Newport County: Where Are They Now? 2012/13 Promotion Season

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Back in the 2012/13 season, Newport County were promoted to the Football League after a 25-year absence. There were a number of heroes in that County side after that famous season… today we ask the simple question: “Where are they now?”

We must rewind all the way back to May 5th, 2013 to see the last line-up of the 2012/13 squad. The line-up played in the play-off final against Wrexham at Wembley for a place in League Two the following season. So, without further ado, here is what those County heroes are up to these days.


Newport County Starting XI vs Wrexham:

Lenny Pidgeley

Tony James

Ismail Yakubu

Byron Anthony

David Pipe

Lee Minshull

Alex Gilbey

Michael Flynn

Andy Sandell

Christian Jolley

Danny Crow


Lenny Pidgeley (Goalkeeper)

Pidgeley

Lenny Pidgeley was County’s starting keeper for the large majority of the 2012/13 season. After his successful season, he featured in Newport’s next 2 seasons in League Two. However, after the arrival of goalkeeper, Joe Day, in 2014, Lenny found it hard to maintain the role of first choice keeper. Pidgeley was later sent out on loan in 2015 to fellow League Two side, Mansfield Town, where he made 15 appearances for The Stags.

After he returned from his loan spell, he was released by Newport after it was revealed that he wouldn’t be getting another contract. He then moved to the non-league side, Leatherhead, where he would go on to only make 1 league appearance. He would then find himself at National League side, Forest Green Rovers, where he would fail to make any league appearances. After a couple of awful moves, Hastings United was his next destination. He made a total of 35 league appearances for the 8th tier club.

Where is he now?

Lenny Pidgeley is currently playing in the Isthmian Premier Division (the 7th tier of English football) for Margate FC. They were recently relegated from The National League South.


Tony James (Defender)

tony james

Tony James joined Newport County in 2012 from Burton Albion and made a total of 47 league appearances. He played in County’s first season back in League Two but he then retired from professional football at the age of 36 in 2014.

On June 2nd, 2015, Tony came out of retirement to play for Phoenix club, Hereford FC. He went on to make only 4 appearances for the club.

Where is he now?

Tony James has now officially retired from professional football.


Ismail Yakubu (Defender)

yakunu

Ismail Yakubu joined Newport County back in 2011 from AFC Wimbledon. He made a total of 120 league appearances and also featured in the FA Trophy final in 2012 for The Exiles. Yakubu played in County’s 2013/14 season and their 2014/15 season where he became a firm fan favourite.

Yakubu was unfortunately released by Newport back in 2015. After this, he joined National League side, Woking FC. He went on to make 32 league appearances for the non-league club and scoring 2 goals. Ismail spent two years at Woking and left the club in 2017.

Where is he now?

Ismail Yakubu currently plays for National League South club, Hemel Hempstead Town. The Tudors finished 12th last season.


Byron Anthony (Defender)

byron

Byron Anthony joined The Exiles back in 2012 at the start of the promotion season. He made his County debut on the 22nd of September against Forest Green Rovers. Byron also managed to grab himself 3 goals whilst playing for Newport, all of them came during the 12/13 season. After his contract ended, he signed another contract heading into the Football League the following season.

Unfortunately, on the 6th of August 2013, Byron suffered a double ankle break against Brighton & Hove Albion. This kept him out of action for a large majority of the 13/14 season. He returned to training in February 2014 and featured in a small number of games towards the end of the season. Byron was due for a contract renewal for the 14/15 season but it was delayed whilst he underwent fitness tests which were ultimately unsuccessful.

Byron Anthony announced his retirement from professional football on December 1st, 2014. However, he couldn’t stay away from football or Newport County for long…

Where is he now?

Byron Anthony is currently the Academy Manager at Newport County AFC.


David Pipe (Defender)

david pipe

David Pipe made exactly 100 league appearances for Newport County before he was released in 2014. He joined The Exiles in 2011 and helped them reach the final of the FA Trophy in 2012. Pipe was made captain of Newport County in June 2012 and remained captain for the whole of the 2012/13 season. He was also named in the 2012-13 Conference Premier team of the season after achieving promotion.

After Pipe was released in 2014, he joined National League side, Forest Green Rovers. He helped take The Rovers to the 2016 play off final where they were defeated by Grimsby Town, 3-1. After the play off final, he was released by Forest Green.

