Right Backs


By Pete H

A great philosopher* once said “nobody grows up wanting to be a Gary Neville“. But we’re not sure about that one. At Boro’, we’ve seen lads wearing the number two shirt and doing quite brilliant things while doing so. In modern football, right backs are expected to do it all – in attack or at the back. But that’s nothing new for us. Here are five of the best that you’d happily grow up wanting to be. Even if you are supposed to be grown up already…

*it was Jamie Carragher.

5 of the Best Boro’ Right Backs

Lee Harvey (1998-00)

Lee Harvey at right back – precise, reliable and consistent
Photo: Keith Mayhew

You know – in music – how metronomes are so, well, metronomic in how they keep things on the straight and narrow; precise, reliable and consistent? That’s much the same feeling we got when watching Lee Harvey at right back. One touch to set, one touch to cross and Carl Alford to head, poke or arse it into the net. Is it too much to suggest that Carlo would have far less Boro’ goals to his name if it wasn’t for Harvs whipping ’em in from the right?


It’s just a shame that Harvs didn’t see any success with us; our shock 1997-8 FA Trophy quarter final defeat indoors against Slough and six wins on the bounce at the start of the 1999-00 season are as good as it got. Unless we count our mini 1998-9 FA Cup run too?

Rudi Hedman — (1993-5)

Rudi Hedman in his Crystal Palace days
Photo: holmesdale.net

Rudi flippin Hedman” – sometimes you can ask a question and the answer you get back is definitive and uncompromising. And then you feel silly for asking it in the first place. It’s not hard to see why Hedman is one of our most-effective right backs. Pace, power and a whole load of know-how from making it to the top level during the late 1980s meant Boro’ had a real talent; one that opposition attackers and defenders often couldn’t cope with.

Barry Fuller — (2006-8)

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We always put one choice into these ‘Best of’ articles that has the potential to split views down the middle. Barry Fuller is our latest contentious choice. Maybe because you’d see him as part of the Stimmo-led exodus in 2008. Or perhaps you didn’t rate him? Well, that last point isn’t shared by us; Fuller teaming up with Dobbo on the right side to destructive effect as Stimmo’s brand of attacking football took us to silverware in 2007.

It’s also easy to forget that Fuller was part of a Boro’ defence that kept eight clean sheets on the bounce in the early part of the 2007-8 campaign. It was then a Conference record.

Denny Tyler — (1983-9)

Long before Ronnie and Smudger and came along, Denny Tyler was our longest-serving player; his time with us falling just short of five years

Long before Ronnie and Smudger and came along, Denny Tyler was our longest-serving player; his time with us falling just short of five years. Our skipper for three seasons, Tyler saw it all with us. He first arrived in early 1983; Boro’ looking to become more than a mid-table side in the United Counties League Premier Division. By the time he left for Royston Town in 1988, we’d definitely become more than that.

Look at our first two seasons in Vauxhall Opel League Division Two North. You can easily put our success down to the 100 goals that Jim Beech, Steve Armsby and Martin Gittings scored between ’em. But goals are nothing at one end without them being kept out at the other. Led by Tyler, we roared to the 1985-6 title. And, while he was also part of our team that was relegated in 1987-8, we only let in 64 goals – second fewest in the bottom half.

Ronnie Henry — (2005-12, 2014-9)

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From one veteran to another, we almost didn’t include Ronnie. On one hand, it depends if you saw him more as a centre back. But, on the other, it was a stupid mistake on our part. With Ash and Robbo inside him, Ron was the right-sided member of perhaps our greatest-ever defensive quartet; the Ringo in our Beatles. The analogy works somehow. Something about keeping it all ticking over. Y’know, whatever it is drummers do.

After all, Ron’s expertise was very much at the back – not so much in attack.

We’re not going to say too much more about our Ron because we all know the esteem in which we hold him. But it’s enough to say he easily earns a place on this little list of ours.