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FAN ZONE 14/10/2022


UNITED’S LOYAL FANS AS MORE POINTS DROPPED

PLAYERS IN LAST CHANCE SALOON ?

TUST ENJOYS A BUSY WEEK MEETING LOCAL MP AND AT HOME PARK FOR JACK LESLIE STATUE UNVEILING


A train strike (yet another), cost of living crisis and a mis-firing Torquay United propping up the National League table with points in single figures but 251 Yellow Army fans made the trip to York’s new stadium.

The hosts seem to have taken the jump from National North in their stride as their win on Saturday took them into the play-off places, a position Gulls’ fans can only dream of; it’s proving to be a tough season.

Not only are United bottom of the table, although with other teams still within catching distance - what a difference a win could make - the team are also bottom of the form table.

These disappointing times are not what the club’s directors or management were picturing back in August when the first ball was kicked in anger. Many fans are equally disillusioned but the manager is determined to work hard to put it right.

Long standing - or is that long-suffering? - Torquay supporters have been here before. Remember the Football League days when pleading for re-election? And about the then Conference champions Stevenage having their ground deemed unfit thus allowing United to escape relegation?

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Yes, Torquay fans have been through all the emotions available, some several times. Gary Johnson is an experienced manager who knows the ultimate penalty he’ll have to pay should the worst happen but there are 33 games or 99 points still to play for.

And what about this basically young squad? The life of an average footballer is pretty short and playing in the National League as a full time pro means there are only two ways to go. One is to be spotted by an EFL club and Torquay under Johnson has a reputation as a development club.

Look at Armani Little, Connor Evans and Joe Lewis as recent examples.

On the other hand the other route is falling down the leagues into part-time football, for example Jake Andrews now at Poole Town on loan and Klaidi Lolos at Oxford City.

So, a number of Johnson’s squad must be in the last chance saloon.

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Next up is the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round with a home tie against National South Hampton & Richmond whose only previous visit to Plainmoor resulted in their 2-0 win.

What would everyone at TQ1 give for a cup run with increasing money prizes round by round. The last time United reached the Fourth Round - seven times in total since 1948 in its history - was in 2011 when the Gulls were in League 2 and drawn at home to Steve Evans’ non-league Crawley Town. In a bad tempered affair, two sendings off, Crawley won 1-0 with a Matt Tubbs goal although United keeper Scott Bevan saved two penalties in quick succession. Then, to make matters worse, who did Crawley draw in Round Five? Manchester United of course. Oh for a draw like that this season!

Without putting a curse on it, United’s lowest FA Cup attendance is 1,429 in a First Round Replay to Windsor & Eton in November 1985.

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Last week was a busy one for TUST. First, following rumours that the new government was contemplating putting the Fan-Led review on hold, TUST, along with many other supporter trusts, wrote to our three local MPs urging them to ensure a promised White Paper is actually published and that the new Prime Minister presses ahead with all the recommendations from Tracey Crouch’s review.

Torbay MP Kevin Foster then invited two TUST board members to meet him at his Torbay surgery. Vice-Chairman Robin Causley and fellow board member Bob Cole enjoyed a productive meeting before driving to Plymouth to meet myself at Home Park for the unveiling of the Jack Leslie statue.

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This story rightly made not only the local news channels but also the main BBC Evening News for Leslie should have been the first black player to play for England until it was realised the colour of his skin. Thanks to the determination of a couple of Argyle fans plus the funding from well wishers including TUST and the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust a marvellous 12-feet high bronze statue on a granite plinth was unveiled.

And it was announced at the ceremony that the FA would award Leslie a posthumous England cap much to the grateful thanks of his three granddaughters who were present.

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Did you see that last week the Premier League has promised £12.6m over the next three years for National League clubs? Funding is for maintenance and new infrastructure in Steps 1-6. £9m is to be spread across all 72 clubs.

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Interesting stats from Tuesday’s last second defeat to Maidenhead, United had 57% ball possession, 394 passes to the visitors 238 and United had 76% pass accuracy.

And what about the crowd for the Notts County top of the table clash with Wrexham? 10,471 on a Tuesday night with the visitors bringing 1,892.

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Saturday’s Non-League Crowd Watch: 9,987 saw twelve goals at Wrexham - home side seven Barnet five. In National South Dulwich Hamlet had 3,334 and on the way back Bury AFC were watched by 1,330.

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Steve Elswood’s Women’s team are in a good run of form with another emphatic victory as goals from Tracey Cross, Danni Wyatt, Mia Preston and Ellie Bishop gave United a 4-2 win against Warminster Town, setting them up for a local derby in the Devon FA County Cup with Exeter City.

What a pity this match isn’t being played at Plainmoor, it’s at Coach Road, Newton Abbot on Sunday.

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News of a manager on the move, ex-Gull Tim Sills has left Hamworthy Utd to join Wimborne Town while Kevin Nicholson is doing a good job as caretaker at Exeter City.

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What’s your view on refereeing standards not just in the National League but throughout football?

Send your opinion to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT

The bad run has to end soon so why not on Saturday in the FA Cup? Get behind the team.

COYY



 


 





 


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