Pipe joined fellow National League side, Eastleigh just before the start of the 16/17 season on a one-year deal. He went on to make just 9 league appearances for the non-league club.

Mid-way through the season, Newport County came back for David Pipe and signed him on loan until the end of the season. Pipe returned to Newport County and definitely showed much more fight and determination for The Exiles than he did at Eastleigh. David Pipe not only helped save Newport from relegation, he was one of the heroes that helped complete the greatest relegation escape the Football League had ever seen.

On the 18th of May, Pipe was released by Eastleigh.

Where is he now?

David Pipe currently plays for Newport County. He re-signed for The Exiles on 18th May, the same day he was officially released by Eastleigh. This shows that David Pipe’s love for Newport County is still ever growing and is still a fan favourite.


Lee Minshull (Midfielder)

lee minshull

Now to move onto the first midfielder in this list, Lee Minshull. Lee Minshull joined Newport on loan from AFC Wimbledon in 2012. He also played in the FA Trophy final against York City, like many other players in this list. After Minshull was released by AFC Wimbledon at the end of his contract, he subsequently joined Newport on a permanent contract.

Just like all the players on this list, Lee played a massive part in taking County to the Football League. He played a total of 116 league games stretching through both the Conference and League Two. He also scored 13 goals throughout that time as well.

Minshull was released at the end of his contract in May 2015. On May 27th, 2015, he joined National League side, Bromley, where he spent two seasons at the club. Lee made 60 league appearances and scored 3 goals for The Ravens. However, Minshull left Bromley in 2017 to pursue a part time career in football.

Where is he now?

Lee Minshull currently plays in the 7th tier of English football for Leatherhead FC. The Isthmian Premier Division club finished 13th last season.


Alex Gilbey (Midfielder)

Alex Gilbey

Alex Gilbey was on loan at Newport County when he played in the play-off final against Wrexham. He made a small total of just 5 league appearances prior to the play off semi final and final. Whilst he was on loan from Colchester United, Gilbey certainly gave it his all to help get The Exiles into the Football League.

When his loan spell was up, he returned to his parent club, Colchester United. He spent 3 seasons at the club and became a firm fan favourite amongst The U’s fans. In his final season with the club, he was relegated to League Two in 2016. A re-visit to Rodney Parade was on the cards for Alex but he rejected a new offer from Colchester. Gilbey left the club in 2016 after being there for 9 years.

Where is he now?

Alex Gilbey currently plays for League One club, Wigan Athletic.


Michael Flynn (Midfielder)

26.12.13 Wycombe Wanderers v Newport County - Sky Bet League 2 -

Michael Flynn… aka, Mr Newport, started his footballing career at Newport County way back in 1999. He then moved to Barry Town where he scored an incredible 40 goals in just 2 seasons. Flynn was also part of the Barry side that beat Porto 3-1 in the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Michael spent a good chunk of his career in the Football League before he returned to Newport in 2012 in the Conference Premier.

Flynn played a huge part in helping The Exiles achieve promotion to the Football League. The Exiles’ promotion was extra special to Flynn as he was born and bred in Newport. The man had a huge amount of love for Newport County (he still does!) and was a huge fan favourite whilst he was playing.

Michael carried on playing for The Exiles after their promotion, he featured in the 2013/14 season and the 2014/15 season. In 2014, Flynn took over from Glyn Jones as director of Newport County’s youth academy. Academy scholars Regan Poole, Aaron Collins and Tom Owen-Evans made first team debuts under Flynn’s guidance.

On August 6th he went on to become a player-manager at the Welsh club, Undy Athletic. He didn’t stay there for long as Flynn returned to Newport County in January 2016 as the first team coach.

On the March 9th, first team manager, Graham Westley was sacked and Flynn was appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the 2016/17 season. The Exiles were 11 points adrift of safety with only 12 games remaining… Michael Flynn led Newport County to Football League survival and achieved possibly the greatest relegation escape in Football League history…

Where is he now?

Michael Flynn is currently the manager of Newport County AFC. He was appointed as permanent team manager on the 9th of May on a two-year deal.


Andy Sandell (Forward)

Andy Sandell

Andy Sandell joined Newport County on the 6th of January 2012 from Chippenham Town. Sandell finished 19th with County that season and agreed a new deal with the club to remain there for next season. Andy also stayed with The Exiles as they went into the Football League in 2013. He played through the 13/14 season and also the 14/15 season. Sandell was released in May 2015 at the end of his contract.

