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FANS' ZONE 10/12/2021


The almost inevitable backlash against the Fan-Led Review, from many who should know better, didn’t take long to surface kicked off by Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow when he stated, “Everything good in English football sits in the Premier League.” And proclaiming it is the ‘golden goose’. In last week’s Non-League Paper column I wrote that the review’s recommendations received a big thumbs-up from supporters’ groups throughout the country but not from club CEOs.

Premier League clubs met last Friday to plan to reject the introduction of an independent regulator and a proposed 10% levy on transfer deals. This is against a background of MP Tracey Crouch’s report also wanting a greater distribution of Premier League broadcast money down through the pyramid as far as grass-roots football. Don’t forget they have just signed a new US TV deal worth £2billion.

As a reminder, the Fan-Led Review has to go through Parliament and the earliest this can be debated is Spring 2022, Crouch, as part of this process was due to give evidence on Tuesday to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee but the signs are that her recommendations will receive cross-party support.

Whilst the Premier League is arguably the best league in the world let’s not forget that it wouldn’t be that but for grass-roots and non-league football.

Can football supporters influence the report? Yes, by writing to your MP, using a template letter available at, to urge them to support the recommendations when they come before Parliament.


All credit to the estimated 600 Yellow Army, travelling into Dorset, whose non-stop singing from start to finish was rewarded with a 2-1 win which but for the woodwork might well have been greater.

The win was also a great relief to manager Gary Johnson who pre-match had described it as a six-pointer; hopefully the performance as well as the result put a smile not only on his face but also on all Gulls’ fans too.

Johnson might well be a long standing manager who has already got the t-shirt but there have been times when he needs someone to boost his confidence - Mrs Johnson, of course - but more importantly the club’s owner and directors who remain fully behind him. Manager of the Week was his reward.

Well done, again, to Armani Little for making the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day with Joe Lewis in the Vanarama Team of the Week.


National League Crowd Watch: In National South Dulwich Hamlet were watched by 3,334 and Dartford had 1,156 while in National North Chester pulled in 1,389.

Only 838 watched bottom club Dover in the National League, still without a win all season, and almost 200 of those were from visitors Wrexham.


In the last few weeks Gary Johnson has said he’s looking to strengthen the squad in January yet there’s no transfer window between the EFL and National League, as has been demonstrated over the past week with Notts County loaning a winger from Wycombe Wanderers, Weymouth signing a defender from Cambridge United, Woking taking ex-United loanee Louis Britton from Bristol City and Southend United about to sell defender Charlie Sayers to Spurs.

In the last 24 hours Johnson has decided to act; out go Jake Andrews (to Havant & Waterlooville) and Gabby Rodgers to Truro City, both loans.

Incoming: Jack Sparkes from Exeter City and Joe Felix from Billericay Town.

Wonder how United’s third keeper Marcin Brzozowski, signed in the summer from QPR, is feeling? He seems to be the forgotten player in the squad and must be wondering when he’s ever going to play a competitive game again. Surely he needs to be loaned out.


Torquay United Women grabbed a hard fought 2-2 draw on Sunday at AFC St. Austell while the Development team remain unbeaten following a 1-0 home win over Teignmouth.


It’s been another busy year for TUST as members found out at its recent AGM. Chairman Michel Thomas explained that despite Covid protocols the trust had held meetings and correspondence with the area’s three local MPs, Torbay Council and the Safety Advisor Group. Unfortunately, the trust’s relationship with the club is currently, at best, strained.

There are 375 members, up from last year, with two, Bob Cole and Sam Druiff, being elected to the board. The meeting praised the club for its Community Day initiatives but was disappointed that TUST had not been asked to be involved. Members heard that the trust holds £55,000, the majority of which forms an emergency fund if ever there’s a need to respond to any change in circumstances.


Ex-United favourite Lee Mansell took over as manager at National North Gloucester City in October and following back-to-back wins with a 2-0 victory on Saturday his side, which included former United player Daniel Leadbitter and Max Sheaf, a loanee last season at Plainmoor from Hull City, moved out of the relegation zone.

The club made a good start last home game embracing #HerGameToo, a campaign started this year by two Bristol Rovers fans Lucy Ford and Caz May to combat sexism and foster an inclusive environment in football. We now need to see this progress to ensure all supporters enjoy their Plainmoor experience.


One Magic Moment has brought in some gems! How about these? Police dog Bryn’s intervention in United’s 2-2 draw with Crewe in 1987 or Kevin Nicholson’s 94th minute winner over Barnet in 2011, 10 years ago on Thursday, which put the Gulls just outside the League 2 play-off places, a table which had Southend top and Plymouth Argyle bottom.

Another suggestion was Rene Howe’s 89th minute winner in a 4-3 win over Aldershot, after being 3-0 down at half-time in 2012, but best of all is reader Andrew Melnyk recalling Gareth Howells’ penalty in the shoot-out win over Blackpool in the Division 4 play-off at Wembley in 1991.

Do you have a Christmas wish for Gary Johnson’s side? Send yours to: or to Twitter:@FanszoneT.

Stockport are Saturday’s visitors and this promises to be a real test so let’s make some noise and get Plainmoor rocking plus a chance to see the new signings and a return for Danny Wright.





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