With the online public poll to pick the EVO-STIK League's legends from the last five decades closing at 7pm on Friday 22 December, the latest 'pen pix' guides to the 200 players who made the final shortlist from an original cast of more than 2,000 are being published to help fans, players and officials cast their votes.
The NPL50 legends chosen will earn a place in the first book charting the Northern Premier League's proud history that is currently being written and is due out at the end of the season. After our guide to the contenders kicked off with the keepers and defenders last week, the competition's midfielders are next up in the spotlight with the strikers to follow ...
Known to have played for: Bamber Bridge, Lostock St Gerard’s
A local lad who learned his football at Preston North End before leaving Deepdale aged 16 and spent two seasons with West Lancashire League outfit Lostock St Gerard’s from 2008, Ali joined the Briggers in 2011 to became one of their most feared players on the wings and in central areas when required. A key member of the team who helped Bamber Bridge lift Integro League Cup in 2017, he was nominated for the EVO-STIK League Supporters Player of the Season in 2016. The talismanic 26-year-old put pen to paper on a new two year contract in the summer of 2017.
Known to have played for: Barrow, Bradford PA, Doncaster Rovers, Frickley Athletic, Garforth Town, Ossett Town, North Ferriby United, Rotherham, Stalyridge Celtic & Woking
Andy signed for Frickley Athletic in 1994, winning the club’s ‘golden boot’ at the first attempt to earn a move into the professional ranks in the Football League with Rotherham at the age of 24. After 120 games and four seasons there, he went on to play for a host of clubs in Non-League and the EVO-STIK League. Starting at Hednesford Town and followed by a brief loan spell with Doncaster Rover, the highlights include helping Bradford Park Avenue seal the NPL’s First Division Title in 2001, 32 goals in 53 outings for Ossett Town and returning to Frickley’s Westfield Lane in 2007 for a third spell as player assistant manager. Ended a senior playing career lasting more than two decades at the end of 2017 in the Northern Counties East League as Hemsworth Miners Welfare’s 46-year-old playing assistant manager. Last spotted playing for Royston Railway in Barnsley Sunday league football!
Known to have played for: Bury, Carlisle, Hartlepool United, Marske, Middlesbrough, Scarborough Athletic, Spennymoor Town, Whitby Town, York
Now 38, the ex-Boro flanker is now a teacher working just a stone's throw away from where he grew up in Middlesbrough and kicked off his career by scoring on his debut in a 2-2 draw against Bradford City in the First Division on 13 September 1997. In total, he made 23 appearances and scored three times between 1996 and 2002 as the Teesside club to win promotion to the Premier League before leaving to join Scarborough in 2002 for a season. Seven glorious years at the Turnbull Ground from 2003 were to follow as Anthony clocked up 228 appearances for the Seasiders before switching to Spennymoor Town from 2008 to 2010 and his final senior club, Marske United.
Known to have played for: Chester, Crewe Alexandra, Plymouth Argyle, Shrewbury Town, Woodley Sports
Currently with Plymouth Argyle after arriving in January 2017 on a free transfer, the 25-year-old was released by Manchester City as a youngster before kicking off his senior career with Woodley Sports in 2009 and attracting the attention of several Premier League clubs. After a spell on loan at Crewe Alexandra, he went on to join Chester in 2010 and win back to back promotions through the Northern Premier League to earn a move back into the pro game with Fleetwood Town from 2013 to 2016. Named in the League Two PFA Team of the Year in the first of his three seasons with the Cod Army before switching to Shrewsbury Town in 2016.
Known to have played for: Altrincham, Carlisle United, Chorley, FC United of Manchester, Northwich Victoria, Oldham Athletic, Rhyl
Now 33, Carlos played in the Football League for Oldham Athletic, making his senior debut on August 2003 in Division Two at home to Brighton & Hove Albion. After Iain Dowie moved on to Crystal Palace, Roca played little first-team football before released at the end of the season and moving on to Carlisle United. After signing for the Rebels in 2008, he helped FC United win the Northern Premier League’s First Division North title in his first season. During the next five years, Carlos went on to make 200 appearances for the club, winning the NPL’s Premier Division title before moving on to Chorley and later Rhyl in the Welsh Premier League in 2014.
Known to have played for: Harrogate Railway, Frickley Athletic, Wakefield & Emley, Garforth Town, Bradford Park Avenue
A plasterer by trade and now 34, Chris won promotion to the Northern Premier League with Harrogate Railway in 2006. A player with a wealth of experience and eye for goal, his other career highlights include reaching the fourth and final qualifying round of the FA Cup with Bradford Park Avenue in 2013 after scoring a last minute winner against Penrith and collecting the golden boot while at Wakefield & Emley.
