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  • Writer's pictureTUST

FAN ZONE 03/09/2022


Every football fan starts off a new season full of hope and expectation. Whilst pre-season friendlies help to showcase new signings they are not always a barometer of how the impending campaign is going to pan out.

Will the newcomers be better than the ones who left or will the manager’s recruitment come back to haunt him?

Torquay United’s start, four defeats on the spin with only two goals scored, and the second after over 500 minutes of blanks, is not what anyone hoped, be they the club’s owner, directors, management or the Yellow Army.

Gary Johnson might well have been upset at the manner of defeat at Maidstone on Saturday, a team which had shipped nine goals in its previous two games but this was nothing compared with the reaction of long-suffering United supporters whose loyalty was seemingly stretched to the limits.

Then to cap it all, the Bank Holiday weekend went from bad to worse when, after taking the lead, United caved in as visitors Woking hit three in quick time. It was a demoralising Monday for the manager and fans and hopefully the players, many of whom seemed totally out of their depth.

It was alarming to see how many 50-50 tackles were lost and to be beaten so easily in the air. Not one of Dean Moxey’s long throws or Ryan Hanson’s were met by a Torquay head all afternoon.

Clearly, there is a huge loss of confidence and a losing mentality.


That the club has an experienced manager suggests he will not put up with sub-standard performances for long but unfortunately this new campaign is already turning into a copy of the previous season’s poor start.

Even after six games United are having to play catch-up. Johnson says wait until ten have been played but on this form it’s going to take a lot of hard work and the need for a couple of street-wise National League savvy players to be brought in. Is there the budget or will to do this?


Surprisingly, in these early days of the season part-time Wealdstone have had a great start with a part-time manager, Stuart Maynard, whose main job is a BT engineer.

His players meet only two evenings a week yet play a brand of football which is proving to be both successful and entertaining.


Some social media comments have picked up on the fact that a number of the summer signings have come from clubs which lost more than they won: Ryan Hanson (Dover Athletic), Brett McGavin (King’s Lynn) - both relegated from the National League - Ross Marshall (Stevenage, who flirted with relegation from League 2), Aaron Jarvis (Scunthorpe United - relegated from League 2) and Corie Andrews whose parent club, Wimbledon, were relegated plus a spell at struggling Aldershot.

Yes, this is true but these lads if they want to make a living in football have to step up to the level required; a good percentage of Johnson signings go on to better themselves making the grade higher up the football pyramid.

The recurring loss of key players to injury is also a major factor and it would be true to say that Johnson has yet to pick from his preferred, on paper, starting eleven.

With only four more left before the magical ten we can see if this is going to be a top seven finish, a mid-table ending or a relegation battle.

What is clear is these players need to play with freedom and enjoy what they’re doing. The danger for the club is the likely dropping off of support through the gates; plenty of families have been seen at these early home games but with the cost of living crisis and winter bills to pay, the team needs to be winning to retain their loyalty.


National League Crowd Watch: Chesterfield’s home win on Friday night was watched by 7,094 and Oldham recorded a late win over Aldershot in front of 6,635 while Boreham Wood could only find 807 to watch them draw on Saturday.

Monday’s gates: 7,004 at Notts County, York pulled in 6,833 and up and coming Macclesfield romped to a 5-0 home win over Widnes with 3,140 watching.


The club’s recent Community Fun Day was in aid of raising funds for a defibrillator, a much needed piece of equipment and within the last few weeks various incidents have shown how important and life saving they are: a Chippenham player had his life saved when he collapsed during a recent National South fixture while on Saturday the matches between AFC Dunstable and Hertford Town and Willand Rovers v. Lymington Town were both abandoned when players were seriously injured. In the former a defibrillator was used.


Corie Andrews, 25 next month, has had an interesting past history beginning his football journey at Crystal Palace playing alongside Wilfried Zaha before being released at the age of 19. He was then picked up by Whyteleafe whose management team helped him fall back in love with the game. Andrews said, “They gave me the chance to come in and I have felt like myself again.”

After Whyteleafe he moved on to Kingstonian where his goalscoring attracted AFC Wimbledon and he duly moved to Plough Lane in the January transfer window 2021.

He had loan spells at Aldershot (20 matches, 9 goals) and Colchester United (11 games, one goal) before his summer move to Plainmoor. He said on joining Wimbledon, “I have got ambitions to get as far as I can in the game but I want to take it step by step.”

He’s now playing for the Gulls in the National League with the opportunity to make a name for himself. Like all strikers he just needs that first goal to get him off and running.


The highlights from the Maidstone match show what fine margins there are in football with Andrews oh so close to opening his account on two occasions and then with one on Monday.

He does, though, appear pre-occupied with much of his energy used in personal battles between him and his markers.

And what an impressive professional production the Maidstone media team put together with goal highlights, action replays and even shots from in and behind the goal, plus a fun commentary duo.


Good luck to United’s Women’s side who start their league campaign on Sunday with a tough trip to Sherborne Ladies.

TUST sends its condolences to the families of ex-Gull Dave Rudge and supporter Kay Swift who both passed away recently; fans observed a minute’s silence on Monday afternoon.

How would you fix United’s current situation? Send your views to: fanszone.tu@gmail.comor Twitter: @FanszoneT

Safe travels to the Yellow Army for Saturday’s trip to Southend.





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