Midweek fixture: 2010 play-off winners – where are they now?

Ryan Clarke

A goalkeeper who saved his team more times than any other player is ironically most well known for dropping the ball into his own net with the score at 2-0. Clarke went on to play more than 200 times for the club before moving to Northampton Town. His career stalled a bit and he failed to make a single appearance, later admitting to depression. After a brief spell at Wimbledon he moved to Eastleigh and Torquay and is currently at Bath City.

Damian Batt

A full-back with pace and a prodigious engine, Batt played on for three more years before briefly claiming a move to Vancouver Whitecaps. It came to nothing and he announced his retirement allowing him to focus on his business Alexander Du’Bel. He made a brief return at Eastleigh and then Dagenham and Redbridge before fully retiring in 2015. In 2017, the Telegraph raised a series of concerns about his dubious claims to be raising money for charity.

Mark Creighton

The Beast who kick started the season with a last minute winner over York was a wall of a central defender. Almost as soon as the following season started Creighton was loaned out to Wrexham, before moving to Kidderminster Harriers permanently. After two years he retired due to injury and set up his tattoo business Raw Ink Studios.

Jake Wright

Signed midway through the season to replace Luke Foster, Wright evolved into a formidable centre-back and leader. Wright steered the club through the League 2 years and into the Appleton era where he captained the team to promotion in 2016. He signed for Sheffield United, rejoining Chris Wilder during that summer and promptly won promotion with them to The Championship.

Anthony Tonkin

A sanguine full-back signed in the January before the play-off final. Tonkin drifted out of the team after promotion, but had a moment in the sun against Swindon Town. In 2012 he moved to Aldershot Town before moving onto Frome Town. A business graduate, he had a sideline as a property developer during his playing days. He became a Financial Advisor on retiring before becoming a Quantity Surveyor.

Dannie Bulman

Bulman was signed at the start of the promotion season after leaving Crawley Town. He had already played over 350 games for Wycombe, Stevenage and Crawley. Bulman was quickly moved on back to Crawley following promotion; Chris Wilder’s biggest mistake. After that he moves to Wimbledon where he was the Football League’s oldest player in 2018. Currently back at Crawley.

Adam Chapman

Signed from Sheffield United, Chapman took over from the injured Adam Murray as the creative force in midfield. Immediately before the final it was announced that Chapman was set to stand trial for killing someone in car accident. He was convicted and spent a year away in a young offenders institute. He returned and played spasmodically before moving on, at one playing a game against Wycombe with a burnt his nipple from baby milk. He now plays for Sheffield FC.

Simon Clist

An invaluable water-carrier in the middle of midfield. Clist became our unlikely first goalscorer on our return to the Football League. In 2012 Clist moved to Hereford on loan and then permanently. The trail runs cold at this point, although he reappeared as guest of honour at the club in 2018.

Jack Midson

A player with a deft touch and great poise; Midson was another player who undeservedly was moved out of the club by Chris Wilder following promotion. He eventually settled with Wimbledon, taking them back to the Football League and having the honour of scoring against the Dons’ nemesis MK Dons. Following a number of moves he became assistant manager at Concord Rangers. He’s also a director of M&M Sports Coaching with his team mate Sammy Moore. Recently appointed manager at Hemel Hempstead Town.

James Constable

A bona fide club legend. Constable scored over 100 goals and just one short of the club’s goalscoring record left for Eastleigh. After four years he moved to Poole Town one loan, recently announcing his semi-retirement and became a patron of Oxford United in the Community. Left Eastleigh permanently in May 2019.

Matt Green

A peculiar career which started at Cardiff, he had a brief loan spell at Oxford before controversially moving to Torquay. He came back in 2010 and became part of a formidable three pronged attack. Another player who was moved on a little too quickly, in 2013 he scored a bucketload at Mansfield earning him a move to The Championship and Birmingham City. Injury stalled his career and he moved back to Mansfield before moving to Lincoln and Salford.

