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The Phantom Horseman

Because we're all bored...Rovers top 100 players of the last 50 years

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So...because some of us literally have nothing better to do right now...thought I'd have a crack at naming, ranking and grading the top 100 Fev players of the last 50 years (so going back to 1970). If nothing else, it will give people something to distract them.

This is not an easy task, believe me. How do you rank players from different generations? Or even how do you compare players from the same era and position but with totally different styles, like Liam Finn and Dane Chisholm?

Anyway, I've restricted it to players who played at least 20 games for us during this period (which ruled out a few, notably Zak Hardaker by one game).

It took a grade of 8.0 to make the top 100. Which ruled out plenty of players I graded at 7.8 or 7.9...including some very fine players such as Cyril Kellett, Ken Kellett, Luke Cooper, Nigel Barker, Jordan Baldwinson, Matty Dale, Dale Fennell, Gary Siddall, Tim Slatter, Benny Kaye, Alan Rhodes, Tim Sharp and many more. Just shows how many very good players we have had in the blue and white over the last 50 years.

Everyone's going to look at this and go "how could you have player X higher than player Y" for sure, especially about their own favourite players. And I'm sure to have left some players out who many feel should have been in that top 100. It's just a personal view, and what do I know anyway, so not something to get too wound up about. But anyway, here goes.
 

Steve Nash Half back 9.7
Paul Newlove Centre 9.6
Deryck Fox Half back 9.3
Jimmy Thompson Prop/2nd row 9.2
Peter Smith 2nd row 9.2
Brendan Tuuta Loose forward 9.1
David Hobbs Prop/2nd row 9.1
Vince Farrar Prop/2nd row 9.1
Charlie Stone 2nd row 9
Keith Bridges Hooker 9
Chris Bibb Full back 8.9
Graham Steadman Half back/full back 8.9
John Gilbert Centre 8.9
Steve Evans Centre 8.9
Ian Smales 2nd row 8.6
John Newlove Centre/half back 8.6
Ashton Golding Full back 8.5
Brad Day 2nd row 8.5
Ikram Butt Wing 8.5
Luke Briscoe Wing 8.5
Owen Simpson Wing 8.5
Steve Collins Full back 8.5
Stu Dickens Prop 8.5
Cameron King Hooker 8.4
Dane Chisholm Half back 8.4
Jamie Rooney Half back 8.4
Karl Harrison Prop 8.4
Liam Finn Half back 8.4
Martin Pearson Half back 8.4
Mick Gibbins Prop/2nd row 8.4
Paul Lyman 2nd row 8.4
Steve Quinn Centre 8.4
Terry Manning Centre 8.4
Tom Holmes Half back 8.4
Tommy Saxton Wing 8.4
Will Sharp Wing 8.4
Alex Sutcliffe Centre 8.3
Andy Bostock Prop 8.3
Andy Kain  Half back 8.3
Danny Divet 2nd row 8.3
Gary H Price 2nd row 8.3
Gary Rose Prop  8.3
Harold Box Full back 8.3
Ian Hardman Full back 8.3
Iva Ropati Centre 8.3
James Lockwood 2nd row/prop 8.3
Martyn Ridyard Half back 8.3
Ray Handscombe Hooker 8.3
Richard Chapman Hooker 8.3
Steve Molloy Prop 8.3
Trevor Clark Hooker 8.3
Andy Ellis Hooker 8.2
Anthony Thackeray Half back 8.2
Carl Gibson Full back 8.2
Chris Burton Prop 8.2
Dane Manning 2nd row 8.2
James Harrison Prop/2nd row 8.2
John Davies 2nd row 8.2
Josh Walters 2nd row 8.2
Karl Pratt Half back/wing 8.2
Leo Casey Prop 8.2
Les Tonks Prop 8.2
Matt Calland Centre 8.2
Mel Mason Half back 8.2
Mick Morgan Prop 8.2
Roy Powell Prop 8.2
Steve Hankins Prop 8.2
Tony Tonks Prop 8.2
Alan Banks Half Back 8.1
Anthony England Prop 8.1
Danny Craven Full back/half back 8.1
Francis Maloney Half Back 8.1
Greg Worthington Centre 8.1
Josh Hardcastle Centre 8.1
Jy Hitchcox Wing/full back  8.1
Keith Bell Loose forward 8.1
Matty Wildie Hooker/half back 8.1
Misi Taulapapa Wing/centre 8.1
Phil Butler Half back 8.1
Richard Slater Loose forward 8.1
Terry Hudson Half back/loose forward 8.1
Andy Fisher 2nd row 8
Ben Blackmore Wing 8
Brett Daunt Half back 8
Darrell Griffin Prop 8
Dave Hartley Centre 8
Freddie Banquet Centre/wing 8
Gary S Price Prop/2nd row 8
Jack Bussey Prop 8
Jack Ormondroyd Prop 8
Jamie Cording 2nd row 8
Jamie Stokes Wing 8
Jesse Joe Parker Centre 8
John Marsden Full back/wing 8
Keal Carlile Hooker 8
Kyle Briggs Half back 8
Matt James Prop 8
Mick Smith Centre 8
Paul Coventry Centre/wing 8
Paul Sykes Half back/centre 8
Scott Turner Wing 8
Shaun Robinson  Wing 8
Steve Crossley Prop 8
Tim Spears 2nd row 8

