weymouth under Hill, Jason Tindall and John Hollins, Critts would complete his transfer from the frying pan into the fire as he signed for Shaun Brooks’ Magpies. 252 games and 28 goals later, he’d have seen most things in his time at the club. FA Cup runs, relegation battles, brushes with playoff contention, financial difficulty, a one game spell as caretaker manager, before finally becoming assistant to Jem upon his return as manager. There was to be no promotion-based end to the tale as budget cuts would see him and Jem decide to step down, their final game coming in a 1-1 draw with Weymouth in the Boxing Day derby in 2016. He departed the club as a real fan favourite who alongside Matty Holmes can boast a 100% win ratio for their games on charge of the side, both with the record of played one and won one.

Left midfield; Bob Forrest.

A name that may not be familiar to all (and one that was not familiar to me prior to Bidde’s excellent research, so I’ll spend a bit more time on him), Bob Forrest is one of the few men in this side to have played in the top flight, as well as making well over 100 appearances for both sides. Although he was an old-fashioned inside forward, he’ll be more than able to adapt to his new position. Born in Doncaster in 1931, Forrest would start his working life in the pits. His break in football would come in peculiar circumstances at Retford Town. Playing as a youngsters for Rossington Colliery at the time, he went to watch Retford Town play with a friend and found the home side were two players short. The two youngsters were asked to play and he made an instant impression and was offered the chance to join the club there and then.It was his performances there that saw Leeds show an interest and he eventually signed for £500 just before Christmas in 1952 where he became a popular player with supporters. He’d make 121 appearances for Leeds scoring 37 goals and helping them gain promotion back to the old First Division. He’d then move to Notts County and help them gain promotion to the third division.

Bob would join Weymouth in the summer of 1962 and play a key role in a successful period of the club’s history. Twice winning the Southern League in the 1964-65 & 65-66 seasons, his record of 167 games and 47 goals was an excellent return as Weymouth wouldn’t finish lower than seventh in his time at the clubs. Bob would then move to Dorchester, taking the role of player manager in the summer of 1966 after Tommy Brawley’s departure. Signing Jackie Henderson, a man with top flight experience with Arsenal and Portsmouth as well as being a former Scottish international, and having established local talent such as Graham Fuge and Steve Cribb (as well as managing both Eddie Belt and Keith Kellaway in their playing days), Bob’s Dorchester would finish 5th,7th,9th and 7th again before retiring at the end of the 1970 season. His Magpies record was 130 games with 22 goals. Well thought of on both sides of the Ridge, Bob would settle in Weymouth, running a guesthouse where World Cup winner Jack Charlton would regularly stay, before his sad passing in 2005 at the age of 73. A fitness fanatic, he was a tough man on the pitch and a true gentleman off it. His record speaks for itself and he is a more than worthy inclusion in this side.

Central midfield; Graham Roberts.

The shortest combined spell between the two clubs but what is unquestionably the best career comes from a man signed by David Best for Dorchester back in 1976. Although he would later become a central defender who would win European and domestic honours as well as being capped six times by England, Graham would start of in a much more advanced role for Dorch. Regularly in the goals, his record of 79 games in which he found the net 33 times is very good, and it was that form and some excellent performances in the latter part of the relegation doomed 1978-79 season that see Weymouth manager, Stuart Morgan, pay a £6,000 transfer free to take him South. 12 goals in 45 appearances in claret and blue would see Tottenham come calling and £35,000 later, he’d be embarking on a pro career that would see him move into defence and where he’d also represent Rangers and Chelsea amongst others, winning two FA Cups, a UEFA Cup, SPL title and many other honours along the way. We are sure that his most coveted achievement remains the DTFC player of the year award, pictured below.

Central midfield; Gary Borthwick.