Known to have played for: Altrincham, Curzon Ashton, Hyde, Mansfield Town, New Mills, Stockport, Woodley Sports, Curzon Ashton
A former Manchester City youth player, the former Millers skipper brought a wealth of experience back to New Mills when he returned to the club in 2015 from Curzon Ashton following spells a long career that took in a number of others clubs including Altrincham, Hyde, Stockport and Woodley Sports.
Known to have played for: Worksop Town, Spalding United, Glapwell, Grantham Town, Sheffield FC, Shirebrook Town, Rainworth Miners Welfare
A popular talent who can play anywhere in the final third, Ollerton-born Higginson started out as a youth player at Mansfield Town, making his first team debut in April 2009 as a 17-year-old against Northwich. Successful spells out on loan at clubs including Glapwell followed before the 26-year-old left the Stags by mutual consent in July 2011 to sign for Sheffield FC. Went on to play for Grantham in 2012, Rainworth during their two seasons in the Northern Premier League and Shirebrook Town before returning to Worksop Town in September for a third spell and scoring a brace on his debut.
Known to have played for: Buxton FC
Pulling off the signing of record appearance holder Bainbridge was undoubtedly former Buxton manager Martin Turner's finest act during his spell at the helm. ‘Bammer’ as he is affectionately known, stamped his authority on every game he played over nearly three decades despite his advancing years before finally hanging up his boots in May 2006 with 642 appearances to his name in two spells between 1982 and 2006. During the closing weeks of the 2001-2002 season he also performed admirably as a player-manager, steering the Bucks away from relegation with three wins and three draws in eight matches after stepping up following the resignation of former manager Mark Smith. A Buxton legend, the EVO-STIK League Premier Division club honoured him last season by renaming the boardroom at Silverlands after him.
Known to have played for: Leek Town, Hednesford, Nantwich, Hednesford, Witton Albion
Born in Stoke-on-Trent and now 38 after kicking off his career on the books of Stoke City, the central midfielder moved into Non-League with Stones Dominoes. First joined Nantwich from Leek Town in January 2009 after serving the Blues for six years from 2001 before joining Hednesford Town in May 2007. After switching to Witton Albion in October 2007 for the first of three spells, he was snapped up by then Blue Square North Stafford Rangers for the start of the 2008-09 campaign. Macca, who passed the 300 appearances mark for Leek and scored 60 goals in the process, returned to Witton Albion as player-assistant coach in the 2010 before re-joining the Dabbers and then the Pitmen. A dynamic and energetic midfielder, Dave also collected two England caps with the England Futsal squad in Lithuania in November 2005.
Known to have played for: Bradford Park Avenue, Ossett Albion, Ossett Town, North Ferriby United, Stocksbridge Park Steels
Formerly one of the youngest and one of only a handful of playing chairman in Non-League when he was elected Ossett Albion chairman in 2013 aged 27, Dominic made his mark on the Northern Premier League bossing the midfield areas for Ossett Albion, Ossett Town, Stocksbridge Park Steels, North Ferriby United and Bradford Park Avenue. A solid defender who joined Albion back in 2005 for the first of three spells, he played regularly for the club for the next six seasons, winning a host of awards along the way after scoring his first goal for the Unicorns in October 2006 against Willenhall Town in the FA Trophy.
Known to have played for: Altrincham, Chorley, Marine AFC, Northwich Victoria, Winsford United
A tough-tackling central-midfielder, the Liverpool-born 40-year-old was a junior at Everton who released him in May 1997 after including him in their Premier League squad during 1996-97 season. Following spells with Winsford United, Northwich Vics and Chorley, Eddie joined Altrincham from Marine in mid-June 2004 after five successful years at the Crosby-based club from 1998. After a minor knee operation in the summer, he bounced back to make his Robins debut in a friendly on 4 August 2004 and subsequently starting in all of the early 2004-05 league games and being named captain.
Known to have played for: Altrincham, Marine AFC, Tranmere Rovers
Now 55, Eddie was a flying winger who kicked off his career in the Football League with Tranmere Rovers from 1987 to 1989 before playing in both Marine’s championship years in the 1990s to become a firm favourite with the fans during eight seasons in Crosby. A regular scorer for the Mariners between 1990 and 1998, one of his FA Cup goals against Stafford Rangers in the second round once made Match of the Day’s ‘goal of the month’ shortlist.
