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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 01/09/2023





Torbay footballer Don Ford is walking tall following his performance in the England Over 50s team as they won the Walking World Cup at St George’s over the Bank Holiday weekend. Ford, who plays for Torquay United under the umbrella of the Community Sports Trust, helped England to victory in a penalty shoot-out against the Czech Republic in the final.

Ford said, “Absolutely fantastic experience and to win the World Cup was amazing.”


Torquay United’s National South side are a long way from winning any cup or title but although performances have not been what many would like, four wins on the spin is a decent start to ensure the Gulls are flying high near the top of this league as they should be being full-time professionals.

But it’s not pretty and not flowing football. Saturday at Slough and Monday home to Braintree it was a case of ‘no show’ first halves. I don’t know what is said at half-time but can only guess; the cost of replacement hair dryers must be increasing game by game.

On Saturday it was Brad Ash to the rescue as, if those there had their way, the flames would have been licking around the manager’s tenure. Then on Monday it took a 95th minute penalty, won and neatly despatched by Aaron Jarvis to save the day.

As one fan commented, “We have good players but not a good team.”


It’s a far cry from United teams of yesteryear as those with long memories can trot off players and teams which produced winning, entertaining football. No more so than prolific goal scorer Robin Stubbs who last Thursday, August 24 in 1963 made his United debut in a 1-1 home draw with Tranmere Rovers. Stubbs still attends home games sitting in the Directors’ Box at Plainmoor.

News on two other ex-Gulls: sadly Andy Donnelly died last week at age 80. Donnelly or ‘Handy Andy’ as he was affectionately known, was a great goalkeeper despite his lack of inches. In total, between 1967 and 1972 he played 160 games for United before playing in South Africa for ten years.

A few weeks ago we brought you news of Paul Holmes who had been unwell with cancer and about whom super fan Helen Chamberlain raised awareness to crowdfund for a giant TV. Needless-to-say the money was raised in super quick time.

Now the club are holding a special event in Boots & Laces on Sunday September 10 at 2pm with a number of ex-players in attendance. In addition there is an online signed shirt auction. All details at


Yet more ex-Gulls news: how about this? On Saturday in the Southern League Premier Division AFC Totton met Hanwell Town. Nothing unusual here except Scott Rendell opened the scoring for AFC Totton who went on to win 5-3 with Elliot Benyon netting Hanwell’s third. Many will remember Rendell and Benyon had a useful partnership up front for Torquay a while back.


Saturday’s Non-League Crowd Watch: Southend v Eastleigh 5,696, Hartlepool v AFC Fylde 4,376, Bury FC v Cheadle Town 3,235, Hereford v Peterborough Sports 2,510, FC United v Macclesfield 2,342.

Bank Holiday Monday’s Non-League Crowd Watch: Chesterfield v Hartlepool 8,451, Oldham v Solihull Moors 6,815, Torquay v Braintree 2,543, Maidstone Utd v Taunton Town 2,014.


Last week Southend United appeared in the High Court once again to hear the judge say, “If this was not a football club with the attachment of its fans, I would be winding you up today.”

As a result of the club’s failure to pay its HMRC tax bill, the National League, as promised, has docked the club 10 points, subject to an appeal, dumping them bottom of the table. In Friday night’s game fans, to show their displeasure, threw tennis balls onto the pitch in the 10th minute to show their feelings at the way the club is being run.

The club’s supporters’ trust - The Shrimpers Trust - has had conversations with interested parties thinking about taking over the club from Ron Martin with currently an Australian favourite, and tellingly had this to say, “We have made it abundantly clear to everybody we have spoken to that supporter involvement should be a key component of any new structure.”

The trust continued, “We believe this to be the only way to avoid our beloved football club being at the mercy of unscrupulous and/or deficient owners again and to ensure that supporters are afforded a voice in the running and direction of the club.”


It’s been a rough start for two National League managers as both Eastleigh and York City have sacked theirs even before the magical ‘judge us on ten games’.

Torquay United’s Women’s side have had a tough start to life in a higher division. Their opening league fixture ended in defeat and on Sunday were knocked out of the league cup when opponents Moneyfields scored a late winner. United now go again in the Plate competition.


Saturday sees United travel to Aveley, a side the Gulls have never played. Aveley, based in Essex, were founded in 1927 and play at Parkside with a ground capacity of 3,500. For a team that’s just been promoted they’ve made a solid start and play on a 3G pitch.

So, what’s your view on Torquay’s start?

or Twitter/X: @FanszoneT.





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