Vauxhall Legends: The First Decade
A decade has passed since Paul Hewson signed his first contract with Vauxhall Motors. Ten years later, the then Blue Square Bet North club has finished fourth in the Barclays Premier League and has qualified for the UEFA Champions League. Hewson must be praised for this, but who were there heroes on the pitch who got Vauxhall Motors to the world's elite club competition? Who were the players who brought Vauxhall Motors to the most highly anticipated club competition in the world? These players will go down as Vauxhall's greatest servants.
Zak Jones (GK):
Zak Jones was a Vauxhall player during the period 2012-2018, starring in the first team for all but the last season. Notching up an incredible 247 appearances, only two more players have made more appearances for Vauxhall than Jones. Zak Jones was a star performer ever since Paul Hewson took over, helping Vauxhall reach promotions from the Blue Square Bet North all the way to the NPower League One. He was an incredible shot stopper and his best moment was without a doubt in that memorable Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final against Forest Green, where Vauxhall reached promotion to the NPower League Two (See Here
Niels Andersen (DR):
Niels Andersen was signed on a free transfer from FC Kobenhavn in the summer of 2019, at the raw age of eighteen. He immediately broke in to the starting eleven and now at the age of twenty-one, is one of Vauxhall's most consistent performers. Having played 148 games for Vauxhall, he is very much a part of the back-bone to our recent success. He is a wonderful tackler and his concentration is amazing. He has great stamina and he has very good acceleration. He has been a wonderful defensive wing back for us and he has helped our defence become the second best in England. He has also become a regular in the Danish national team, and he is showing his qualities on a global stage now.
Nat Kerr (DC):
Nat Kerr was signed on a free transfer from Droylsden in the summer of 2013. He made an instant impact at Vauxhall Motors in the Blue Square Bet Premier in his first season, helping the club avoid relegation. He was voted Fan's Player of the Year that season and he went from strength-to-strength, being an integral part of the team all the way up to the 2018-2019 season, Vauxhall's first in the NPower Championship. He was a very intelligent defender who made the right tackle at the right time. He was one of my favourite players to work with as he was such a model professional and he is now a coach here at Vauxhall.
Andrew Nicholas (DC):
Andrew Nicholas had joined Vauxhall at the same time as I did. He was a very good defender for the club, as you can see from his 203 appearances. He played for Vauxhall for seven years before retiring in 2019, aged 31. In 2015, he was appointed Vauxhall captain and he was a great leader for us. He wasn't the best of defenders, but he lead the line well.
Craig Duguid (DL):
Craig Duguid joined Vauxhall Motors in the summer of 2017 and went on to be our best left back for two seasons. He was a very consistent performer and a very hard worker. However, he never hit the 100 appearance mark. Over the years, I've never really had a solid left back, until I signed Dominic Karim last summer, but it is too early for him to have made a huge impact just yet. Duguid was a good performer for us and I am grateful for what he contributed to the club.
Callum Walker (MR):
Callum Walker, our star of last season, signed for us on a free transfer from Seattle in August 2017. At just eighteen years old, he was already a very promising youngster and he immediately broke in to our first team and became a key player for us. To this day, he remains as one of our best attacking assets and has notched up 237 appearances, scoring 36 goals. He has also impressed for England, playing eight games and scoring four times. He is one of the best, if not the best, dribblers in the Premier League and he is the master technician. His decision making is outstanding and his off-the-ball runs makes him a ghost at times. He is very fast too and really is an "explosive winger". He has helped us to get to where we have in recent years, and he has now played for Vauxhall for five seasons, a remarkable achievement. He is still only 22 years old and has a lot more time to grow and develop.
Michael Burns (MC):
Michael Burns arrived at Vauxhall in the same summer that I had, and went on to notch up 190 appearances, scoring 29 goals. He was very much our midfield maestro in the early years and the lower leagues. He was an integral part of the squad which got us all the way to the NPower League One. He was very much a Gerrard-esque style of player, and scored some absolute blinders for us over the years. He was a great servant of Vauxhall Motors and will never be forgotten.
