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CHRISTMAS FANS' ZONE


RETURNING PLAYERS HELP UNITED TO FA TROPHY VICTORY AS BOXING DAY DERBY LOOMS


It wasn’t pretty, in fact it was hard work, but United squeaked past a determined Chesham United side with a 1-0 victory to ‘win’ £4,500 prize money in Saturday’s FA Trophy 3rd Round thanks to a smart free kick move orchestrated by Armani Little and finished by Josh Umerah.

The positives to come out of the match were game time for Little, Moxey, Buse returning from injuries as well as 90 minutes for Waters, Warren and Umerah.

Importantly, it brings home that winning feeling before Yeovil Town’s visit to Plainmoor on Boxing Day. And let’s be honest, those of us who were soaked to the skin watching a 6-2 hammering last year deserve something much better.

In United’s last two league fixtures they’ve been put under the cosh by tricky, pacy wingers whilst without specialist full-backs, no more so than Jamar Loza at King’s Lynn. Well, the Gulls can look forward to seeing him again as on Friday he moved, for an undisclosed fee, to Woking, for whom he has previously played, scoring 9 in 43 appearances for the Cards.

Now following Yeovil’s withdrawal from their FA Trophy match due to two suspected Covid cases United know they will travel on January 16 to Boreham Wood in Round 4. As it has turned out the two Yeovil players tested negative so the Boxing Day derby goes ahead.

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More changes in football’s rules are on the horizon. Having tried and failed for a third time for five substitutes in the Premier League, recently agreed in the Championship and Leagues 1 & 2, there was agreement for the number of subs available to be increased from seven on the bench to nine The availability of extra numbers is thought to be in preparation for the trial of permanent concussion substitutes, likely to start in January.

This column drew attention recently to the growing concern for the link between heading and dementia so it is heartening that there is some positive action about to take place. The trial is a result of the International Football Association Board’s consultations and recommendations from its concussion expert group to allow additional substitutions for players with actual or suspected concussion. This should be endorsed by all leagues.

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We are all aware there are numerous contradictory Covid-19 rules that are difficult to explain but no more so than in football.

Puzzle these out: Newcastle, just over 10 days ago, had 12 squad players self-isolating resulting in their training ground being closed down yet they still played their Premier League fixture against WBA and won 2-1.

Neighbours Sunderland last week were without eight first-teamers following a Covid-19 outbreak but played out a 1-1 draw with Wimbledon.

Dover, however had one member of staff testing positive and, as a result, had their next four matches called off.

Bromley and Barnet are the latest National League clubs to postpone their Christmas fixtures.

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Out of this Covid-19 adversity has come the welcome availability of live streaming, albeit some with quirky commentaries given by local unknowns, but a real boon to those not sure about returning to live football and, of course, for all those exiles around the UK and the World. And the club has confirmed streaming from Plainmoor will continue “ for the foreseeable future.”

But for those old enough, cast your minds back almost 40 years ago - and how then did football fans get their Torquay United news, especially if you lived away from the Bay and the Herald Express Well, the answer was Club Call. Remember that? It all began in 1986.

Now you can get your football news at the click of a mouse or a swipe of a phone but back then? Football fans, unless you were fortunate enough to follow a club with large newspaper coverage, were lured into using premium rate hotlines relaying pre-recorded news, gossip and statistics. It must have been a great money spinner as the calls cost a maximum 50p a minute - typically 25p to 38p - and in a ten minute call the most important piece of information came right at the end . Club Call’s heydays were in the 1990s and at one point they had 12 million calls in a season with top clubs getting as many as 2,500 a day and even lower league teams had 500 daily. To call your team you had to dial 0898 followed by your club’s unique numbers. So what were United’s, can anyone remember?

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Last week’s request for alternative run-out music brought some interesting responses, with strong feelings, ranging from traditionalists wanting to keep Robert Miles’ ‘Children’ and Herb Albert’s ‘A Banda’ to having songs from Metallica and Yazz.

So let’s keep this theme open for another week, giving you something to do over the Christmas period. Send your suggestion to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com.

To the club’s directors, management, staff, players and all the Yellow Army a very Happy and Safe Christmas from TUST.

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