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FANS' ZONE 23/07/2021


It might have been the shortest gap between the play-off final and pre-season training, with Gary Johnson managing a week on a cruise liner to recharge his batteries as well as keeping tabs on possible signings, and clearly much has happened.

The result of all this hard work was the drip-feed unveiling of seven new arrivals during Monday.

Two goalkeepers: Marcin Brzozowski (from QPR) and Morecambe’s Mark Halstead; a left-sided centre-back Ali Omar (Barnsley), left-back Dan Martin (Cardiff City), Colchester’s mid-fielder Tom Lapside, winger Keelan O’Connell from Bournemouth with forward Klaidi Lolos (Plymouth Argyle).

The Magnificent Seven? Time will tell and clearly there’s room for more - on loan or otherwise. Johnson is excited about his new recruits with a good balance of youth and experience, especially the ones with EFL games on their cv, some on two year deals.

As the manager says, Torquay is a development club which can give these players the opportunity to enhance their careers.

Looking at some of the signings the so called ‘top clubs’ - Stockport County, Chesterfield, Wrexham and Notts County - have made, ‘splashing the cash’ - it does look as if money is no object to try to buy themselves out of the National League. But part-time Sutton managed pretty well without.

FC Halifax manager, Pete Wild, summed the situation up when he said, “ There’s probably more money flying around our league than the one above.”

Last season’s Covid hit fixture programme, with matches crammed in every few days, was surely a major part of the reason why so many players, in all leagues, suffered injury woes.

So, thank goodness that this year’s fixtures are well spaced out to allow plenty of recovery time between matches.


With no teams coming up from Step 2, newly arrived in the National League come Southend United and Grimsby Town.

Southend, formed in 1906, started life in the Southern League, helping to co-found the Football League’s new Third Division in 1920 where they stayed until relegation in 1966. They reached the dizzy heights of the Championship, but only for one season, in 2006 The Shrimpers have played at their current ground, Roots Hall, since 1955, but under owner, property developer Ron Martin, have plans to re-locate to a site at Fossetts Farm.

Over the years the club has had a number of well known managers: Barry Fry, Peter Taylor, David Webb, Paul Sturrock, Sol Campbell and Bobby Moore. Current boss, in his second spell, is Phil Brown.

After 101 years in the Football League Southend join non-league football. Grimsby Town, founded in 1879, became members of the Football League in 1892 playing at Blundell Park but have plans to re-locate.

This will be Grimsby’s second time in non-league having previously been relegated into what then was the Conference in 2010. They flirted with promotion, reaching the play-off final in 2015 losing a penalty shoot-out to Bristol Rovers in front of a record Wembley crowd of 47,029.

The following year they went one better, defeating Forest Green Rovers 3-1, under Paul Hurst, to clinch a return to the EFL But now they find themselves back in non-league but hopeful of a swift return, once again under Paul Hurst.

Grimsby’s notable managers have included: Bill Shankley, Lawrie McMenemy and Alan Buckley.

As other clubs falling out of the EFL have found, getting back again is not an easy ride so that extra automatic promotion place would help. Let’s hope that those on the National League board are looking at all the recent comments on this subject.

We await the publication of the interim Fans-Led Review report due out before the end of the month.


A regular topic the Yellow Army contact this column about is live streaming which proved so successful last season, it would then be very popular if the National League and BT could work something out.

However, for those who can’t get to Plainmoor the club is live streaming the pre-season matches against Truro City, Plymouth Argyle and Bournemouth.

Seven new signings to be seen in the up-coming pre-season friendlies so let us know your first impressions to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT

As always to the Yellow Army stay safe. COYY




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