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Fan Zone 18/10/2023


WHAT’S HAPPENING TO OUR FOOTBALL CLUB MR OSBORNE? NO LOANS - HAS THE MONEY RUN OUT?


BREAKING NEWS: FANS’ FORUM ON THE WAY Saturday’s second match with fellow relegated Maidstone, this time an FA Cup tie, was another shocker despite Torquay having a decent opening 40 odd minutes. The first half performance was certainly a big improvement on the previous week and the underwhelming second half against Hungerford but no end product.

But inexplicably somehow the ever reliable Mark Halstead and fall guy Shaun Donnellan contrived to allow the Maidstone forward a simple tap in. Gary Johnson claimed it was a foul but the referee gave a goal and the video of the incident confirms it was legitimate.

The second half showed, once again, that United’s players are incapable of playing for a full ninety minutes. The squad seems to be made up from predominately players discarded by their previous clubs and there appears, alarmingly, little prospect of any loans coming in.

The fear is that the money has run out.

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So, I ask the question, “What is happening to my football club?”

We have an owner, Clarke Osborne, who pays the bills but as he once told me, the only person who is responsible for running the club is his employee George Edwards who acts as the club’s CEO.

The owner will have agreed a sum for the players’ wage bill after relegation and it’s either the manager who has spent it all - Johnson told us this earlier in the season - or it’s the CEO who has signed off all the use of it. Could this be the reason for no loans?

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Here we are in regional football, nowhere near a promised return to the Football League, and those running the club appear satisfied with what’s happening.

Yet in similar circumstances the previous manager Gary Owers was relieved of his duties. So what is the difference this time?

Like it or not, supporters are the life blood of any football club so the manager, as a result of comments he made at last week’s press call has, rightly, been called out for stating he only wants “the right supporters” to attend. Well, 800 of the ‘wrong’ supporters chose not to return after the league game against Maidstone the previous week.

It is a sad fact that there’s a growing number of long sanding fans who are refusing to attend matches at Plainmoor under the current ownership.

And where is the communication from the club to the supporters? Yes, in a fashion the manager communicates but when did we last hear from the owner? And the two directors remain silent too.

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It gives me no pleasure to report that due to no words from those in charge that there is concerning speculation about the state of this wonderful club. Many supporters are beginning to question what is happening to the football club they have supported for a lifetime.

Whilst we do not have the right to think we should win every game in this league, we should be going into every game expecting to. To have now lost three in a row to fellow National South sides does not bode well.

If social media is a barometer of current feelings then momentum of dissatisfaction is growing not helped by the manager’s jibe at dissenting supporters. These are just a few of the printable comments: ‘The disrespect the club has to the supporters at the minute is disgraceful’, ‘This club has never been so disconnected with the fans ever’ and ‘There are no right or wrong fans in supporting Torquay. We do it out of passion and love for the club we adore’.

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Last week’s Yellow Army podcast asked whether the club is going through a managed decline.

There’s certainly a decline but whether it’s a managed one is open to conjecture. What there is though, is denial as no one running the club or picking the team is taking responsibility.

It’s time the owner spoke up and addressed the increasing unrest. And perhaps he would like to share with us his exit strategy as surely a second season in this league is unsustainable. The likelihood of a new stadium faded long ago when the preferred site at Nightingale Park was chosen as a solar farm. So, what is Mr Osborne’s plan?

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FA Cup Crowd Watch: Chesterfield v Kettering 5,153, Altrincham v Oldham 3,874, Hartlepool v Chester 3,205, Hereford v Rochdale 2,817, Yeovil v Southend 2,697.

Compare Torquay’s attendance with two sides in the Isthmian Premier on Saturday: Torquay 1,636, Dulwich Hamlet 3,191 and Chatham Town 1,758.

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Torquay Women had no game on Sunday having played in mid-week going down to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Bridgwater Town ladies.

National League South manager of the month for September was announced as Rob Dray of Taunton Town having led them to the top of the table.

Maidstone’s 2-0 win was their sixth league and cup victory in a row conceding just once; Lucas Covolan keeping five clean sheets. If only… Their reward is an away First Round tie at either Braintree or Chesham.

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Thanks to readers Lee Cross and Dave Sellman for responding to last week’s question. As Dave says, “We are far enough into the season to be very concerned about the progress of the club.”

So, is this a managed decline? Send your views to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or X (Twitter): @FanszoneT

The Plainmoor faithful will be willing the team to defeat Welling, who sit in the relegation zone, on Saturday which is another of the club’s community days.

Finally, I can announce that TUST is to hold a Fans’ Forum open to all supporters with details coming soon.


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