FAN ZONE 16/07/2022
SLEUTH THEY’RE HOT AS UNITED FANS QUICKLY UNCOVER THE TRIALISTS AS THE GULLS LOOK FORWARD TO EFL OPPOSITION FOR SOME REAL TESTS AND CAN THE PLAYERS BECOME ROCK STARS?
Yippee, after weeks of speculation and pretending we didn’t miss football as there were lots of other distractions to keep our fingers on the keyboards, along came match action last Friday night at Homers Heath as a new-look Torquay United ran out 1-0 over hosts Buckland Athletic. 1,211 watched on a bright, warm summer’s evening as United’s new faces and four trialists got ‘minutes into their legs’ - as all football coaches say at this early part of pre-season.
It was also google-time, to see who could come up first with the names of the mystery players only known by a single letter. With social media clamouring to spill the beans these seem to be the best bets: Player A was central defender Cameron Evans formerly of Swansea City and Waterford; second half keeper. Player B, was former Cheltenham Town (under Gary Johnson) Gloucester City, Maidenhead - he played 15 National League games - and Billericay player Rhys Lovett. Whilst at Cheltenham he had loan spells at Tiverton Town.
Player C was ex- Bristol City and Barry Town Marcus Day with recently released Plymouth Argyle’s Ollie Tomlinson as Player D.
Waiting in the wings was ex- AFC Wimbledon striker Corie Andrews who enjoyed a successful loan spell at Aldershot last season.
The Yellow Army had another chance to see the new side and the new Puma kit in action at Kevin Hill’s Exmouth Town on Tuesday night when two late goals gave United a 2-0 win. Newly promoted Exmouth into the Southern Premier for the first time had a special souvenir programme (£2) on sale, surely a collectors’ item.
And fair play to Buckland who announced ‘Football for a Fiver’, an offer to all Torquay United season ticket holders, and to those who have a ticket from a previous Torquay match, to watch Buckland’s home games when United are away.
You might not be a cricket fan but you have to admire the re-vamped England test squad. Virtually the same players who lost test after test - 17 in total - have been transformed. And how?
The answer is pretty basic involving a complete new mindset: United boss Gary Johnson is regularly emphasising to his players the need to entertain, well England’s captain Ben Stokes has told his players to do just that. He wants them to be ‘rock stars’ and to have fun on the pitch.
England’s new coach tells them to be positive, express themselves and not be intimidated by anybody. With four wins on the spin this formula seems to have some merit.
And worth copying by Johnson’s squad for if United could do this over 46 matches, return to the EFL beckons.
Good to see that last season’s Player of the Season Shaun MacDonald got a move into the Football League when he joined Cheltenham Town, keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw at Bath City on Saturday.
Moves too for Lucas Covolan, a season long loan from Port Vale to Chesterfield and another popular recent player Sam Sherring moved from Bournemouth to Northampton Town.
More signings for the Torquay United Women with Mia Preston joining from Exeter City and a new keeper Emma Ayres while favourites from last season Tracey Cross and Bec McMullin both re-signing. Congratulations to Danni Wyatt on being made club captain. Wyatt, after Sunday’s 6-0 loss in the Cardiff City heat said, “I’m delighted to be appointed. Looking forward to seeing how the rest of our pre-season unfolds. I feel everything is heading in the right direction.”
Good news, though, for England Lionesses with their emphatic 8-0 victory over Norway.
Looks like good news for all Bury fans after the club was expelled from the Football League in August 2019. After that shock a group of supporters formed Bury AFC and last season they won promotion up to Step 5 from the North West Counties Division 1 North.
However, a separate group of fans completed a deal to buy Gigg Lane, Bury’s ground. So, one group have a team with no ground and another have a ground with no team!
Needless-to-say, the two groups are in talks to merge which hopefully will be lead to a conclusion.
In other news, York City Supporters’ Trust took ownership of the club last week when long standing owner Jason McGill sold his shareholding. A South African entrepreneur Glen Henderson acquired 51% of the club’s shares and became Chairman with Trust member Alastair Smith becoming CEO.
Henderson said, “I am thrilled to be working with the Trust to build a sustainable future for the club, all the while aiming to get York City back into the Football League.”
Last week’s Fans’ Zone brought you news of Gulls’ fan Phil Swann’s local group Drifting Sands. Well, it appears that there’s an American band with the same name and the American Music lawyers have been in touch! So, Phil’s new name for his group is Swann Sands - their music is still worth listening to!
In this current heatwave there’s nothing better than finding a shady corner and settling down with a good book. So, here’s one that will leave you with a smile on your face, especially if you’re a teacher or have an affinity with schools. For former Head of Torquay Girls’ Grammar 2007 - 2021, Dr Nick Smith, has had his book ‘The Bruising Diary of a Headteacher’ featured in a national paper’s magazine at the weekend. The book at £18.99 is out on August 18 and it’s full of laughs. *********
Yes, the Yellow Army are looking for pre-match and half-time entertainment please. How about local schools and clubs being allowed their youngsters on at half-times for mini-tournaments asks one reader. There have been marching bands, solo singers and other entertainers to keep fans amused. Let’s make match day a fun day.
And congratulations to the club for organising a Family Community Fun Day on Plainmoor Green on Friday July 29, 1pm - 7pm.
So, it’s goodbye to Paignton born and bred Sue Barker, former No. 3 ranked player, from her role at the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage; she’ll be missed.
Are you likely to buy a new home or away shirt? Send your answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @FanszoneT
It’s down to Plainmoor on Saturday for the visit of Newport County. Don’t forget to pick up your season ticket.