When Steve Tully played in the unfamiliar right wing role against Port Vale on Saturday, it brought up an important milestone, for it was his 400th career appearance at “Senior” (i.e. Conference and higher) level, spread across three different clubs in the South West. Exeweb would like to celebrate this important milestone with a brief retrospective of his career to date.
Born in Paignton in 1980, Tully begun his career with Torquay, making his Gulls debut in November 1997 with a sub appearance at Barnet a month after his 17th birthday. He scored the first of three goals in Torquay colours the following season, the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Leyton Orient. He would go on to make 125 appearances for Torquay before being somewhat surprisingly released in the summer of 2002. Dropping out of the league, in fact he dropped down a couple of levels to line up for Weymouth.
When City went in for Lee Phillips in the 04/05 season, Tully made his way back to Devon alongside him, only to find himself behind the legendary Scott Hiley in the pecking order, his two sub appearances giving him a combined tally of 13 minutes of playing time before he headed back to Weymouth in the summer.
With Hiley gone and Danny Woodards shortly to also depart, City were in the market for a new right back in January 2007 and, when Weymouth suffered financial difficulties, Paul Tisdale swooped to land the trio of Richard Logan, Lee Elam and Tully. At the time it was wondered whether Tully could slot in to replace the effervescent Woodards, but the fans needn’t have worried as he helped City reach the playoffs with a series of assured displays.
A good honest pro who works tirelessly down his flank, Tully was a firm fixture in the glorious 07/08 Conference promotion season, one blip being his first red card in City colours, against his former employers in a 3-1 defeat at Weymouth. His status as a cult hero to the City faithful was cemented during that memorable post-match interview after City’s 4-1 destruction of Torquay where, to the watching millions on Setanta he managed to utter the “f” word not once but twice.
Until this season, he has made the right back slot his own at City, and has currently made 248 appearances. It’s fair to say goals aren’t his forté, with just two to his name so far in City’s colours – the first came in a 3-0 romp against Brentford in October 2009, the other the following season in a 2-0 win at Notts County. His red card tally in fact eclipses that of his goals, the last of which however was ridiculous in the extreme in a 5-1 defeat to ref Karl Evans, sorry, Colchester United, in March 2011. Executing a perfect sliding tackle just outside the box, City’s players, management and supporters were flabbergasted to hear a whistle and even more so to see a red card brandished. Evans now refs in the Conference. Lucky old Conference.
Steve Tully also appeared in the Kit Kat Cross Your Fingers’ TV Advert, exiting the tunnel at Millwall. See it here.
The Exeweb editorial team congratulates Tully on reaching this milestone, and here’s to many more solid displays in the red ‘n’ white.