Tunji Moses (MC):
Tunji Moses was signed in the summer of 2012 on a free transfer from Hyde and went on to become an integral part of our squad until 2017, when we were promoted from the NPower League Two. He was a great defensive midfielder who also had a great passing ability. Him and Burns proved to be a very solid partnership over the years and we achieved a lot during that time.
Mark Timlin (ML):
Mark Timlin was signed in the summer of 2015 on a free transfer from Ipswich Town. He then played a crucial part in our squad for the next five seasons, helping us to reach promotion from the NPower Championship to the Barclays Premier League. Mark Timlin was best known for his fantastic dribbling and his ability to create something from nothing. He was a fantastic winger for us.
Euan Smith (ST):
Euan Smith was signed in the summer of 2016 on a free transfer from Hibernian. He instantly broke in to the Vauxhall team and scored 21 goals in his debut season, helping Vauxhall to win NPower League One. He went from strength-to-strength, ultimately helping us to reach the Barclays Premier League, when he then became captain of our side. After two fantastic seasons, Euan Smith helped us qualify for the UEFA Champions League, the ultimate club competition. He has the second highest appearances for Vauxhall at 271, and has just two less goals than Vauxhall's all time top scorer at 142. He is still a fantastic player and will be looking to break the appearance and goals record this season.
Obi Anoruo (ST):
Obi Anoruo had joined Vauxhall Motors the same summer I had and he instantly became a fan hero. In his debut season, he scored 31 goals in all competitions to help us win the Blue Square Bet North. He was a key part of our squad until we reached the Championship in 2018, but still played a part in our squad. He left the club in the summer of 2022, after making 286 appearances and scoring 144 goals for Vauxhall Motors. Obi Anoruo is the greatest servant of Vauxhall's history, without a doubt. He is also a record holder, being the only player to have scored a goal in each of England's top six divisions. He is a true legend of the game.
Mark Bunn (GK):
Mark Bunn was signed on a free transfer from QPR in the summer of 2019 and played two seasons at the club. He was our hero as we gained promotion from the Championship to the Premier League, and then again when we won the Capital One Cup final against Arsenal. Despite being a very aged player, Mark Bunn put in some very impressive performances and helped us to become solid in defence. He was a very influential and he helped our very young squad become settled in the Premier League quickly. He was probably my favourite player to work with because he always seemed to improve, despite his age.
Tom Hannigan (DC):
Tom Hannigan had been at the club since 2007 and stayed at the club until 2017. He notched up 153 appearances under me and was a great servant for the club. He played well when he was needed and I am grateful for his work.
Craig Mahon (MR):
Craig Mahon had been at the club since 2010 and went on to play under me until 2017. He was a very pacey winger and played 176 games, scoring 45 goals. He was an excellent threat in attack and he brought a different dimension to our attack at the time. I loved working with him and he did very well for us.
Tony Garbutt (MC):
Tony Garbutt was signed in January 2020 for a bargain fee of £200k from Manchester United. He quickly settled in to our squad and was a key player in our promotion season the Premier League. From then on, he has constantly improved his game and is now rated one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, worth a whopping £11.5M. He is a great box-to-box midfielder, providing great defensive cover and also a great goal threat. He is due an England cap soon and in his 121 appearances for Vauxhall, he has never once disappointed me.
Tom Rutter (AMC/ST):
Tom Rutter was signed in the summer of 2012 and was a good player for us. He was very versatile, being able to play anywhere in midfield or up front. He played 115 games and scored 28 goals. He left in 2017 knowing that he accomplished a lot at Vauxhall Motors. He was a good servant to the club.
Stephen Chiocchi (DR):
Stephen Chiocchi was signed in the summer of 2012 and was a part of our squad until 2019. Despite never scoring a single goal, he played 156 games for us and was a great servant for us.
Sander Kaljuste (AMC):
Sander Kaljuste was signed on a free transfer from Flora in Estonia in the summer of 2019. Despite being just 18 years old then, Kaljuste made a big impact and has become a first team regular since. He has now notched up 99 appearances and scored 14 goals. He is a very neat, technical player who has a lethal shot. He is a very creative player and will hopefully become a world beater in the future.
So that has been Vauxhall's best ever team under Paul Hewson. Do you agree with this? Who would you have in your Vauxhall dream team?