FANS' ZONE 23/04/2021
EIGHT CUP FINALS TO GO SAYS TORQUAY’S MR MOTIVATOR
Despite having a blank ‘Macclesfield’ Saturday Torquay sit top of the current National League form table, with fIve wins on the spin and only conceding two goals in the last eight outings. No wonder manager Gary Johnson was full of praise for his young centre-back pairing of Sam Sherring and Joe Lewis for ‘mothering’ the goal in last week’s edition of ‘Inside Plainmoor’.
After the mid-week heroics at Gander Green Lane - what an outstanding team performance - it was not a weekend off for Johnson, his brother Pete, Aaron Downes or Louie Birkenshaw as they were all tasked with live streaming matches involving teams still to play. So it was pretty certain games watched must have included Chesterfield 1 Bromley 2, Notts County 0 Eastleigh 1, Stockport 2 Maidenhead 2 and next Tuesday’s opponents Woking 0 Wrexham 4.
Woking had lost their last three home fixtures conceding four each time before Tuesday night when the hosts had almost a whole side out injured. Sound familiar? Thanks to two defensive howlers in the space of a minute United eased into a 2-0 lead and despite an indifferent second half held on to three precious points.
Unfortunately, the talking points after the game revolved around missing players and new injury concerns which the manager, uncharacteristically elaborated upon later in the week. Has Nemane really broken his leg in a gym accident? Are there yet more hamstring injuries? Saturday’s team sheet to face Notts County will be telling.
Although there was a mid-season wobble with loss of form, caused as much by cruel injuries as anything, and there were some fans questioning the management, there’s no doubting the value of Gary Johnson’s lengthy experience and football knowledge, for he’s the master in getting the best out of his players who undoubtedly, to a man, would run through the proverbial brick wall for him. His man management and motivational tactics are second to none. Torquay United are lucky to have him and as the Yellow Army will testify, our club, nowhere near being one of the ‘Big Six’, is, thankfully, a proper football club with genuine, loyal supporters.
Anyway, as the manager says let’s not get carried away as nothing has been won yet and there are another eight cup finals to go.
Last week Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaar announced that the reason for their poor home form is down to their red shirts clashing with red banners around Old Trafford - the players complained they could not see each other properly!
So, over the years what other excuses have there been for losing football matches? When manager of Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho blamed the lack of ball boys in the second half of a defeat to Barcelona.
Ukraine blamed their 4-0 defeat by Spain in the 2006 World Cup on noisy frogs keeping them awake while back in 1996 Manchester United, again but this time under Alex Ferguson, blamed their grey away kit at Southampton, ordering the team to change at half-time. They still lost - 6-3!
The 1989 First Division title showdown, whoever won would win the league, between Liverpool and Arsenal saw Liverpool’s Alan Hansen blaming their 2-0 defeat on the fact the match was played on a Friday and not a Saturday.
Rolling Stone Mick Jagger was seen as a jinx by Brazil for supporting them as he witnessed Germany’s 7-1 World Cup rout.
And finally, Sutton United striker Adrian Bradnam blamed missing an open goal because of too much crowd noise- oh to have some now!
Tales from the Family Stand: many thanks to fellow Family Stander Chris Pascoe (aka crispygull) who pointed us in the direction of his autobiography- The Frank Worthington Story, One Hump or Two? Football fans of a certain generation will remember one of England’s great mavericks who sadly died last month and whose funeral took place last Friday. Worthington was a flamboyant character on and off the pitch. In a Q&A session for Shoot magazine, he listed amongst his clubs, Stringfellows, The Playboy and, oh yes, Huddersfield and Leicester. His most dangerous opponent? The taxman.
Anyway, back to his book. Worthington tells the story of spending summers in Torbay when he would work on the paddle boats and he recalls one particular summer in 1965 when he spotted Manchester City’s Mike Summerbee and his wife.
And according to a Yellow Army fan a friend of his claims he and some friends were playing a kick-about football game in Ellacombe Park when both Worthington and Summerbee asked to join in!
Last week we asked about any lockdown hobbies you’ve taken up, there’s been a few interesting choices but we’ll run this into another week. Send your lockdown hobby, the most unusual the better to: email@example.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT
To all the Yellow Army stay safe and, when offered, get your vaccination. Come On You Yellows.