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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 30/03/2023


NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYERS TO GO ON STRIKE? New signing - the last throw of the dice? - Frank Nouble who’s had more clubs than Tiger Woods, tweeted on joining Torquay United on National League transfer deadline day last Thursday, he was there on a ‘mission of survival’. Sadly, after another gut-wrenching, soul destroying home defeat it’s looking ever more likely like ‘Mission Impossible’.

To the astonishment of a decent crowd of 2,116 United pressed the self-destruct button on 77 minutes, conceding an unnecessary penalty to give Dagenham the lifeline they didn’t deserve and then they clinched all three points to complete a miserable fourth 1-2 home defeat following an unwanted pattern: v Bromley lost to an 82nd minute winner, v Southend lost to a 90th + minute winner, v Wealdstone lost to a 90th + minute winner and v Dagenham lost to a 90th + minute winner.

Let’s be honest, a draw on Saturday wouldn’t have been good enough as Torquay in its current predicament need wins and three points but had they drawn all these four games then that would have been a different story putting them within touching distance of safety.


Then, in typical Torquay fashion, the team put in a real shift on Tuesday night with a gutsy performance coming away with a 1-0 win, thanks to Asa Hall, at Boreham Wood. So, depending on whether you see things half full or half empty the Great Escape is still on or National South here we come.


Those who may have watched the club’s interview with Nouble might like to know what meal his ex-Colchester team mate Tom Lapslie with whom he’s staying, gave him for dinner - chicken and homemade biscuits!

Gary Johnson’s post match comment on Saturday, “Just keep going and we’ll end up where we end up” could mean that he’s resigned to relegation. Sadly, the majority of fans appear to agree and are scratching their heads as to how it has come to this. There is growing disquiet amongst the fan base with the greatest grumble being lack of communication from the club chairman.


With no Premier League or Championship fixtures due to the International weekend, last Saturday was Non-League Day with many clubs recording record crowd attendances. Here are some of the best: Notts County 16,086 - helped by 1,750 from visitors Scunthorpe. Incidentally, County’s top scorer Macaulay Langstaff has scored 40 this season which is more than FC Halifax and Yeovil Town have scored! Wrexham 10,161 including 1,000 from visitors York City, Chesterfield 7,091, Macclesfield 4,512, Kidderminster 3,421, Dartford 3,386, Dulwich Hamlet 3,334, South Shields 3,243, AFC Totton 1,435, Basingstoke 1,028.

After Tuesday’s matches the two top teams have now between them scored over 200 goals so far, Wrexham 100 and Notts County 103.


There’s a big row brewing with the possibility of a strike looming amongst non-league footballers as the National League has issued an up-dated non-league contract of employment which alters their club sick pay.

All twenty-four National League captains have joined in, calling for ‘urgent talks’ through sending a letter to the FA and National League. Under the current contract if a player suffers an injury, they continue to be paid their full wages for the duration of their contract. A player’s contract can be terminated by their club, with notice, if they suffer permanent incapacity - as established by an independent medical examination.

Under the new contract, if a player suffers a playing injury, they will only receive their full wages for 12 weeks (if a National League division player) or 6 weeks (if playing below the National League division level}.

It is clear that the players see this new contract as a reduction of their rights but there’s nothing to stop individual clubs from setting up their own sick pay policy as Macclesfield have already announced.

Resolving all this could add a financial burden on clubs who in turn could pass on the additional costs to fans. At the end of the day all fans will want is to know their club’s injured players are being properly looked after.


Good news coming from Swindon. Swindon Town announced last week the purchase of the County Ground as part of a joint venture which sees the football club and supporters take full ownership of the stadium. The landmark move sees both the football club and supporters in a 50-50 split take over the ground from the Borough Council.

The Supporters Trust has now set up a system whereby supporters can buy voting shares in the Swindon Town Community Mutual Ltd.

This is clearly a progressive club which engages with its supporters in a positive way for the good of everyone involved.


Torquay United’s Women had no match last Sunday but they are training hard for their final two matches, April 16 at Liskeard and the final game at home to Royal Wootton Bassett on April 30 which unfortunately falls the day after the Wrexham fixture so that would seem to put paid to the Women playing at Plainmoor again; next season hopefully. As a reminder to win the title and promotion they need four points.


Last week we asked about the lack of English players in the Premier League for the England manager to pick from and Gary Johnson has put forward his view. He feels the Premier League is now a ‘World’ League. He believes there are two ways at looking at the problem: on the one hand playing with better players from a variety of countries should improve the English lads while on the other, it reduces the number of English players for the manager to pick from.

After the two Euro qualifiers with two wins, Gareth Southgate’s side are doing ok.


Every so many years the Football Supporters Association (FSA) run a survey to find out the current thoughts of fans, you can take part in this by going to:

So, after 30 years it’s the end of Soccer AM on Sky, mind you it was never the same after Helen Chamberlain left. In its heyday it was a must watch on a Saturday morning before going to watch a match.

Seven games to save the season and effectively seven points from safety, United have a daunting trip to fellow strugglers Scunthorpe on Saturday but go there on the back of a win.

What’s gone wrong at Plainmoor, what’s your view? Send it to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT.





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