Revealed! YOUR club's Cult Hero – as voted for by the fans
Oldham Athletic: Roger Palmer
Keith Gledhill (@kgquantum)
“Palmer is synonymous with the glory days of Oldham Athletic from the mid-’80s through to the early ‘90s. Signed by Jimmy Frizzell for a meagre fee from neighbours Manchester City in November 1980, he played over 450 times for the Latics, scoring 143 goals to become the club's all-time leading goalscorer.
His elusive nature on the pitch – often arriving into the box unchecked to poach a vital goal – was reflected off it
“His elusive nature on the pitch – often arriving into the box unchecked to poach a vital goal – was reflected off it: his whereabouts were often speculated about, and many a tale was told of trying to find him. Indeed, 20 years after his playing career finished, the club struggled to make contact with Roger to invite him back on a special matchday. Thankfully he was found, presented on the pitch at half-time to a hero's welcome and serenaded with a vociferous rendition of the favourite terrace chant: 'Oooohhhh Roger Palmer'.
“His crowning glory was being part of the team that won the Second Division title in such dramatic fashion on the last day of the 1990/91 season, and it was fitting that his testimonial match against Manchester City was played two days later to a capacity crowd. Of course, Roger scored in a 3-2 victory.”
Oxford United: Joey Beauchamp
(Left midfielder, 1989-2004 and 1995-2002)
Tony Fallows (@TonyFallows)
“Ask any football fan about Beauchamp and the chances are they'll tell you about one of West Ham's greatest transfer flops – the young, homesick lad playing his football in London, a tale of unfulfilled potential to be sneered at.
Ask any Oxford United fan about Beauchamp and you’ll hear about one of the finest players to ever pull on the yellow shirt
“Ask any Oxford United fan about Beauchamp and you’ll hear about one of the finest players to ever pull on the yellow shirt. True, Joey could have played at a higher level, but he was an Oxford boy and all he ever wanted was to play for his beloved Oxford United.
“Who could sneer at that? His short-lived exile as West Ham’s first £1m player (a move Beauchamp was forced into to save the cash-strapped Us from administration) ended with a shock transfer to Oxford’s bitter rivals Swindon Town, in a deal worth £800k. Unsurprisingly, Beauchamp never settled at Swindon and before long he was back at Oxford – for a cut-price £75k.”
Favourite moment: “Beauchamp didn’t take long to recapture his form, and later that same season he netted officially the best goal ever scored at the historic Manor Ground to overcome promotion rivals Blackpool. The Us ended the season promoted to Division One (the Championship), pipping Blackpool to the post by one point.”
Peterborough: George Boyd
Chris Dowsett (@ChrisDowsett17)
Boyd ran himself up and down and into the ground, but also possessed more skills than a magician at a six year-old’s party
“The White Pele, with his flowing locks, signed from Stevenage in 2007, scoring 60 goals from the wing in a Posh career spanning just shy of 300 games. Boyd was a player who fans love: a player who ran himself up and down and into the ground, but also possessed more skills than a magician at a six year-old’s party.
“Boyd had many crowning moments in Posh blue; a memorable 35-yard volley against Boston, a hat-trick in an 8-2 drubbing of Accrington, and the single-handed demolition of Millwall in his final Posh appearance. But his jewel in the piece was saved for Huddersfield, when he produced a stunner from the halfway line in the Championship.”
Plymouth Argyle: Tommy Tynan
(Striker, 1983-85 and 1986-90)
He scored 145 goals in 310 games, and was part of the team that reached the 1984 FA Cup semi-final
“For fans of a certain vintage, Plymouth and Tynan go together like word association. He had three spells in green and was voted into Plymouth’s Team of Century. One of the all-time greats, he scored 145 goals in 310 games, was part of the team that reached the 1984 FA Cup semi-final, was a three-time player of the year and in 1984/85 won the Third Division Golden Boot. He was Argyle’s top scorer in six different seasons.