Known to have played for: AFC Telford, Chester, Evesham United, Hednesford Town, Macclesfield Town, Tamworth, Rushall Olympic, Wrexham
Hednesford Town’s longest serving player before his move to Wrexham in 2014, Elliott was a near permanent fixture for the Pitmen, racking up 152 appearances in two spells between 2008 and 2014 as well as collecting the Player of the Season accolade at the 2014 EVO-STIK League Player of the Year awards.
Durrell, who went to play for Chester and Tamworth before signing for Macclesfield Town in July 2017, featured on Sky earlier this season as part of a six part series on former Stocksbridge Park Steels striker Jamie Vardy's V9 Academy. Even Vardy would be hard-pressed to score goals with the flair of some of Durell's best efforts - most notably one when he scored off direct from the kick-off in 2014 for Hednesford Town against Bradford Park Avenue by somehow dribbling all the way from the middle of the park before keeping his feet to score.
Known to have played for: Macclesfield Town
Before moving to Macclesfield, Frank played at Barnsley, Bury and Stockport. The Silkmen skipper led the club to glory at the first-ever FA Trophy final on May 2, 1970. Frank, who died in 2011 and whose ashes are scattered at the Moss Rose, led his team to victory in the newly-created competition for Non-League clubs despite facing a Telford side containing the likes of England World Cup squad member Ron Flowers, his former Wolves team-mate Jimmy Murray and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bobby Irvine. Despite enjoying a 50-year career as a player and a manager and collecting three England Youth caps along the way, he always described winning the FA Trophy as the highlight of his career. The backbone of the team and a member of the side which played Fulham in the FA Cup third round in 1968, he was player-manager of the first ever Northern Premier League Champions and repeated the feat in the competition’s second season during his 145 at the helm.
Known to have played for: Port Vale, Salford City, Trafford
In the 1990s, Vaughan made more than 300 appearances for Trafford as a formidable midfielder and also partnered FC United manager Karl Marginson in Salford City’s midfield for four years. A player with an eye for goal, he was once Trafford’s appearance and goal-scoring record holder with 89 goals in 307 appearances. Returned to manage Trafford for six seasons, taking the Manchester club up through the North West Counties League into Northern Premier League’s top flight before leaving Shawe View in 2015 to team up with Marginson again to work on FC United’s community and development projects. Subsequently returned to the touchline as Ramsbottom United boss and continues to run his successful GV Soccer Schools around the Trafford area. Also managed Maine Road.
Known to have played for: Workington, Gretna
Currently the academy coach at Carlisle United, Skelton's playing career including a seven year spell at Gretna as well as stints at Carlisle United, Workington in two spells, Kilmarnock, Hamilton Academical, Barrow and Queen of the South.
Now 36, he first joined Workington in 1997 before making the move across the border to Gretna in their last few seasons in the NPL and then on their run to the Scottish Cup Final and three successive promotions to the Scottish Premier League and entry into the UEFA Cup before the club fell on hard times. Returned to Cumbria in 2013 to take a player-manager role with Workington and led the Borough Park club to the Northern Premier League’s play-offs. After leaving the Reds in 2015 to be the assistant manager at Queen of the South he went on to manage the club before resigning for personal reasons and taking up his current post at Carlisle in May 2017. Skelton's sister, Helen, is the popular former Blue Peter television presenter!
Known to have played for: Workington, Morecambe, Lancaster
One of the club’s all-time record appearance holders with 312 to his name, Graham went to play in Finland for KPV Kokkola where he was equally well thought of.
Known to have played for: Altrincham, Northwich Vics, Trafford, Winsford united, Witton Albion
No collection of Alty Legends would be complete without the inclusion of Graham, a man said to eat, drink, breath and live Altrincham who will forever be associated with Moss Lane. Playing in a total of 14 seasons for the club at all levels and now 63, during his playing career he won just about every trophy available to him, including two Alliance titles in 1979-80 and 1980-81, an Alliance League Cup winner's medal in 1980-81, two North West Football League medals in 1974-75 and 1972-73, an FA Trophy winner’s medal in 1977-78 and a finalist's medal in 1981-82, an NPL runners-up medal in 1978-79, and a Cheshire Senior Cup winner's medal in 1985. After a spell at Northwich and a final playing season at Witton Albion the dead ball specialist quit playing at the age of 31 to move seamlessly into management at a number of his former clubs including Barrow and Altrincham. In 2002 he was made a Freeman of the Borough of Altrincham for his services to the town.
