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FANS' ZONE 08/04/2022


Take your mind back….June 12 2021 in front of a restricted but noisy crowd of 1,709 in the mid-day Plainmoor sunshine with visitors Notts County in the semi-final of the National League Play-Off and of course, Torquay United’s 4-2 victory, after extra time, to go through to that Final at Ashton Gate.

Well, United have a similar task this Saturday with Notts County, minus the injured Kyle Cameron, to catch them in another play-off position and surely this time in front of Plainmoor’s highest attendance of the season - over 4,000?

With Grimsby hitting fellow title challengers Chesterfield 4-1 the gap between Gary Johnson’s side and that crucial seventh place has once again been stretched to nine points - still mathematically possible but a win on Saturday is vital - so come along and support your local team.


Interesting how new managers can affect a team either positively or negatively. Take Darren Sarll having swapped Yeovil Town for Woking who, in his first game, went and won at Boreham Wood, their first home defeat of the season while Chesterfield’s new boss, the experienced ex-EFL manager Paul Cook, has seen his side slip from second when he took over from James Rowe, to fifth. And in that time the Spireites have only picked up twelve points from a possible thirty.

With most teams now down to single figure matches left to play, the top sides are looking at the title and play-off places.

Stockport’s title is theirs to lose so the next six have their eyes on being in the play-off mix. Those finishing second and third go straight into the semi-finals whilst fourth plays seventh on Thursday May 26 and on Wednesday May 25 fifth plays sixth in the Elimination Round. The semi-finals are on Saturday May 28 and Sunday May 29 with the Wembley Final on either Saturday June 4 or Sunday June 5.

There are big matches between now and the end of the season with top sides playing each other.

Did you see this great Tweet from Torquay United AFC Brasil? Ainda ha esperancasde conseguirmos uma vaga nos play-offs! O soho segue vivo! Vamos, reposes! Vamos, Torquay! All of which translates as : There is still hope of getting a spot in the play-offs! The dream is still alive! Let’s go guys! Come on, Torquay!


The amount of money National League clubs spent on agents’ fees between February 2021 and January 2022 was laid out last week. United paid out £10,330 but compare this with leaders Stockport County- £131,692 - and Wrexham’s £80,284. Notable others are Notts County £53,061 and Chesterfield £45,686.

In the same period the Premier League clubs paid out £272.6m, sufficient to pay for all the wages at all twenty-four League 2 clubs’ every player, manager, coaches and all non-playing staff. No wonder part of the Fan-Led Review - there’s still time to write to your MP to support the Bill - is to ensure Premier League money is distributed fairly down the football pyramid.


What a weekend for Non-League Crowd Watch: Little old Littlehampton Town won 4-0, to take them to Wembley for the FA Vase Final, in front of 3,200 to meet Newport Pagnell who knocked out Tim Sills’ Hamworthy Town.

Meanwhile, in the Isthmian South East Division leaders Hastings United had a remarkable 3,082 watching a 0-0 at home to Haywards Heath but 4,720 were there to see Macclesfield awarded their Championship Trophy after a 4-2 win over AFC Liverpool.

National South Maidstone stayed top after a comfortable 4-0 home win with 2,730 in attendance.

In the National League big crowds at Chesterfield 7,819, Southend 6,338 and in the FA Trophy semi-finals 8,703 at Wrexham (2-0 winners over Stockport) and Bromley 4,423 with visitors York City taking 1,011 - Bromley winning 3-1.


What’s happened to Lucas Covolan at Port Vale? After receiving a four game ban following his sending off on January 13 against promotion rivals Swindon Town, Covolan hasn’t played since.

At the time manager Darrell Clarke said, “He has got to learn from that otherwise he won’t be staying at the club for very long.” So has he left? If so could he be a summer transfer target? He’d be a very popular returning figure.


Gary Time? Now it’s Toddy Time! United’s Under-18s left it late, late to salvage a home draw when Jayden Gilbert’s 93rd minute goal gave the Champions a shared point with Yeovil Town. They now have two cup finals coming up to see if they can achieve a unique treble.

Talking of cup finals, United’s Women take on Exeter City’s women’s team in the Devon FA final on April 22 at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 7pm in a match jointly sponsored by TUST and the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust.

The final is hopefully going to be well supported although possibly not to the extent of last week’s record breaking attendance of 91,553 at the Nou Camp to witness Barcelona’s 5-2 victory over rivals Real Madrid to go through to the finals of the Women’s Champions League. Well maybe Coach Road doesn’t hold as many as that!

********** Iran, USA and one other out of Scotland, Wales or Ukraine must give England a World Cup draw of dreams and a really strong chance to get out of the group stage in November. What could go wrong?


Would you become a referee was last week’s question. Not many takers saying yes I’m afraid but hats off to those who do and often put themselves in line for unwarranted abuse; having refereed at school level, parents on the touchline are one of the worst.

With the Premier League going to five substitutes from next season should the National League do the same? Send your view to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT

This Saturday is a big game so make sure you get your ticket in time and get behind the team.





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