FANS' ZONE 12/11/2021
WREXHAM CEO SAYS SORRY FOR CROWD TROUBLE BUT SILENCE FROM NATIONAL LEAGUE
With United out of the FA Cup at the early stages, once again, it was a blankety blank Saturday for Gulls’ fans who dream of the day when Torquay get a plum, money spinning draw in Round 3 helping the club to open its cheque book and pen. Think of the excitement when the relevant balls are taken out of the velvet bag; oh well, we’ll just have to wait another year.
United’s victors from the last round, Havant & Waterlooville lasted 70 minutes level at The Valley before Charlton Athletic cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory.
Despite being 3-1 down at half-time in the FA Youth Cup Round 1 at EFL side Newport County, United’s Under-18s gave it a real go in the second half ‘winning’ it 2-1 and nearly forcing extra time. It was a valiant effort and maybe there are some promising stars of the future. It would be good to see some £million pound talent; Chris Todd and his staff are doing a great job.
Repercussions continue to reverberate following the regrettable incidents towards the end of the match at Wrexham. Twelve banning orders, with the likelihood of more to follow, season tickets revoked as Wrexham fans suffer the consequences for their coins and bottle throwing at members of the Yellow Army.
TUST welcomes the swift action taken by Wrexham AFC, Torquay United and the North Wales Police in identifying those responsible. Thankfully those hit have recovered from their injuries in what was a frightening ordeal.
Fleur Robinson Wrexham AFC’s CEO has written to TUST to apologise for the behaviour of a small minority, explaining that the North Wales Police are collating the events anticipating they will be in contact with Torquay United “to ascertain the victims of these offences.”
Sadly there was more coin throwing reported at the King’s Lynn v. Walsall FA Cup match on Saturday with a number of fans ejected.
With safe standing about to be re-introduced at five Premier League and Championship grounds in the New Year we could have hoped that unsavoury crowd instances are a thing of the past but the Wrexham incident would suggest otherwise. Contrast football supporters with those who watch rugby. The same weekend Torquay were in North Wales down in Cardiff Wales were being well beaten by New Zealand but what was striking was to see Kiwi fans sitting amongst home fans without any conflicts. And don’t forget rugby spectators are allowed to drink during matches, something which is due to be trialled in the National League.
Talking of the National League there has been a deafening silence from them for some time. Their involvement in the crowd disturbance was requested, result? Silence. Representations were requested regarding live streaming, result? Silence. Then there’s the recommendations back in the summer over the Fan-Led Review interim report - the final report is due soon - result? Board changes and change to voting rights but silence on other issues.
If the Daily Mail story is to be believed last weekend, National League general manager Mark Ives is under pressure from clubs concerned about a lack of commercial progress and unhappy about his failure to communicate with them.
The FA has confirmed that this season 2021-22 three teams will be relegated from the National League while four will be promoted - two each from National North and South and only one team from each of these two divisions will be relegated. This will take all three divisions back to 24 sides.
Gary Johnson’s lengthy managerial career has to date seen him in charge of an impressive 1,154 matches but last week former Gulls’ manager Neil Warnock suffered the highs and lows of football. On Tuesday as manager of Middlesborough he broke the English record when he took charge of his 1,602nd game - including 15 (won 5, drawn 5, lost 5) when in charge at Plainmoor, helping to avoid relegation to the Conference, in 1993 - but by Saturday he’d been sacked!
TUST applauds the second Community Day on Saturday, when Dover are the visitors, for NHS and care staff with up to 1,000 invited as guests as part of the club’s drive to work with the local community and its residents. Its vision is to use its heritage and profile to help support and promote local worthy causes.
Last week’s column has had much positive reaction on social media concerning #HerGameToo from the Gulls’ fan base including Helen Chamberlain with many ‘likes’. #HerGameToo has amongst its aims: develop a strong sense of community, create strong relationships with club trusts and communities, and crucially to have a presence at football grounds and sports bars to build a more welcoming environment for young girls and women. With United’s stated objectives, forming a partnership with #HerGameToo should be the next step and why not in time for Saturday especially as Torquay are the only Devon professional club not involved.
Torquay United Women were beaten at home 3-2 on Sunday by Sherborne Town Ladies, their first defeat of the season. However, their next game is a Vitality FA Cup match at St Austell.
Did you spot Kingskerswell resident, the English National Statistician Sir Ian Diamond being interviewed on the BBC News At Six recently? If you did, did you also spot the Torquay United 1899 scarf hanging prominently behind him?
So, it’s back to football at Plainmoor on Saturday as strugglers Dover are the visitors some 20 points from safety but that’s when teams can be dangerous. Last time United took three points from them they stopped playing and the points were ‘lost’; let’s hope nothing similar happens again. No Armstrong available, on international duty and no Addai whose short term contract has not been extended.
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