Saturday, 5 March 2011
299 Kevin Townson
Position : Forward
Played : 2000-01 to 2004-05
Appearances : 102
Goals : 25
Kevin was picked up from Everton's YTS in the summer but didn't make an appearance until the game away at Southend in February, oddly just two days after Parkin had told a Fans' Forum he wasn't ready for the first team. Third-in-command David Hamilton would subsequently claim all the credit for his signing.
Kevin of course is fondly remembered and you can still hear the odd chorus of "Who put the ball in the Fulham net ? " at games but there is a question mark over whether he was really any good or just a brief flash in the pan who was kept on too long. It's worth noting that no less than 62 of Kevin's appearances were as a substitute.
At 5'6" and just over 10 stone Kevin was never going to be a physical centre forward ; he was a penalty box nuisance in the Paul Dickov mould. He only started one game in his first season, away at Hartlepool where he looked lively enough but the subsequent arrival of Paul Connor pushed him back into the reserves.
His heyday was the following season where he finished as leading scorer with 14 goals despite again being mainly a substitute. He scored his first goal at home to Exeter in August then a month later achieved immortality with both goals in our 2-2 draw at home to Premiership Fulham on 11th September 2001 (why does that date stick in the mind ? ). He also put his penalty away in the shootout. On the back of that he got a call up to the England under-19 squad and attention from Premiership scouts. Kevin never managed a hat-trick but got 3 more braces that season including the one against York at home . That contained his most memorable goal where he ran on to a fabulous defence-splitting pass from Patrick McCourt and slotted home.
After that things started to go wrong. Kevin suffered more than most from the mismanagement of Paul Simpson and only started 5 games in 2002-03 scoring just once. There was a suspicion that his exploits the season before had gone to his head but more seriously now that his teenage energy had burned itself out he was revealed as being short of pace.
He revived the following year under Alan Buckley who'd been a similar type of forward himself and knew how to use him. He scored 7 up to Parkin's return finishing as leading scorer again with 10. Parkin however was suspicious of him, making a public comment about him slacking off in a game as soon as he'd scored and Kevin soon found himself back on the bench. His final season with us was a complete washout. He was dropped after the first home game and never played for us again seeing out the season with loan spells at Scarborough and Macclesfield.
Although he didn't score for the Silkmen they were happy enough to give him a contract for the next season but he disappointed again scoring just twice in 18 mainly substitute appearances. Inevitably one of them was against us at Spotland when he skinned Jon Boardman (OK, your grand-dad could do that) and duly celebrated in front of Mr Parkin. He was freed at the end of the season almost certainly bringing his professional career to an end. He moved on to Northwich but it was the same story, just 2 goals in 44 appearances (23 as sub). In 2008 he moved into the League of Wales with New Saints but didn't settle there despite scoring 5 in just 7 games and signed for Droylsden in July 2008. A year later he emigrated to Australia and played for Melbourne Knights where he won the Player of the Year in the Victorian Soccer League. Earlier this season he returned to England and signed for AFC Fylde.
I saw Kevin in action for Fylde at Ramsbottom a few months back. His hair has grown out a bit and he had a decent game although he didn't stand out as much as you might expect and missed his penalty in the shootout. It's hard to believe he's still only 27.