Bury Town forward Olly Hughes picks his All-Time XI from the players he has played alongside
After stints with Walsham-le-Willows, Leiston and AFC Sudbury, Olly Hughes is now into his fifth season as a Bury Town player.
The forward is a popular figure at Ram Meadow, where he has won numerous club awards over the years.
Here, Hughes kicks off our 'All-Time XI' series by selecting a team of the best players he has played alongside.
GK – Duncan McAnally
Hard choice. I played with Danny Gay very briefly at Leiston, Alex Archer at Sudbury and Luis Tibbles at Bury Town, but Duncan was an incredibly reliable goalkeeper who rarely made a mistake.
Commanding in the air, brave when diving at the strikers' feet and always capable of pulling out a world class save. He even filled in at Bury Town a few seasons ago when we were short and played a blinder.
LB – Ryan Jolland
It was hard to leave out Jed Wigley, formerly of Bury Town, who racked up 11 appearances across five seasons at the club. That includes one game at Ram Meadow where he came on at half-time as assistant referee, following an injury to one of the officials!
Ryan Jolland is versatile and capable of playing anywhere across the midfield too, but his engine and crossing ability make him the perfect modern-day full-back.
CB – Gavin Johnson
I played with Gav towards the end of his career at Walsham. He started in his customary centre-midfield position, but as is the case with players in their twilight years, Gav was deployed in a deeper role before too long. He was a class above at training and could pick a pass other players simply would not see.
CB – Ollie Fenn ©
Mr Reliable and my captain. Leads by example, never shirks a challenge, good in the air and on the deck.
The most trustworthy and dependable person on and off the pitch. Honourable mentions to Ryan Henshaw (formerly at Sudbury) who is unlucky to miss out, Connor Hall, who is now plying his trade full-time in the National League at Harrogate Town (we only played together briefly) and Phill Weavers (former captain at Bury Town).
RB – Ryan Stafford
Incredibly consistent, one of my stand-out performers for Bury Town this year. Always a seven or eight out of 10 and chips in with goals and assists too. An intelligent guy too – a rare trait in the football world!
Some say he has one of the biggest heads in non-league football, but I’d like to point out it has to accommodate a very big brain!
DM – John Kennedy
No, not the 35th president of the USA, but the former Ipswich Town, Canvey Island and Histon footballer. Still on the books at Bury Town, now enjoying the role of coach for the first team and manager with the U23s.
Regularly confused for me in the clubhouse and has been known to engage in conversation with fans for 10 minutes before they realise he isn’t Olly Hughes!
Great in the air for a small bloke, never comes off second-best in a tackle and a real grafter. He’d make my 11 off the pitch too – he is hilarious on a night out and famous for his sayings!
Top quotes: “You must have fire in your belly and ice in your mind!”
“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late!”
And my favourite: “You should always have two beers on the go, one in each hand.”
“Why’s that John?”
“In case you lose one or drop one!”
John drops a beer by accident. “See, I told you!”
John walks to the bar to order a replacement beer.
LCM – Ryan Horne
Not the brightest spark. I remember him coming on loan at Sudbury when he was a scholar at Cambridge United. For away games, he regularly drove from Cambridge to Sudbury by car, parked at the ground then jumped on a coach that picked up players approximately 15 minutes from his house!
Despite this, he must go in the team for his wand of a left foot, incredible energy levels and having the best physique in non-league football!
RCM – Sam Clarke
I had to go for Sam Clarke or Michael Shinn – both players were excellent in midfield during my time at Sudbury. Both were also incredibly vocal and there was no hiding place in that team!
Shinny was/is a technician with a great range of passing and a dead-ball specialist. Sam was brave and a leader. He is Sudbury’s record appearance-maker with 387. If I could make room for both I would, although it wouldn’t do my eardrums any good!
ACM – Dave Cowley
A controversial selection I’m sure. All teams can get away with one luxury player. Candidates for this position included Craig Parker and Gareth Heath, players I briefly enjoyed sharing a pitch with at Leiston.
Both have goal-scoring records better than my own and have played a good standard of football for many years. I’ve opted for Dave Cowley, however, as he was immense in my first year at Sudbury.
His intelligent movement found space between the lines, he had an eye for goal and great technical ability. He was awarded Supporters’ Player of the Year and then the baffling decision was made to release him. I’m glad Stowmarket Town fans have been able to enjoy watching him play in recent seasons.
CF – James Tatham
Where’s Cemal Ramadan I hear you ask? It is possible I’d change things a few years down the line, but at present, the experienced James Tatham gets the nod here. Paired together at Walsham, we were a lethal combination.Many people commented that I did all his running (because I did), but Tats’ predatory instincts were clear for all to see. A thoroughly good bloke too!
CF – Olly Hughes
I was tempted to leave myself out and make room for someone else, but there’s no way James Tatham can be in the team without me. I am now in my fifth season at Bury Town and have won Supporters’ Player four times, Manager’s Player and Players’ Player. The only thing left to win is the matchday raffle.
I am setting my sights on the appearance record currently held by Dick Rayner (610). I anticipate I may hit this in the 2027/28 season, aged 41! If Carlos Edwards can keep playing in to his 40s, I will hope to do the same. Below is a computer-generated image of what I might look like when I break the record.
More by this authorLiam Apicella
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