Jimmy Mcmurdo – Manager
Jimmy enjoyed a successful career playing largely for Northbank Carlisle, and won the Cumberland Cup and Northern Counties Challenge Cup during his days. After being appointed Assistant Manager with Northbank Jimmy left the Sheepmount in November 2005, later re-uniting with former manager Kenny Brown at Annan Athletic.
Joined Thatcham Town at the start of last season and quickly went about assembling a Championship winning team. Although he remains modest and insists it’s the work of the players, it is debatable whether Thatcham would have enjoyed, and continue enjoy, the success that has befallen the club without the leadership of Jimmy, and last season’s assistant, Mark Neale. Well known locally and with a wealth of local football knowledge, Jimmy has a great rapport with the lads at the club and the ambition to further the club’s progress.
Darren Noctor – Defence
Darren is a veteran with years of experience, and has played as high as the top of the Northern League with Penrith Town and for many seasons in The FA Cup. Noted in December 2006 that both his best and worst moments were provided by the 1997/98 competition when he played, and lost, against Winsford United in the Fourth Qualifying Round, missing out on Football League outfit Chester City in the next round.
Joined the club last season, adding strength and experience to the back line and shoring up the defence. When Mark Neale vacated the Assistant Managers position to concentrate on the youth section in the summer Darren took on the role, but with a big aerial presence continues to play when needed.
Darren Addison – Midfield
Darren entered senior football with Thatcham Town and has been a regular fixture in the heart of Jimmy McMurdo’s side ever since. When Thatcham played Northbank in the Cumberland Cup in March 2007, Steve Skinner nominated Darren as the best team-member, highlighting “all of his hardwork in matches and training”. An instrumental part of our rise to the lofty heights of the Premier Division, Darren was also in the starting eleven that won in the final of the Combination Cup, against Murton on April 11th 2007, and was awarded Most Improved Player of the Year at the clubs presentation evening.
He, like the club, has come far but there are big aspirations for young Darren who is still capable of playing at the next level. A good passer, strong in the tackle and pops up with important goals.
John Lee Allen – Defence
Another successful Thatcham Town graduate, John Lee took part in around twenty-five games last season and played a big part in our promotion. Although an unfielded substitute in the final, John Lee missed only one game on the way to winning the Combination Cup and, with the foresight to set-up deadly attacks, he is a rock in defence.
Gavin Armstrong – Goalkeeper
Gavin is a quality ‘keeper who has been on the Border football map for somewhile. Has previously played with Carlisle City, he then signed up with flagship Scottish non-league outfit Annan Athletic. Having fallen out of favour with high profile manager Harry Cairney at the start of last season Gavin was demoted from the first team and spent his time playing with the Reserves in the South of Scotland League, before Jimmy McMurdo expressed an interest and he was mutually released, allowing him to sign freely for Thatcham Town and avoiding any red-tape.
Gavin made his debut on August 15th 2007, keeping a cleansheet in a four-nil victory over Northbank and demonstrating his keep-up abilities in the final minutes. Described by Jimmy McMurdo as, “Outstanding,” and, “a great acquisition,” should he still be at the club when/if we make the step-up to the Northern League he will no doubt be retained. A tall, strong stopper who is always alert.
Martin Blakey – Defence
Another youngster whose signing adds support to Thatcham’s image as an up-and-coming club, Martin has risen through the ranks of Carlisle United’s development academy only to be shown the door this summer. His departure, along with two others, prompted one Blues fan to write to the News & Star asking how much longer United were going to waste such talent.
After spending a couple matches on the bench, Martin impressed on his debut and looks to have become a regular fixture. Although most commonly played at left-back, he is comfortable anywhere on the left side of the Town and, apparently, “has a good foot”.
Tom Brocklebank – Defence
Not the Everest conquering climber, nor the Derby County player of the nineteen-twenties, but Tom’s C.V. is equally impressive. Born in Northallerton, Yorkshire, he started in senior football with Conference outfit Barrow and West Lancashire Leaguers Dalton United, before a University placement took him south. While in the midlands he played for Birmingham University and in the Midland Alliance (equivalent to Northern League Division One) with Shropshire club Ludlow Town. Signed for Northbank in 2005.
Experienced centre-half Tom joined the club in the summer from Carlisle rivals Northbank, for whom he was appointed captain last season. Made his debut on the opening day across at Gateshead Leam Rangers but, much like Rio Ferdinand, is competent further up the field and scored his first goals for the club with a brace in the six-two defeat of Alnwick Town.