Harry "A" Dunn
Known to have played for: Bishop Auckland, Scarborough
After spells as a youth with Burnley and Derby County under Brian Clough, Harry joined Scarborough from Bishop Auckland in 1975 where he gained two FA Trophy winners medals and scored in the 1977 final at Wembley. A brilliant attacking midfielder, he scored 65 times in 265 appearances for Boro where his swashbuckling style of play made him a firm favourite with the fans. After moving on to Blyth Spartans in 1981 he finished his playing career at Bishop Auckland. A highly successful Non-League managerial career followed with spells in the Northern Premier League clubs Bishop Auckland, Blyth Spartans and Whitby Town. The highlights included guiding Spartans on their run to the third round of the FA Cup in 2008-09 and Whitby's Vase and League double in 1997 to earn promotion to the NPL.
Known to have played for: Boston United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Hallam, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday
Now 74, Howard remains the last English manager to win the top-flight in England with Leeds United. A former England caretaker manager on two occasions, he helped lead Boston United to back-to-back NPL titles as a winger in 1972–73 and 1973–74 before managing the Pilgrims as player-boss and lifting the NPL Challenge Cup and Challenge Shield in 1976. Enticed away from Boston to join Mossley as player-manager in December 1976, he helped the Lilywhites climb the NPL table to finish to a ninth-placed finish after 19 successive unbeaten games. His side also won the Manchester Senior Cup with Wilkinson making 30 appearances and scoring just one goal.
Known to have played for: Ashton United, Atherton Colleries, Chester, Nantwich Town, Witton Albion
Started with Ashton in the 2007-8 season before moving to Chester during their reformation. Became an instant favourite with the fans during three seasons at the Deva while racking up 111 appearances – the third highest for the club – and scoring 35 goals. The attacking midfielder played a pivotal role in three successive promotions before moving to Stockport County before moving to Atherton Colleries in their NECFL conquering days and became a integral part of their side.
Known to have played for: Barnsley, Caernarfon, Miami Fusion, Newtown AFC, Notingham Forest, Runcorn, Shrewsbury Town, Swindon Town, Syracuse Salty Dogs
Ian was a stand-out player for Runcorn to earn his move to Nottingham Forest after five seasons with Welsh sides Newtown and Caernarfon Town in the HFS Loans League. Left Runcorn for a £80,000 fee to join First Division Forest in 1990 before going on to enjoy a long career ar a number of football league clubs and abroad in the United States. Helped spearhead Forest to a third place finish in 1994 and a subsequent run to the quarter final of the UEFA Cup. Ended his career over in America in the developing MLS with the Syracuse Salty Dogs.
Known to have played for: Belper Town, Chasetown, Gresley, Rocester, Stafford Rangers
A very talented central midfielder with an instinct for finding the goal, Jack has picked up several ‘player of the season’ awards at the clubs he has played for. Best known for his time at Chasetown where the 25-year-old has racked up over 200 appearances before leaving to join Belper Town in 2016.
Known to have played for: Oldham Town, FC Unitedof Manchester, Chorley
An all-action midfielder who never gives the opposition a rest, Jake kicked off his career at Oldham Town before moving to FC United. In his first season at Gigg Lane he swept the board in the end-of-season awards. He later scored famous goals in the FA Cup for the Red Rebels against Rochdale and Brighton & Hove Albion - his stunning left-footed strike which helped FCUM beat Rochdale 3-2 in the first round led to him being voted E.ON Player of the Round. Affter 182 appearances and nine goals, the 29-year-old went to play a key role in Chorley’s EVO-STIK League Premier division title success of 2014.
Known to have played for: Stafford Rangers, Bangor City
The midfielder was a member of the treble winning Stafford Rangers side of 1971-72, possible the club’s greatest ever side when Rangers romped to the Northern Premier League title on route to the trophy final where they beat Barnet 3-0 on 15 April 1972. Signed for Rangers from local football, Jim went on to become the club’s record appearance holder while running his own painting and decorating business. Now retired and last heard of enjoying his retirement in Cyprus.
Known to have played for: Alfreton Town, Buxton, Belper Town, Frickley Athletic, Goole, Harrogate Town, Ilkeston, Scarborough Athletic, Parkgate, Peterborough United, Rushden & Diamonds, Worksop Town
A winger who kicked off his career as a trainee at Mansfield Town before turning professional in 2005, Jimmy went on to enjoy a brief spell at Sheffield Wednesday before joining Peterborough United in 2006. After being released by Rishden after just one appearance in 2007, the 33-year-old moved into Non-League to go on to play for a host of clubs. His highlights include scoring the goal on the final day of the 2012-13 season against Worksop Town to preserve Frickley Athletic’s league status. Finished his career with a second spell at Scarborough after joining the Seadogs in 2014.
