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Fan Zone 06/03/2023



THREE DEFEATS ON THE SPIN AS UNITED FAIL TO MOVE UP THE TABLE PUBLICATION OF THE FAN-LED WHITE PAPER AT LAST

UNITED WOMEN CLOSING IN ON TITLE


What a difference a week makes. A week ago last Saturday after Torquay United despatched Barnet back to London following a terrific 2-1 victory for the Gulls, supporters went home with renewed hope in their hearts that United were going to avoid the dreaded drop into part-time regional football. I even wrote about green shoots of recovery.

So fast forward to last Tuesday and that crucial six-pointer at fellow strugglers Dorking Wanderers, winless in 2023. A sending off for Kieron Evans turned the match upside down and bizarrely the home side were allowed to score two identical goals within four minutes of each other; the defending was not existent.

This then brings us to last Saturday’s embarrassing defeat to cash strapped Southend United who appeared in the High Court on Wednesday facing a winding-up petition but an eleventh hour payment of the outstanding £1.4m saved the day - for the time being.

United need to find five or six wins from the last fourteen games. And on Saturday’s evidence this is a very tall order with clubs going into, what’s termed, ‘the business end of the season’.

Defeat to Southend underlined the fact there are very few of the current squad who are up to National League standard.

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In the main Torquay supporters are very tolerant and whilst there’s an element of the fan base calling, on social media, for a change of manager, those inside Plainmoor are still loyal to Gary Johnson. The owner and directors are fully behind him too.

Where it has all gone wrong on the playing side, the same cannot be said off the pitch as the club continues to promote and develop its community involvement.

Following on from the popular Matchday Ambassadors, manned by TUST officials during the National South season, comes a new initiative, Matchday Accessibility Ambassadors. On Saturday United joined the Level Playing Fields campaign ‘Unite For Access’ - a celebration of accessibility and inclusion for disabled sports fans. A club spokesman said, “We are committed to making TUAFC accessible to all and will continue to take steps to improve.”

This coincided with the new Ambassadors, fans Sam Balsdon and Rhys Morgan-Vale, whose role is to meet and greet and help with supporter queries, in their purple jackets.

In recent weeks the club has opened its doors to over 100 local children for tours of the stadium along with meeting the manager and players for autographs and selfies.

This follows on from the VIP Treats for local children with autism and other learning difficulties, sponsored by TUST, giving these youngsters an opportunity to watch live professional football along with a parent/carer.

And earlier last month the Women’s team player and assistant manager, Danni Wyatt, became the club’s first ever #HerGameToo ambassador.

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All is not well at Somerset rivals Yeovil Town where fans have had enough of owner Scott Priestnall’s lack of communication with supporters along with his perceived mismanagement. The Glovers’ Trust have issued an ultimatum that unless there is a meeting with the owner by Thursday there will be a sit-in after Saturday’s home fixture.

There were, before the weekend, a sudden change of events with a swift takeover - more on this next week.

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National League Crowd Watch: Following Notts County’s surprise home defeat Wrexham, in front of 10,053, closed the gap at the top. County had 7,441 and faltering Chesterfield still pulled in 7,347. In National North the best attendances were Boston United 1,686 and Darlington 1,551. In the South St Albans had 1,589. Meanwhile Macclesfield pulled in the crowds away from home with 1,670 at Workington.

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The long awaited and much promised Government White Paper on football governance, as set in motion by the Fan-Led Review, was finally published last Thursday. Predictably, the Premier League are dismayed that football will now have an independent regulator while the majority of fans are welcoming it with open arms.

Over the coming weeks the implications of the White Paper will become clearer, but what is certain is that fans will be given greater engagement and empowerment in the running of their clubs putting them at the heart of decision making processes. It is also expected to see more monies being distributed from the Premier League down through the pyramid.

TUST was pleased to have been involved in the Fan-Led Review consultation process last year culminating in meeting with its Chair, Tracey Crouch MP, in Westminster.

This momentous change in the running of football has been heralded as a big opportunity to change football for the better but how owners and directors react will be telling.

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It’s getting exciting at the top of the Women’s South-West Premier League following United’s Women’s team 3-0 victory over previous leaders Forest Green on Sunday. In a hard fought game goals from leading scorer Connie Pengelly (2) and Bex McMullin put United joint top, second on goal difference, but with a game in hand on new leaders Bristol Rovers. With four games left winning promotion is in their own hands.

“It was another clean sheet and overall it was a commanding performance,” was manager Steve Elswood’s assessment.

The Club’s Under-18s went on a goal spree in pursuit of their title. After a goal-less first half United hit seven, with seven different scorers, against visitors Bath City.

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No VAR thanks in the National League was the emphatic vote last week. Amazingly, the number of National League TV streaming passes purchased by Wrexham fans from December to February has generated revenue of £225,000.

How many Torquay fans stream matches? Do you? Send your ‘yes’ answer to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT.

Another big game on Tuesday night, did United get back to winning ways over a tough Bromley side? The answer was sadly ‘no’. Saturday sees United making the trip to Aldershot.

COYY








 


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