Mark Butler – Midfield
Midfielder Mark was a long time at the Sheepmount with Northbank Carlisle, but, tempted by the prospect of playing under former team-mate Jimmy McMurdo, joined Thatcham at the start of last season. He became the first Thatcham player to grace the Wembley turf when he reached the Quarter-Finals of The FA Umbro 5’s in June, playing alongside since-signed Thatcham forward, Andy McClelland, and Dave Hewson of Workington Reds in the ‘Bouncebackability’ team.
Mark was influential in our championship last season with a scoring ratio of one goal every just-over-two games from midfield, and took part in every tie on the way to winning the Combination Cup. He is also a member of the league representative side and now forms the backbone of the Thatcham team playing alongside a number of former Northbank players but, surprisingly for someone who doubles up as a Primary School P.E. Teacher, commonly earns himself cards with backchat to the referee.
Carl Campbell – Midfield
Carl has been with Thatcham since we formed in 2005 and is a talented player. He has contributed goals and is also comfortable playing further down the pitch, but as Thatcham continue to move forward he has found starts harder to come by and is more commonly played from the bench. Nevertheless, Carl is a reliable player in whom you can be confident that, when called upon, will do well against Northern Alliance opposition.
Liam Dawson – Midfield
Liam is an excellent squad member who rarely misses a training session and is always available, ready and willing to play. Another young player getting their first taste of Northern Alliance football through Thatcham, he would not be at the club if it weren’t for Jimmy McMurdo’s appointment as manager but even so has demonstrated in his few appearances the ability to cope at this level.
Craig Foster – Defence
As a youngster Craig was on the books of Carlisle United and signed up with the Blues on trainee forms before departing Brunton Town to join former coach James Tose at Harraby Catholic Club. He signed for Thatcham Town midway through last season, immediately staking a claim for a starting position and come the end of the season was a regular first team member. When Thatcham beat Murton to win the Combination Cup Craig turned in a stunning performance under a lot of pressure from the Durham side, and rightly won the Man of the Match award.
Craig is a versatile player who can perform anywhere in defence or midfield. He carries the ball well with good distribution and is strong in the air. With his keen eye for goal, Craig was heralded a very important singing for the club is also a talented cricketer who missed the early part of this season pursuing the sport of gentlemen.
Chris Grainger – Midfield
Chris and brother Ian are a footballing duo who have been making waves in the pool of local clubs for a few years now. Both were at Northbank for many years before leaving to join Annan Athletic in November 2005. Under the leadership of ex-Northbank manager Kenny Brown they reunited with another former team-mate, Jimmy McMurdo, who moved swiftly to bring the out-of-contract Grainger to Thatcham Town.
In his last season with Northbank ‘Claggy’ finished as second top scorer, despite leaving the club after only eleven games to join Annan Athletic, and continued to knock them in after his move back to Carlisle, scoring on average once in every two games for Gilly. The highlight of the season was an impressive Man of the Match earning hat-trick in the County Cup tie with Northbank while he started, and was awarded a medal for his efforts, in the Combination Cup win. Chris has a good eye for goal and has done for years, and excels when playing just behind the front two and linking up the strikers. Has missed the early part of the season to follow hometown team Carlisle United, but continues to support the team from the sidelines and played his first game of the campaign in the 1-1 draw up at Heaton Stannington.
Marc Green – Defence
Marc has a lot of experience having twice been on the books of Workington Reds. He joined the ailing Borough Town outfit as a youngster and played a major part in their transformation into an exciting, progressive club, and it was during his first spell with the Reds that he won the Cumberland Cup in 2000. In a strange twist of fate, defender Marc faced a young, forward playing Steve Skinner that day and it is clear who came out on top, with Marc even scoring in the two-nil win. Three years later and he was again in the final, again facing Carlisle United and again picking up a winners medal, only this time wearing the red jersey of Northbank. Transferred back to Reds when they entered the Unibond Premier and witnessed the clubs rise to an established Conference North side from the luxury of a regular starting place, Marc was even awarded Player of the Year one season, but left the friendly confines of Borough Town to join Thatcham in the 2006 close-season.