Known to have played for: Bury, Colwyn Bay, Droylsden, Mossley, Runcorn, Macclesfield Town
Scottish-born Jimmy kicked off his career with Kirkstyles before moving south and signing professional forms for Bury in July 1970 as a right winger. After being recommended to Mossley and signing for the Lilywhites in 1972, he remained with the club for the next two seasons to make a total of 191 appearances and score 30 goals before being transferred to Macclesfield Town in May 1975. Following successful spells at Macclesfield and then Runcorn, O'Connor later played for Droylsden and cost Mossley a three figure when he rejoined the club in 1978. By now a central midfield, O'Connor became a key figure in the all-conquering Mossley side of the late 70's and early 80's and remained with the club well beyond the break-up of the Wembley team. In two spells with Mossley he made an incredible 613 appearances to hold the club’s record and scored 77 goals. He later spells as a player with Horwich RMI and Buxton and ended his career with Colwyn Bay after taking over as a pub landlord in the area. Later a director of League of Wales Club Rhyl.
Known to have played for: Hyde United, Southport , Stalybridge Celtic, Witton Albion
One of Britain’s best-known comedians and the brother of Chester City midfielder Eddie Bishop, John played in FA Trophy semi-finals for both Hyde and Southport. Now 51and still regarded by Witton Albion fans as a cult hero after playing for the club in the late 1980s, he was known and loved for his aggressive style of play an commitment in the pitch.
Known to have played for: Wigan, Altrincham, Runcorn, South Liverpool, Ellesmere Port Town
A winger who played in the Football League for Brentford, Southport and Grimsby Town, he later had a long career in Non-League football and also played in South Africa. Started his career with Wigan in the Lancashire League before turning professional. After turning out for Port Elizabeth City in South Africa, he joined the Latics in the first ever Northern Premier League season, helping Runcorn to the runners-up spot before going on to play for Altrincham, Ellesmere Port, South Liverpool and Runcorn.
Known to have played for: Workington, Barrow
Became a Workington legend during nearly a decade of service to the Cumbrian club in the 1970s. Showed he still had it in 2009 with a number of smooth moves when he turned out for the Reds in a charity match against Manchester United as a 59-year-old.
Known to have played for: Marine AFC
Defender who played over 600 games for Marine through the 1980s and 1990s. Captained the side to successive NPL championships in 93-94 and 94-95 under legendary former manager Roly Howard and continued to play for the club into the early 200ss. Played in the third round of the FA Cup and an FA Trophy semi-final for the Mariners as well as lifting numerous county cups. A UEFA B coach, the veteran later joined Southport as coach while still playing for the Crosby club.
Known to have played for: Ashton United, Barrow, Flixton, Hyde United, Macclesfield Town, Radcliffe Borough, Salford City, Stalybridge Celtic
Highly rated in Non-League as a player, the 47-year-old famously went on to become the first manager of FC United of Manchester before standing down in October 2017. Kicked off his career at Ashton United with 146 appearances before moving to Rotherham and then Macclesfield Town. The much-travelled midfielder had a brief foray at Hyde’s Ewen Fields towards the end of his career having played for Stalybridge Celtic, Barrow, Chorley, Radcliffe Borough and finally Flixton before taking the jump to management.
Known to have played for: Barrow, Billingham Town, Birmingham, Darlington, Gateshead, Scarborough, Stoke
Currently the head coach of Perth Glory FC in Australia’s A-League, the well-loved 56-year-old former midfielder was twice signed by Barry Fry for Barnet, including from Barrow for £40,000. Twice capped by the England C before moving to management, he kicked off his playing career at Hartlepool before moving on to Billingham Town, Gateshead, Barrow and Scarborough. Later played for Stoke and Birmingham City before returning to Darlington in 1995 and Gateshead until 1998 as player-manager.
Known to have played for: Chorley, Bamber Bridge, Fleetwood Town, Lancaster, Kendal, Stalybridge Celtic, Horwich RMI, Morecambe
Made his name as a utility player with Lancaster City as well as at Bamber Bridge, Horwich RMI and Morecambe. After helping Bamber Bridge rise from the North West Counties League through to the UniBond Premier Division he was signed by Chorley for a reported fee of £12,000 in 1995. He later played in the Conference with the Shrimps before returning to the UniBond scene with Lancaster City . Finished off his career at Padiham after failing to settle at Fleetwood Town. Said to have excelled in every position apart from in goal – and only because nobody ever asked him! Highly-rated as asset by all the teams he represented in the then Unibond League, he also played for the UniBond’s representative team and various FA representative sides.
