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FAN ZONE 05/08/2022




FOOTBALL’S BACK HOME SO LET’S SEE UNITED WOMEN PLAY AT PLAINMOOR

TUST SUPPORTS STROKE CITY WALKING FOOTBALL TEAM


It’s home, football’s come back in front of 87,192 at Wembley and 17.4 million watching on BBC TV. Thanks to the Lionesses national pride has been restored as England triumphed over Germany in extra time with their 2-1 victory in the Euro 22 Final.

What a boost too for women’s football to inspire all young girls to not only play football but, if good enough, to be a professional.

England’s success has come at a timely moment not only for the morale of the country but closer to home as Torquay United’s Women side have become an integral part of Torquay United. The men’s and women’s sides wearing the same kit are under the same club umbrella.

As this column has been asking for some time and now the women’s skipper, Danni Wyatt, has joined in - let’s see Plainmoor host a league game and allow the Yellow Army inside to support the Devon FA Cup winners.

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The countdown has begun and there are only a day to go before the new National League season starts with the arrival of recently relegated Oldham Athletic. Will the Gulls be ‘oven-ready’?

Will Gary Johnson’s new-look squad fit together like a jigsaw and look like the picture on the box It’s not long to find out.

With Oldham under new ownership, led by extrovert local businessman Frank Rothwell the Latics are sure to give United an opening day test and no doubt will have a decent following so let’s get Plainmoor rocking in the Riviera sunshine. A large crowd creates a buzzing atmosphere which hopefully will encourage United to entertain and play like rock stars.

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For any holiday visitors in the Bay reading this, book your tickets before Saturday as on the day there’s a £2 surcharge or put another way, you get a £2 discount before Saturday! No cash or card readers on the turnstiles but the ticket office is open.

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Long standing football supporters still want a physical programme in their hand and whilst there’s a trend developing towards online versions fortunately Torquay still have the 1899 magazine to buy. So if you want these to continue make sure you purchase a copy from one of the several programme sellers around Plainmoor.

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This is the time of the year for all those pundits out there to put their reputations on the line and look into their crystal ball to predict the National League table at the end of the season.

And it seems all agree that their top sevens will include Chesterfield, Wrexham, Solihull Moors and Notts County. The order they appear might vary and the final make-up of the play-offs will include a variety of clubs.

Adam Virgo, BT Sport: Wrexham, Chesterfield, Notts County, Solihull Moors, FC Halifax, Aldershot Town, Woking.

The Honest Football Podcast: Wrexham, Chesterfield, Dagenham & Redbridge, Solihull Moors, Oldham Athletic, Scunthorpe Utd, Notts County

Official National League Predictions: Wrexham, Chesterfield, Notts County, Solihull Moors, Oldham Athletic, Torquay United, FC Halifax

Fans’ Zone: Chesterfield, Solihull Moors, Wrexham, Southend United, Notts County, Dagenham & Redbridge, Torquay United.

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How did many of these teams fare in their final pre-season matches on Saturday? AFC Fylde 2 Oldham Athletic 1, Altrincham 2 Man Utd XI 1, Bromley 1 Chelsea XI 1, Concord Rangers 2 Southend United 1, Dorking Wanderers 0 Chelsea XI 4, Farsley Celtic 1 Scunthorpe United 5, Farnborough Town 1 Maidenhead United 0, Hampton & Richmond 0 Woking 1, Havant & Waterlooville 0 Aldershot Town 0, Maidstone United 2 Dulwich Hamlet 2, St. Albans City 2 Barnet 1, York City 0 Notts County 1, Wealdstone 0 Chelmsford City 3, Weston-Super-Mare 0 Yeovil Town 1, Wrexham 4 Macclesfield Town 0.

Torquay finished their pre-season preparations with a 3-1 victory against Truro City despite playing the bulk of the game with ten men after Ali Omar’s 7th minute red card. Hopefully, some of the squad left out due to minor injuries will be available for selection on Saturday but we all know Johnson keeps team news very close to his chest.

He is, though, looking for a big home crowd for as he says, “Positive support will help everybody at the end of the day.”

With latest addition Ben Wyatt, formerly at Sutton United, one hopes that, for the time being, his signing is the final piece of the jigsaw.

Saturday’s opening EFL season saw an ex-Gulls reunion with Stockport’s Joe Lewis on the losing side to Ben Whitfield and Billy Waters’ Barrow - and both scored. Lemonheigh-Evans wasn’t in Stockport’s match day squad.

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Steve Elswood, the Women’s manager, was also busy signing players last week. In come strikers Molly Orr-Love from Peterborough United Ladies and Nashya Paz from Shaldon Ladies while mid-fielder Leah Brooks has re-signed.

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We already know the cross-bar challenge is returning as half-time entertainment, could the 50-50 draw also return and what about having ball boys/girls too? Other clubs seem to have flag waving children for when the teams enter the pitch from the tunnel.

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As part of TUST’s commitment to the local community, a donation of £500 has been made to Stroke City, a local walking football team whose players have either had a stroke, are at diagnosed risk of a stroke or are friends and carers of those living with stroke.

Stroke City spokesman Jerry Byford had this to say, “We would like to thank TUST for the wonderful donation; it is a contribution that will make a huge difference to our sustainability. It will help us to remove a barrier to those who cannot afford to play and it helps us meet the increasing cost of facility hire.”

TUST board members went recently to join in a session with evenings held at the Torbay Leisure Centre. Currently players range from 20 to 76 with the club being all inclusive. Sessions encourage physical recovery, group activity helping improve mental health. The club has the full support of NHS Torbay and South Devon and has proved so inspirational that other similar clubs have opened in Bristol, Plymouth and Poole.

Byford added, “Our purpose is to demonstrate that stroke is not an ‘end’, it may be a place one finds oneself but with the inspiration and encouragement of others walking football can make our players feel a part of something.”

Further details can be found at: torbaystroke@gmail.com.

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Here’s this week’s challenge, where will Torquay finish at the end of the season? Send your prediction to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT

Let’s make some noise on Saturday.

COYY











 


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