FANS' ZONE 02/10/2021
WIND OF CHANGE BLOWING THROUGH FOOTBALL
FAN - LED REVIEW RECEIVES ROYAL APPROVAL
Last week Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, President of the FA met with Tracey Crouch MP, Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) members and fans at Dulwich Hamlet to discuss the Independent Fan-Led Review of Football Governance The Duke showed a keen interest in the ‘heart and soul’ of the Non-League game adding weight to the discussions and importance of grassroots football.
There’s no doubt that there is a wind of change gathering momentum through the running of football in this country.
Among recent announcements the latest is the Premier League looking at playing ‘home’ fixtures abroad, not a new idea, starting with formal pre-season tournaments. This is another change bound to divide opinion.
Next, the SafeStanding campaign has had a positive response as Premier League and Championship grounds can bring in standing areas from January 2022.
Fancy having a pint in your seat watching the Gulls? Well, it’s looking possible, as it is at rugby matches, as the National League is about to be part of a pilot scheme to allow drinking alcohol whilst watching a game.
TUST was one of 100+ supporters’ trusts who signed a letter from the FSA to the new Secretary of State Nadine Dorries urging her to press on with the reforms set out in the Fan-Led Review interim report adding, “Football clubs are at the heart of their communities…they deserve protection…we urge you to retain the commitment to independent regulation.”
Following this the FSA met with Dorries and Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston to reinforce the need for an independent regulator to oversee football governance. Both ministers outlined their ongoing commitment to the Fan-Led Review whose final report is expected in October.
In recent weeks this column has brought attention to the importance of clubs signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with their supporters’ trusts with examples from Bolton Wanderers, Swindon Town and now Bristol City; TUST’s still remains with the club unsigned. Bristol City’s MoU is part of its commitment to keep fans informed and engaged. Key elements include holding two fans’ forums a year as the club’s CEO, Richard Gould, explained, ”We are lucky to have a large and very supportive fan base and I want to make sure we can keep our supporters engaged and involved.”
The live streaming debate highlighted here last week continues with opinion divided about whether it should be made available at all to those who feel it’s going to be another part of watching football but all agree no screening on Saturday afternoons detracting from fans choosing to watch their local team in person.
But still no comments from the National League or BT Sport who, it is reported, are in advanced talks to offload its sports channel to new player in the market DAZN. **************************************************************************
One issue which has been partly resolved is the ‘one hour before kick-off’ deadline for buying tickets before a game, the ticket office is now open for sales until 15 minutes before a match starts.
Matters aren’t always black and white and so it proved on Saturday at Chesterfield where for the first half United defended resolutely and probably had the best two chances late on. However, they were undone with two similar left wing crosses allowing the league leaders to take a 2-0 lead but, as a warning, if needed, to all the Yellow Army, never leave a Gary Johnson led Torquay United match early as you’ll miss all the excitement with two more ‘Gary Time’ goals. The first from Armani Little was the perfect example of composure in front of goal while his corner in the 95th minute was spot on and whether Tom Lapslie or defender diverted it into the roof of the net matters not- only that it rescued a point. The Black & White away strip, in a recent poll, is the favourite out of the three available this season.
Two big attendances again on Saturday 5,127 at Chesterfield and 7,771 to watch Stockport play Wrexham.
All quiet on the transfer front but you never can tell with Johnson so maybe some activity soon.
Torquay United Women’s team continued their unbeaten start to their league campaign with a 2-2 draw on Sunday at Forest Green Rovers, Ellie Bishop and Ocean Latto on the score sheet following a 5-1 win at Bideford last time out featuring a Helen Kukor hat-trick.
The death of Jimmy Greaves last weekend brought back personal memories as a 14 year-old visiting Plainmoor for the first time with my father (he was manager of Martins Bank, later to be Barclays, in Fleet Street) on January 9th 1965 having recently moved to Torbay.
It was, of course, that epic FA Cup Third Round tie against Tottenham Hotspurs with the Spurs’ side packed with ‘Super Stars’ internationals: Brown, Knowles, Henry, Mullery, Norman, Marchi, Robertson, Greaves, Gilzean, Jones, Dyson.
Standing in a crowd of 20,000+ was amazing but there were 55,080 at the replay when it was finally played. The original replay was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch but I travelled on the supporters’ coach the following Monday to see not only a Jimmy Greaves hat-trick but also a Robin Stubbs special!
Are you for or against drinking in your seat at a match? Send your verdict to: email@example.com or Twitter: @FansZoneT
Let’s get the Yellow Army behind the team on Saturday as Wealdstone, Matt Buse and Josh Umerah come to Plainmoor. Let’s hope the team coach has enough fuel!