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Fan Zone 30/06/2023


UNITED’S GARY JOHNSON OPENS UP ABOUT HIS PLANS FOR THE SEASON


WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF HEADING IN FOOTBALL?


RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS SO KEEP IT TUESDAYS


Torquay United supporters starved of football news will be delighted to know that manager Gary Johnson, in an in-depth interview in Sunday’s Non-League Paper, has hinted that more signings are on the way.

“Bradley Ash is our only outside signing and he was in the top four or five strikers in National South last year for Weymouth. That’s one down so it’s really just a couple more that we’ve already identified and are negotiating with now.”

In the interview Johnson talked about last season. “We came away disappointed by relegation, obviously, but everything else was really positive.”

He went on, “We’ve got 15 who’ve stayed from last year and nobody has left who we wanted to keep. Even the two lads Lewis (Collins) and Jack (Stobbs) have dropped divisions to sign on permanently.”

On staying on as manager Johnson had this to say, “I’ve never left any club in a worse position than I found it. And when you get players like these, who are loyal and give everything, I think you owe them some loyalty yourself.”

On the season ahead he told the paper, “I’ve watched parts of pretty much every team [in National South on his iPad] and like every year in the National League, it’s got stronger.”

He had this to warn United fans, “I know there’s a lot of people who think we should win every game but it’s not like that. You’ve got to earn your results.”

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Almost 10,000 fans took part in the Football Supporters’ Association’s National Supporters’ Survey, last carried out in 2017, to give their thoughts on the current state of football before the new season.

88.2% agreed on the need for an independent regulator to ensure clubs are run sustainably.

Just under half of those polled - 46.9% - believed that their club cared about them and their views. Maybe too many treat their fans as customers rather than as supporters. Lack of communication between owners and fans is a common theme.

One in five - 21.7% - said they were attending fewer games because of the cost of living and almost a third - 31.9% - had reduced their matchday spending on food, drink and programmes.

FSA chair Malcolm Clarke said, “Football has said for years it can regulate itself. The findings from our survey show that it has become apparent that it cannot; fans say that independent regulation is required to safeguard the future of our clubs.”

*****

The recent death of former Manchester United and Scotland defender Gordon McQueen from complications of vascular dementia has once again drawn attention to the dangers of heading a football.

Research has discovered that professional footballers are three-and-a-half times more likely to develop a neurological disorder than the rest of the population and five times more likely to develop dementia.

It is a sobering thought that of the eleven players who won the World Cup in 1966 for England, six have died of dementia while a seventh, Sir Bobby Charlton, has the disease.

So, what’s the answer? A couple of years ago the FA limited professional clubs to ten ‘high force’ headers per week in training.

There’s also a move to see dementia acknowledged as an industrial injury which would mean compensation being paid. There is also a group called Head for Change which would like to see heading taken out of football.

One thing is for certain this issue is not going to go away.

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The debate about when to play mid-week fixtures continues with reader Richard Privett adding his views: “Keep it Tuesday. Gives players longer recovery time after Saturday and also allows the management team a coaching session. Playing on a Monday is not ideal especially after a Saturday away game.”

It seems pretty conclusive that United fans prefer matches on a Tuesday night.

*****

Last week’s column was about the first Test between England and Australia and that ‘bonkers’ decision of skipper Ben Stokes to declare on the first day. Did that result in England’s defeat?

Seems there is divided opinion on that. But with England one down it’s still all to play for with the second Test started at Lord’s on Wednesday but so far it’s advantage Australia.

Two more players to sign - not including loans - so which positions do you want?


Send your view to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com

or Twitter: @FanszoneT


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