FANS' ZONE 05/11/2021
OFF FIELD INCIDENTS OVERSHADOW UNITED’S GOOD POINT AT WREXHAM
Although Torquay United played a football match in North Wales on Saturday it was events off the pitch which have dominated the headlines with TUST heavily involved.
TUST, along with fan forum BTPIR, played a part in the case of the ‘mistaken identity’ sending off saga which started last Tuesday when Wrexham’s Bryce Hosannah was sent off for an elbow offence in the National League fixture against Maidenhead, only, as the footage from the match video showed, it was clearly his team mate, record signing Paul Mullin who was responsible. By Thursday despite sending messages to the National League and Welsh FA asking them to review the incident, both responded that it was not under their jurisdiction.
Accordingly TUST contacted the English FA and by late on Friday Hosannah’s three match ban was overturned with the punishment handed to Mullin whose suspension ruled him out of Saturday’s match. Whilst not claiming that TUST’s actions were the only ones, it was important, for the integrity of the league, that a wrong was righted.
Then, following United’s 1-1 draw at the Racecourse, members of the 242 Yellow Army who were at the game, contacted TUST to provide shocking accounts of coins, plastic and glass bottles hitting women and a child leaving them cut and frightened - a Hallowe’en horror.
It appears the opportunity for Wrexham ‘fans’ to do this could have been avoided had Wrexham AFC not decided, at the last minute, to move Gulls’ fans from the upper tier stand to the lower one.
By mid-morning on Sunday TUST issued a statement condemning the disgraceful scenes, calling on the appropriate authorities which included Wrexham AFC and the National League to take action. The Welsh club and North Wales Police are carrying out an investigation.
Superintendent Nick Evans said,”I’m sure I won’t be alone in feeling great disappointment, that on a weekend when there was international interest in Wrexham AFC, the headlines were grabbed by the idiotic actions of the few.” He added,”We are in discussions with the club in relation to banning those individuals identified from attending future games.”
The story has been picked up by BBC Sport online, ITV News, BBC Wales and DevonLive underlining one of TUST’s objectives, representing supporters’ interests and welfare in the community.
It is so disappointing that what began as a happy, enjoyable occasion for the home crowd welcoming their two Hollywood co-owners, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, ended in such a negative way.
The Torquay United AwayTravel coach was given a police escort back to the motorway while members of the Yellow Army were escorted to the train station. There were later reports that a Wrexham fan, thought to be a Torquay fan, was beaten up, requiring stitches, by other Wrexham ‘supporters’.
The match, by the way, ended in a draw as United’s last half hour saw them on the front foot, thanks to a triple substitution as Tom Lapslie added steel to the mid-field with pace from debutant Byron Moore and Alex Addai. Fittingly it was Welshman Connor Lemonheigh-Evans with the equaliser.
BBC Radio Devon summariser at the match, former favourite centre-back Steve Woods, whose comments were spot on, felt that Gary Johnson’s men could well be play-off contenders come the end of the season.
National League Crowd Watch: Wrexham v Torquay 9,813, Grimsby v Notts County 7,213. Compare these with League 2 Salford City who only drew in 1,892 for Exeter’s visit while National South Dulwich Hamlet pulled in 3,045 against Hampton & Richmond.
Credit too to League 1 leaders Plymouth Argyle who had over 16,000 watching them beat Ipswich Town 2-1 as Adam Randell made his full League 1 debut ending up being named Man of the Match.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has extended football’s five substitute rule, which has been in place since the Covid-19 pandemic began, until December 2022 but is likely to become permanent in March. Whilst it’s been used in the top four English divisions it hasn’t been allowed in the National League. The new substitute rule is to be introduced into the Laws of the Game for 2022-23.
Further developments with the connection between heading and dementia in former professional footballers as the PFA has called on the game’s stakeholders to introduce an industry-wide fund to help ex-players.
The PFA statement said the full details of the fund would be revealed “once football families living with dementia have confirmed the proposal meets their needs.”
Last week TUST was one of several supporters’ trusts taking part in the National Game Network meeting discussing topics such as the Fan-Led Review whose final report is now expected in mid-November. It has emerged that the review has cross party support in Parliament.
Gaining momentum is the ‘Get on Side’ campaign for women in football with the results of a FSA survey of women’s safety at matches coming soon and also there are a growing number of clubs partnering with #˙HerGameToo to ensure all women feel safe, comfortable and respected within football communities. Perhaps Torquay United could embrace this in time for the next Community Day.
No match this Saturday, FA Cup day, so a chance for extra injury recovery time for those needing it.
Last week’s question about Wrexham trying to buy promotion was, of course, taken over by other events but if you have any football views / opinions send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to Twitter: @FanszoneT.
Finally congratulations to all the 242 who travelled to Wales and best wishes and a speedy recovery to those who were hurt.