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Fan Zone 20/01/2023



UNITED’S TROPHY SUCCESS AS MORE SIGNINGS ARE NAMED


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TORQUAY’S WOMEN’S MANAGER


The previous Saturday’s match against FC Halifax was only on thanks to the valiant efforts of the Torquay United ground staff but during the match, as those who were there will testify, the pitch experienced extreme bouts of heavy rain. So, when the Met Office sent out amber weather warnings for overnight Friday into Saturday, it came as no surprise that last Saturday’s FA Trophy match against Somerset neighbours up the M5, Taunton Town, was called off.

United came through the re-arranged match on a bitterly cold Tuesday night thanks to a red card to reduce the visitors to ten for the whole of the second half. Up to that point at 2-2 it was a competitive game.

In the end two strikes from Aaron Jarvis, now top scorer, sent Torquay through to Round 5 and a home tie to Barnet on February 11, a week before Barnet return for a league fixture.

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As predicted United have been busy wheeling and dealing players in and out of Plainmoor. No sooner had we learnt of Corie Andrews moving on to Wealdstone that news came through of the arrival of promising defender Nico Lawrence from Southampton.

Interestingly, Tim Sills, ex-Gull and now manager of Wimborne Town, tweeted of our new loanee, “ Played against this lad (Lawrence) last year. Very good player and got all the attributes needed. Potentially an excellent signing.” Praise indeed!

I have it on good authority that owner Clarke Osborne remains fully committed to the club and everyone is doing everything in their powers to move up the table.

To this end the club announced two further signings, as predicted another striker, Tope Fadahunsi on a month’s loan from Sutton while ex-Maidstone defender Jacob Mensah has signed to the end of the season, not a loan.

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Elsewhere in the National League there are serious problems for Scunthorpe United on and off the pitch. During their home defeat to play-off contenders Woking, there was a pitch invasion mid-way in the second half as around 100 home fans demonstrated on the pitch about owner Peter Swann who has overseen the club’s relegation from the EFL and is now looking to sell up.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s 2-0 defeat leaves them rock bottom.

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Non-League Crowd Watch: with so many fixtures called off plus it being FA Trophy weekend when traditionally the early rounds tend to have low attendances, the highest was 2,825 at Scunthorpe while the best in the Trophy was 2,741 at Southend.

Full credit, though, to the 2,144 travelling Green Army who made the long trek to Ipswich to follow Plymouth Argyle in their top-of-the-table clash.

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Hereford FC are the latest side to become a member of the community-owned club family after supporters secured 50.1% ownership of the National North side. As part of a season-long fundraising effort fans raised £9,000 which enabled the supporters’ trust to buy the remaining shares needed to secure the 50.1% of the club.

This latest sum is part of an amazing £289,000 amassed by the trust through a number of fundraising initiatives.

Trust chairman Richard Tomkins said, “ Many supporters didn’t believe this could be done but through hard work we have.”

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The FA released a number of key facts last week about the women’s game. They report that there has been ‘unprecedented growth’ in relation to participation and match attendance at all levels of the game.

Crowds watching the Women’s Super League are up 227% while the Championship saw an 86% rise. England’s victory in the Euro Final in front of 87,000 at Wembley has also contributed to the increase in popularity of women’s football.

At grassroots level the FA report that interest in women’s football is up 12% amongst girls aged 5 - 16.

With their league fixture at Liskeard postponed on Sunday due to a waterlogged pitch, United’s women’s manager Steve Elswood spoke exclusively to Fans’ Zone.

Elswood confirmed, “ The ongoing development in numbers in the female game is growing massively and that’s clear to see at the club this season.”

“ Our women’s team achieved success at the end of last season and we are focused on achieving more silverware this season, gaining promotion to Tier 4 football.“

These are exciting times for the women’s game and Elswood took time to explain his vision at Torquay United, “ What comes next is key for me. There are two main factors needed to run together to capitalise on the love of the game by girls out there. It’s vital we develop young girls from age 8 to 16 and there is a great job being done by the Community Sports Trust.”

He added, “ I’m so keen on this journey - once they have finished their under-16 season, they’re educated, well coached and understand the club before becoming part of the women’s team - so I’m working with Jamie McIness, the girls’ football manager at TUCST.”

This policy should ensure there is a seamless platform that works hand-in-hand in the future starting with the 2023-24 season for girls at the club to enter, and be successful, in the next women’s side and beyond.

What Elswood would like to see is that local colleges across the UK can work with their local football clubs in offering full-time educational platforms for girls to study a football programme as their male counterparts can do.

Elswood concluded, “ There are lots of positives in the female game at the moment and it’s moving forward very fast. I can’t wait for the future of our girls and women’s teams at Plainmoor; we’re building something very special in female football.”

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Last week we asked about your views on the FA Cup. Reader Graeme Cozens summed up the feelings of many, “ The FA Cup has a marvellous tradition - it can be a leveller, it offers hope and excitement, it provides us with wonderful memories and can help us achieve our dreams. It should be held in esteem and should be treasured.”

Have you watched a women’s match? Send your answer to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT.

Safe travel to those going to watch United on Saturday at Boreham Wood, another tough game.

COYY








 


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