Fittingly, Southampton born Neil Bartlett becomes the first ever ‘Latter Day Saint’, he won 35.34% of the 282 votes, beating Phil Parkinson (33.19%), Patrick Colleter (20.26%) and Chris Perry (11.21%).
Bartlett will always go down in the vaults of footballing history categorised in the ‘What might have been?’ section.
Seemingly with the world at his feet the midfielder soon crashed and burned, with barely a handful of first team appearances to show for his time as a pro.
Such was his foreseen potential and talent, he was referred to by journalists in the early 90’s as the ‘next Gazza’. I distinctly remember buying the football sticker book, which must have been for season 92/93 or 93/94 and in the opening few pages it had a section called ‘Rising Stars’, there was a place for Bartlett’s sticker right there.
It was 1992/93 that Ian Branfoot gave Bartlett his first chance, handing him a debut off the bench in a 0-1 home defeat to Manchester City. The then 18 year old Bartlett (at the time the youngest ever to play for Saints) was brought on for Tommy Widdrington in the 71st minute.
The following season looked good for Bartlett, gaining his full debut in Saints first win of the season, 5-1 over newly promoted Swindon Town. It was Bartlett’s cross that provided Matt Le Tissier with the opportunity to open the scoring in the 12th minute, and Bartlett played until the 68th when he was replaced by Nicky Banger.
Bartlett kept his place and played his first full 90 minutes in the visit of Manchester United, but Saints were beaten 1-3. Bartlett remained in and around the first team for the next three consecutive games before being dropped for new arrival Paul Allen in September. Bartlett eventually found himself either an unused substitute and then out of the squad altogether, making his final Saints appearance as a half time replacement for Iain Dowie in a home defeat to QPR in the December.
Bartlett lasted exactly another year at the club, but without making another first team appearance. He spent the majority of his career in non-league football playing for Fareham Town, BK Hacken, Bashley, Hereford United, Newport County, Newport IOW, Salisbury City, Hastings Town, Lymington Town, New Milton Town, Tring Town, Bath City, Shildon, Ballyclare Comrades and Institute. Most of this was while serving in the Princesss of Wales Royal Regiment, British Army, where he also played football up to Combined Services level.
Neil Bartlett – Played – 9, Won – 2, Drawn – 0, Lost – 7. Latter Day Saint.
Manager Andy Sampson has named his squad for the 2011 Natwest Island Games Football Tournament.
A useful mix of youth and experience covering every position should provide a decent platform for the team to use home advantage as an assault on the medal positions.
While the majority of the squad is Island based, with several players coming from the successful Wessex League Premier campaigns of Brading Town and Newport, it is also bolstered with Islanders plying their trade with mainland teams.
Sampson will be looking to the experience of former pro Aaron Cook, now playing for Southern League Gosport Borough to lead the side. Former Portsmouth and Southampton Academy members Ryan Woodford and Tom Dunford respectively are also named, as is Thatcham Town’s Matt Bowler.
The potent Brading forward line of Giancovich, Levrier and Jones will renew acquaintances for the representative side as will the impressive Newport midfield duo of Seabrook and Smeeton.
Squad in Full:-
Goalkeepers:- Gary Streeter (Newport IW), Jamie Bray (Blackfield & Langley)
Defenders:- Matt Bowler (Thatcham Town), Aiden Bryan (Cowes Sports), Aaron Cook (Gosport Borough), Ollie Fleming (Brading Town), Alex Przespolewski (Brading Town), Scott Sampson (Newport IW/Royal Navy), Ryan Woodford (Havant & Waterlooville).
Midfielders:- Tom Dunford (Winchester City), John McKie (Newport IW), Iain Seabrook (Newport IW), Tom Scovell (Newport IW), Charlie Smeeton (Newport IW), Myles Taylor (Cowes Sports), Jamie White (Brockenhurst).
Forwards:- Giancarlo Giancovich (Brading Town), Danny Hatcher (Shanklin), Scott Jones (Brading Town), Kyle Levrier (Brading Town), Tom McInnes (Newport IW).
The Island side kick off their Island Games campaign against Ynys Mon on Sunday 26th June at St. Georges Park, Seven thirty kick off. For a full list of fixtures click here.
