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FAN ZONE 23/07/2022




PROPER PRE-SEASON TESTS AS UNITED FACE EFL OPPOSITION BUT ARE UNITED MISSING A TRICK WITH NO LIVE STREAMING?


Picture the scene, an idyllic sultry summer’s afternoon, with clear views across to Dartmoor, a lush green carpet freshly manicured to play on - and football was back at Plainmoor on Saturday. League 2 Newport County were the visitors as the new-look Torquay United took on their EFL opponents. This, and matches this week with Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night and Exeter City on Saturday are better tests of Gary Johnson’s new squad rather than the likes of Buckland Athletic and Exmouth Town.

1,026 braved the Torbay heat instead of a deck chair on the beach and were treated to a compelling contest, albeit ending in a no-score draw.

Newer signings Corie Andrews, Shaun Donnellan and Ross Marshall got minutes in their legs as did striker Aaron Jarvis and midfielder Ryan Hanson for their first starts.

With plenty of youngsters being given their opportunity to taste first team football the future looks bright but what are the plans for Gabby Rogers and Keelan O’Connell? With a year left on their contracts are they about to hit the loan trail?

The answer about O’Connell was answered on Monday when it was announced he had joined Weymouth in National South after their relegation from the National League.

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Last season’s strike force was a real disappointment for a variety of reasons but Johnson is pinning his hopes on three of his new signings Aaron Jarvis, Corie Andrews and Kieron Evans although he does concede, “We may have to bring another one in.” Wonder where that leaves Olaf Koszela? There are plenty of supporters who would love to see him succeed.

The answer to ‘another one’ was the arrival of Will Goodwin on loan from Stoke City. His new squad is packed with mid-field players to compete for a starting place but he may well have recognised that Asa Hall and Tom Lapslie are unlikely to be regulars.

So, when Hall is unavailable who will wear the captain’s armband? Seems it will be Dean Moxey.

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On such a warm afternoon might the club have missed a trick by not live streaming the match? It has been well established that there is a worldwide market out there for exile Gulls’ fans to be able to see their team in action. Whilst TUFC Radio commentary was available it’s not quite the same as watching the game live.

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The latest National League betting odds look like this: Wrexham 6/4, Chesterfield 8/1, Notts County 10/1, Solihull Moors 11/1, Oldham 16/1, Dagenham & Redbridge 16/1, FC Halifax 16/1, Torquay United 16/1, Southend United 20/1, Yeovil Town 25/1.

How did other National League sides fare in their pre-season matches on Saturday? Bromley 0 Dartford 0, Brackley Town 1 Solihull Moors 1, Kettering Town 2 Southend United 2, Farnborough 1 Woking 1, Eastleigh 1 Swindon Town 0, FC Isle of Man 1 Altrincham 5, Maidenhead United 1 Brentford B 0, Maidstone United 6 Enfield Town 1, Oldham Athletic 1 Wigan Athletic 3, Slough Town 0 Aldershot 3, Scunthorpe United 3 Sheffield United 2, Spennymoor Town 0 Gateshead 4, Yeovil Town 1 Exeter City 1, York City 1 Bradford City 4, Wealdstone 0 Charlton Athletic 1.

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Last week’s column talked about the changes to expectations and attitude in the England cricket team with a relaxed approach paying immediate dividends and now it seems something similar has helped transform the England rugby team on their tour in Australia.

England rugby coach Eddie Jones’ vice-like grip on discipline has undergone a complete change with the players being allowed much more of a say in their training schedules. Relaxing training and granting autonomy to the players saw the squad come back from a first match defeat to win the series 2-1 after a well earnt victory in the final test 21-17.

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And what about England’s Women’s Euro Championship progress? Another crushing victory, 5-0, over Northern Ireland saw them top their group unbeaten with 14 scored and none against to take them into the Quarter-Finals to face Spain in Brighton on Tuesday resulting in a 2-1 extra time victory.

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Over the past year this column has talked about the connection between heading a ball and dementia. Last season the FA brought in rules for the amount of heading practice allowed in training.

The FA have now been granted approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to introduce a new trial to remove deliberate heading in football across Under-12 level and below in England from the start of the 2022-23 season.

If the trial is successful the FA will apply to IFAB for a law change for all Under-12 matches and below from the start of the 2023-24 season.

Talking of changes to football, the Government’s White Paper on the Fan-Led Review must be due out soon.

And Fans’ Zone is aware that the FSA (Football Supporters’ Association) has been in talks recently with Mark Ives, the National League General Manager, about a number of issues including three-up, three-down and live streaming.

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Now that we’re into the holiday season with visitors pouring into Torbay it seems the club is not making it easy for holiday makers wanting to pop along to Plainmoor on the day of a match as there’s a £2 surcharge if you haven’t booked your ticket in advance. Tickets can be purchased on the day of a game at the Ticket Office, up to 7.45pm on a Tuesday night and 3pm on a Saturday but all the turnstiles are cashless.

As a reader says, “If the local Mr Whippy ice cream van who comes around my area three times a week and takes payment by card for 99 cones can do it, so can TUAFC.” He asks why the turnstiles can’t have card readers.

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Seems the new style home and away shirts are popular, hopefully selling well in the club shop.

This week who do you predict will be top scorer: Corie Andrews? Aaron Jarvis? Will Goodwin? Maybe Brett McGavin? Send your vote to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT

The second of the two Devon Derbies sees Exeter City at Plainmoor on Saturday.

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