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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 10/02/2023



It’s the time of the year that as you look around you see snowdrops and daffodils appearing as they spring into view and, although they lost to a Notts County side determined to make this the year of their EFL return, there are green shoots of recovery seen at Plainmoor.

Those United fans amongst the 2,621 went home feeling that with more performances like this then the prospects of avoiding the drop are strong.

The big disappointment, as Gary Johnson referred to in his post match interview, was his side’s lack of ideas in how to take advantage of the visitors going down to ten men.

To be fair though, Notts County are the league’s form side having lost only one game in thirty while for Torquay this was their first home defeat since November 15.

The owner, Clarke Osborne, through CEO George Edwards, is to be thanked for clearly supporting his manager’s request to strengthen the squad. There is now competition for places which is always important for teams to be successful, Lewis Collins on loan from Newport County being the newest addition.


Recent progress in the FA Trophy has brought much needed morale boosting home wins followed by two 1-0 successes over FC Halifax and Maidstone United with a battling draw at third placed Woking last week.

So whisper it, Saturday’s defeat was only a blip in the Gulls moving up the table to catch first Oldham and then Dorking and with seventeen fixtures to go it’s all possible. Maybe the words of Notts County manager Luke Williams will resonate for the rest of the season, “This is a difficult place to come to, every team who comes here will know that they have been in a game.”

Final word on Saturday’s game goes to referee Paul Johnson who was clearly trying to re-create the popular game show ‘Play Your Cards Right’ as he booked nine to take his total in seven National League matches to 37.


Crowd Watch: Big attendances once again in the National League: 7,459 at Oldham to see them lose 0-1, 5,737 at threatened Southend United (more later on this) and 5,110 as Scunthorpe lost at home on Friday night.

Great credit to the Green Army as 3,700 Plymouth fans travelled to the top-of-the-table clash at Sheffield Wednesday where 33,442 were in Hillsborough.


The long-awaited and promised Fan-Led Review White Paper was due to be published on Wednesday but somehow the Manchester City financial bombshell has, according to Government sources, put the announcement back by a fortnight. Reports leaked to a couple of national newspapers last week indicate that included from the Review’s recommendations will be stronger tests on potential club owners, more supporter engagement, blocks on breakaway competitions like the European Super League and the establishment of an independent regulator.

Following the release of the White Paper there will be a consultation process. TUST looks forward to following the developments.


Whilst Southend United continue to work on the pitch towards the play-offs, all is not well off it. The club faces a winding-up petition in the High Court soon, as it’s £1.4m in debt, the players have yet to be paid for January and the Supporters’ Trust are making plans for a phoenix club.

Meanwhile, Scunthorpe United were taken over last week by former chairman of Ilkeston Town David Hilton. They immediately celebrated with a 1-0 win at FC Halifax, their first away win in over a year. Hilton said, “I’m pleased to say the take-over has now been completed and the deal includes the football club, stadium and surrounding land.”

He now has to settle the winding-up petition with HMRC as the transfer embargo, that had ben imposed, has been lifted. Not only that but installing Jimmy Dean as manager from Peterborough Sports.


Fans of clubs like Torquay United can only sit with open mouths looking at the mouth-watering, astronomical sums Premier League clubs paid for new players in the now closed January transfer window, notably Chelsea. One of the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review is to see a fairer distribution of the massive wealth of the Premier League down through the divisions and into grass-roots football.

Just to be clear National League clubs can still continue to sign players until towards the end of March, including from the Premier League and EFL. This year it should be by around March 24.

Gary Johnson has hinted that, with the directors’ blessing, he could still bring in more players.


United’s Under-18s continue to impress and on Saturday cruised into the league cup semi-finals after a comfortable 5-2 win over Bridgwater with George Collins (2), Ben Aldous (2) and Jack Kennell on the score-sheet.

It’s been a busy time for Torquay United’s Women’s player Danni Wyatt. First, she was promoted to assistant manager. She’ll continue to play and support manager Steve Elswood over the crucial final stages of the season.

Danni said, “I’m over the moon to be appointed within the management structure. I think it’s a role I can naturally transition into to help Steve manage the club.’

Now she has been appointed a club ambassador for #HerGameToo, a new partnership announced by the club with the Torquay United Community Sports Trust.

The Women’s side recorded a comfortable 2-0 win on Sunday at Ilminster Town Ladies to keep up their title challenge. Goals from Connie Pengelly and Daisy Self in each half secured the victory.

The only disappointment is the news that top scorer Ellie Bishop is moving on to Bridgwater, who play two divisions higher.


United now have two games coming up with Barnet on successive Saturdays, starting with this Saturday’s FA Trophy game.

Which is more important, league survival or FA Trophy success or both? Send your view to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT

Apologies for no column last week as I had a spell in hospital; many thanks for the kind get well wishes.





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