For full squad list and pen pics, see the IOWFA page:- IOW Squad
After strong ends to their Wessex League campaigns, Brading finishing an impressive 4th and Newport 10th in the Wessex Premier Division, both sides arrived at Westwood Park in Cowes looking to end their season on a high.
Having only recently played out an entertaining draw in a league match, there were high hopes for a free flowing and entertaining final for the Island’s showpiece competition.
The opening exchanges looked like the watching crowd weren’t to be disappointed. Newport were the first to set their intentions, Iain Seabrook shooting over early on. Not to be outdone Brading went straight on the attack themselves, Scott Jones shooting low and forcing a corner.
The Romans started to take control of the game, pressing the Newport 18 yard box, but failing to make any clear cut chances. It was Jones again who looked the dangerman, weaving through the middle, only to be denied by a brave save at his feet from Cameron Farley, that left the Port keeper needing treatment.
Newport nearly broke the deadlock with a hopeful long ball from Graham Stay on the left flank, Darren Powell with a deft touch that evaded the Brading keeper but floated just over the bar.
Brading then created a couple of good chances, firstly Jones winning a header from the ball pumped forward, which found his strike partner Kyle Levrier whose shot went narrowly over. Then some great link up play down the left wing between Giancovich, Levrier and Jack Morris forced a corner, James Butt delivered a testing cross which was spilled by Farley in the Newport goal, but he was able to gather it on the ground before a Brading player could pounce.
It was Newport though that started to look more of a threat as the first half drew to a close, a free kick by Scott Sampson led to a goal mouth scramble in the Brading box, which was eventually cleared before a yellow shirt could apply a finish. Then it was great work through the middle from Charlie Smeeton who battled past two players before finding Tom McInnes who looked likely to open the scoring, but the linesman’s flag was up.
Newport did take the lead soon after, Iain Seebrook’s perfectly weighted through ball, latched on to by Mark Augustus who smashed the ball into Brading net in the 40th minute.
It was almost 2-0 to the Port just a couple of minutes later, a mix up at the back for Brading led to a good exchange between McInnes and Smeeton, the latter forcing a great save from the Romans keeper True.
The referee called an end to a fairly quiet but even first half with all to play for in the second.
HT:- Newport (IOW) 1 Brading Town 0
A foul on Charlie Smeeton early in the second half nearly saw Newport double their advantage. Iain Seabrook’s thunderous freekick from 25 yards was turned round the post by Gareth True at full stretch.
James Butt continued to be a dangerous outlet for Brading on the right flank, sending in several floated crosses crying out for somebody to attack, Scott Jones getting on the end of one, only to be penalised for handball.
It was a hammer blow for the Romans though on 51, when a loose ball out of the defence was picked up by Seabrook who found McInnes, the Port number 9 sent in a cross, which was deflected towards goal by a white shirt, Gareth True did well to dive to his left and palm the ball away, only for it to fall to Charlie Smeeton to tap it into the empty net and give Newport a two goal cushion.
Brading immediately forced a corner, but Newport cleared their lines before there was a triple substitution in the 55th minute. Newport replaced Gregorys Ryan coming on for older brother Ross, while Brading made two changes as they looked to chase the game. Keiron Ford and Jamie O’Rourke replacing Will Quigley and Jack Morris respectively.
Not looking to let up, a now confident Newport looked to impose themselves and kill the game, Charlie Smeeton turning provider, but Iain Seabrook’s shot went wide.
Brading hadn’t thrown in the towel though and perhaps should have been right back in it, Giancarlo Giancovich persevering down the middle of the park before sending a teasing ball across the face of the Newport goal, Jamie O’Rourke just out of reach from tapping it home.
Charlie Smeeton, a constant threat when Newport attacked, had another goalbound effort, well headed behind by Brading defender Ollie Fleming, but Newport effectively ended the tie just minutes later in the 67th. Mark Augustus floating in a cross which was met by 16 year old Ryan Gregory who calmly headed home.
Brading made their final substitution of the evening in the 68th, Jason Ince coming on for James Butt and should have scored a minute later. Levrier lining up what seemed to be a certain goal, but for a perfectly timed sliding tackle from Steve Russell.
Newport now in control, looked to take advantage of Brading having to commit men forward, Seabrook and Smeeton both testing Gareth True. The Romans thought they were back in it though after great hassling by Levrier to force a corner, Jones had the ball in the back of the net from the resulting set piece, only for the linesman to rule it out, because the ball had already gone out of play.
