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Fan Zone 25/04/2024

FAN ZONE



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



IS  STAYING  IN  NATIONAL  SOUTH  A  REAL  CELEBRATION?


WILL  THE  CLUB’S  NEW  OWNERS  PUT  THE  WONDERFUL  LOYAL  FANS  FIRST?


WHAT  A  MISTAKE  AS   FA  CUP  REPLAYS  SACRIFICED  TO  THE  TOP  CLUBS


For many this must have been one of the most disappointing times to admit being a Torquay United supporter, so it was with a collective sigh of relief that, following a crucial win at Taunton Town last Tuesday, the Yellow Army celebrated staying up and avoiding what would have been an ignominious relegation into the Southern League.

But let’s put this reprieve into context. This once proud Football League club celebrating staying in a part-time, regional league? Can this be true or is it a bad dream?

For all the millions - £5million? - chucked at it by previous owner Clarke Osborne what progress is there to show? Yes, there is still a football club to support.


But hang on, those millions weren’t Osborne’s as the recent Gaming International accounts reveal.  That money came from other sources - “property funding partners withdrew financial support during March 2024.”


After Gary Johnson left up stepped loyal assistant Aaron Downes and credit to him, his pre and post match interviews showed his passion for the club and his acknowledgement of the importance of the fan base shone through.


*****


Talking of the Yellow Army BBC Radio Devon’s commentator Paul Mulhern gave a passionate plea during Saturday’s match saying, “It’s the fan base who keep the club going…. 680 went to Yeovil to watch a miserable 3-0 defeat, 712 went to Bath to watch an abject performance and 850 turned up at Taunton.” “I don’t care who takes over, never forget the fans and be honest with them.”


And that brings us to who is the preferred bidder?


It’s on record that the TUST led/Michael Westcott consortium lost out to another bid but there have been numerous inaccurate comments about this. Our bid with its financial support and business plan were accepted by the administrators and the National League.


We wanted to ensure football continued to be played at Plainmoor in a sustainable way with fan involvement leading eventually to a 100% fan run club. We always said we were to be custodians not owners and would happily step aside to a better bid.


*****


Since the administrators announced there was a preferred bidder there has been much speculation but it certainly looks as if Brewdog and The Range were wide of the mark, The current frustration amongst the fans is the lack of communication but this is because the individual/consortium/company are working through due diligence and in particular paying off all the club’s creditors.


Don’t be surprised if we don’t hear any news until into May. This, of course, is worrying in itself, as there are a lot of issues to resolve. The current non-playing staff must be wondering for how much longer they have a job?


It is believed that all the players except Austen Booth are out of contract and what about the interim manager and backroom football staff? If there are to be changes in the dug out and dressing room let’s hope the new custodians are working on a plan.


A matter of concern that refuses to go away is that under any new regime ‘continuity’ is a likely key component. Could this mean roles for George Edwards and Mel Hayman?


*****


3,379 were at Plainmoor on Saturday and their loyalty and love for Torquay United was rewarded with, possibly, the match of the season, with local lad Booth scoring what surely must be the goal of the season, edging out any from Brett McGavin. 5-0 could easily have been double figures.


*****


In other football news the big talking points are the FA Cup and once again VAR. The FA’s decision to stop replays from Round 1 has met with an amazing condemnation from clubs and supporters’ trusts - TUST was one of the first to publish its opposition to this decision - and virtually every club, except from the Premier League, from the EFL to grass-roots clubs have voiced their rejection, some even calling for an FA Cup boycott next season.


It’s not just the revenue from replays, which in many cases have saved a club from going under, it’s also the memories that fans will treasure forever. 


Let’s hope common sense prevails but it does appear that teams lower down in the football pyramid have been sacrificed on the altar that is an expanded Champions League. As one critic said,”This looks very much like a European Super League but in different clothing.”


If ever there was a reason to be rid of VAR, then Coventry’s disallowed ‘winner’ over Manchester United in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final is the one event needed to bring it to an end.


*****


In the National League Gateshead, subject to an appeal, have lost their place in the play-offs due to off-field matters concerning their ground.


TUST congratulates and thanks United fan Liam Paradine-Ford who ran the London Marathon in 3 hours 23 raising £1,157 for TUST; what a great achievement. TUST also thanks Torbay MP Kevin Foster for raising Torquay’s situation in the House of Commons last week with the Sports Minister thanking TUST for its role in supporting the club’s fans.


*****


Congratulations to Ollie Tomlinson for winning TUST’s Ian Twitchin Trophy for the player with the most appearances and to Player of the Season Dean Moxey and to the somersaulting Arkell Jude Boyd for Young Player of the Season.


United’s Women, in a must-win game, went down 4-0 at home (Dawlish) to Portishead Ladies looking like ending their one season in the National League.


*****


Non-League Crowd Watch: Chesterfield 10,108, Southend 7,947, Hereford 4,071, Woking 3,889.


Good luck to United’s Under-18s in their League Cup Final against Bridgwater at Plainmoor on Saturday, kick-off 12noon with TUST as match ball sponsors.



COYY



Ollie Tomlinson being presented with the TUST sponsored Ian Twitchin Trophy for most appearances by Vice Chair Robin Causley and board member Michel Thomas.








 


SUPPORT TUST - SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY


 





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