Known to have played for: Bacup Borough, Barrow, Droylsden, Mossley
Kevin was a diminutive but tigerish central midfielder who was previously with Bacup Borough and Barrow before signed for Mossley in January 1979 from Droylsden for a £500 fee to help with the club’s title push. Made his Mossley debut as a substitute in a 6-0 win at Workington on 31st January 1979 and after earning a place in the starting line-up, became a regular in the side after forming a formidable central midfield pairing alongside Jimmy O’Connor as the Lilywhites romped to an NPL league and cup double. Scored the goal that ended Northwich Victoria’s stubborn resistance to Bob Murphy’s machine in the League Cup final at Maine Road and the following season led by example as Mossley retained the NPL title and went on a long run in the FA Trophy run that year.
Known to have played for: Alfreton, Belper Town, Cambridge City, Eastwood, King’s Lynn Town, Mansfield Town, Shaw Lane, Stockport County
Currently with Cambridge City, the 33-year-old kicked off his career at King’s Lynn before joining the Nailers in 2006 and switching to Eastwood Town in 2011. Made the jump to full-time football with Mansfield Town and Alfreton Town on loan between 2011 and 2014 before switching back to King's Lynn Town in 2015. Joined Shaw Lane on dual registration in February 2017 before the club went on to win the EVO-STIK League South title and win promotion. While at Belper he played 171 times and helped the Nailers lift the Northern Premier League’s Presidents' Cup.
Known to have played for: Bromsgrove Rovers, Fairfield Villa, Leamington, Stourbridge Leamington, Bromsgrove Rovers, Fairfield Villa
Originally signed for Stourbridge in the summer of 2003 having previously played for Bromsgrove Rovers and Fairfield Villa, Leon was a highly regarded and versatile player who was given a testimonial in 2013-14 after returning to the club for his third spell in 2009 after a brief stint with Leamington. Reached 600 appearances in Stourbridge colours against Colwyn Bay in February 2016 and has also notched over 100 goals for the Glassboys. A frequent and multiple award winner wherever he has played.
Known to have played for: Radcliffe Borough, Hyde United
A versatile midfielder who played for Altrincham before gaining Football League experience at Stockport County. Subsequently joined Hyde United before switching to Radcliffe Borough and becoming a popular figure with the fans during a decade at Stainton Park. His highlights before he retired with the club included winning the First Division title in 1997 and Radcliffe’s run to the last 16 of the FA Trophy in 1996.
Known to have played for: Curzon Ashton, Droylsden, Hednesford Town Mossley, New Mills, Northwich Victoria, Trafford FC, Woodley Sports
A former trainee at Bury and talented left-sided player, Luke joined Woodley Sports before making the switch to Northwich and Hednesford. Went on to help New Mills defy the odds by reaching the North Division’s play-off final, losing narrowly to Cammell Laird. The 29-year-old joined Trafford in 2015, soon becoming a key member of the squad at Shawe View.
Known to have played for: FC United of Manchester, Wrexham
Matthew started out at Oldham Athletic, his hometown club, before moving to Wales to play for Wrexham in the summer of 2009. Signed for FC United of Manchester in 2010 before spending seven years with Rebels and becoming a club icon in July 2017. Helped FC United win the EVO-STIK League’s Premier Division after defeat in four successive play-off appearances to finally earn promotion. In total, the 30-year played 243 times for the Manchester-based side before joining Stalybridge for the start of the 2017-18 season.
Known to have played for: Matlock Town
Along with his brothers Tom and Nick, Mick was one of three famous siblings turning out for Matlock Town in the 1970s. Lifted the FA Trophy in 1975 after Matlock's 4-0 win over Scarborough at Wembley. One of the all-time greats for the Gladiators.
Known to have played for: Wigan Athletic, Barrow, Chorley Burscough, Barrow, Chorley, Skelmersdale United, Wigan Athletic
Involved with Wigan's eventual election into the Football League, where he made only one of his 249 appearances for the Latics. Made his name with Skelmersdale in the FA Amatuer Cup when they met Enfield at Wembley before helping Wigan win the Northern Premier League in 1975. A formidable striker with 249 games to his name before moving on to Barrow, he kicked off his career as a youth with Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End.
Known to have played for: Barrow, Birmingham City, Kidderminster Harriers, Watford
A winger, as well as having two spells at Barrow, his home-town club, Neil also turned out for Watford, Birmingham City, Northampton Town and Kidderminster Harriers. After signing for Barrow from Watford in August 1988 and making his debut in the opening game of the season, he helped the Bluebirds win the NPL championship that season and the FA Trophy in 1990. By February 1994 he had made over 300 appearances for the club when Birmingham City bought him for a five-figure fee. After returning to Non-League with Kidderminster Harriers in the Conference in 1996, he went on to collect an England semi-professional cap against in 199. Left Aggborough in 1998 to return to the Bluebirds as skipper before retiring at the end of the 2001-02 season.
