FANS' ZONE 06/08/2021
HAVE BOOTS WILL TRAVEL AS PLAYERS TRY TO WIN A CONTRACT
A few of the new Torquay United recruits might have had a nervous weekend following Gary Johnson’s post match comments saying he’ll be sitting down with them, as he explained, “ To show them how effective their game can be.”
So, what is there to be read into a pre-season friendly? United, due to circumstances not of their making, found themselves with only 34 days rest since a competitive match. And here they were just ten days into training - with seven new players plus trialists - facing local rivals Plymouth Argyle whose preparations are match ready for Saturday’s opening League 1 season.
It was a tough ask in front of an impressive Plainmoor crowd of 2356 and to be fair the Gulls started brightly until Ali Omar went off. His no nonsense defending and partnership with the ever impressive Joe Lewis upset the balance at the back after his departure.
It’s still early days in United’s preparations with the likelihood there will be further additions, maybe a player or two from Plymouth seen on Saturday for Johnson says he’s still building the squad.
Pre-season is a testing time for managers and players, for different reasons. For a manager ‘Have I brought in the right players?’ and for players ‘Have I impressed enough to get a starting place?’
But for a trialist it must be a real challenge. More than likely released by their previous club, the player has to take his chances, packing his bags, travelling to somewhere new, joining in with the training sessions and then, if lucky, getting half a game in a friendly And of course fans are trying to work out who you are in Guess the Player.
It’s not all glamour being a professional footballer. For those seeking a contract it’s a case of have boots will travel.
As of last week clubs, including United, have had to implement new guidance about heading protocols. Over the past few months this column has written about the research looking into the connection between heading a football and, sadly, a number of former players developing dementia.
The FA have now introduced heading guidance across every level of the professional and amateur game from the start of the season. The new guidance, specifically focused on training sessions where the majority of heading occurs, covers all levels of men’s and women’s football having been agreed with all the relevant football bodies.
It is recommended that a maximum of ten higher force headers - defined as headers following long passes (more than 35m) or from crosses, corners, free-kicks - are carried out in any training week.
Club staff will be encouraged to work with players following a match to ensure they have adequate time to recover from their heading exposure.
With Covid restrictions relaxed and away supporters inside Plainmoor for the first time for a long while it was good to see Saturday’s attendance.
However, there have been numerous concerns raised by supporters following the club’s new ticketing arrangements. In particular the policy of tickets having to be purchased in advance with a deadline of one hour before kick-off as well as no cash or card payments at the turnstiles.
TUST has been in contact with the club’s directors to ask them to reconsider.
Of course having a season ticket is a solution for those who can afford one. A National League survey of adult prices shows the most expensive being a whopping £420 to watch Kings Lynn, £400 at Notts County followed by Barnet’s £384 and Stockport County’s £380. United charge £360 but the cheapest are Solihull Moors at £195 with the lowest Eastleigh asking only £180.
Who cannot fail to be proud of our wonderful Olympic swimmers? Four gold, three silver and bronze medals? We’ve learnt more about taekwondo and trampolining but surely the one spellbinding event has been BMX - who thought you could do that with a bike!
Catching up with news of ex-Gulls, Kyle Cameron has been named as Notts County’s captain; Andrew Nelson is to be offered a contract at Darlington and Myles Anderson joins Hampton and Richmond.
There was a red card for Lucas Covolan in Port Vale’s 1-0 friendly win over Chesterfield while Benji Kimpioka got his marching orders in a Sunderland pre-season match.
United were in action again on Tuesday at Tiverton and after the match Johnson confirmed that the night’s two goals goalscorer was indeed Dan Holman, his former Cheltenham Town striker.
From early Yellow Army reaction Ali Omar is on his way to becoming a fan favourite - thank you for sending in your choices.
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