Gary’s contribution to both clubs is difficult to overstate. 260 total appearances and 13 goals at Weymouth and over 300 games in all competitions for Dorch is incredible service to both sides. Along with Pete Morrell, he’d be an important part of the Weymouth side to reach the FA Cup third round under manager Stuart Morgan. Signing for Dorch in June of 1986, a league winners medal from his first campaign in the 86-87 season with the Magpies would follow, as would spells on the coaching staff with both sides as he would later assist both Steve Claridge and Phil Simkin in the new millennium, take caretaker charge at both and hold multiple other roles at each club and the fact this service has taken place over a period of about 30 years. He’s easily the person with the longest involvement with both sides having been a key player for both in his hundreds of appearances his is a very easy choice for a central midfield slot. It is rare for someone to have such lengthy spells at both clubs, very rare to be as well thought of at both sides. A tireless worker, him and Graham Roberts will be quite the combative pair in the middle of the park.

Gary Borthwick, front and centre with child and ball.

Centre forward; Trevor Senior.

59 goals in 78 league games for Dorch as well as umpteen goals in the cup competitions is the reason Portsmouth parted with £35,000 to take Trevor to Fratton Park in 1981. A league winner with The Magpies in 1979-80 and a scorer of two hattricks on the way to FA Cup round two heartbreak vs Bournemouth in 1980-81, he’d go on to have a successful career in the football league from which he remains Reading’s all-time leading scorer. It was his eye for goal that saw Weymouth bring him back to Dorset football in 1993. His return of 33 goals in 74 appearances showed he was a more than worthwhile investment. Trevor would also take the role as player-manager in January 1995 before an April departure, but his scoring record in his spell there is more than respectable and he also scored the winning goal for Weymouth in DSC derby game and did a forward roll in front of the Dorch bench… Cup runs and league wins with Dorchester, player-manager and nearly a goal every other game at Weymouth, a local man who scored goals for fun, Trevor was one of the easier picks for this most obscure hybrid team.

Centre forward; David Laws.

Probably the most controversial pick of the lot from a Dorchester perspective is the final name to round off the starting 11. David Laws is a Weymouth legend. 383 appearances and 219 goals cement his place in history as a cult hero and third highest scorer of all time for the club with only Lutor Pitman with 268 and ‘Farmer’ Haines with 264 being ahead of him. Yes, I did google this. He had a horrible habit of scoring against Dorchester, as many opposition players do, but after leaving Weymouth and having a spell at Portland, Mark Morris would tempt him to join The Magpies in March 2004 and help our efforts to make the playoffs to get into the newly created Conference South. It looked a tall order at one point and we were in the bottom four which would have effectively seen us relegated in the restructure when Laws joined. However, his arrival would coincide with a dramatic upturn in form. His debut came in a 0-0 draw away at fellow strugglers Bath that ended a run of seven straight away defeats. His home debut would see us beat Worcester 3-0 with Laws getting a standing ovation when he was substituted late on, and his first goal would soon follow as would a run of five straight wins that at one point had us in the automatic slots for a place in the newly formed league. His spell at the end of that season yielded five goals in seven games and that would ultimately make it to the Conference South as a Matty Holmes inspired Magpies beat Tiverton 3-1 in the playoff final. Although Lawsy would hang around for the early part of the inaugural season of the new league, he’d depart the club as his work commitments became too much in September of that same year, but those goals and his contribution were vital to our eventual success. He was always somewhat of a pantomime villain when playing for Weymouth against us, and his spell with us was incredibly short. But I’ll once more use editorial privilege to make this pick and say the importance of those games in a Dorch shirt in 2004 were key in getting us up. His Weymouth legend secured, Lawsy gets the nod for his Dorch contribution here as well.

Manager; Stuart Morgan.

