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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 06/04/2023




It’s a classic American World War 2 film first shown in 1963 starring Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Garner and Richard Attenborough when 250 prisoners of war attempt to find freedom through three tunnels they’ve dug. In the end only 76 make it and who can forget McQueen’s motorcycle and jump scene? It is, of course, the Great Escape.

With Torquay United sitting in the relegation zone now for much of the season, two successive wins on the road, their first back-to-back victories since January, have suddenly made those who sees things half full start to dream of another Great Escape, which wouldn’t be the first in the history of the Gulls.


Saturday’s trip to fellow strugglers Scunthorpe, only last year they were in League 2, was a six pointer of all six pointers and thanks to that real professional Lewis Collins the crucial three points went the way of Torquay. A great way to thank the 158 Yellow Army who made the trip.

There is no doubting the huge difference Kevin Dawson, Frank Nouble, Lewis Collins and Jack Stobbs, the most recent signings, have made to the side, not forgetting the magnificent Man of the Match performances by Nico Lawrence.

On this particular occasion the Non-League Paper have, in their Team of the Day, Mark Halstead and Dean Moxey with Gary Johnson as Top Boss while the Vanarama Team of the Week has Halstead and Lewis Collins.


The FA released figures last week for how much individual clubs have spent on agents’ fees in the National League. Unsurprisingly, Wrexham top the list with a whopping £163,737 followed by Oldham £80,747 and third Chesterfield £77,194. Other notable figures: Notts County £68,379, Dagenham & Redbridge £32,000 and York £27,937. Torquay come in quite low down on £16,583.


Saturday’s win was United’s sixth 1-0 success this season not close to a record 12 in 2011-12 and it was Halstead’s seventh clean sheet.

Starting from January 7 this is the club’s seventeenth consecutive fixture in which they have scored at least one goal.

Next up it’s Eastleigh visiting Plainmoor on Good Friday for ‘Torbay Together’ day so let’s get the ground rocking as the players have a new resolve to close the gap on Aldershot, who have just appointed a new manager in King’s Lynn’s Tommy Widdrington, York and Yeovil. Both Gateshead and Dorking seem to have found enough form to pull away from danger.

Then on Easter Monday it’s a trip to Maidenhead. And TUST are pleased to donate £500 towards this trip to help subsidise the costs for those in the Yellow Army who are making the journey.


Whilst no club has a right to be in any league, there are plenty who feel Torquay should be in the EFL and this is backed up after an all-time table of club’s cumulative football league positions since 1888 was recently published showing Torquay United sit 87th - that’s a place in League 2.

Oh, those were the days.

***** Non-League Crowd Watch: Once again Wrexham pulled in a big crowd, 9,910. Yeovil went down 2-0 at home with 3,630 thanks to a special price deal and Scunthorpe had 3,467. Elsewhere Macclesfield clinched the Northern Premier West Division championship with a 3-1 home win in front of 4,034. Dartford trying to chase Ebbsfleet in National South attracted 1,202. In the FA Vase Ascot United won on a penalty shoot-out at Wiltshire side Corsham Town with 1,736 watching to go through to a Wembley final. Meanwhile, in the Isthmian League South Central Division it was top Walton & Hersham versus second Basingstoke Town in front of 1,651 with Walton winning 5-1. It was Wembley heartache for Plymouth Argyle in their Papa Johns Trophy final with 40,000 Green Army in attendance.


Last week in Parliament Tracey Crouch MP, the chair of the Fan-Led Review, and Kevin Miles CEO of the Football Supporters Association, answered questions posed by the Government’s DCMS committee on the football White Paper. All agreed that there is cross-party support for this to go through Parliament in its next session.

A key element is to put in place a shadow regulator as soon as possible so when the go-ahead is given - next year - the new independent regulator will be up and running.

The White Paper is designed to support fans whose clubs are reluctant to engage with their supporters. Clubs should not ‘hand-pick’ fans to form part of their board, it should be a representative number who are chosen.


Rather than sit through a nerve-wracking listen to the match commentary from Lincolnshire, I went to watch the runaway leaders of National South, Ebbsfleet United, in a healthy crowd of 958 at Taunton, fighting for points to stay away from the relegation zone.

The game, a feisty affair which saw the home side reduced to ten men for the final minutes, was a tale of two offsides: Taunton ‘scored’ what they thought was a good goal in the first half but ruled out while the visitors scored three minutes into stoppage time which Taunton’s players claimed should have been disallowed.

Ebbsfleet, full-time in the South, are 21 points clear of Dartford, and have two ex-Gulls: Elliot Romain was an unused sub and currently injured Shaquile Coulthirst who told me he enjoyed his loan spell from Spurs at the time under Chris Hargreaves.


United’s Under-18s went back to the top of the table following a 4-0 win over BRS Coaching, goals from Jayden Gilbert (2), Kai Swann and Brandon Gilbert. The Under-13s, after a 5-1 win over SSW Somerset, clinched the league title as champions.


What’s gone wrong at Plainmoor was last week’s question. Not surprisingly there are plenty of opinions ranging from poor recruitment last summer to change the manager. Season ticket holder Lee Cross puts some of the problems down to tactics.

Mind you, the mini revival of last week may put a different perspective on things.

Maidstone are already relegated and Scunthorpe look likely to follow them so the last two places are between Torquay, Yeovil, Gateshead, York and Aldershot. Six games left, 18 points at stake. It’s all to play for.

Who are the other two to go down? Send your two teams to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT.

Get down to Plainmoor on Good Friday, especially all those in local clubs and community groups to take advantage of the club’s £1 entry on ‘Torbay Together’ day - a very generous gesture.





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