Inspired by a series of tweets made by Phil Bowers looking at the Vale in the same light, I’m going to look at all of the players that have worn each squad number since they were brought in for Football League teams in the 1999/00 season on each day of July (and a couple of posts in the first few days of August) and what they are doing these days if I can find out the information.
Jason Kearton (Jul 99 – Jun 01)
The Australian goalkeeper had been first-choice for the preceding 3 seasons so it was no surprise to see him don the number 1 for the first couple of seasons that players were assigned their own number. The first of these seasons will be remembered for a specific game [Blackburn A] but after making over 200 appearances in all competitions for the Alex, he returned to his homeland to play for Brisbane Strikers and Queensland Lions. He is currently a goalkeeping coach at Brisbane Roar, who were managed by Robbie Fowler up until Monday.
Ademola Bankole (Jul 01 – Jun 03)
Next to wear the shirt was Nigerian international Bankole who was in his second spell with the club following 2 seasons in the mid-90s. He made 71 appearances across his spells with the club before joining Barnet on loan, Brentford, MK Dons and Colchester United (where he was goalkeeping coach up until 2017).
Clayton Ince (Jul 03 – Jun 05)
The third man was Trinidadian international Ince who had been understudy to both the previous #1s. Ince took over as first-choice during the promotion season of 2002/03 following a dip in form for Bankole and made over 200 appearances for the club before leaving for Coventry in the summer of 2005. Since leaving them the following summer, he spent 4 years at Walsall before moving back to his homeland (also becoming a goalkeeping coach).
Ben Williams (Jul 05 – Jun 08)
Next was former Manchester United youngster Williams who originally joined the club on loan for the final months of the 03/04 season before joining permanently after his loan spell. He spent 4 seasons with the club, also making over 100 appearances, before spells at Carlisle United, Colchester United, Hibernian, Bradford City, Bury and Blackpool. He signed a deal with Bolton Wanderers in the summer of 2018 which saw him registered as a player and academy goalkeeper coach, the latter of which still applies following his playing retirement last summer.
Steve Collis (Jul 08 – Jan 10)
Steve joined the club in the summer of 2008 following spells at Yeovil Town and Southend United. He spent 18 months with the club, making 26 appearances in all competitions, before spells at Bristol City, Torquay United, Peterborough United, Northampton Town, Macclesfield Town, Buxton and Rochdale. He is now at Carlisle United where he is, yes you’ve guessed it, the goalkeeping coach.
Steve Phillips (Jul 10 – Jun 14)
Next on the list is the Bath-born Phillips who joined the club, initially on loan, in January 2010 before making the move permanent that summer. He made over 100 appearances for the club across his near 5-year association (the final 2 seasons saw him as a player/coach) before leaving in the summer of 2014, making appearances for Nantwich Town, Shepton Mallet, Bath City, Mangotsfield United and Yeovil Town, where he was first a player then player/goalkeeping coach until recently.
Scott Shearer (Jul 14 – Jun 15)
The Scot joined the club to provide competition to the next man on our list but spent a disappointing half-year with the club, only making 3 appearances in all competitions before joining Burton Albion on loan. He has also played for Mansfield Town and Oxford United before retiring from playing in 2018, becoming Oxford’s goalkeeping coach last summer.
Ben Garratt (Jul 15 – Jun 19)
The penultimate man on the list is the only player that has come through the Academy, having made his debut in the first Academy XI in
April 2013. He established himself ahead of Phillips and Alan Martin the following season, then Shearer during his Alex season before becoming a key member of the side as he made almost 250 appearances before leaving last summer (having been twice voted as Player of the Year). He joined current club Burton Albion in October last year, spending most of this season as Kieran O’Hara’s back-up until the on-loan keeper had discipline problems at the Staffordshire club.
Will Jaaskelainen (Jul 19 – present)
The current #1 signed with the Alex as a 19-year-old 3 years ago, spending most of his first 2 seasons on loan at non-league sides, before making his debut in April last year. He made 39 appearances in all competitions for the Alex this season and established himself as first-choice for Finland at Under-21 level.