 

 

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Congratulations.That really is some achievement to come up with a list like that.On the Dewsbury forum some of them are struggling to find their 3 best wingersLOL.

Out of interest how many hours did that take you.

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27 minutes ago, gittinsfan said:

Congratulations.That really is some achievement to come up with a list like that.On the Dewsbury forum some of them are struggling to find their 3 best wingersLOL.

Out of interest how many hours did that take you.

Not as long as you'd think...I went through the 73 and 74 Cup Final teams, the 77 Championship team, the 83 Cup Final team, the good team we had under Peter Fox in the late 80s/early 90s, and again when we had a bit of cash a few years later, and then the pick of the last ten years' teams which are fairly fresh in the memory, and that provided about 80% or 90% of the 100.

We weren't that strong, compared to our glory years, between about 1996 and about 2009-10 and there were only a handful of players who I really considered from that period, which helped too.

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First player to make his debut in the 70s was some unheard of young hooker called Keith Bridges who went on to become the world's best. 12 debuts so far this year, so that's 625 players used in 50 years!!!

Danny Craven not Cyril Kellett?

Matt James/Anthony England over Alan Rhodes?

Jy Hitchcox over Nigel Barker?

Don your tin hat and wait for the flak TPH!

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Ouch MLP! Yes probably recency bias at play on my part.

I was there when Cyril kicked his 8 from 8 at Wembley...so yes that's probably a very poor omission. He was in the twilight of his career when he joined us, though.

Likewise Rhodes...though I never saw him as being if the same standard as Thompson/Bridges/Farrar etc...nor Stone and Smith who followed him at 2nd row...but yes, compared to some of the guys who I put in, maybe you're right.

Jy is definitely more talented than Barker was...but Barker was far more reliable.

So...any more I got wrong? Mark Aston instead of Nashy,  Andy Currier instead of Newlove? ?

 

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That's a nice piece of work and everyone will have their own list and reasons for their choices but I can't see anyone doubting the no.1. With sustained pace he would have been a 10. The best player that I have seen in a Rovers shirt.

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2 hours ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

Ouch MLP! Yes probably recency bias at play on my part.

I was there when Cyril kicked his 8 from 8 at Wembley...so yes that's probably a very poor omission. He was in the twilight of his career when he joined us, though.

Likewise Rhodes...though I never saw him as being if the same standard as Thompson/Bridges/Farrar etc...nor Stone and Smith who followed him at 2nd row...but yes, compared to some of the guys who I put in, maybe you're right.

Jy is definitely more talented than Barker was...but Barker was far more reliable.

So...any more I got wrong? Mark Aston instead of Nashy,  Andy Currier instead of Newlove? ?

 

? ? ?

Narh mate. It's all part of the fun. They're your choices, there's no right and wrong, the whole thing is very subjective.

Credit to you for going through it all. It sets us thinking, which is great.

Once you get past the untouchables, it's down to opinions. I'd have Quinn, Lyman and Molloy higher, and Golding lower, but that's me.

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11 hours ago, marklaspalmas said:

? ? ?

Narh mate. It's all part of the fun. They're your choices, there's no right and wrong, the whole thing is very subjective.

Credit to you for going through it all. It sets us thinking, which is great.

Once you get past the untouchables, it's down to opinions. I'd have Quinn, Lyman and Molloy higher, and Golding lower, but that's me.

Cheers Mark.

On reflection Golding was a bit high, I thought he was fantastic last year, playing at SL standard, and that was fresh in the memory, but compared to Hardman's body of work over such a long period yes it's hard to say he should be above him.