Known to have played for: Bradford PA, Doncaster, Farsley, Harrogate Town, Ossett Town, Trinity, Wakefield
A right-sided central midfielder, Robbie was with Leeds United as a youth before moving on to Doncaster and eventually retiring in May 2016 after three seasons at Farsley Celtic as skipper and a huge favourite with the fans at Throstle Nest. After his surprise retirement, the 34-year-old former England schoolboy listed his time at Bradford, Ossett Town and Celtic as the highlights of his long career.
Known to have played for: Blyth Spartans
Dubbed the greatest player to never play professionally for the club, Robbie played a crucial part in the title triumph of Blyth Spartans in 2016-17. A left-winger or striker, the 33-year-old was part of the Blyth side who reached the third round of the FA Cup for only the third time in the club’s history in 2009, beating Shrewsbury Town and Bournemouth before suffering a narrow defeat to Blackburn Rovers. In 2015, he led them into the third round for the fourth time, scoring in every round except for the last, the 2-1 televised victory over Hartlepool United that catapulted Spartans into the national spotlight. Twice a finalist for the EVO-STIK League ‘Supporters' Player of the Season’ accolade, he was a runner-up in 2017 and was named EVO-STIK League Premier Division Player of the Year in 2015.
Known to have played for: Blackburn Rovers, Cape Town City, Everton, Great Harwood Town, Haliafax Town, Stoke City
Ron was a Welsh international footballer who played for Blackburn Rovers, Everton and Stoke City and was capped 32 times by Wales before joining Great Harwood during the early days of the Northern Premier League between 1970 and 1972 via a spell in South Africa with Cape Town City. Despite playing at the back end of his career, he continued to impress as one of the game’s great characters. Represented Wales at 1958 World Cup in Sweden and collected an FA Cup runners-up medal in 1960. A heavy smoker, who often smoked in the tunnel before the game and immediately afterwards, he passed away in 1993.
Known to have played for: Ramsbottom United, Runcorn Town, Salford City
Combative and skilful midfielder who moved to Ramsbottom United from Runcorn Town during the 2013-2014 season. One of half-a-dozen Rammy players who followed joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley to Salford City, he played a key role in securing back-to-back promotions in 2015 and 2016 for the Ammies to National League North. Burton was also central figure when they went on their the 2015-16 FA Cup run and last season picked up the ‘players’ player of the season’ award before making his milestone 100th appearance at Moor lane in August.
Known to have played for: Accrington Stanley, FC United of Manchester, Radcliffe Borough
John Coleman called the former Stockport trainee his "Hitman" at Accrington before the attacking midfielder returned home to Radcliffe’s Stainton Park after originally moving in the opposite direction. Before his exit, he helped Stanley to win three trophies in the 2001-02 season and promotion from the then Unibond Premier Division the following year. Known as a leader on pitch and now 39, he went on to drive Radcliffe to victory in the 2003 play-off before switching to FC United. In six seasons until 2011 before a final fling with Boro, Simon made 243 appearances for the Rebels while netting a healthy 67 goals.
Known to have played for: Brigg Town, Gresley Rovers, Lincoln United
Helped then Northern Counties East League Brigg Town lift the FA Vase for the second time in seven years in 2003 when his spectacular 67th-minute free-kick secured a 2-1 win over AFC Sudbury to settle a tense final at West Ham’s Upton Park while Wembley was being rebuilt. Before his exploits with Brigg, Steve played on the wing for Lincoln United, helping the Whites to score more than 100 goals in the 1992-93 and 1998-99 seasons and many more in between at the club.
Known to have played for: Macclesfield, Port Vale, Rocester, Stafford Rangers
Now 66, Stuart moved into Northern Premier League football with Stafford Rangers after four years at Port Vale from 1966 to 1970. He went on to spend 14 years with Rangers, doing the NPL and FA Trophy double in 1971–72, lifting the FA Trophy again in 1979 and finishing as runners-up in 1976. A move to Macclesfield Town followed in 1984 where he captained the Silkmen to a second-place finish in the NPL in 1984– 85 before becoming Rocester’s player-coach.
