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FANS’ ZONE 05/02/2022


TUST MEMBERS OFF TO HOUSE OF COMMONS FOR FAN-LED REVIEW DISCUSSIONS Following a meeting of three TUST board members with Torbay MP Kevin Foster before Christmas to discuss the implications of the Fan-Led Review report compiled by Tracey Crouch MP, a former Sports Minister, the Torquay United Supporters Trust have been invited to the House of Commons next month.

This is a great opportunity to meet with Ms Crouch in person as she is keen to understand how important her report is to a typical supporters’ trust and to learn first hand how vital it is for the sustainability and integrity of football for fans to be involved in the running of a community club.

TUST chairman Michel Thomas said, “We are delighted to have been asked to represent the hundreds of trusts who contributed to the report, to personally give our feedback.” A group of five TUST board members will be joined by Kevin Foster in March.

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There was a great surprise for the Torquay United Community Sports Trusts’ youngsters when the 3-5 year olds arrived at The Hub, Paignton Academy for their Mini Gulls session where Thomas and board member Bob Cole of TUST, were on hand to present them with a pair of new mini- goals. See the picture below.

Matt Anthony, TUCST manager was delighted, “We are very grateful to TUST for buying these portable mini-goals which will be a great addition to our fun training sessions.”

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This was a big weekend for two local women’s teams in the FA Cup, Exeter City’s women took the West Bromwich Albion women to penalties after finishing the match and extra time goal-less going down 4-2.

Bridgwater United, formerly Yeovil Town women, were watched by an amazing 2,500 as visitors Manchester United took the tie 2-0.

After last week’s Devon County semi-final win it was back to league action for Torquay United women coming from behind to grab a hard fought 2-1 win over Marine Academy Plymouth thanks to a Tracey Cross penalty with the winner coming from Esme Kilburn-Thompson.

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It was a case of a Harvey Field day as the Torquay United youngster hit a second half hat-trick in the Under-18s emphatic 10-0 demolition of second placed Swindon Supermarine with six others on the score sheet.

As Head of Youth Chris Todd said, “They’re a talented bunch of lads and it’s all down to them and their hard work on a daily basis.”

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It’s been a busy last few days of the January transfer window as far as a number of National League clubs are concerned although there is no transfer window below the EFL. Wrexham, in particular, have ‘splashed the American cash’ bringing in Crewe Alexander’s defender Callum McFadzean, AFC Wimbledon striker Ollie Palmer for £300,000 but topping that with an unconfirmed £500,000 for Tom O’Connor, a midfielder from Burton Albion following a 1-1 home draw with star striker Paul Mullin sent off for the second time against Maidenhead this season.

This is turning into the tightest of promotion races as there are only nine points between top and ninth.

Mullin’s red card means he’ll miss his team’s match with United on Saturday as he did in the earlier fixture for the same reason.

There were big money transfers moving up into the EFL with Woking’s leading scorer Tahvon Campbell making a move to Rochdale along with Solihull’s James Ball while Stockport’s John Rooney returned to Barrow for an undisclosed fee.

On the manager front Eastleigh’s Ben Stevens parted company with the club as has Chesterfield’s James Rowe while Bromley’s Andy Woodman turned down an offer to manage Gillingham. In League 1 Gary Johnson’s son, Lee, departed Sunderland following a 6-0 defeat at Bolton.

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Non-League Crowd Watch: With no Premier League matches a number of clubs had bumper attendances: Wrexham had 8,759 but full credit to Southend fans - all 1,935 who travelled to watch a 1-0 win at bottom club Dover outnumbering the home support.

Record numbers of 1,254 watched Bedford Town win 2-0 including yet another Renee Howe penalty.

Other noteworthy crowds: 8 clubs in National North had crowds of over 1,000 the best being at York City 3,578, Kidderminster Harriers 2,334. In other leagues: Macclesfield 4,347, Ilkeston Town 2,428, FC Isle of Man 1,505, Ramsgate 1,625, AFC Bury 1,343 and Ashford Utd 1,134.

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This season has seen a rise in football related arrests for crowd trouble which the police are part relating to drug misuse. The problem appears to have escalated since the incidents at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final when the stadium was taken over by ticketless fans.

Across the Premier League, EFL and the National League there have been over 1,400 incidents of disorder reported including use of pyrotechnics, alcohol, pitch encroachment and hate crimes.

Sadly, there have been incidents involving Gulls’ fans, firstly at Wrexham earlier in the season and more recently the Boxing Day match against Yeovil Town.

Disorder in League 2 is up by 33% and in the National League by 56 per cent. So far this season there have been 802 football related arrests across all the divisions, that’s a 47% increase since pre-lockdown in 2019-20 season. 210 reported incidents of disorder involved supporters under the age of 25.

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Programmes or magazines or online programmes? You were asked your opinions, many older readers, if they bought a programme preferred the ‘old fashioned’ type - one that is up-to-date and including, amongst other things the match officials. The ‘new’ magazine seems to have to go to print much earlier for it to be ‘glossy’ and therefore is out of date.

Reader Tony Benet raised a number of interesting points, as an exile he listens to radio commentary so an online version would be welcomed - maybe paid for. But for those who still collect programmes nothing beats a hard copy.

What’s your view. Do you still collect programmes or are they outdated? Send me your opinion to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or to Twitter: @FanszoneT

Big spending Wrexham are next up having sold out their seating allocation - a big crowd is in prospect so Yellow Army get that drum out and make some noise.

COYY


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