Team of the Decade

Twitter has spoken and over the last few days has chosen the most highly-rated players in each position on the pitch for the Woods over the last ten year period.

The only qualification to be included in the vote was at least 50 appearances and this ruled out a good proportion of those players who have turned out for Northwood over the last few years but it was a very competitive vote in most categories.

In goal, there were only two qualifiers, with James Reading, Supporters Player of the Year in 2013, up against Berkeley Laurencin and it was the latter, triple Player of the Year in 2015, that proved most popular with over 60% of the vote.

Full-back came next and there were three right-backs - Scott Raper, who picked up the 2011 Supporters Player of the Year before emigrating to Australia; Omar Vassell, who was converted to the full-back position in 2014/15 while with the Woods and Alex Nolan, son of Woods legend Dave, who made 70 appearances over a four season spell. They were up against the only left-back who qualified in Andy Lomas, another triple winner of Player of the Year trophies back in 2016. It was Lomas that came through with a solid 35% of the votes.

In central defence, former Player Manager Mark Burgess was up against a trio of top defenders and incredibly it ended up as a tie for the most popular with both Reece Yorke and Steve Brown enjoying 31% of twitter votes. James Budden was an unlucky third and all three are currently playing Step 3 football at Beaconsfield Town, Chesham United and Potters Bar Town respectively.

Central midfield was interesting with Mark's brother James putting up a good showing ahead of Craig White but the top place was battled out by George Nicholas and Louis Stead with the latter taking the vote with 35%.

The wide player vote earned a large number of votes - a massive 322 twitterati cast a vote and it was a close thing until the popularity of Kweku Lucan, the only player in the last few seasons to have reached 50 appearances, actually took 37% of the vote. Rob Hastings, currently top scorer for Rayners Lane, came a respectable second with 30%, finishing ahead of former Woods youth teamer Romaine Walker and Joakim Ehui who recently returned to the Woods to add to his 179 appearances.

Finally, there was a massive 416 votes case for the three strikers who qualified. The contenders were Michael Murray (30 goals in 84 appearances), Oliver Hawkins (39 goals in 111 appearances) and Niko Muir (65 goals in 137 appearances over two spells) and it was current Portsmouth striker Ollie Hawkins who earned over 50% of the votes.

Overall the voting gives us the following Team of the Decade:
1 Berkeley Laurencin (112 appearances)
2 Alex Nolan (70 appearances)
3 Andy Lomas (109 appearances - 1 goal)
4 George Nicholas (116 appearances - 15 goals)
5 Steve Brown (90 appearances - 7 goals)
6 Reece Yorke (72 appearances - 6 goals)
7 Rob Hastings (100 appearances - 17 goals)
8 Louis Stead (83 appearances - 22 goals)
9 Niko Muir (137 appearances - 65 goals)
10 Oliver Hawkins (111 appearances - 39 goals)
11 Kweku Lucan (53 games - 6 goals)
12 Scott Raper (99 appearances - 4 goals)
14 James Budden (68 appearances - 7 goals)
15 James Burgess (127 appearances - 4 goals_
16 Romaine Walker (105 appearances - 17 goals)
17 Michael Murray (84 appearances - 30 goals)

The overall side does show a significant number of players (10 in all including 8 of this starting line-up) who were part of the eleven that started when the Woods triumphed 2-0 against Enfield Town to win the 2016 Middlesex Senior Cup under Mark Burgess. The side did of course break up following that success with nine of the side moving to Step 3 clubs during the summer and it is since then that the club has been unable to find much success on the pitch.

Here's to the next decade in the hope that some of the current Woods squad are able to establish themselves enough to figure in our next Team of the Decade!