Greatest Centre-Backs: 25-21

THE Greatest Pilgrims, voted for by the Green Army, lists the top 25 Argyle legends in all positions and after completing the goalkeepers and full-backs, we move on to the centre-backs.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.25
Neil Hague

A story of versatility and endeavour, Neil Hague was an all-action footballer, capable of performing admirably in a variety positions.

Emerging as a junior at Rotherham United, Hague made just under 145 appearances for the Millers and a manager’s dream with his ability to fill a number of roles in the team. His talent as a youngster even led to England youth caps.

He moved to Home Park in November 1971 and immediately settled in the heart of the Argyle defence, where his dominant displays won the faith of the Green Army. Hague was also a massive threat from set-pieces and notched an impressive 17 goals in his 113 games as a Pilgrim.

Hague won the Player of the Season award during his time at Home Park and a virtual ever-present, aside from injury, over the best part of three seasons. He left for Bournemouth in 1974 and later played for Huddersfield, Darlington and in the American Soccer League.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.24
Forbes Phillipson-Masters

A great name and a great player, the imperious defending of Forbes Earnest Phillipson-Masters was a Home Park highlight over the course of three seasons from 1979 to 1982.

He is another one of those football anomalies, who actually started his career as an apprentice goalkeeper before switching to centre-back at Southampton, where he made a quick impression as a powerful defender.

Loan spells at Exeter, Bournemouth and Luton preceded a permanent switch to Argyle, where Phillipson-Masters settled into arguably the most successful period of his career.

The Green Army loved their new centre-back and Phillipson-Masters never let anyone down with performances full of commitment and quality. He eventually left for Bristol City and later Yeovil Town before pursuing a career in the construction industry.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.23
Darren Purse

When Darren Purse moved to Home Park in 2011, initially on loan, he had already enjoyed a long and successful career as a dominant centre-back in English football.

He came through the youth system at Leyton Orient, where his form attracted interest from Arsenal and Tottenham, making his debut at just 17. He moved to Oxford in 1996 after also enjoying a brief loan spell in Finland.

It was at his next club, Birmingham City, that Purse built his reputation as a top defender. He spent six years at St Andrews, moved to West Brom for a season, and then another excellent stint at Cardiff City.

The Purse journey took him to Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall, from whom he signed on loan for Argyle. The move was quickly made permanent and Purse formed an outstanding defensive partnership with Maxime Blanchard.

In a difficult period of financial strife at Home Park, Purse brought experience and stability to the Pilgrims. He was a top performer over the next year and a real shame when finances forced the club to make him available for transfer.

Purse switched to Port Vale and then moved into non-league football for a few years. He now works as a coach at Oxford United.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.22
Adam Barrett

Adam Barrett is a player who did enough in his short time at Home Park to set the path for a long and successful career in the game.

After coming through the youth system at Leyton Orient, he became available for transfer and joined the Paul Sturrock revolution at Home Park. The young defender made an immediate impression with his courage and determination at the back.

Barrett was a regular for 18 months and growing into a hugely impressive centre-back when Luggy surprisingly allowed him to leave for Mansfield Town. He then played for Bristol Rovers and a six-year spell at Southend United.

The uncompromising approach to defending helped Barrett forge a long career, also appearing for Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Gillingham before moving into his current role as a coach at Millwall.

Greatest Pilgrim Centre-Backs
Ranked No.21
Peter Hartley

Scorer of one of the iconic goals in Home Park history and a superb defensive rock for two seasons, Peter Hartley was a cult hero to the Green Army.

He learned his trade as a junior at Sunderland and made his debut under the management of Roy Keane in 2007. A loan spell at Chesterfield then preceded a permanent switch to his hometown club of Hartlepool.

After four fine years with the Pools, he signed for Stevenage in 2013 and then moved to Home Park a year later. Hartley’s partnership with Curtis Nelson became the stuff of Pilgrim folklore, as they formed the defensive platform in a push for promotion.

Hartley famously scored the dramatic late winner that beat Portsmouth in the play-off semi final and his last game as a Pilgrim was the defeat to Wimbledon at Wembley in the final.

He moved to Bristol Rovers, Blackpool and now plays for Motherwell in Scotland, but had done enough to be remembered as a great Pilgrim.

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Greatest Centre-Back Results So Far
21.Peter Hartley
22. Adam Barrett
23. Darren Purse
24. Forbes Phillipson-Masters
25. Neil Hague

Greatest Full-Back Results
1. Paul Connolly
2. Gordon Nisbet
3. Tony Capaldi
4. Gary Sawyer
5. Mark Patterson
6. David Worrell
7. Paul Williams
8. Gary Poole
9. Colin Sullivan
10. Peter Gilbert
11. Moses Russell
12. Onismor Bhasera
13. Leigh Cooper
14. John Hore
15. Marc Edworthy
16. Lee Hodges
17. Brian McGlinchey
18. Dave Provan
19. Phil Burrows
20. Jon Beswetherick
21. John Uzzell
22. Tony Book
23. Septimus Atterbury
24. Pat Jones
25. Wayne O’Sullivan

Greatest Goalkeeper Results
1. Romain Larrieu
2. Luke McCormick
3. Jim Furnell
4. Alan Nicholls
5. Geoff Crudgington
6. Bill Shortt
7. Alan Miller
8. Steve Cherry
9. Peter Shilton
10. Rhys Wilmot
11. Dave MacLaren
12. Fred Craig
13. Pat Dunne
14. Remi Matthews
15. Milija Aleksic
16. Jon Sheffield
17. Paul Barron
18. Martin Hodge
19. Bruce Grobbelaar
20. Geoff Barnsley
21. Harry Cann
22. John Willie Sutcliffe
23. David Stockdale
24. Bill Harper
25. Neil Ramsbottom