Northern Leagues United Pen Pics #13

French football connoisseur and award-winning podcaster, Lille fan Andrew Gibney’s devoted much of the last month to a punishing training regime of walking, sitting down and then walking slightly faster. For much more from Andrew – the number one Scottish, non-French speaking Ligue Un expert in Yorkshire – head on over to twitter, where you’ll find him pontificating on all things football.

Position(s): I’m best on the right of a diamond in midfield but in my time I’ve been a goalkeeper, centre back and central midfielder. Also tried my hand at right midfielder with no pace but lacked David Beckham’s ability to cross the ball.

Teams played for: Newton Rovers, Cumbernauld Heart (in Milanesque shirts) and Sambuca City

Career highlight so far: Smashing a 25-yard thunderbolt into the net during an under-15 tournament at Stockport. We were the only Scottish team invited – FREEDOM!

Player you’ve modelled your game on: I want to say Shunsuke Nakamura or Eden Hazard but it’s more like Micky Hazard.

When he was younger, Sheffield United fan Ian Rands’ goalscoring prowess was such that a starstruck Keith Edwards made him pose for a photo outside of Bramall Lane. Keith went on to score in an FA Cup semi-final, while Ian’s footballing career was ended prematurely when he stubbed his big toe. Now a renowned blogger, you can follow Ian on twitter here.

Positions: Somehow got put up front in my youth, but firmly ensconsed in the back four ever since. Prefer to play centre back, but have filled in across the back four when there’ve been even slower players needing to play in the middle. I’ve even played left back, although my left foot is purely designed for standing on.

Teams played for: 14th Sheffield Boys’ Brigade (centre forward / right back), Handsworth New Crown (centre back), Vetio Plume (centre back), assorted 5-a-side teams and A.C. Southside (all across the back four).

Career highlight: Winning the league and cup double in 1987-88 with Sheffield Battalion. I think the cup final finished 8-0 to us in fading light on Rowlinson Fields. I got one goal and still get a smile on my face whenever I drive past the old school fields.

Player or team you’ve modelled your career on: As a child I wanted to score goals like Keith Edwards, but I changed my mind after I scored two goals in the trial for Athelstan Middle School and still didn’t make the squad. After that I was a bit like Ian Marshall – no-one ever knew which end of the pitch to play me on. Had a brief spell as a kind of Chris Morgan (without the sharpened elbows) but spent the last 18-months like Gary Lineker (career-ending toe injury followed by media involvement). The Onagawa Cup is my comeback.

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