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Fan Zone 22/03/2024

FAN ZONE



TUST's Chair, Nick Brodrick's column in this week's Herald Express - updated for the latest news.



WHO  KNEW  ANGELS  COULD  TEACH  UNITED  A  FOOTBALL LESSON?


IS  DOWNES  THE  PERSON  TO  LEAD  A GREAT  ESCAPE?


TAUNTON,  TRURO  AND  PLYMOUTH  PARKWAY  GIVE  A  NEW  MEANING  TO  HOME GAMES



To say these are testing times to be a Torquay United supporter would be an understatement.  Humiliated at home on Tuesday night losing to Somerset rivals Taunton Town, with their own desperate set of circumstances, it got worse on Wednesday when confirmation came through that the club had been docked ten points for filing for administration.


Could a trip to Kent on Saturday to play Tonbridge Angels be a heaven sent opportunity to return with three much needed points? With the club scratching around for funds no overnight stays any more, it was a 7am start not helped by the closure of a section of the M25.


The result? Yet another catastrophic scoreline with the hosts rattling in three goals inside five second half minutes and to add salt into the wounds recently transferred Ryan Hanson ended up as Man of the Match.


*****


Having points deducted seems to have caught many by surprise but the National League rules are pretty clear and more than a fortnight ago TUST contacted the FSA (Football Supporters Association) who confirmed that the punishment was due. Surely those advising the club should have been aware of this from the outset.


And had owner Clarke Osborne put the club up for sale not only could the points deduction have been avoided but so too could costly administrators and solicitors.

For fans worried about the future of Torquay United there are interested parties looking to take over and TUST has been in discussions with them.


Tomorrow, ex-manager and much travelled Neil Warnock will be at Plainmoor to lend his support as he has been in talks with prospective owners.


*****


So, with talks continuing off the field the pressing priority is can interim manager Aaron Downes find a way to shore up a defence that has let in a shameful number of goals, 66, the third worst in the division?


Whilst Downes has a refreshing honesty in his pre and post match interviews, the time has come for no more Mr Nice Guy. With only eight games left, five of which are away, he has to develop a siege mentality especially when United’s last away win was back in November.


United’s current league table position is precarious when you note the games in hand of both Truro and Taunton.


Likeable as he is, Downes needs an experienced mentor. I emailed the club’s two directors on Saturday evening asking them to consider bringing in a ‘fire fighter’, somebody like Neil Warnock for instance or even ex-Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb who has been offered, through TUST, to work for free as he’s currently on ‘gardening leave’. In the end the club has opted to go in-house and appoint Robbie Herrera as assistant.


Downes, full of apologies after these two humbling defeats has said, “This is the team, the squad which is going to get us out of trouble.” Oh, how we would like to believe him but the evidence is not great, especially with next up fourth placed Hampton on Saturday and then leaders Yeovil away as the next two fixtures.


*****


The players are obviously concerned about their futures and to have another relegation on their CVs would be a big blow. Contemplating United playing Southern League football is totally unpalatable and must be avoided.

At least the players and staff have been assured that they will be paid for March.


*****


The Yellow Army are not the only fans who are suffering at the moment, further afield Reading’s woes continue, Rochdale appear to have secured American investors while closer to home there are ongoing problems for Truro, Taunton and Plymouth Parkway.

Let’s start with Truro, whose new ground in Cornwall is due for use from next season, who from the start of this season were ground sharing with Plymouth Parkway. But when successive matches were called off Truro elected to ground share with Taunton. That, due to incessant rain, has also proved unworkable so Truro played a couple of fixtures at Gloucester City.


Plymouth Parkway then announced they were playing their home games 130 miles away at Late Town but, wait for it, their match on Saturday was called off….due to a waterlogged pitch. On Thursday Parkway played their ‘home’ game against Winchester City at Home Park thanks to Argyle’s generosity.


Meanwhile Taunton’s fans have a double nightmare, owing money to players for their wages and to HMRC, their pitch too has been out of use for weeks. Between them Truro and Taunton have 25 fixtures to fulfil between now and April 20. For any side, particularly part-time as they are, it is a big ask.


Non-League Crowd Watch: Oldham 7,783, York City 4,309, Hartlepool 4,223, Scunthorpe 3,615.


*****


Torquay’s Women suffered another disappointing defeat last Thursday going down 2-0 to Bridgwater. To stand a chance of staying in the National League they have an important game against Southampton coming up in over a week’s time.


*****


After many years United fans still talk about ‘the one who got away’ when assessing the windfall Exeter City gained. Who are we talking about? Ollie Watkins of course. Recalling his early years Watkins says he was about 7 or 8 when a friend encouraged him to go for football training at Newton Town as he lived in Newton Abbot. And within a year Watkins was scouted by Exeter City and, as they say, the rest is Exeter’s gain and Torquay’s loss as all this coincided with the closure of Torquay’s academy.


*****


Breaking News: On Monday the Government announced the Football Governance Bill is to go through Parliament heralding the arrival of an independent regulator. More on this next week.


Thanks to readers Lee Cross and Simon Lawrence for your comments.

You can contact fanszone.tu@gmail.com with your views.


Saturday has been termed Devon Day with fans from Plymouth and Exeter expected to swell the gate. Your support for your football club is needed.



COYY









 


SUPPORT TUST - SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY


 





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