About thirteen years in charge of both sides across three spells, two with Weymouth and one with Dorch, Stuart was a pretty easy pick for the managerial role. After a pro career that saw him represent teams including Bournemouth, Colchester and Reading, Stuart would transition into management in 1978 when he took charge of Weymouth for the first time, replacing the departing Graham Carr. As founder members of the Alliance Premier League, Stuart would guide Weymouth to a second place finish in 1979-80, partly due to the performances of a certain Graham Roberts who Stuart would sign from Dorch for £6,000 in August of 1979. His most memorable achievement would probably be reaching the third round of the FA Cup in the 1982-83 season when victories over Cheltenham, Maidstone and Cardiff would see them drawn away at Cambridge where they’d fall to a 1-0 defeat. Somewhat bizarrely, in that same season the Weymouth players would go on “strike” over expenses payments in January, which saw the away game at Maidstone United postponed as the majority of the team fail to arrive for the team coach.

Stuart Morgan with his new Weymouth signing Graham Roberts.

Stuart would leave in November of 1983 when he would head to Bournemouth to be part of a certain Harry Redknapp’s coaching staff, before he’d return to Weymouth in June of 1987. It would only be a short spell, his departure coming via mutual consent in January in 1989 following a disappointing campaign that would see them relegated from the Conference after finishing bottom. Another spell with ‘arry at Bournemouth would follow before his appointment as Dorchester manager in August of 1993. During this time, he’d assemble some of the better sides seen at the new ground, as quality players such as Tommy Killick, Andy Harris, Martin Shepherd, Ken Veysey Owen Pickard, Ryan Cross, Darren Garner, Roy O’Brien, Taffy Richardson and many more would feature prominently in a period with many fond memories. A 3-2 win away at Weymouth in the FA Cup in 1995 thanks to an Owen Pickard hattrick is still well remembered by fans (even if the 9-1 drubbing away at Oxford in the first round is not…), the 2-3 defeat against Woking in the FA Trophy is still one of the best games at the Avenue despite a heart-breaking late defeat, victory away at a soon to be football league side Rushden and Diamonds, and most notably we’d record what is still our highest ever of fourth in 1997-98. His departure would come after a 3-0 defeat to Taunton Town in the FA Cup qualifying rounds in September of 1999, but given his contribution to both sides and that almost half of the players in this side were signed by or played for him, Stuart will be the man in the dugout for this team.

Substitutes; 

Goalkeeper; Jeremy Judd.

Backup keeper is a difficult slot to fill in this side due to a lack of players that have had much more than a cup of coffee at one or the other. Simon Evans, Paul Gadsby and Dan Claxton are all good local options but didn’t have lengthy spells at either side, Tim Sandercombe and Chico Ramos aren’t making anyone’s list, and the frustrating lack of Dorch stats makes some of the more historic players from the wartime era impossible to judge. I shall once again use editorial privilege and select Jermey Judd as the number two option behind Jase. With 20 Weymouth appearances in two spells alongside his 100+ games for Dorch (also in two spells, 1983 on loan and a longer stay between 1989-92), he’s had time at both, and although his Weymouth tally is smaller, it is still more games than most and he was a popular figure as well as a good keeper for Dorch. That I get to use this excellent photo of him in action vs Chelsea in the grand opening game at the new Avenue Stadium in 1990.

Player/coach; Roy O’Brien.

Having coached at Weymouth and managed at Dorch in his second spell at the club, Roy is the ideal man to assist Stuart Morgan as well as providing excellent defensive back up. Another man signed by Stuart Morgan for his Magpies side in 1997, Roy would become a key part of the defence making 118 appearances before he would move to Yeovil in 2000. Five years later and he’d be back in Dorset as he’d join Weymouth firstly on loan before making the move permanent. He’d help them gain promotion to the Conference National as champions but when the financial cuts came midway through the next season, he’d find himself as player-coach alongside Jason TIndall. He’d depart the Terras at the end of the 2006-07 season and return to Dorchester and he’d become player manager following Shaun Brooks resignation in March on 2009. It wasn’t to last as he was relieved of his duties a mere eight months later, but he’s done more than enough to merit a mention here.

Midfield; Mark Robinson.