Subs:

Billy Turley

A character and a dying breed, Turley lost his place to Ryan Clarke at the beginning of the season. He was released immediately after the final before spending some time at Brackley Town.

Kevin Sandwith

An early Chris Wilder Signing, he lost his place to Anthony Tonkin at Christmas. Released after the final he went to Mansfield before drifting around the non-league and disappearing.

Alfie Potter

Potter came on to score the iconic third goal at Wembley. He played on until 2015 enjoying moments in the sun such as a winner over Swindon and a leading part in a 4-1 win over Portsmouth. Joined Chris Wilder at Northampton in 2015 before moving to Mansfield and Billericay Town.

Rhys Day

Day came on with three minutes to go and won the header which set up the breakaway for the third goal. Another player who played briefly for Mansfield before popping up at Hyde. Currently an Operations Manager in Manchester.

Sam Deering

A diminutive forward who set up Alfie Potter for the third goal. Deering drifted in and out of the team until 2011 before moving to Barnet. Enjoyed an FA Cup giant killing with Whitehawk before ending up at Billericay.

Manager: Chris Wilder

Battled on with the club until everyone forgot what a remarkable job he had done. Left acrimoniously in 2014 for Northampton who were, at the time, bottom of League 2. He saved them by beating us on the last game of the season. He followed it up by winning the title while we came second. Shortly after, he moved to Sheffield United where he won promotion to the Championship and then, in 2019, The Premier League.

Yellows 4 Chester City 0

I once worked in a place where a woman who had been fired kept coming into the office. She’d attend meetings, give and opinions, appending her comments with ‘…of course, it doesn’t really matter because I’m leaving’. It was hard to know whether it was an act of cold defiance or she’d gone seriously loopy. Either way, she was dead-woman-working.

It is difficult to make any meaningful judgment following the dismantling of dead-club-walking Chester last night. Has a team looked helplessly towards the bench for guidance and escape more often than them?

What the hey, as my first game of the season, I thought I’d have a look at the new boys.

Ryan Clarke
Clarke did what he had to do; which wasn’t much. He made one decent save and dealt with a couple of defensive wobbles without fuss. Clarke looks like a worthy challenger to Turley, but the real test for him is too come.

Rhys Day
We know that Lanzarote Luke Foster does not summer well. Last year, when he returned in August all tanned up and humming terrace trance anthems, Darren Patterson had to turn to Matt Day, a man who went to a Kit Kat factory for his holidays. This time round its Rhys Day that’s ready to step in while Fozzie sorts his head out. Day looked like a decent ball player, a bit gangly and may be prone to getting himself tied up in knots. But he looked like a worthy first teamer not a make-weight.

Mark Creighton
The way Kidderminster fans eulogised about Crieghton, I had him down as a non-league Matt Elliot – y’know, all good touch for a big man. In truth, Crieghton is a more agricultural centre-back. No bad thing when he’s been paired with Day or Foster. Should be able to sit on all but the most robust strikers this season.

Alfie Potter
Ickle Alfie, as cute as a button. He’s a bit like the kid at school who’d spend all lunch break dribbling, never passing, never shooting. Loads of skill, good on the ball, but a little frustrating in terms of end product; especially when lined up with the goal machines Constable and Green. Eventually someone will get bored of his trickery and kick him to Barton. He’s just lucky that Creighton plays for us.

Danny Bulman
Brilliant. Whenever a linking up or something needed breaking down, Bulman was the man to do it. This allowed Adam Murray to play with more freedom, like he did when Jamie Hand was doing ugly stuff a year ago. Bulman’s work even allowed Clist the opportunity to push forward, which lead to the first goal.

Matt Green
Old Greedy looks like a footballer. He agile, fluid and good on the ball. He stands out a mile against most others at this level. Looking back over the last 10 years, it’s hard to think of the decent strikers we’ve had at the club; now we’ve got 2, 3 even. Do you miss that knotted feeling of frustration and helplessness from the good old days at the Kassam? No? Me neither.