FANS' ZONE 19/02/2021
THE VOTES ARE IN BUT WHAT NEXT ?
NATIONAL LEAGUE SEASON CONTINUES BUT WITH HOW MANY ?
In the National Premier seven clubs voted to end the season, 13 wanted to continue, Dover have already said ‘that’s it, no more football’ (but could there be a dramatic u-turn when they see the sanctions?) and what about the other six? Do they play on? If yes, with weakened squads? And add in that two clubs have yet to vote!
So what does the National League board propose happens next? Do they even know? Will Dover’s points - and any others - be annulled? On what basis are the reluctant clubs going to play?
It’s pretty clear the only certainty from the details of the last 48 hours is that this long running saga has some way to go yet. What has to be preserved, at all costs, is the ‘two up, two down’ with the EFL.
And who has the final say to sort out all this mess? The FA.
Ask any Yellow Army fan to name the two most significant aspects to come out of this terrible pandemic, as supporters remain unable to watch matches inside football grounds, and they’ll be guaranteed to answer, live streaming and the ‘Inside Plainmoor’ series.
Being able to watch the Gulls home and away from anywhere in the world from the comfort of your own home has to be top of the agenda. And supporters would, in most cases, be willing to pay more, say the same cost as if going through the turnstiles, to watch if this becomes regularly available when life returns to ‘normal’. Especially as the Torquay United product is of a very high quality having developed into a football programme with highlights and player and manager interviews.
In the same way ‘Inside Plainmoor’, with the impressive Dom Mee asking the questions, showcases manager Gary Johnson giving his honest, insightful opinions about the latest developments at the club.
Last week, for example, the Boss answered almost an hour’s worth of questions sent in by a number of United fans. Johnson underlined the unity at the club saying, “I love the club,” confirming he’s going nowhere as he doesn’t want to let players, supporters, directors down. He’s here to do a job which is to get the club back into the Football League.
In a refreshing session the manager fielded a variety of fans’ concerns: the club is ‘trying very hard to improve the squad’, in these Covid times the club uses a specialist company that arranges their hotel stays for away games, as used by Premier League and Championship teams with fewer numbers travelling on the team coach.
Johnson did answer at length about two pressing issues: on the current injury ‘crisis’ he gave details about the long term injuries to Liam Davis, Andrew Nelson, Danny Wright and touched on Ben Wynter’s return. About any others he rightly kept these to himself. The Yellow Army is anxiously waiting to see the team news for the BT Sport match with FC Halifax on Saturday evening.
Following the postponement of Saturday’s match at Woking, in the light of these injuries, the management could be forgiven if they weren’t too disappointed to lose this fixture until a later date.
The second topic was about set pieces and he reckons by the end of the season the stats will show that 50% of the total goals scored will have come from a set piece.
Whilst those running the club prefer to stay in the background the Yellow Army can be grateful to have such an open, engaging manager who clearly puts communicating with fans a priority.
With Step 2 clubs in National North & South having their seasons ended, feel some sympathy for the 12 South & 7 North teams who voted to continue - combined that’s almost a league in itself! Among them are many former Football League sides still with dreams of returning to the promised land but now on hold for at least another year.
Although it might seem premature, thoughts must already be forming about the make-up of the 2021-2022 season.
Meanwhile, Solihull Moors chairman, whose club voted to continue, has said that playing without fans from now until the end of the season will cost an extra £450,000 explaining, ”This is the reality of the size of the financial burden being placed on us by the current circumstances.”
TUST met with the newly appointed manager, Matt Anthony, of the Torquay United Community Sports Trust (TUCST) to discuss how the two trusts, who have built up a strong relationship over recent years, can help the Torquay United Inspirations, a group of physically or mentally disabled supporters.
This coinciding with national news reporting on research carried out by Activity Alliance showing the impact of Covid-19 on the activity levels of the disabled.
Within Torbay as a result of the pandemic the 35 junior and adult members of TUI have been missing their regular training sessions.
In an agreement between TUST and TUCST “Stay At Home Training Packs’ consisting of a training top, shorts, a ball and cones, using the balance of the Premier League Fans Fund, are to be bought as well as additional mid-layer tops paid from TUST funds set aside for community projects. TUI members will now be able to train at home and via online sessions.
Three words in memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore could only be ‘Tomorrow’s Another Day’.
In last week’s ‘Inside Plainmoor’ there was a suggestion there should be statue of Gary Johnson erected. What’s your view? Send your ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @Fanszone.tu.
To all the Yellow Army stay safe - and have your vaccination.