“He actually began his career under Bill Shankly at local club Liverpool, after winning a local newspaper talent competition. He didn’t make an Anfield bow, though, and played for Swansea, Dallas Tornado, Sheffield Wednesday and Lincoln City before joining Newport County, forming a dynamic partnership with John Aldridge. His goalscoring record led to his move to Argyle in 1983 and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Favourite moment: “A bullet header from a powerfully hit Kevin Hodges cross in a 4-0 promotion-winning game against Bristol City in front of 20,000 at Home Park in April 1986.”
Port Vale: Sam Bennion
(Left-back (ish), 1894)
Rob Fielding (@onevalefan)
“This is the story of ‘Mr Port Vale’. During a lifetime with the Valiants, Bennion was fan, official, player, manager, chairman and club saviour.
In 1906, he added another string to his bow as he was appointed manager – a cost-cutting measure by cash-strapped Vale who folded a year later
“Bennion had supported the fledgling club as a boy and soon got a job as a club official. In 1894, he even made an appearance for the first team. After a player missed the train, Vale were a man down so Sam slotted in as left-back in a 2-2 draw at Oldham.
“In 1906, he added another string to his bow as he was appointed manager – a cost-cutting measure by cash-strapped Vale who folded a year later. But Bennion soon came to Vale’s rescue. He organised a consortium of businessmen to invest in the club and became the club chairman in 1908.
“Sam was in the Vale boardroom until 1933 – just eight years before his death in 1941. It’s unlikely that Port Vale or any other club will see his like again.”
Portsmouth: Robert Prosinecki
Brendon Bone (@brendonvbone)
“It will always be Robert Prosinecki. We signed the god-like genius Croatian in 2001, and this was in no small part due to his relationship with then-owner Milan Mandaric.
Prosinecki never talked much – he let his football do the talking
“Managed by Graham Rix, Prosinecki led a team of misfits and bargain buys – including Peter Crouch – to a usual lower-half table Second Division finish, but along the way the mercurial chain-smoker provided us with some of our greatest memories as Pompey fans.
“The one that will always stick in the mind was his exceptional hat-trick against Barnsley that put us 4-2 ahead, a scoreline that stood until six minutes from time when we still managed to snatch a 4-4 draw.
“Prosinecki never talked much – he let his football do the talking. But in that one crazy season, we all fell in love with the mad Croat.”
Preston: Sean Gregan
Oliver Dawes (@ClarkeBackPost)
“Undoubtedly one of Preston's finest signings of the last 20 years, Gregan remains a hero to North End fans everywhere; his Wikipedia page even labels him 'God' off the back of his spell at Deepdale.
Nothing summed up Gregan's influence better than his penalty in the 2001 Division One Play-Off Semi-Final shootout against Birmingham
“A born leader snapped up from Darlington in 1996, Gregan bossed every game he played regardless of whether he was in defence or midfield, with opposition fans often dreading the thought of facing the robust lynchpin of Gary Peters' or David Moyes' sides. Supporters quickly embraced his no-nonsense, never-say-die attitude before seeing him leave for a shot in the Premier League with West Brom in 2002. Few players since have been able to match his hero status at Deepdale.
“Whether in the third or the second tier, Gregan was North End's inspiration, and you could always guarantee that he would have the biggest heart, the biggest mouth – and the biggest backside – every time he was on the pitch in Preston's famous lilywhite shirt.”
Favourite moment: “None summed up Gregan's influence better than his penalty in the 2001 Division One Play-Off Semi-Final shootout against Birmingham. When North End needed to keep their calm and book their place in the final, Gregan confidently ran up to hammer his penalty into the roof of the net before rallying the crowd. The running joke among Preston fans is that if the net wasn't there, that ball would still be travelling.”
QPR: Stan Bowles
Clive Whittingham (@Loftforwords)
“QPR’s greatest-ever team was beaten to what would have been the club’s only ever league title by Liverpool in 1975/76 – a campaign billed by the BBC’s Match of the 70’s series as a dramatic fight to the death between Liverpool and Manchester United.