Marc is an excellent defender who showed when at Workington that he is a Conference standard player, his signing is a great benchmark of how far we’ve come, and how far we have left to go. Marc has been missed in the early part of this season as he takes a break to concentrate on a new baby and a new house, but Thatcham Town are very pleased and proud to have him, or any player of his calibre, onboard. Still only in his late twenties, there is plenty more to come from Marc who can also play as sweeper and in midfield, and who possesses all the right attributes; an excellent first touch, good positional play and the ability to read the game and apprehend the next move.
Ally Lang – Defence
Ally has been one of the longest serving Northbank players, playing for the club since he was sixteen and has bore witness to the greater part of their Northern Alliance history, their Cumberland Cup wins and their successes in the Northern Counties Cup. In 1997 Ally made national headlines when he scored against Spittal Rovers with a header from inside his own half. With so many of his former team-mates flocking to Thatcham Town to play under Jimmy McMurdo, it was only natural that he should follow suit and he signed, like the majority of the present squad, in the summer of 2006.
Ally takes the plaudits for his no nonsense style of play and is a hardworker who misses training as rarely as he misses games. Rather than moan at his team-mates, he gets his head down and carries on with the game, and was awarded Players Player of the Year at the end of the 2006/07 season. ‘Clubber’ is an experienced defender, very strong in the air and good on the deck.
Andy McClelland – Forward
Stuart Moffat – Midfield
Lee Otway – Forward
Lee is a prolific and dangerous goalscorer who has played with the club since our formation two years ago. He has won Northern Football Alliance Top Scorer in the past two seasons and without his goals it is questionable whether we would be in our current position, yet Lee shows no signs of cooling down since stepping up against Premier Division defences, a level at which he has previously played with Carlisle City. Enjoyed a brief spell with professional Scottish outfit, Ayr United, during the early part of last season but ultimately remained in Carlisle, he then again departed, this time heading to Carlisle City, but a few months later re-signed for Jimmy McMurdo.
Lee scored more than fifty goals in his maiden season with Thatcham Town, and surpassed that achievement last season as Thatcham won the double. Come the end of the season he had picked up Club Goalscorer, League Goalscorer, First Division and Combination Cup medals and his form has continued into the 2007/08 campaign, as he and Dan Rayson form a deadly partnership upfront. Lightning quick and with an excellent eye for goal, Lee is always odds on to score.
Danny Palmer – Defence
Danny played for many years for fellow Northern Alliance outfit, Northbank Carlisle, and while with the Sheepmount club won the Cumberland Cup in 2003, and three times reached the final of the Northern Counties Challenge Cup – taking home winners medals in and , and losing out in.
Transferred to Thatcham Town two years after the last of those Final Tie appearances, Danny became an integral part of the team, playing in a majority of games on the way to the League Championship and receiving a winners medal for his contributions, from a place in the starting eleven, in the Combination Cup. With great and, Danny has made left-back his own but, with Stuart Moffat deputising up front, demonstrated his ability to play on the wing in the draw at Heaton Stannington, in which he scored Thatcham’s sole goal.
Dan Rayson – Forward
David Renyard – Midfield
Robbie – Short Midfield
Steven Skinner- Midfield
As a teenager Steve had trials with Northampton Town, but selected Carlisle United over the Cobblers. Made his debut for the Brunton Town outfit at seventeen and spent two years with the Blues, during which time he picked up a runners-up medal in the 2000 Cumberland Cup final. In a strange twist of fate he was in direct competition with Workington’s Marc Green during the final – a player he’d later play alongside for Thatcham Town – but just a few months later Steve transferred to Queen of the South.
While with Queens he formed a formidable partnership with Peter Weatherston – who later went on to play with Greenock Morton – but despite impressing the Palmerston faithful he failed to make a mark on manager John Connolly and when his contract ended was shipped off to Gretna, making 27 appearances for the Black and Whites. After a loan spell back at Brunton Town he signed briefly for Albion Rovers but never played, favouring instead Cowdenbeath with whom he stayed ’til 2004, before moving on to Lancaster City. Thirty-two appearances for the Conference North side endeared him to the Dolly Blue’s support, and as well as becoming a fans favourite he picked up the Player of the Year award.
Having switched from being a forward in his early days to a strong centre-midfielder, Steven is an ex-professional who brings hard work and commitment to the team. ‘Skinner’ is a real danger from set pieces, but is as prolific a scorer as you’re likely to see and, while also signed on at Lancaster City, continues to play most often for Thatcham Town – with whose formation he played a major role.
Craig Thomson – Midfield
Jack Twentyman – Goalkeeper