Known to have played for: Northwich Victoria, Port Vale, Stafford Rangers, Winsford United
After a brief association with Winsford United, Terry joined Stafford Rangers in 1968. During his six years with the club they finished as Cheshire County League runners-up in 1968–69 and before going to dominate the Non-League scene of the early 1970s. His honours during this period included winners medals in the Midland Floodlight Cup, Staffordshire Senior Cup and FA Trophy, a Northern Premier League Shield runners-up medal, a Northern Premier League runners-up medal in 1970–71, and a Northern Premier League champions medal in 1971–72. He went into the Football League with Port Vale for a fee £3,000 in 1974 and spent four years with the Vale, playing 190 games and finishing as the club's joint-top scorer in 1974–75. He was sold on to Northwich Victoria for £2,000 in August 1978 and later returned to Stafford Rangers where he finished his career.
Known to have played for: Altrincham, Ashton United, Barnsley, Bradford Park Avenue, Chorley, Droylsden FC Halifax Town
The highly-rated Baker was well known for his box-to-box style of play, tough tackling and an eye for goal. Enjoyed stints at a number of clubs including Chorley, Ashton United, Bradford Park Avenue and FC Halifax where he was a member of the two of the Shaymen’s promotion-winning sides and also captained the Robins. Forced to retire in 2015 with a persistent knee injury at the age of 28 while at Hurst Cross, Tom went on to manage Trafford.
Known to have played for: Chesterfield, Matlock Town, Sheffield FC
One three footballing brothers at Chesterfield, the Gladiators legend was signed by Sheffield United from Non-League Sheffield FC in 1964. After 49 appearances and four goals, he moved on to Chesterfield in 1969 where he made a further 101 appearances and scored 15 more times. As a graduate of Manchester University In 1972, he retired from the full-time game and returned to his career as a pharmaceutical chemist, opting to play part-time for Matlock Town. During five years as a player he scored one of the club’s goals in their 4-0 1975 FA Trophy victory over Scarborough at Wembley before going to take the helm at Causeway Lane for four years.
Known to have played for: Stourbridge, Halesowen Town
Highly regarded by Stourbridge after helping the Glassboys reach the third round of last season's FA Cup, including scoring with a 50 yard strike. First joined Stourbridge from Halesowen Town in June 2015 but moved on to AFC Telford in December 2015 before returning to us in March 2016. A hard-working central midfield player, he also has a tremendous long throw in his armoury. Also played for Brocton before joining the Yeltz. Last season’s skipper re-signed for the Glassboys in the summer after leaving to join Solihull Moors who retain his registration.
Known to have played for: Goole Town, Tottenham Hotspur
Huddersfield born and raised, Galvin spent nine successful years at White Hart Lane from 1978 to 1987 as a flying winger after being spotted playing for Goole by legendary Spurs gaffer Bill Nicholson. Galvin, who went on to become a Republic of Ireland international, was playing for the Vikings while studying Russian at Hull University. A cult hero at Spurs, he lifted the FA Cup with the Premier League giants in 1981 and 1982 and UEFA Cup in 194. Tony collected 29 caps for the Republic and famously was able to understand the USSR's tactical calls during a game at Euro '88 because of his degree in Russian! Now 61, the midfielder went on to play for Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon Town before retiring in 1990.
Known to have played for: Bradford PA, Frickley, Wakefield Emley
Starting his career at Bradford City, before signing for local rivals Bradford Park Avenue in 1995 nd going on to make more than 400 appearances for the club while being named ‘player of the season’ on several occasions. He briefly played on loan at Halifax Town before returning to Avenue in September 1996 and was ‘player of the season’ in 1998-99. Left on a permanent basis in January 2004, signing for Frickley Athletic and then Emley before moving to Ossett Town in the Northern Premier League. Benn’s tpouchline career started as manager of South Kirkby Colliery in July 2010 having previously worked as the assistant manager at Guiseley and Bradford Park Avenue. He left South Kirkby Colliery at the end of the 2010-11 seasons to manager Hemsworth Miners Welfare in the Northern Counties East Football League before taking over at Goole in the Northern Premier League.
To vote in the NPL50 poll via the website, click here:www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/X7NRP55.
Via Facebook: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7S5XP69.
Via Twitter: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7RYG5TD.
* Entitled '50 Glorious Seasons - A History of the Northern Premier League 1968-2018', the new history book is being penned by official historian and statistician Dominic McKenzie and will be out within weeks of the 2017-18 anniversary campaign ending.
The players includedin its pages are set to be unveiled next April at the 2018 Player of the Year Awards in Barnsley and then honoured in June at the NPL's end of season awards night in Blackpool. To contribute to the research for the official history email: email@example.com.
Images courtesy of @evostikleague/Twitter
Follow us: @evostikleague on Twitter | Facebook www.facebook.com/evostikleague