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FANS' ZONE 23/10/2021


ANOTHER INEPT PERFORMANCE AS UNITED CRASH OUT OF THE FA CUP MANAGER ISSUES RALLYING CRY


‘We weren’t good enough or strong enough to hold out,’ was Gary Johnson’s after match verdict, adding, ‘Our strengths are not quite coming out at the moment, but our weaknesses are being shown up,’ following another disappointing display as National South visitors Havant and Waterlooville earned themselves an FA Cup replay.

But Johnson’s comments from Saturday were echoed on Wednesday night with yet another inept performance as United tumbled out of the cup in an early round once again. It was an embarrassing evening.

So what has happened to the Gulls?

There are, of course, plenty of theories put forward on social media as what needs to be done and Johnson himself must be perplexed at his under-performing side. As most managers say in these circumstances, only hard work on the training ground can right things. And on Friday with the absence of a press call Johnson issued a rallying cry not only for his players to step up but to the Yellow Army to keep believing. Let’s hope the players respond for these are testing times for management and fans.

As mentioned last week many of the Summer signings are younger players learning about the demands of National League football while many of the older, experienced ones are nearing the end of their careers. But have the players lost their confidence, individually and collectively as a team? The arrival of loanees Harry Perritt from Accrington and pacy forward Sinclair Armstrong from QPR are hopefully the first of a few to bolster the squad to create greater competition for starting places. Strange there’s been no sighting or little news about Alex Addai whose brief appearances looked promising, although his name was mentioned post match on Wednesday by the manager as being injured.

*************************************************************************************** FA Cup Crowd Watch: Yeovil Town’s local derby with Weymouth attracted the top attendance of 3,354. Grimsby’s visit to Bromsgrove Sporting drew 3,216 while Stockport played Stamford in front of 3,002.

Only 1,477 home supporters were at Plainmoor on Saturday as attendances continue to drop. Crowd figures for Saturday’s visit of King’s Lynn should be boosted with 1,000 free tickets as part of ‘Community Day’ and another 100 through the club’s NSPCC initiative.

Johnson is an advocate of ensuring his teams entertain fans so this match is an ideal opportunity to do so to ‘convert’ these extra fans into regulars.

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Modern professional footballers’ fitness, diet and health, amongst others, are closely monitored as well as their contributions and performances in matches. United’s players are required to sit through the whole 90 minutes of the previous match marking their involvement with ticks and crosses recording a successful pass - or otherwise - to a team mate with the pluses and minuses totalled up at the end. After the last numerous performances no guesses as to which column has the most.

But what if you could actually relive that match through technology? Well, at a cost of a cool £750,000 this is now available, called SoccerBot360, players can see the pitch again from the same angles they experienced on match days.

Norwich City have installed this enabling their players to go through specific match scenarios ahead of time and within the comfort of their own training ground. The kit allows them to practise training drills, match analysis and simulation.

Sounds a world away from ticks and crosses on a piece of paper!

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With the Fan-Led Review report due to be published soon the importance of supporters having meaningful dialogue with their clubs is gaining momentum. However, this is not true for many. Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, with around 25,000 members, has hit an all-time low with a strained relationship with the club’s board. Supporter groups need to be taken seriously.

The heading debate continues, a new charity ‘Head for Change’ has been set up and organised the recent trial game with heading restrictions. Also a number of ex-professionals including Gary Lineker, Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer and Gary Pallister have called for an urgent ‘protect, prevent, preserve’ strategy that addresses the issues. Football has big decisions to make.

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TUST hosted a South West Supporters’ Trust group meeting last week involving trusts from Exeter City, Yeovil Town and Hereford United discussing a variety of topics of mutual interest including the Fan-Led Review, Live Streaming and the growth of Women’s football although, sadly, not every club gives them the backing they deserve. Exeter, though, give their women equal standing with the men and on Sunday in the Devon Cup they defeated Plymouth Argyle at St James Park in front of 1,380. Torquay Women playing at Plainmoor on a Sunday would be a refreshing move.

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Well one Torquay United side has made it through to Round 1 of a Cup competition as the Under-18s won 1-0 at Oxford City and now face a trip to Newport County in the FA Youth Cup.

What does the current squad need most was last week’s question. Well someone to beef up the defence - cue the arrival of Harry Perritt. But also top of everyone’s list is a pacy forward or ideally more than one, let’s hope Armstrong’s arrival addresses this but then the club already has Olaf Koszela on the books and he’s scoring regularly for Tiverton. Plymouth’s Rhys Shirley impressed in pre-season and week in and week out sits on the Argyle bench. Perhaps he would benefit from some National League action.

A trip to The Valley is not to be, the last time United played there in 1934 was in front of 8,635 in a DivisionThree (South) fixture losing 3-2.

Should heading in football be banned or restricted? Send your view to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT.

So can this current squad play with quality and passion against a King’s Lynn side below United in the table? Let’s hope so especially in front of these ‘extra’ fans.

COYY.

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