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FANS' ZONE 21/08/2021


NATIONAL LEAGUE REACTION TO FAN-LED REVIEW TOO LITTLE TOO LATE


Too little, too late as the National League makes changes in the make-up of its board members in the light of the comments in the interim report from former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch’s damning verdict from her Fan-Led Review.

Citing the need for “urgent reform” Crouch called for the board, currently consisting of seven members from National Premier, North and South clubs with Isthmian League Bognor Regis’s Jack Pearce as chairman, to be replaced with independent representatives.

And what did they agree at last week’s EGM? The board will now have six members from National League clubs, four from Step 2, two independents plus Pearce. Surely this is paying lip service to the report’s findings.

There’s also annoyance amongst managers too as the proposal to increase substitutes to seven failed with Notts County’s Ian Burchnall leading the way, “ The coaches / managers want to see a more professional set-up but it seems like there are still restraints on that.”

With the Premier League now with nine subs and the EFL with seven, Burchnall revealed that at a managers’ meeting of National League clubs in the week all were in favour of the increase from five to seven yet when it came to the vote seven clubs voted against.

Crouch’s report also called for changes to the voting rights for Step 2 clubs with the EGM agreeing a new structure so that every club will have one vote each. For a resolution to be passed it will need a majority plus a majority from Step 1. ************************************************************************* In recent weeks United supporters have watched in wonder as National League rivals have splashed the cash on buying their way back into the EFL. By contrast Gary Johnson has used his budget to recruit a mix of experience and youth as owner Clarke Osborne continues his generous funding.

Elsewhere Manchester City broke the transfer record at £100m to prise Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. And what about Lionel Messi’s move to PSG? He’s reportedly on £1m a week - yes, a week. Some of it can be offset from replica shirt sales as, at £100 each, they sell a million a year.

Chesterfield’s recent acquisition of Boreham Wood striker, Kabongo Tshimanga drew this comment from Wood chairman Danny Hunter, “ The fee we had set was a top League 1 or Championship one…..the final fee agreed is an amazing fee for a National League team.” ********************************************************************************

The desire for streaming matches outside the ‘blocked hours’ mentioned in last week’s column continues to be an issue, particularly for Yellow Army exiles in the UK and abroad. TUST has asked the club to look into the possibility. As a result the club has issued a statement explaining the situation and the National League and BT Sport are in discussions.

If Gulls’ fans had a wish list they would like to see Bournemouth defender Sam Sherring back in an 1899 shirt. He is, though, now on a season long loan at League 1 Accrington Stanley. Although recovering from a calf injury Sherring was at Plainmoor last Tuesday to receive his TUST sponsored Ian Twitchin trophy, awarded to the player with the most appearances in the season, pipping Adam Randell and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans by a matter of minutes, from TUST chairman Michel Thomas along with board member Rob Dickinson and former United keeper John Turner.

On the TFF forum there have been some interesting posts about the numbering used for players’ shirts, so here’s a potted shirt history: numbers on shirts were first recorded in 1911 in a match between two sides in Australia while in England it was a game played at Stamford Bridge between Corinthians and a team of amateurs from Football League clubs in 1914.

The numbers were originally used to indicate positions, goalkeeper 1 through to outside left (left winger) 11. The next recorded use of numbers was in 1928 when Chelsea played Swansea City with the Daily Express reporting, “ The 35,000 spectators were able to give credit for each bit of good work to the correct individual because the team were numbered and the large figures in black on white squares enabled each man to be identified without trouble.”

The 1954 World Cup used squad numbers 1-22 for the first time but not becoming compulsory in the Football League until 1999, although some teams were using numbers from 1993, and in the Conference (now the National League) not until 2002.

When substitutes were allowed in 1965, they typically took numbers 12 and 14, leaving out 13 for superstitious reasons. Players are generally not allowed to change numbers during a season but can between seasons.

Did you know that in 2013-14 Harry Kane’s shirt at Spurs was 37, the following season 18 and by 2013 he was number 10?

Names didn’t appear on the back of shirts until 1993 a year after the start of the Premier League. **************************************************************************

Some ingenious suggestions for Three Word Fun sent in, the best being ‘Gratifying, Fullflling, Sustainable’ (Gulls) from Michel from Torquay.

This week which team is your prediction for the title? Send your choice to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT

So, Saturday’s opening fixture is here, get your ticket before 2pm and pack Plainmoor.

To the Yellow Army stay safe and get behind the team for a winning start.

COYY


Presentation of the TUST sponsored Ian Twitchin Trophy to Sam Sherring for most appearances in the 2020/21 season. L-R: Rob Dickinson (TUST board member), John Turner (former Gulls keeper, team-mate of Twitchin and now match day bar manager) and Sam Sherring (now on loan from AFC Bournemouth to Accrington Stanley)).

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