After his release, Andy went back to his old club, Chippenham Town. He scored 22 league goals in his first season and finished as top scorer in the league. Chippenham, themselves, finished 8th in the Southern League Premier Division.

Where is he now?

Andy Sandell currently plays for National League South side, Chippenham Town. Chippenham achieved promotion last season, finishing 1st with Sandell becoming the league’s top scorer again. He scored 27 league goals this time around.


Christian Jolley (Forward)

Jolley wembley

Christian Jolley first joined Newport County on loan from AFC Wimbledon back in 2012. During his loan spell, he scored 5 goals in just 4 games for The Exiles. After his prolific form, he was recalled by AFC Wimbledon on the 14th of December 2012. However, in January 2013, Jolley returned to Newport on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee. Christian was also named in the 2012/13 Conference Premier team of the season, alongside David Pipe.

Jolley continued playing for the County as they headed into the Football League for the 13/14 season. Sadly, Jolley couldn’t continue his goalscoring form in the Football League – he made 20 appearances but only managed to score 2 goals.

The club stuck by him through that tough season and as a result, he remained at the club for the 14/15 season.  However, that season failed to work out for him as well. Jolley later joined National League club, Forest Green Rovers on loan where he made 7 league appearances and failed to score a single goal. When Jolley returned to Newport in November 2014, he found himself short of any playing time.

On the 26th of January, 2015, Christian Jolley signed for National League club, Grimsby Town, until the end of the season. He made a total of 11 league appearances for The Mariners scoring just 1 goal. After Jolley’s contract finished at the end of the season, he went on to join National League South side, Margate FC. He played a total of 33 games and scored 2 goals for the 6th tier club.

After Jolley’s contract finished at the end of the season, he went on to join National League South side, Margate FC. He played a total of 33 games and scored 2 goals for the 6th tier club. Another unsuccessful season for Jolley saw him move to yet another club…

Where is he now?

Christian Jolley currently plays in the National League South for Hampton & Richmond Borough. He joined the club in 2016 and currently has 2 goals in 17 appearances.


Danny Crow (Forward)

crow

Danny Crow joined Newport County on a free back in 2012 from Luton Town. In the 12/13 season, Crow made a total of 20 league appearances scoring just 3 goals for The Exiles. At the end of the 12/13 season, Crow was given another contract to stay with Newport for their Football League season. Danny scored a total of 6 league goals for Newport from 2012 to 2015 and made 54 league appearances.

Crow was released by County on the 15th of January 2015 and on the same day he signed a contract with non-league club, Lowestoft Town. Crow made 41 league appearances and scored 9 goals for the club in Suffolk before having his contract terminated in 2016.

Where is he now?

Danny Crow currently plays in the 8th tier of English Football with AFC Sudbury. They were recently relegated from the Isthmian League Premier Divison.


Aaron O’Connor (Forward)

o connor

Aaron O’Connor may not have been in the starting line-up to face Wrexham but he definitely needed to be talked about. He was the man to seal promotion to the Football League when he came on as a substitute in the play-off final. O’Connor scored in the 94th minute to make it 2-0 to the County and secured a place in League Two.

He continued to play for The Exiles after their promotion but only made 4 appearances in the 13/14 season scoring 1 goal. This was due to a number of injuries he, unfortunately, sustained during the course of the season. The following season, O’Connor made much more appearances for The Exiles as he finished as Newport’s top scorer for the 14/15 season. He scored 12 goals as County finished 9th that season.

O’Connor was released in May 2015 at the end of his contract. On the 12th June 2015, he moved to the National League side, Forest Green Rovers on a one year deal. Aaron made 20 league appearances and scored 9 goals for The Rovers during his time there.

He then joined League Two club, Stevenage, on a one-month loan deal on the 15th of January, 2016. On 1 February 2016, he secured a permanent move to Stevenage after he had his contract cancelled by Forest Green by mutual consent. However, after scoring just 1 goal for Stevenage (which was against Newport County) he was released by Stevenage.

Where is he now?

Aaron O’Connor currently plays for Kettering Town in the 7th tier of English Football. He joined the club in 2016 and currently has 15 goals in 37 league appearances.


 

By Dylan Scarborough (@Scaarbs)

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