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Stridey is the leader of my greatest team

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: December 24, 2012

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AS we move towards the end of another year, it’s seems fitting to look back on a turbulent 12 months for the club — and to unveil my all-time favourite Burton Albion XI.

The year has certainly seen many changes with players coming and going during the summer months.

We also have a new manager at the helm in Gary Rowett and a new backroom staff — and so far we’re doing really well for a side who at the beginning of the season was written off by the so-called experts and labelled favourites for relegation.

Tons of credit must go to our chairman Ben Robinson, who continues to steer the club in the right direction.

It seems every other week we hear of clubs falling into finacial difficulty — but little old Burton Albion seems to be doing really well both on and off the pitch.

I’m currently in my sixth season and it’s a comfort to me and my family to be part of a secure and stable club.

My time at Burton has without doubt been the happiest stage of my career and what has been achieved fills me with pride.

I’ve played more 220 games and gone on to be club captain and I’ve helped the club earn promotion to the Football League and played a part in us staying there.

Being captain is a job I love doing and I feel privileged to follow in the footsteps of  Darren Stride.

I’ve played with many good players in my time at the club, but here’s my greatest XI — current squad excluded apart from a couple of exceptions. Let’s see if you agree!

1 Kevin Poole: an absolute shoe-in for the goalkeeper’s spot. Pooley was so consistent in our Conference-winning team.

2 John Brayford: A tremendous attacking full-back who is proving himself in the championship with Derby County

3 Aaron Webster: What  can I say about a guy who has been with the club for more than 11 seasons and has more than 500 appearance sto his credit. A true fans’ favourite.

4 and 5 Tony James and Jake Buxton: This was a defensive partnership that really clicked and helped us to win promotion. These two together were awesome.

6 Michael Simpson: As manager I’m not going to play myself and in midfield I’m going for my close friend and right-hand man. I truly believe he brought the best out in me.

7 The one and only Darren Stride: I hated playing against him and loved playing with him. A monster of a man who gave his all out on the pitch. He put the fear of god in most opposition players and will alway be my captain. A true leader.

8 Andy Corbett: People might not remember this guy playing wide right, but Corbs was and still is a fantastic player. A true Mr Versatile who can play almost anywhere.

9 Shaun Harrad: He scored many goals, but for me it was his workrate that set him apart from his competition. A great lad on and off the pitch.

10 Daryl Clare: A proper penalty box predator who would always guarantee you goals

11 Keith Gilroy: How could I leave out my good friend and fellow Irishman! A flying winger who could score goals with both feet and was a constant threat.

Finally, have a great Christmas — and I look forward to seeing you all on Boxing Day when we take on Rochdale.

Merry Christmas!

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