Another man in the hundred club for both, Robbo was influential in the midfield for both and his record proves this. 346 appearances and 73 goals across a couple of spells at the Terras combined with 123 games and nine goals at the Avenue puts him high up the list of appearance makers, and he was a half decent cricketer for Saggies to boot. His contribution to Weymouth was sizable, his first game coming in 1997, the same season they’d win the Southern League South, and he’d remain a constant presence at the club for seven years before being deemed surplus to requirements by then manager Steve Claridge. Mark Morris would sign the midfielder to a two-year deal and Robbo would be an important player in side that consolidated their place in the Conference South in the inaugural season. He’d feature in the memorable 4-1 derby victory as a Groover inspired Magpies would run riot, and would net a memorable screamer in a notable 3-2 win over Cambridge in the FA Trophy, but Paul Compton would show him the door in 2007 after three years at the club. He’d return to Weymouth to later in his career but his contribution in his time speaks for itself.

Forward; Don Roper.

Subject of the first non-gameday blog on here, Don Roper was a man who had a career that extended far beyond a DT postcode. Starting at Southampton before World War Two, he’d move to Arsenal in 1947 where he’d win two first division titles in 1947-48 and 1952-53 as well as being a losing FA Cup finalist in 1952. Don would move to Southampton in 1957 before heading to Weymouth in 1959. He’d spend a single season with the Terras in 1959-60 and would help them to a third place finish in the Southern Premier. 18 goals in 43 appearances was a good record but he’d follow former team mate, the Belgian Marcel Gaillard, over the ridgeway in 1960. Making 103 appearances and scoring 31 goals in his three seasons, Don would be a big part of a free scoring Magpies who would set the club record for goals scored in a season with 115 in 1960-61. Although he would sadly pass away in 2001 at the age of 78, his legacy lives on and his contributions to both sides are enough to see him make the cut here.

Don Roper, back left row, next to manager Marcel Gaillard.

Forward; Andy Anderson.

Not a name that will be familiar to all, but Andy Anderson’s record speaks for itself. We go back to the 1940’s, by far the longest back historically for Andy’s quite ridiculous scoring feats as his 71 games for Weymouth between 1947-49 would see him net an incredible 98 goals. In those two seasons he would help Weymouth finish second and gain promotion in the Western Division Two before a third place finish in the Western Division One the season after. In 1949 he would move to the Magpies and back into the Western second tier and would net 28 goals in the 34 game season as we would be promoted into the Weston First Divison. Andy would only play four games early in the following season, still netting twice in four games, before the trail runs cold and I’m unable to find out aymore information about where he played after, or if he would have had a better career had it not been for the war. Another player I’d not be aware of had it not been for Biddie’s excellent research, hopefully someone can shed some more light on Andy Anderson and his career.

Andy Anderson, pictured in the front row with the ball, in the 1947-48 season.

Physio; Stuart Douglas. 

This side may be prone to the odd injury and we need someone to be able to assist with the deep heat and the magic sponge. Stuart Douglas is that man. Despite not having lengthy spells at either club with one goal in 16 appearances at Weymouth and eight goalless games at Dorch, Stuart is now the first team physio at AFC Bournemouth. His time playing in Dorset may not have been memorable, but he scored a last-minute winner for Weymouth against Kidderminster and was in the squad the day Danny Ings made a scoring debut for Dorch in a 2-1 defeat against Ebbsfleet, so Stuart is on the bench and ready for the inevitable injures that will come our way as well as someone who can still don the boots should needs be.

So there you have it, a full squad of players to been pretty useful on both sides of the Ridgeway. In truth we could have used a number of different players and the criteria is somewhat subjective, but it has killed some time. Have we missed anyone or should we have made room for someone else? Let us know as for the time being, there won’t be any competitive football at the Avenue for us to complain about. Stay safe and ask Santa for a change in luck as we can’t be kept indoors after every bloody home win for the Magpies. SV

Biddie and Stuart Morgan discuss selection and tactics for this team in 2012.

Huge thanks to Nigel Biddlecombe for his excellent research (I think we agreed on six players in the starting 11!), as well as Idris Martin for his excellent photo galleries.

2 thoughts on ““Strange thing, my first season there we went on strike on New Years Eve.”

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