Guy Branston: A Man Much Travelled
ONCE a Pilgrim, always a Pilgrim.Fourteen years, more than 400 games, 22 goals, and 21 transfers – permanent and loan – have passed since Guy Branston first pulled on the Green.
The now 34-year-old centre-back who has rejoined the Pilgrims until the end of the season first rocked up at Home Park as a cheeky teenager back in the last century.
A Leicester City youngster, he had already been loaned out to Colchester United when manager Kevin Hodges borrowed him for eight games midway through the 1998-99 season.
Five of those games saw him line up against another young bey making his way in the world of professional football who would go on to become a Pilgrims’ legend, Paul Wotton.
Back Then: Guy in 1998
His only goal for the club – so far – came in a 1-1 Third Division draw on January 9 at Rochdale, one of 16 clubs that he was later to go on to represent in a career which redefines the word ‘peripatetic’.
The last of those clubs was Argyle’s relegation rivals Bristol Rovers, for who he played four loan games at the tail end of last year before being released by Aldershot.
Before that, he had also played for (deep breath) Rushden & Diamonds, Lincoln City, Rotherham United, Wycombe Wanderers, Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham Athletic, Peterborough United, Rochdale, Northampton Town, Notts County, Kettering Town, Burton Albion, Torquay United and Bradford City.
During his time, he has won promotion five times; been named captain of many of the clubs he has played for; won player of the season awards; and has been elected by his fellow pros into the PFA divisional team of the year.
Guy’s last appearance at Home Park came in this season’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy when he played for Aldershot as Argyle won 2-1. He picked up a yellow card in the game.
Last Season: In action for Bradford City
One of the most bizarre games of his long career also came at Home Park, in a 2003 LDV Vans Trophy game when he was playing for Wycombe against the Pilgrims.
He was sent off during the break in play between full-time and extra-time after what he always maintained was humorous banter with a linesman.
However, he had the last laugh as Wycombe went on to win the tie on a penalty shoot-out after the teams had drawn 2-2.