One of the easier editions of They wore both shirts thanks to the two clubs’ close proximity, we’ve decided to spice things up by naming an entire starting eleven to have represented both sides.
With heavy inspiration from Dorchester fan blog The Same Old Few, who produced a far more indepth look into a combined Weymouth-Dorchester team, here is our starting eleven full of ex-Magpies and Dolphins. (Selected from players active 2000 onwards. Selections based on player’s quality, and my own opinion.)
Goalkeeper: Nick Hutchings
A shoo-in to the side thanks to his exploits at Poole, where he won the Non-League Paper’s Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2013. A part of the Poole side that rose all the way up from the Wessex Premier to their highest point of 5th in the National South, Hutchings will always be remembed fondly, part in thanks to his tremendous record of 136 cleansheets in 337 games for the Dolphins.
His spell at the Avenue was largely unremarkable in comparison, making only 24 appearances due to heavy rotation between the sticks. Still plays in Dorchester – for Dorset Prem side Dorchester Sports.
Right-Back: Carl Poore
One of the few players on the list to arguably be appreciated equally by both sets of supporters, Poore was the captain and backbone for Poole’s Wessex League winning sides – only after a significant stint at the county town in the early 2000s.
Poore deserved to feature in the Southern League for the Dolphins, but a knee injury sustained in the FA Vase semi-final defeat at Whitley Bay forced him into an early retirement.
At Dorchester, Poore followed in the footsteps of father Peter, who was a cult hero for the Magpies. Poore junior helped Dorch into the Conference South by winning the playoffs in 2003/04, and then helped them stay there the following season.
Poore went on to management shortly after, taking over at Verwood and Hamworthy United.
Centre-Back: Michael Walker
Someone once said to me that if you combined all three of the Walker brothers together, you’d have a Football League quality defender.
In reality you’d just end up with an 18 foot behemoth, permanently on a booking for excessive vocabulary.
Sometimes that quote is applied solely in regards to the two more prominent brothers, Michael and Nathan.
In a somewhat poetic fashion, each brother became more closely associated with one club either side of the A35 divide, despite the pair starting their careers together at Weymouth.
Their paths would cross again at the Terras roughly a decade in to their careers, as well as mucking about in the Wessex for Wimborne.
(My frazzled brain has the faintest idea of Nathan also turning out for Poole at some point, but with his public dislike of Tommy Killick and numerous rejections of Poole transfer bids, I’m either thinking of Steve Walker, or have just made it up. Please let me know down below.)
Michael had multiple spells between the two sides, but eventually received a testimonial from Poole, where they played an AFC Bournemouth XI – literally the one club in Dorset Michael didn’t play for.
One of the most documented characters in Dorset non-league, to list off Michael’s rap sheet – and list of clubs – would take a while.
Funnily enough, after being kicked out of Dorchester for being, well, Michael Walker, his then manager Mark Morris labelled him as having the potential of playing in the Football League.
Maybe I misremembered the first quote as well.
Centre-Back: Mark Jermyn
You will quickly notice a trend here; whilst all of these players have featured in both teams’ colours, the majority have played most of their football at one club, and then had a quiet spell at the other.
Of course, Jermyn ticks that box as well. Drafted in to add experience to Poole’s promotion push, Jermyn played for just six months and 35 times for Poole before he was approached to become player-manager at the Avenue in January 2015.
Some may remember the German flag hung from the Dorchester end during a rather drab Dorset derby on New Year’s Day 2015, and shortly after the plea from fans, Jermyn had returned to the side where he made 600 appearances – for a nominal fee and the condition that he couldn’t play against Poole for the remainder of the season. Smart business after signing him on a free.
Poole would go on to lose the title on the last day, whilst Jermyn managed to keep Dorchester up. At home as a full-back or holding mid, Tommy had the knack of chucking him at centre half when needed. Could be swapped with Carl Poore position wise, or even Jake Smeeton. Speaking of…
Left-Back: Jake Smeeton
Whilst Smeeton certainly didn’t replicate the same heights or length of his Dorch career at Poole, the hard-working full-back was well liked in this corner of Dorset.
A member of the Wessex League side that took Hayes & Yeading all the way in the Fourth Qualifying round of the FA Cup, Smeeton would end up being a member of the Southern League side that took Hayes & Yeading to a replay in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup nine years later, albeit in his second spell. How’s that for symmetry.
Speaking of the FA Cup, was a part of the Dorchester side that knocked Plymouth out in the First Round in 2012. Making his debut in 2007, Smeeton would go on to captain the side and made over 300 appearances.
One of a few players to make over a century of appearances for both clubs, Smeeton departed Dorchester on Boxing Day 2016 to sign for then National South Poole.
It’s actually impressive that Smeeton managed to hit 122 appearances for the Dolphins, as he was only at the club for four seasons and a half – two of which he was largely injured for, and two of which were curtailed.
