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  • Writer's pictureTUST

FANS' ZONE 11/06/2021


Having watched the two play-off eliminators over the weekend, both won 3-2 by the home sides, (a good omen?) what was evident was the vital importance of having home fans inside the two grounds. Their involvement cannot be underestimated.

It was no coincidence that both winning managers, players and pundits underlined the role played by the crowd - literally the 12th man. Or as Gary Johnson has now asked, to be in the team!

And, interestingly at both matches was the absence of face coverings for, to be fair, singing and chanting for ninety minutes plus with a mask is not pleasant. Let’s hope the Yellow Army are able to ‘give it their all.’

So, Notts County will be the visitors for Saturday lunchtime and whilst one player does not make a team, many United fans will have the name Mark Ellis on their lips, for various reasons. Kingsbridge born Ellis made his Gulls’ debut in a 5-2 win at Kidderminster in September 2007 on loan from Bolton Wanderers. Between 2008 and 2012 Ellis scored 12 times in 136 appearances before moving to Carlisle.

Saturday’s semi-final sets up an intriguing test between the two managers. On the one hand there’s United’s vastly experienced Gary Johnson whose various sides over the years have had play-off successes and six promotions.

On the other hand there’s Notts County boss, Ian Burchnall, 38, who began his coaching career at age 22 at the University of Leeds. His managerial and coaching career has, over the past few years, been spent in Scandinavia, most recently, until 2020, as manager of Ostersund taking over from Graham Potter. Burchnall was appointed head coach at Meadow Lane in March this year.

There’s no doubt, then, that Saturday’s match is going the need the Yellow Army at its vocal best. There needs to be a buzz and atmosphere from the moment the first fans step inside Plainmoor, crank up the music, put on records people sing along to and plenty of positive announcements. Pity there’s unlikely to be any pre-match entertainment especially with BT Sport cameras present.

This is the club’s biggest opportunity to get back where we belong - being a 12th or 11th man has never been so important.

Going into the play-offs the number of ex-Football League clubs involved showed they totalled 488 years of EFL experience. It is, of course, now clear that one former Football League club will, after the Final on June 20, be returning to the promised land and of the four contenders it’s interesting to see how long each side has waited: United fell out in 2014, Notts County 2019, Hartlepool 2017 and Stockport County 2011.

It’s all to play for and could Gulls’ boss Gary Johnson have a selection surprise in store?


TUST’s Special Social consultation event took place last week on Zoom when the TUST board was joined not only by a number of members but also by representatives from the trusts at Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle, Yeovil Town and Hereford United.

The meeting was led by the Football Supporters’ Association Chair, Malcolm Clarke, a very experienced football fan who was informative, insightful, constructive and full of useful ideas. He led the meeting through the background to where we are now regarding the Fan-Led Review and how to put forward any views to Tracey Crouch.

Malcolm then kindly answered up to a dozen previously submitted questions sent in by TUST members and his replies to these will help form TUST’s submission to the F-L Review.

The time scale is tight as Crouch is expecting to submit her interim report by the end of July. To help her, there are various network meetings during June which she will be attending. Her final report is due in October.

As Malcolm Clarke said at the meeting, this F-L Review may not be perfect but it offers a big opportunity to do something.

***************** In National League news, it didn’t take long to discover that ex-Barnet manager, Simon Bassey, who quit the Bees after only two months in charge has become First Team coach at Portsmouth under Danny Cowley.

Meanwhile, the winner of May’s Vanarama Volunteer of the Month was none other than match day commentator Ray Duffy; congratulations Ray.

Saturday, then, is a defining day in Torquay United’s recent history and the big opportunity is there to be grasped with the Yellow Army’s support -so make some noise for the boys. Sing your heart out and make that difference.

Sadly, I’m not well enough to be there but I’ll be kicking and heading every ball. COYY!




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