Same with Lyman vs, say, Brad Day. Day was superb last year but debatable whether that surpassed everything Lyman did (though i was grading people on their best efforts rather than how long they did it for). If I did the list again I'd probably adjust both these two

Quinny...I'm sticking with his grading, it all depends on how much you upgrade him for his goalkicking of course. To be honest Steve wasn't anything out of the ordinary in his general play - there aren't many long-distance or great individual tries that stick in the mind - but for his time he was an outstanding goal kicker and of course that ultimately won us a Challenge Cup. I think 8.4 is about right. Feel guilty just typing that though especially as he's no longer with us, but the same is true sadly for so many of the greats from the 1970s.

One more thought, what a shame the internet wasn't around in 1970 so someone who had witnessed Rovers playing since 1921 could do a similar list for the first 50 years!

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There's favourite players, and there's greatest players, the two lists are different, and many Fev players get high on these lists on favouritism. Someone once asked me who was my favourite Fev player and I said "Don Fox was my favourite, and when you talk about favourite scrum halves Carl Dooler is second and Phil Butler a close third for personal reasons, but if you asked me to say the greatest I would say Steve Nash, with the two Fox's tied for second place, and one or two others might get in ahead of Phil? When talking of the greatest, I would ask an outsider to comment..

I think the above remarks give my age away?

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TPH,  Malcom Dixon played for Fev in 1970 at least, and I have a feeling Gary Jordan may have done too? They may have been past their best but If this list is about their overall careers I would rate Malcolm at 9.1 and Gary at 9.0. But I wouldn't rate Gary above Steve Evans, who should be much higher, probably 9.2? He was world class at the time he left Fev!

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Being equally bored as everyone else, I've been through THP's list and pulled out a team using the highest placed player in each position. Subs are 2 backs (I ignored half back) and 2 forwards. Not a bad 17, although I suspect there's one name on there who wouldn't have figured in many people's best 17 of the last 50 years!

1 Chris Bibb, 2 Ikram Butt, 3 John Gilbert, 4 Paul Newlove, 5 Luke Briscoe, 6  Graham Steadman, 7  Steve Nash, 8 Jimmy Thompson, 9 Keith Bridges, 10 Vince Farrar, 11 Peter Smith, 12 David Hobbs, 13 Brendan Tuuta, 14 John Newlove, 15 Steve Evans, 16 Charlie Stone, 17 Ian Smales

Edited by Les Tonks Sidestep

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23 minutes ago, Steve Slater said:

TPH,  Malcom Dixon played for Fev in 1970 at least, and I have a feeling Gary Jordan may have done too? They may have been past their best but If this list is about their overall careers I would rate Malcolm at 9.1 and Gary at 9.0. But I wouldn't rate Gary above Steve Evans, who should be much higher, probably 9.2? He was world class at the time he left Fev!

I think you're right about Mal Dixon but not Gary Jordan in terms of playing in the 1970s. To be honest I only started watching Fev around 1969, when I would have been too young to take much in anyway, and I just can't remember watching Dixon sadly (same goes for Arnie Morgan even though played for a couple of years in the 1970s). I nearly decided that the list should cover from 1971 to 2020 as that would be 50 years but 1970 seemed a better, rounder number.

Steve Evans, maybe you're right, I well remember the impact he and John Gilbert had on me as a young Fev fan because in my first five or six years watching us, although we had some very solid, capable backs, none of them really had the capability of regularly scoring from their own half like those two. For me Steve Evans' slight frame and lack of physical power kept him short of being the genuinely world class centre that Paul Newlove became, but boy was he exciting to watch.

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3 minutes ago, Les Tonks Sidestep said:

Being equally bored as everyone else, I've been through THP's list and pulled out a team using the highest placed player in each position. Subs are 2 backs (I ignored half back) and 2 forwards. Not a bad 17.

1 Chris Bibb, 2 Ikram Butt, 3 John Gilbert, 4 Paul Newlove, 5 Luke Briscoe, 6  Graham Steadman, 7  Steve Nash, 8 Jimmy Thompson, 9 Keith Bridges, 10 Vince Farrar, 11 Peter Smith, 12 David Hobbs, 13 Brendan Tuuta, 14 John Newlove, 15 Steve Evans, 16 Charlie Stone, 17 Ian Smales

Haha I did exactly the same as soon as I finished my list! I put Fox alongside Nashy at half back though - can you imagine that combo? - with Steadman on the bench.

What a team that would have been!

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2 hours ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

Cheers Mark.

On reflection Golding was a bit high, I thought he was fantastic last year, playing at SL standard, and that was fresh in the memory, but compared to Hardman's body of work over such a long period yes it's hard to say he should be above him.

