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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 23/08/2023




It might have been heartache for the Lionesses in Sunday’s World Cup Final, despite Mary Earps making a vital penalty save, but it’s a great step forward for Torbay local, Don Ford, who is about to appear in the Walking Football World Cup.

Ford, who only took up walking football two years ago, joining Torquay United, has been selected for England’s squad in the World Nations Cup taking place at St George’s Park, starting this Thursday and over the Bank Holiday weekend.

26 nations are taking part and Ford is part of England’s Over 50s team. He has already tasted international football gaining his first international cap recently in England’s 3-2 victory over the Republic of Ireland.

With appearances for the South-West, Ford has helped Torquay United win the league and cup double in successive seasons.

In an exclusive for the Fanszone column Ford said, “It was a huge honour to make my debut for England the win over Ireland and now to play for my country in the World Cup is a dream come true.” We all wish him well - and no running!


Every season TUST sponsors the Ian Twitchin trophy on behalf of Ian’s family and last Tuesday after the Chippenham match I had the pleasure in presenting United goalkeeper, Mark Halstead, with the shield and trophy. The award is for the player who has made the most appearances and last season it was Halstead following in the footsteps of Ben Wynter, Kyle Cameron, Sam Sherring and Liam Davis.

On receiving his trophy Halstead remarked, “I’m out to win this again!” Certainly, if he repeats the form he was in last year he will be hard to dislodge.


It seems as if every close season the International Football Board sits down and comes up with either new laws or tightening up on those already in existence. Currently, there is a huge debate amongst managers, players and fans regarding the directives to referees at all levels of the game to ensure there are 90 minutes of football.

Substitutions, goal celebrations, injuries and blatant time wasting are all being punished with the result that matches are now being played for 100+ minutes.

Managers and players are complaining that this ‘extra’ time is going to result in mental health issues, not to mention cramp, hamstring and calf injuries. But whose fault is that? With away teams deliberately slowing the clock down and goalkeepers, in particular, taking their time, it’s no surprise referees are adding on those extra minutes.

Fans, too, are upset, notably for evening matches especially those who have buses or trains to catch.

Here’s an idea, to stop goalkeepers eating up time why not go back to when goal kicks were taken only from the side the ball went out?


United boss Gary Johnson is calling for the National League to allow five subs from a bench of seven. Mind you with the number of unavailable players he would be hard pressed to fill a bench.

He has said that when the EFL transfer window closes, September 1, he’s looking to bring in a number of loanees.

With a weakened side his United side scraped home on Saturday with a lone goal at St Albans City thanks to defender Ollie Tomlinson who made both the Non-League Paper and Vanarama Teams of the Week. At least that made it two wins in succession and a move a few places up the table.


Non-League Crowd Watch: Chesterfield v Oldham 8,164, Southend v Hartlepool 5,547, Macclesfield v Gainsborough Trinity 3,387, Yeovil Town v Maidstone Utd 2,899 and what about National League Gateshead who could only manage 974 v Ebbsfleet. In the Thames Valley Premier, that’s Step 7, 1,022 turned up to watch Windsor & Eton take on Burghfield.


Last week TUST issued a lengthy statement outlining the way the club is being run, notably the deliberate freezing out of the supporters’ trust.

We asked a number of questions of the ownership and it would be good if those in charge could enter into a detailed dialogue answering these, for there has been a positive response from those fans who have read the statement on social media.

Why is the club hiding behind a wall of silence? Let’s hear the club’s take on the current state of affairs - the challenge is there to the owner.


United’s women learnt an early lesson on Sunday in their opening National League campaign. Despite taking an early lead, home side Portishead ran out winning 4-2 with Tracey Cross scoring both United goals.

Next up, it’s a trip to Slough Town on Saturday; safe journey to all the Yellow Army.

If you have any views on Torquay United you can contact:

or Twitter/X: @FanszoneT.


Mark Halstead receiving the 2022/23 Ian Twitchin Trophy from TUST Chair Nick Brodrick




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