Where Are They Now - Gordon Nisbet
Peverell Green goes back to the 1980's to take a look at Argyle right-back Gordon Nisbet for his 'Where Are They Now' series.
GORDON NISBET - Born 18th September 1951 Wallsend, Northumberland.
Gordon began his footballing career playing for Northumberland schoolboys as a goalkeeper, and must have been a fairly decent one, as soon as he left school he signed for First Division (Premiership) team West Brom, making his first team debut for them in the 1969-70 season.
He didn't play another first team game for two years and by that time he had been converted to a full back.
His potential was spotted by Don Howe when he played outfield during reserve and practice matches and the rest as they say is history, although he was always ready to stand in during a match if the regular goalie got injured, this was a time when due to the number of substitutes allowed no team would have a spare number one on the bench.
Between 1971 and 1973 he played 54 times in Division 1 and in the next three seasons played 81 league games in Division 2.
While at West Brom he was selected to play for England U-23's in a match against East Germany at Ashton Gate, Bristol, with the Germans winning 1-0. Also in the team were future England regulars Frank Lampard (Father of Chelsea's Frank), Alan Hudson, Kevin Keegan, Mick Channon and Malcolm MacDonald, so not a bad line up to be selected with. He played for West Brom a total of 135 league games at full back plus the one appearance as a goalie.
In 1976 Gordon moved to Hull City and was a regular in the side for the four and a half seasons he spent there he scored his first professional goal.
In 1978 Hull were relegated to the Third Division but this didn't deter Hull fans from voting him into a list of the club's top 100 players. He played for Hull 193 league games scoring that one goal until a change of manager saw him fall from favour.
Bobby Saxton, the then Argyle manager, saw his potential and in late 1980 brought him to Home Park for a fee of £32,000.
He made his debut in a 2-1 defeat away to Barnsley. His first full season was 1981-82 and for the next five seasons he hardly missed a game, out of a possible 230 league games he played in 227 of them, considering he was such an attacking full back and ferocious tackler that has to be a tribute to his fitness and ability to stay injury free.
In his six full seasons at the club he also played in an incredible 53 cup games, we obviously stayed in cup competitions longer then than we do now.
In 1983-84 he played in all 17 cup games, ten in the FA Cup in the run to the semi-final, four in the League Cup where he scored both against Swindon in a 4-1 win and against Arsenal in a 1-1 draw at Home Park and four in the Associate Members Cup where again they reached the semi-final before being beaten 1-0 at home to Millwall. For a full back he had an impressive goal tally, scoring 14 league and 3 cup goals, twice scoring two in a match, in 1983-84 he scored both goals in a 3-2 defeat at Orient and in 1986-87 got two in the 5-0 drubbing of Grimsby at Home Park.
His goalscoring and competitiveness on the pitch earned him the Player of the Year award in 1982-83 and also appeared the PFA Divisional Teams of the Season.
He was also called upon to take up his original playing position when Geoff Crudgington picked up an injury during a match. At the end of the 1986-87 season Dave Smith decided we had seen the best of him and Gordon was released by the club. In total while at Argyle he made 334 appearances and scored 17 goals.
Argyle fans voted Gordon into Team of the Century.
Even at nearly 36 he was still sought after and it wasn't long before he moved up the A38 to sign for Exeter City.
Unfortunately after being injury free for most of his career after only fourteen games he received a serious knee injury and was unable to play league football again.
This wasn't the end of his playing career though, he both played for, and managed, Ottery St Mary who were playing in the Western League.
In 1990 he re-joined Argyle as the manager of the reserve team and youth team.
In 1992 after David Kemp was sacked Gordon and Alan Gillett were co-caretaker managers until Peter Shilton arrived on 2nd March, returning to his role of reserve and youth team manager.
He left the club the following year in 1993.
He joined the Devon and Cornwall police after finishing his football career but continued to play in charity matches and at the age of 60 still turns out for the Argyle Legends.
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