Levrier was give an talking to by the referee for a late challenge on Seabrook in what had been a consistently disciplined affair, the official choosing not to reach for his pocket for the first time in the match.
Brading finally got on the scoresheet in the 82nd, a long range finish that may have taken a deflection from Giancarlo Giancovich stung the gloves of Cameron Farley, but he couldn’t keep it out. In what looked like being a frantic finish by the team in read and white, they carved out another chance straight from the kick off getting in a cross that was well plucked out of the air by Farley to safeguard the Port’s two goal lead.
Newport replaced Iain Seabrook with Tom Scovell before a Jason Ince cross was met by O’Rourke who couldn’t apply a finish for Brading. As the clock wound down and we headed in to stoppage time, Paul Sleep made his final substitution John Chambers coming on for the opening goalscorer Augustus. It was deep into stoppage time when the referee had to take his first real disciplinary action of the night, Kyle Levrier sent off for a late tackle on Charlie Smeeton, before bringing an end to a good contest. Newport retaining the Gold Cup, taking the precious trophy back to St. Georges Park for the 39th time.
Charlie Smeeton was deservedly named the “Alan Reed” Man of the Match.
The Island’s top two sides faced off at St. George’s Park on Bank Holiday Monday in a dress rehearsal of this year’s Gold Cup Final. Charlie Smeeton gave the home side the lead early on, before Josh Appell equalised for the Romans on the half hour as the sides battled to a hard fought local derby stalemate.
All eyes will now be on Westwood Park for the 5th May and the final.
In an exact re-run of last years final, the Port will be looking for revenge on Brading who took the trophy last time out with a 2-1 victory.
Both teams will enter the match in good form, without a defeat between them in the last nine games. Newport on a resurgence under new manager Paul Sleep will be full of confidence having only recently won the Russel Cotes Cup in dramatic fashion over fellow Wessex League Premier Divison outfit Bermerton Heath Harlequins. While Brading’s impressive league results see them going into their last match against Champions Poole Town on Thursday knowing a win and results going their way elsewhere could see them runners up.
Sometimes, you start something and you know it isn’t quite finished! That is how I felt after the first “Kids are all Wight” article.
The feedback I had to it was astonishing, and now I have a much broader appreciation of Island pros, pre my generation. To that end, I thought it only fitting and fair that I write a follow up, celebrating the talents of those Islanders that made the grade long before my time, and in an era that would have made it even harder for a young man from the Isle of Wight to be snapped up by the professional clubs.
Ferry travel, was not as regular as it is now for the youngsters of the Island, making it tough for them to attend trials, the last ferries home often way too early, not to mention the expense, this coupled with a non-existent scouting setup meant talented lads had to shine for the bigger Island clubs and hope for the best.
The first to defy this and “make the grade” and perhaps the most well known of Island footballers was Roy Shiner.
Shiner, a carpentry apprentice from Seaview first caught the eye of Birmingham City while playing for East Cowes Vics during the Second World War, but was persuaded from attending a trial by his father(a brief top level player himself, so perhaps aware of the pitfalls) who urged him to continue with his trade. Shiner did however attend trials with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portsmouth, neither of which were successful, before signing for Ryde Sports.
Shiner was prolific up front for Ryde, notably smashing 50 goals in the 1947/48 Hampshire League Season, big things were not far away for Roy. In fact just two seasons later, after starring in a match for the Isle of Wight representative team against Gloucestershire, Shiner was signed part time by Southern League side Cheltenham Town. Roy couldn’t have had a better start, scoring the only goal in his Southern League debut in October 1949.
Roy spent just two seasons at Whaddon Road, before a pre-season friendly against Wolves in 1951 made his dream a reality. Huddersfield Town had a representative in the crowd and Roy was on his way to Division One!
Shiner didn’t made his top flight debut until Christmas Day of that year, and first team appearances were few and far between as he struggled to adapt at this new level. After just twenty one games and six goals in three years at Leeds Road he moved on, signing for Division two club Sheffield Wednesday.
This turned out to be the best decision of Roy’s career. Roy scored goals for fun in the blue and white stripes of Hillsbrough. In a four year spell from 1955 to 1959, he found the net 93 times in 153 league appearances, and established himself as a top level goalscorer. He was part of the Wednesday side that twice won the Division Two championship, all be it coupled with two relegations, and became a terrace favourite for the Owls.