Same with Lyman vs, say, Brad Day. Day was superb last year but debatable whether that surpassed everything Lyman did (though i was grading people on their best efforts rather than how long they did it for). If I did the list again I'd probably adjust both these two

Quinny...I'm sticking with his grading, it all depends on how much you upgrade him for his goalkicking of course. To be honest Steve wasn't anything out of the ordinary in his general play - there aren't many long-distance or great individual tries that stick in the mind - but for his time he was an outstanding goal kicker and of course that ultimately won us a Challenge Cup. I think 8.4 is about right. Feel guilty just typing that though especially as he's no longer with us, but the same is true sadly for so many of the greats from the 1970s.

One more thought, what a shame the internet wasn't around in 1970 so someone who had witnessed Rovers playing since 1921 could do a similar list for the first 50 years!

Fair play.

The main thing for me was when we judge 70s and 80s players, we are talking about top level players. Whilst accepting Quinnlacked a little dash and pace, he played county level rugby and regularly faced the best in the business. Since 1996 things have been different. So while Rooney, Finn, etc proved themselves at the top level, Dickens, Chapman, etc failed and Stokes, Davies etc never played at that level. Hard to judge.

 

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1 minute ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

Haha I did exactly the same as soon as I finished my list! I put Fox alongside Nashy at half back though - can you imagine that combo? - with Steadman on the bench.

What a team that would have been!

Yes, I thought about that but stopped short as I don't remember either playing many games at SO and I think the roles of the 2 half backs was far more different then to now, so depends which era we're picking a team for! 

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5 hours ago, marklaspalmas said:

Fair play.

The main thing for me was when we judge 70s and 80s players, we are talking about top level players. Whilst accepting Quinnlacked a little dash and pace, he played county level rugby and regularly faced the best in the business. Since 1996 things have been different. So while Rooney, Finn, etc proved themselves at the top level, Dickens, Chapman, etc failed and Stokes, Davies etc never played at that level. Hard to judge.

 

I would imagine that the majority of first team players from 1950 right through to 1995 would have been Super League standard, bearing in mind they never played more than one season out of the top flight, and before the split into two divisions they rarely finished outside the top  half of the table.

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5 hours ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

I think you're right about Mal Dixon but not Gary Jordan in terms of playing in the 1970s. To be honest I only started watching Fev around 1969, when I would have been too young to take much in anyway, and I just can't remember watching Dixon sadly (same goes for Arnie Morgan even though played for a couple of years in the 1970s). I nearly decided that the list should cover from 1971 to 2020 as that would be 50 years but 1970 seemed a better, rounder number.

Steve Evans, maybe you're right, I well remember the impact he and John Gilbert had on me as a young Fev fan because in my first five or six years watching us, although we had some very solid, capable backs, none of them really had the capability of regularly scoring from their own half like those two. For me Steve Evans' slight frame and lack of physical power kept him short of being the genuinely world class centre that Paul Newlove became, but boy was he exciting to watch.

I may be wrong on both counts TPH, I missed your criteria of having to have played at least 20 games during this period. I'm pretty sure Jordan didn't but Mal Dixon might have missed out too? I know he retired in the very early 70's before being tempted back by Gary Cooper to play for York. Mark or Chris will know? 

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2 hours ago, Steve Slater said:

I would imagine that the majority of first team players from 1950 right through to 1995 would have been Super League standard, bearing in mind they never played more than one season out of the top flight, and before the split into two divisions they rarely finished outside the top  half of the table.

Maybe but up until 1973 at least half our matches would have been against second division standard opposition.....

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1 hour ago, marklaspalmas said:

Maybe but up until 1973 at least half our matches would have been against second division standard opposition.....

So would everyone else's Mark, yet Rovers were very rarely outside the top 14/16 and would have been in the 1st division most seasons, and amongst the top 10 more often than not, which is equivalent to SL (ie the top 10 British clubs). Granted there are loads of overseas players these days but I'm talking about the players that would have been in the starting 13 week in, week out.

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6 minutes ago, Steve Slater said:

So would everyone else's Mark, yet Rovers were very rarely outside the top 14/16 and would have been in the 1st division most seasons, and amongst the top 10 more often than not, which is equivalent to SL (ie the top 10 British clubs). Granted there are loads of overseas players these days but I'm talking about the players that would have been in the starting 13 week in, week out.

Yeah, that wasn't the point I was making Steve.

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10 hours ago, marklaspalmas said:

Yeah, that wasn't the point I was making Steve.

Lost in translation Mark, how are you coping? Stay safe mate. 

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