Left Poole this close season to look for a club closer to his home in Yeovil.
Central-Midfield: Taffy Richardson
Thanks to the longevity of Mr. Richardson, the non-league stalwart is available for selection despite starting his career in the 80s. Hard-tackling and with endless stamina, Taffy – an odd nickname for a bloke from Hartlepool – is somewhat of a local footballing folkhero.
Taffy made over a 1,000 appearances in semi-pro football – including more than 400 for the Dolphins, and 201 for the Magpies. Playing as recently as 2018 (at the age of 52), Richardson was Tommy Killick’s teammate in the Wimborne side that lifted the FA Vase in 1992.
Richardson and Killick both joined Dorchester in 1994, with Richardson remaining at the club until 1998. The pair reunited as manager and player at Poole, with Taffy – the senior of the two – eventually retiring and become Killick’s no.2.
Central-Midfield: Jamie Gleeson
A similar story – a decade at Dorchester was followed by a much shorter stint with Poole Town. Killick described Gleeson as a ‘dog of war’, but unfortunately for the ex-Kidderminster Harriers player, frequent injuries kept the midfielder from long stints in the squad.
Initially signed ahead of Poole’s promotion season, Gleeson suffered with a chest injury that severely limited his playing time. After over 300 appearances for Dorchester, Gleeson barely scrapped 25 at the Black Gold Stadium, before dropping down to the Wessex Prem and Hamworthy United.
Clearly a quality player when fit, ‘Glees’ makes the team based on his contributions in Black & White.
Central-Midfield: Steve Devlin
A rare example of a player making more of a mark at Poole rather than Dorchester, the Dolphins did shell out a four-figure fee to bring the Irish maestro to Poole.
That’s not to say his time at Dorchester was unremarkable – twice nominated supporter’s player of the year by the Avenue Faithful.
Devlin did make a century of appearances at the County town prior to his move in January 2012, but his 300 appearances and near 100 goals for Poole dwarf those accomplishments.
A player capable of scoring seemingly from anywhere – including his halfway line strike against Truro – Devlin was beloved by Poole fans, and largely forgotten about by Dorchester supporters, especially after some not so endearing comments to the local press.
An ACL tear in 2018 ended his Dolphins career, which paved the way for his return to Dorchester as a first-team coach. After regaining full match fitness, has returned to playing at Hamworthy United.
Right-Wing: Luke Holmes
Son of former Dorchester favourite Matty Holmes, Luke has bounced around local sides in the area since his release from AFC Bournemouth.
Now into his third spell at Poole, Luke had a relatively quiet spell at Dorchester the same season he first joined the Dolphins, way back in 2015 – when he was just 18.
Capable of playing on either flank, Luke has found most success operating centrally and being given freedom to roam. Still young and with potential to grow, a settled and consistent spell could go a long way in helping Holmes develop as a player.
He fits in at right-wing, mainly because my options are drying up.
Left-Wing: Neil Martin
I’m hoping Dorchester fans will be able to back me up here. Most Poole fans are probably questioning my sanity, remembering Martin as solely a left-back. In fact, as seen in his recent appearance for Tiverton against the Dolphins, Martin is now frequently deployed as a centre-back.
However, one of Martin’s finest performances came as a winger, in that aforementioned victory over Plymouth in the FA Cup.
A former Exeter youth player, Martin made 50 appearances for Poole, sandwiched in between two lengthy spells at Dorchester, making a total of 402 appearances, as well as captaining the Magpies.
I must admit I can’t recall Martin ever lining up as winger for Poole, but as often is the case in non-league, needs must.
I was tempted to go for two up top, either selecting Dan Cann or Warren Byerley, but I decided to select Martin thanks to his longevity, and the fact that neither striker was truly prolific at both clubs.
In what has become the Dorchester side from the Conference South + Poole’s Wessex heroes, I have somewhat of a surprise inclusion for our striker.
Striker: Toby Holmes
Now one of the go-to strikers you grab if you want 30 goals a season in the Southern League, Holmes’ humble beginnings are in contrast to others on this list.
The reserved and lanky hit-man dual registered with Poole in the 2015/16 season, after impressing with DPL side Parley Sports.
After proving himself as more than capable at this level, yet not receiving the play time to match it, Toby departed Tatnam to link up with namesake Luke Holmes at Dorchester.
Despite only making a total of 16 appearances for both clubs, most of which were off the bench, the quality of Holmes is undeniable and pushes him ahead of names such as Tony Lee, Jonah Ayunga, and the aformentioned Dan Cann and Warren Byerley.
In fact, he just edges out ‘Mr. Goals’ Richard Gillespie, who left Poole for Dorchester prior to his retirement.
Obviously there are other names, some from before I was born – 1999 by the way, so I’m sorry for my ignorance.
Feel free to comment below any players you feel should have made the team, and any players from pre-2000 that deserve a mention.