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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 15/09/2023




On what was one of the hottest days of the year, in the Riviera sunshine Torquay United were on fire warming up the 2,207 crowd with some scintillating football where they left off from the second half on Tuesday night. It was five star entertainment.

Against Farnborough the Gulls struggled to impose that brand of football that manager Gary Johnson likes to play - a close passing game with a high press - until the team were 2-0 ahead.

From there on United bossed the game and deservedly ran out 3-0 winners. The partnership of JarvAsh is beginning to pay dividends, both are a handful for defenders to deal with.

Back to Saturday, credit to Chelmsford who certainly in the first half can count themselves unlucky not to have netted several goals due mainly to Mark Halstead and the upright. Halstead really earns not only his salary but also the thanks of his team mates for keeping them in the game.

Star player for many, and who probably should have been chosen as Man of the Match, Brett McGavin scored a wonder goal with a first time sweet strike after a clearance header fell invitingly for him. Sitting in the Family Stand it was a joy to watch as the ball sped on the volley into the net.

After the game Halstead agreed McGavin was more deserving of the award than himself. McGavin was rightly named in the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day and in the Vanarama South Team of the Week.

With many noting Torquay’s set pieces - corners and free kicks - are so predictable and always the same, it was maybe not a coincidence that both goals came after Will Jenkins Davies took, first, the corner that resulted in McGavin’s goal and then the free kick that ended with a classic headed own goal.


With the Yellow Army leaving Plainmoor on Tuesday night in a happier mood, they definitely enjoyed their weekend and can now look forward to the FA Cup next Saturday.

In the FA Trophy last Saturday it was ex-United favourites Kevin Hill v Tim Sills, respective managers of Exmouth Town v Wimborne Town. The match ended 3-3 and in the penalty shoot-out Exmouth Town sneaked home 5-3 inflicting Wimborne’s first defeat of the season.

And it’s Wimborne who Torquay have drawn in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. Wimborne and Sills are relishing the game. Sills said, “To draw them in the FA Cup, as a manager, is unbelievable. It doesn’t get any better. I had to do a double take when I first heard.”

Despite the obvious connections, it’s going to be a stern test for Johnson’s side if they wish to have a cup run.


Non-League Crowd Watch: Chesterfield v Dagenham & Redbridge 7,203, Oldham v Dorking 6,291, York City v Boreham Wood 3,993, Bury FC v Longridge Town 3,700, Scunthorpe v Buxton 3,661, Macclesfield v Ashton Utd 3,222, Yeovil v Eastbourne 2,728.


Most weeks this column relates the latest news from Southend United and this week there have been more developments.

The Shrimpers’ Trust met the Minister for Sport, Stuart Andrew MP, to discuss the club’s precarious situation. The club have to pay their £250,000 tax bill by October 4 to avoid being wound up.

Following the meeting the trust issued a statement, “We were able to have a frank conversation about what steps to take now and what steps the Government is taking to ensure unfit owners like Ron Martin are not able to own or mismanage football clubs moving forward.”

The trust want the ‘Martin Model’ outlawed and continued, “Ron Martin owns a controlling stake of 70% in our club with other shareholders and directors powerless to hold him to account over his actions.”

As a comparison, 92.91634% of Torquay United is held by Riviera Stadium Limited with Clarke Osborne holding a controlling interest in Riviera Stadium Limited. Only 7.08366% is owned by ‘others’.


There are, of course, changes afoot in the structure of football governance. The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) are reporting that the Fan-Led Review recommendations to see the creation of an independent regulator is expected to be included in the November King’s Speech in Parliament. This potential new law has cross-party support.

FSA CEO Kevin Miles said, “Today’s Government response makes clear, once again, that they recognise the need for a regulator.”

He added, “A regulator will protect our clubs while improving supporter engagement.”


Torquay United’s Women’s team collected their first point of the new National League season with a thrilling 3-3 draw at Maidenhead United. The home side raced into a 2-0 lead but goals from Emily Eaton, Rhi Bailey and a late third from Esme Kilburn Thompson seemed to have clinched all three points but Maidenhead snatched an equaliser in added time.

In contrast United’s Under-18s won their opening fixture 2-1 over Swindon Supermarine.

So, Saturday sees the Yellow Army off to Wimborne. How important is a cup run? Or should United concentrate on the league? Or both?

Send your view to: or Twitter/X: @FanszoneT





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