FANS' ZONE 25/02/2022
BARNET PARTY POOPERS AT IT AGAIN BUT UNITED TAKE A DESERVED POINT AGAINST FA CUP GIANT KILLERS
Why do football fans keep following their team week in week out even when results aren’t what’s expected? Because following your team is a way of life, it’s part of your DNA.
Take Saturday’s match against Barnet. The visitors on a wretched run of five defeats from the last six while Torquay United were riding on the crest of a wave with only one defeat from the last six, then along comes Storm Eunice to upset the apple cart.
Fortunately the pitch was fine and no structural damage unlike our friends up the road! But those irritating Bees from London came to spoil United’s surge towards the play-offs as they did last season when the Gulls were trying to catch Sutton United at the top.
In fact the last time United beat Barnet at Plainmoor was a 3-2 League 2 fixture in 2013.
On Saturday United, thanks to Connor Lemonheigh-Evans in the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day for the second consecutive week, raced into a 2-0 lead but a goal by the visitors in strange circumstances, against the run of play, gave them the impetus to press on and in the end either side could have claimed all three points.
Torquay were grateful to keeper Shaun MacDonald for a great save right at the death when Louis Walsh was denied in a one-on-one - it was a no from him. While most people’s Man of the Match, the Duke, blazed over the bar when he could have made a name for himself, well even more than his impressive one!
In the end Torquay had too many key players below standard so needed to up their game on Tuesday night against promotion chasing Boreham Wood who went down 2-0 in front of the BT Sport cameras at Maidenhead last Saturday.
They do, though, still have one of the meanest defences conceding only seventeen goals from their 26 games. Could the Yellow Army hope that Tuesday’s visitors had Everton on their minds next week? Though promotion is surely their priority? So, a 0-0 scoreless draw was probably not a surprise.
Like most United fans feel surely now is the time to bring a striker on loan while there is still a possibility of making the top seven.
Meanwhile there is a train of thought that if Torquay can finish the season in the top ten then that would suggest a real promotion push for next season.
Non-League Crowd Watch: In mid-week the local derby between Kidderminster and Hereford, won by the home side 3-0, was watched by 3,912. On Saturday 7,391 saw Chesterfield lose 3-2 to Solihull Moors, 6,820 helped leaders Stockport County to a 1-0 win and in National South Dulwich Hamlet pulled in 2,843. ************
The time is coming for the Government to back Tracey Crouch’s Fan-Led Review. Apart from those in the Premier League who are opposed to an independent regulator, there are more, especially supporters’ trusts, who are in favour of the review’s recommendations.
Crouch’s suggestion is for a new body that would recruit up to 50 staff, with initial investment of £5million from the Treasury, repayable by clubs. The regulator would oversee the governance and financial arrangements of clubs. To get around any objections and potential hold-ups, the regulator could come under the remit of the FA.
If all goes according to plan the Fan-Led Review could be in operation for the start of the 2023-2024 season. An FA spokesman said, “We welcome the findings of the Fan-Led Review and are evaluating possible solutions to the issues identified in the report.”
It was 20 years ago, in 2002, when Wimbledon fans, the Dons’ Trust, decided to set up AFC Wimbledon after their club was moved to Milton Keynes.
Other fans’ trusts, out of necessity over the years, have taken over their clubs, in the EFL Exeter City and Newport County while in non-league we have examples at Bury, Halifax and Macclesfield. Out of adversity these trusts have provided expertise as fans often have greater leadership and knowledge than the clubs’ directors. The Fan-Led Review wants to give supporters a greater say in the running of their clubs.
As the Daily Telegraph’s football correspondent Jim White writes, “If club owners had any sense, instead of viewing their customers as mere pockets from which to extract cash, they really ought to tap into their expertise.”
He goes on, “Liaise with them rather than patronise them.” Football League clubs have admitted representatives into their boardrooms including Luton, Portsmouth and Wycombe.
For some time grass-roots referees have been calling for the introduction of body cameras to act as a deterrent against aggression and the occasional violence but to do so requires a change to the laws of the game.
But maybe some help is at hand as the FA has made the proposal to the International Football Association Board (IFAB). At the moment the IAFB only allows refs to wear communication head-sets and fitness monitoring equipment but the proposal is on the agenda for March. The hope is there will be permission given to trial the body cameras - and not before time many would say.
With Covid restrictions now eased TUST asks, on behalf of the club’s supporters, that entry into the ground is reviewed; why can’t card readers be available on the turnstiles and end all these deadlines for buying a ticket which can still be done online. The club might find attendances increase as a result.
No Torquay United Women’s result to report as Sunday’s match was postponed due to the weather as the team looked to consolidate their top spot. Next week they travel to Royal Wootton Bassett.
In the last two games at Plainmoor players have suffered head injuries yet after receiving treatment have been allowed to continue. With continuing concerns about footballers suffering dementia from heading how long will it take for the FA to introduce HIA (Head Injury Assessment) as seen in rugby?
90% of replies have so far voted Joe Lewis the standout player of the season so far but there’s still time for your vote at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @FanszoneT.
Sadly, no spectators at Wealdstone tomorrow but at least there’s free live streaming to watch the 5.15pm kick-off.