“Stan Bowles was the talismanic leader in that team, with the likes of Gerry Francis and Dave Thomas almost as wonderful behind him. He scored 97 goals in 315 appearances for us between 1972 and 1980, setting a record for goals scored by a British player in a single European campaign with 10 in our run to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 76/77.
It’s not just the goals that make him QPR’s ultimate cult hero, nor the oft-touted stories about him regularly being seen in the bookies next to the ground in his full kit 10 minutes before kick-off
“But it’s not just the goals that make him QPR’s ultimate cult hero, nor the oft-touted stories about him regularly being seen in the bookies next to the ground in his full kit 10 minutes before kick-off. Or going across to take throw-ins so he could ask people in the stands with radios for the racing results.
“It was the swagger and style he played with, in an era of heavy pitches and even heavier tackles; the shimmies, jinks and brashness. We’ve had similar maverick talents in that position before and since – Rodney Marsh, Tony Currie, Roy Wegerle, Adel Taarabt – but Stan was a one off, on and off the pitch.
“The absolute genius of the man, coupled with his flawed personality, made him the very epitome of what QPR were at the time and would dearly love to be again.”
Sadly, Stan has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s recently and his family and the club are raising funds for his care, and Alzheimer’s charities. Our 4-2 win against Rotherham earlier this season was ‘Stan Bowles Day’. He received a rapturous reception on the pitch at half time, and was the last one to leave the Crown and Sceptre that evening.
Reading: Robin Friday
Dan Wimbush (@TheTilehurstEnd)
“We decided to open this up to our readers, and unsurprisingly Friday topped the vote. Why? Well that’s fairly easy to understand: after all, how many fourth-tier players get a song written about them, appear on an album cover, have a book written about them and a feature film in the works?
“Friday was a maverick, a man whose legacy has lived on despite spending just over two years at the club 40 years ago. Robin drank, smoked and joked his way into the hearts of Reading fans but he was more than just a cult hero off the field, with the forward twice scooping player-of-the-year honours and leading our goalscoring charts in both of his seasons at Elm Park – the last of which ended with a promotion out of Division Four.
Robin drank, smoked and joked his way into the hearts of Reading fans but he was more than just a cult hero off the field
“With the modern fan considering a social media spat to be edgy, Robin went about 100 steps beyond that when a dispute with Mark Lawrenson reportedly ended in the then-Cardiff striker using Lawro’s kitbag as a toilet.
“Sadly his rock ’n’ roll lifestyle prevented Friday from ever really reaching his full potential, and he lost his life aged just 38. Still, his legacy lives on and he’ll never be forgotten by Reading fans.”
Favourite moment: “Only 3,000-odd may have been in the crowd but so many people tell this story that you’d have thought 30,000 were packed into Elm Park. It’s 1976 against Tranmere when right-back Gary Peters hits a high diagonal ball to Friday, who leaps in the air to cushion the ball. He’s about 30 yards out, but duly hits the ball over his own shoulder and into the top corner.
“The goal was so good that even a man who’d refereed in two World Cups, Clive Thomas, hailed it as the best he’d ever seen. After hearing that from Thomas, Friday replied: ‘Really? You should come down here more often, I do that every week.’ Sadly there’s no video, but here’s a tribute.”
Rochdale: Grant Holt
(Striker, 2004-06, 2016-present)
Dave Sweetmore (@davesweetmore)
“Holt it this generation’s ultimate dale hero. He worked his way up the leagues from non-league to Premier League, with his first Dale stint back in 2004 helping him make his mark.
When last month the totally unexpected news broke that Holty had returned to Spotland until the end of the season, the whole club was given a massive lift
“The striker has stayed in our hearts and minds ever since. So when last month the totally unexpected news broke that Holty had returned to Spotland until the end of the season, the whole club was given a massive lift – one I don't think any other player could have brought.
“In his two-year stint with the club over a decade ago, Holt scored 34 times in 75 appearances, and since he's been back his substitute appearances so far have been game-changers. None more so, though, than last Saturday’s 2-0 win against Sheffield United, where he scored his first goal since returning.”