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FAN ZONE 09/07/2022



NEW NAMES, NEW SQUAD, NEW OPPORTUNITIES - HAS JOHNSON GOT IT RIGHT?


The life of a football fan during the close season is an interesting one - forget all about football and concentrate on cricket and Wimbledon tennis or keep hoping your club signs a star player?


As it turned out, weeks of waiting for transfer news peppered with speculation of names of players available and the Yellow Army hoping they might be signed ended on the day the players returned for pre-season training when five new players were announced in quick succession.


Yes, the new intake aren’t household marquee names but we get the feeling that these lads are a higher quality than last year’s hastily put together squad. So, has Gary Johnson pulled some rabbits out of the hat? His new signings, on paper, look like shrewd business and it won’t be long before we begin to find out with the fixtures now out and the 2022-23 season only a month away with three EFL clubs coming to Plainmoor this month to give the squad a proper work-out.


Can the five, with two or more promised, be Torquayfied in quick time and be turned into the marquee players Johnson talks about? Armani Little, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Joe Lewis were not well known when first signed and now they are all EFL players with Lewis showing the most potential as the sell-on clauses in the deal with Stockport County indicate.

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Who then can we look forward to seeing in Torquay colours? At 21 Dover’s captain, midfielder Ryan Hanson, caught the eye in a relegated side and United see him with potential having paid an undisclosed fee. Joining him in mid-field will be 22 year-old Brett McGavin released by Ipswich who loaned him out to another relegated team King’s Lynn.


A right back to replace Ben Wynter, who has joined Barnet, is 21 year-old Dylan Crowe also from Ipswich. In his early days Crowe looked set for a big move, Manchester United amongst others were seemingly interested in the England Under-18 international but then, as can happen, it all went wrong. He wants to put his career back on track and as he says, “This is a great opportunity and I can’t wait to get going.”


Last season United’s three main strikers - Danny Wright, Dan Holman and Klaidi Lolos - didn’t score the goals that a team looking for promotion requires so will the two replacements Aaron Jarvis, 24, from Scunthorpe and wide man 20 year-old Kieron Evans, on a season long loan from Cardiff City, make the grade?


And from United’s highly successful Under-18s welcome to the professional ranks to two of its brightest stars, Jack Winsor and Lewis Brooks.

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United’s Under-18s manager Chris Todd joined Chris Hargreaves’ new look Yeovil Town as assistant manager last month but in his place welcome another ex-Gull Robbie Herrera.


Torquay born and raised Herrera was a youth team coach with the Gulls for several years until 2014 when the academy closed.


Herrera joined QPR in 1988 and during his time at Loftus Road he was loaned to United for 16 games in 1992. A year later Fulham bought him for £60,000 playing 144 games before Torquay paid £30,000 in August 1998 and between then and 2001 he had 107 appearances scoring once against Rochdale.


After being released he played for several local teams including Bideford and Taunton Town before going into youth coaching - at Torquay and Plymouth Argyle - and management at United, with Kevin Nicholson, and Dorchester Town.


And another ex-Gull, Ryan Dickson becomes Head of the Pro:Direct Academy Devon.

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This coming National League season sees a number of teams having to travel considerable distances; the Yellow Army will be clocking up the miles, a total of 5,143 on the road with the average being 223.6 miles.


The furthest will be Gateshead at 385 so thank goodness for Yeovil, a mere 67 miles.

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With a sold-out Old Trafford the Women’s Euro 2022 got underway on Wednesday with England opening the tournament with a 1-0 victory against Austria. They play again on Monday 11 against Norway and Friday 15 against Northern Ireland, all matches are on BBC TV.


Meanwhile, United’s Women have been in weeks of pre-season training and conditioning with announcements of players re-signing coming one day at a time - Ellie Bishop, Laura Lewis, Jana-Kate Richards, Danni Wyatt, Antonia Nash, keeper Konnie Kleczkowski, Scarlett Williams and Sasha Mole so far.

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It’s true to say there’s always been a close association between football and music, not surprising as both are in the entertainment business.


Over the years, football teams have made the Top Ten, such clubs as Arsenal, Leeds United, Chelsea's ‘Blue is the Colour’ reached number 5, West Ham’s ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ and who can forget the England national teams’ two number one hits - in 1970 with ‘Back Home’ and with New Order in 1990 singing ‘World In Motion’.


Then there’s players themselves, the most famous and successful being Glen Hoddle and former United favourite Chris Waddle with ‘Diamond Lights’ peaking at number 12.


Now step forward long standing Torquay supporters, father and son Phil and Sam Swann who support United from the Family Stand or Popside, with their band Drifting Sands, consisting of local musicians as they release an album called ‘New Beginnings’.


As Swann Snr explains, “A lot of the music is instrumental taking the listener on a journey with local references such as ‘Dartmoor’ and ‘Teign Valley’.” There are some vocals, written mainly by Phil, and sung by another Gull fan, Ian Churchwood.


The album is available on all major streaming platforms like Spotify and on YouTube. You can find out more details on https://philswnn.wixsite.com/driftingsands. Give it a listen, maybe the club will play some tracks before matches.

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Yes, please bring back the crossbar challenge; any entertainment before games and at half-time is to be welcome.

What other entertainment would you like to see before games? Send your suggestions to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT

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