FANS' ZONE 26/03/2021
IT’S ALL SMILES AT PLAINMOOR AND BEYOND AS UNITED RETURN TO WINNING WAYS
Following that ‘out of character’ 4-1 thumping at Maidenhead last Tuesday, did United, as manager Gary Johnson wanted, get their Mojo back on Saturday with the much needed return to winning ways?
Well, despite their lowly position, King’s Lynn were no pushover and it took visiting keeper Theo Richardson spilling Lemonheigh-Evans’ shot into the path of Scott Boden to separate the two sides to give the Gulls not only three valuable points but also importantly a renewed energy and belief Remarkably, for the league’s top scorers this was only the second goal scored from open play since January. It was, too, a welcome return to see the players having greater confidence to shoot with five shots on target and seven off. That gives something to build on. And after being asked to play in unfamiliar roles it was good to see Jake Andrews back to what he does best, rewarded with a place in the National League Team of the Day.
Let’s reflect on the Boss, Gary Johnson who, rightly or wrongly, has been under pressure to reverse the alarming slump in form. Having made a point, after Saturday’s match, of thanking fans for sending in their good wishes he will be doubly reassured that he has 100% support from the Yellow Army.
Bearing in mind the current situation, not helped, as every supporter agrees, by the serious loss of so many key players, it’s worth revisiting what Gary Johnson said before his very first home game in charge against Woking in September 2018, “..they were playing with a bit of fear, so don’t be scared to make a run or try a shot - if you miss five chances, go for the sixth.”
We all know Johnson is a very experienced manager in a career which started with his first job at Newmarket Town in 1986 and, with six promotions to his name, who can argue with these stats:
Played 1,123 Won 461 Drawn 263 Lost 399 Win % 41 His Gulls’ record: Played 113 Won 62 Drawn 17 Lost 34 Win % 55
So, on to Tuesday night’s 2-0 win, the double over Solihull Moors with Jake Andrews standing out again, topping his performance with a class free kick and then providing the assist for Adam Randell’s great finish.
United remain third still six points behind the leaders as, perhaps surprisingly, both Hartlepool and Sutton won away against what should have been strong opposition, respectively Dagenham and Bromley who then sacked the longest serving National League manager, Neil Smith.
In the last few days talk in the National League has been about Stockport County’s amazing transfer fee of £250,000 paid to Fleetwood Town for striker Paddy Madden signed on a three and a half year contract worth around £3,500 a week.
Other talk has continued over the fate of Dover as the saga drags on into an eighth week, Dover chairman Jim Parmenter has shed some light on what’s going on when he revealed, “ We’re in the process of taking legal advice. We’ve got to answer our charges ( League rule 8.39 regarding the non-fulfilment of a fixture), once we’ve got the legal advice we’ll be doing that and see what comes out.”
An independent panel, with those on it yet to be named, is due to assess the evidence but no date has been announced.
After Tuesday’s fixture the Gulls enter into the really important part of the season with fourteen matches to play, seven at home with the prospect of more players returning and signing as owner Clarke Osborne seems willing to add to Gary Johnson’s budget to chase down promotion.
In the past week TUST is aware of the latest accounts, from Companies House, being posted on various fans’ forums showing that up to March 2020 the club had received loans from Riviera Stadium Limited totalling £3,039,000 indicating that the debts had increased over the previous twelve months by a further £900,000. One can only guess the figure from last year to the present with the club’s spending on its promotion push.
Sad news this week with the passing of Alan Slough, grandfather of Louie. Slough made his name as an outstanding mid-fielder for Luton, Fulham, Peterborough and Millwall, joining United as coach to his boyhood friend Bruce Rioch from 1982 - 84. TUST sends its condolences to Alan’s family and friends as it does too to those of supporter Michael Hughes who passed away last week.
Last week’s question asked about what action should be taken over Dover’s refusal to play but there was no overall conclusion other than something should happen - perhaps underlining why the National League has taken no action yet.
This week what are your thoughts about returning to watch ‘live’ football, when allowed, only if those attending have been vaccinated, yes or no? Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @FanszoneT.
As always to the Yellow Army stay safe and, when offered, get your vaccination.