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Fan Zone 30/03/2024


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




On a crisp, sunny but windswept Spring afternoon the Yellow Army, swelled by fans predominantly from Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City, plus a few seen with scarves of Nottingham Forest, Bristol Rovers, Yeovil, Leicester and Carlisle swelled the Plainmoor gate to 3,029 on what was a special Devon Day on the annual Non-League Day.

They witnessed two sides of Torquay United; in the first half an exhibition of possession, fast flowing football which resulted in a 1-0 lead and a backs-to-the wall rearguard display with players putting their bodies on the line to defend that lead in the second half.

And there was a collective sigh of relief as the final whistle blew.


United’s woes off the pitch are well documented as the club goes into a second extension of 10 business days (more when you factor in Easter) to buy more time to find a buyer.

Both Argyle and Grecian fans are well aware of grave situations like this. It was 20 years ago that Exeter City fell into administration with Plymouth suffering a similar fate 12 years ago.

Both went through pain and demotion before making return journeys back through the leagues with Argyle now in the Championship and City in League 1.

Yes, the Gulls might be fighting for their lives to stay in National South but who is not to say that at some point in the future United will be a football league side once again, under the right ownership?

And on Thursday the TUST led consortium was announced as a bidder to take over the club to take the club off life support. But it’s now in the hands of owner Clarke Osborne to decide - unless the club goes into administration.


Saturday was a special day for several reasons for a number of people. Much travelled Neil Warnock, manager of eighteen clubs, including a stint at Torquay, having been in talks with a group of potential investors, made an appearance.

It was also a day to remember for TUST’s 750th member, Stuart Chapman from Essex, who was presented with a book, “Torquay United - A History in 50 Matches” written and signed by its author Steve Harris in a ceremony in Boots & Laces before the game.

And for the one lucky winner of the half-time 50-50 draw who walked away with a whopping £1,900 which included a £750 rollover from an unclaimed draw last home match.


So, after two damaging defeats - Taunton and Tonbridge - what had changed to see such a transformation?

Last week’s column called for no more Mr Nice Guy and maybe Robbie Herrera being drafted in to help Aaron Downes helped. However, Downes’s ‘get out of jail’ card was putting skipper Asa Hall in the middle of defence with Dean Moxey.

This experienced duo gave a master class in defending not bad for 37 and 38 year olds with between them almost 1,200 professional appearances in their careers.

The big question now is can Downes motivate this squad to replicate Saturday’s performance on the away travels? Good Friday’s defeat at Yeovil answered that.

With only six fixtures left, four on the road, and United’s last away success back in November, points on their travels are vital. Saturday’s three points gave the Gulls a cushion of five points away from the danger zone, now down to four.


With new owners one of the hopes is the establishment of a proper academy. Last week I wrote about Ollie Watkins, local lad who ‘got away’ and is now an England international. So, what about another local boy Kieffer Moore? A Wales international.

And to these two we can now add Jamie ‘he’s one of our own’ Reid who on his Northern Ireland debut scored inside the first seven minutes. Future talented youngsters living in and around Torbay have to be snapped up in the Torquay model for they are the ones who will generate much needed income.


In the National League it’s congratulations to Chesterfield who clinched promotion back to the EFL with a 3-0 win over Boreham Wood, surprisingly in the relegation drop area. Chesterfield have dominated the division having been top since September.


It’s well known that the Premier League is awash with funds which they keep talking about distributing down through the football pyramid but have yet to agree how. With their recent inability to deliver £900million, the Government announced the Football Governance Bill which has cross-party support in the Commons. With an independent regulator running football with powers to fine clubs, as well as sorting out financial mismanagement, it’s a win for fans who will have a stronger voice in the running of their clubs.

The one disappointing fact is that the regulator’s influence will stop at the National League Premier but that doesn’t mean clubs below that can’t set up their own fan involvement.


Non-League Crowd Watch: Chesterfield 9,907, Southend 7,251, Bromley 3,738, Aldershot 3,501, Torquay 3,029.

An Ocean Latto goal mid-way through the second half looked to have given Torquay Women a precious three points at relegation rivals Southampton on Sunday but the home side netted a late equaliser.

Easter Monday sees United at home to Weston-Super-Mare with a win top of the agenda.





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