A now 34 year old Roy moved on again in 1959, even further North to Hull City, but despite scoring eight goals, he was only to last one season. Injuries began to take their toll and Shiner accepted that his football league career was finished. Roy went back to Cheltenham and had a spell as player/manager, before completing the circle of his career and returning to the Island in 1962, taking the managerial reigns at Seaview and later those of Newport, East Cowes Vics and St Helens Blue Star.
A true shining light in the arena of Island footballers, Roy sadly passed away in 1988, but his legacy and impact on Island football will never be forgotten.
Another name that was mentioned to me several times was that of Wes Maughan. From Cowes, 19 year old Maughan signed for Southampton in 1958 and over a four year spell played six times for the Saints first team and scored one goal before moving on to Reading. He had a bigger impact at Elm Park, scoring three times in sixteen games before heading to Chelmsford City in 1963 and eventually returning to the Island.
Jim Watts from Cowes spent a season with Gillingham in 1956/57, playing in twelve games and scoring one goal in Division Three(South), where he went from there, though, I cannot find out.
Wayne Talkes was the next to hit the professional game. From Brading, although originally London, Talkes signed for Southampton in 1969, a long locked midfielder, Talkes stayed at the Dell until 1974 despite only playing nine first team games. He was loaned to Doncaster Rovers before becoming the first in the long line of Islanders to play for Bournemouth.
It was the eighties before another Islander could make the step up. 20 year old Cowes lad Gareth Williams found his way to the heady heights of Villa Park and the first division via East Cowes Vics and Gosport Borough in 1987. Williams racked up an impressive 225 football league appearances over a thirteen year professional career that ended at Hull City in the year 2000. As well as Aston Villa and Hull, he had spells at Barnsley, Bournemouth, Northampton Town and Scarborough before playing for a few Non-League sides, eventually becoming player/manager of Matlock Town.
So we come back full circle to where I started in the first article, the 90’s to the 00’s. I did do a couple of Island players from that era a disservice, by not mentioning them.
Aaron Cook from Cowes, was signed by Portsmouth in 1998 and had a loan spell at Crystal Palace after impressing Terry Venables, but it didn’t quite work out for him. Since then though, he has forged a distinguished Non-League career, notably with Havant & Waterlooville and Salisbury City.
Danny Hatcher had a spell with Leyton Orient between 2000/03 playing sixteen games for the London club before returning to play for his hometown team Newport.
So there we have it, another instalment, but perhaps not the last? There may be more from the past, that we know little about, and hopefully there will be more in the future, what is clear to me now, is that while we may not be the hotbed of footballing talent that bigger, more dense areas of the country are, for a place of our size and population we are certainly making ourselves heard!
Many thanks go to Brian Greening, Brian Marriott, Nick Reed and Mike Payne for their help and information on this.
It was plain sailing for Newport as they cruised to a 5-0 victory over Northwood St. Johns in the Gold Cup Semi Final at Westwood Park last night.
The Wessex league outfit showed their superiority from the off and it didn’t take long for them to break the deadlock, a deep looping cross from left back Graham Stay fooled everyone, including the Northwood keeper and dipped into the top corner.
Things went from bad to worse for the Island League side soon after, Charlie Shaw turning a Newport cross into his own net to give the team in yellow a two goal advantage.
Northwood kept working hard, but Iain Seabrook in seemingly acres of space in the centre of the park was running the show.
Paul Sleep’s men put the tie beyond any doubt soon after the break, Seabrook rewarded for his endeavours in midfield scoring the third goal, slotting a low finish into the bottom corner.
A scramble in the box from another left wing cross led to the fourth, the Northwood defence failing to deal with it, before the ball rebounded off of the post from the eventual clearance and into the back of the net.
The left flank was proving to be a fruitful avenue of attack for the Port as Darren Powell volleyed home the fifth.
Northwood came alive in an attacking sense in the last ten minutes, but couldn’t find a way through and Gary Streeter in the Newport goal never looked troubled.
It was a dominant performance from the Wessex league side, but credit to Northwood who never stopped working or let their heads drop.
Newport will now face fellow Wessex League side Brading Town in the Final.