FANS' ZONE 02/07/2021
THE TIME HAS COME FOR THE NATIONAL LEAGUE TO BECOME LEAGUE 3 - GULLS’ BOSS SEEKS CHANGE
Whilst for many of the Yellow Army memories remain raw, and probably will do for some time following the events of the play-off final, as in life football moves on. Stand still and you get overtaken as Gulls’ boss Gary Johnson is fully aware.
It might be the shortest close season ever - pre-season training starts on July 19 - but there are other events away from Plainmoor taking place which could change the way football is run.
Currently the Tracey Crouch Fans-Led Review is in full flow with her team having regular meetings to hear views and case studies from individual non-league clubs’ supporters trusts. TUST has been involved in these meetings contributing to the discussions as this is, as Football Supporters Association (FSA) chair Malcolm Clarke says, “ A big opportunity to do something.”
With Crouch’s interim report scheduled for late July time is of the essence. Club governance and ownership together with supporter engagement are high priorities.
TUST, like every other club’s supporters’ trusts, want to see how football fans can feel really involved and included, for football clubs are the hub of each community offering fans a focus for their mental health and well being.
We hope, with anticipation, that Tracey Crouch’s conclusions will lead to the football pyramid being run in a fairer more proportionate and sustainable way.
But this cannot be the end of the debate. The opportunity is here now for the FA to look at the positioning of the National League.
Don’t forget that for the coming season the NL will have 12 former Football League teams, collectively combining hundreds of years of FL experience each trying to make a return.
So, the time is right for discussion about introducing two automatic places for promotion, plus a third through the play-offs, between the National League and League 2, as the influx of three clubs into League 2 would be refreshing for all.
Or why not go the whole way and see the National League become League 3?
To this end, earlier in the week, the FSA organised an online straw poll to gauge fans’ opinions.
As fans we’re not alone in proposing these changes as Gary Johnson made the same plea in Sunday’s Non-League Paper.
Over the years Mrs Johnson must have prepared numerous, delicious afternoon teas but with husband, Gary, dropping tantalising hints last week, let’s hope whatever was served has persuaded one or more of the prospective players to join Torquay United for the coming campaign. For all football fans, imminent signings are a mixture of speculation and anticipation.
The retained list contained no real surprises but it was a pity the Yellow Army weren’t able to give Liam Davis a fitting farewell after his long journey to overcome injury.
Whilst fans are sorry to lose a favourite player, it clears the way for new recruits. As Johnson says, “ You need to be more competitive year on year to improve the quality of your squad.”
TUST is pleased to announce that this year’s winner of the annual Ian Twitchin Trophy is Sam Sherring for his most appearances. Congratulations to our Bournemouth loanee.
Well done too, to United’s Under-16 team who, after a 4-3 penalty shoot-out, have been crowned the JPL Under-16 National League Champions defeating Kidderminster in the final.
Euros 2020: Italy manager Roberto Mancini spent the entire Italia 90 World Cup on the bench without kicking a ball. In last week’s 1-0 win over Wales, in the 89th minute he brought on his sub keeper so he could be part of the action; in fact, Mancini has used 25 of his 26 man squad.
That’s man management! Bognor Regis’ Jack Pearce, who has been on the National League board for the past 16 years, has become the new chairman promising more transparency in their decision making, adding,”We’ve got to make the board more accountable to its member clubs.” Time will tell.
Roll on July 7 when the fixtures are released.
Following contributions to last week’s poll there’s going to be a good take-up of season tickets being renewed and full details of prices, with some great offers for 2021-2022, are on the club’s website.
This week what are your thoughts about the structure of the National League? Should it become League 3? Is it time for increasing the number of automatic promotion places as Gary Johnson is advocating?
Send your views to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to Twitter: @FanszoneT
Meanwhile to all the Yellow Army stay safe.
RETURN TO STADIUMS SURVEY The FSA is conducting a short survey on fans' views about the return to stadiums in 2021/22. Complete the questionnaire