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FANS' ZONE 26/03/2022




FRANK’S SAFARI TRIPS NORTH REMEMBERED AS UNITED’S HALIFAX JOURNEY ENDS AN UNBEATEN RUN


It was great that the club decided to use Tuesday night’s match against Aldershot to celebrate the life of Frank O’Farrell with his family specially invited, although it might have been more appropriate had it waited for Saturday’s visit of Weymouth, O’Farrell’s first team in his management career.

Never-the-less, there’s no doubting his importance in the history of The Gulls. He had a good sense of humour and would have had some choice views on Chelsea complaining about the Government’s sanctions limiting them to £20,000 to travel north to play Middlesborough in their FA Cup match on Saturday, sanctions which were subsequently lifted. £20,000?

In his biography he recounts a trip to Hartlepool,“Back then there were no motorways like there are today, we used to leave on a Friday morning and travel north, meandering along the old A5 and A6 roads. On our return after the match we would sometimes stop over in Leeds on the Saturday night and resume our journey after breakfast on a Sunday morning, arriving back in Torquay around tea time on Sunday evening - talk about a safari.” Many National League sides have to make these kinds of trips in a day!

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On Saturday United made the long journey to FC Halifax, travelling on the Friday for an overnight stay, and outplayed their hosts for the first half but eventually going down 2-0. Halifax manager Pete Wild had this to say, “It was a game of two halves, I thought they got their plan excellently well against us first half. I thought they frustrated us, they forced us one way. We were very fortunate to be 0-0 at half time.”

Despite the surprise signing of Opi Edwards, for his third loan at Plainmoor, Torquay could not conjure a goal. Wonder if Sinclair Armstrong would like another go too?

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Non-League Crowd Watch: In the Southern League Premier Central there was an intriguing basement battle between home side Bromsgrove Sporting, third from bottom, and bottom club Biggleswade Town, who won 1-0, in front of an amazing 1,537, that’s 300 more than Solihull Moors attracted.

Congratulations to Bracknell Town on becoming the first side in Steps 1-4 on becoming champions of Isthmian South Central with next season seeing them in the Isthmian Premier, the highest position in their club history.

Manager Bobby Wilkinson was formerly in charge at Hungerford Town before moving on to Wealdstone in National South taking them to the play-off semi-final before losing to Woking. A manager to watch.

In midweek, Stockport stayed top-of-the-table thanks to a 3-0 win over Notts County in front of 7,951 and Dagenham & Redbridge defeated Southend by the same score with 7,542 in attendance. On the same night only Swindon, with 8,243, had better gates in League 2.

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Talking of Swindon, the sale of their County Ground, in a deal worth £2.3m, was approved by Swindon Council last week.

This big step will see the transfer of the stadium from the Borough Council to a joint venture comprised of Swindon Town FC and the Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust. Both parties will own 50% of the site.

The Trusts’ half of the deal has been funded by the late Nigel Eady, a lifelong Swindon Town supporter.

A Swindon Town spokesman said, “This is another huge step towards owning our own home with our fans.” The new owners have plans to develop the ground over the coming years, upgrading stands while adding a conference centre and hotel.

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Five men have been banned from football matches for a total of 23 years for their involvement in match-day disorder during the Wrexham/Torquay fixture last October following an appearance at Wrexham Magistrates Court.

All were found guilty of throwing missiles at Gulls’ fans. The five are now banned from attending any football matches in the UK for the duration of the orders. Wonder when anything will become of the incidents on Boxing Day?

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This Saturday is Non-League Day, supporting prostate cancer uk, with the visit of Weymouth. But what is Non-League Day? It was set up in 2010 as a social media experiment by James Doe since when it has become an annual part of the football calendar, scheduled when there’s an international break, so not surprisingly it’s backed by the Premier League as well as the EFL.

So, this is your chance to visit Plainmoor, maybe for the first time, to support your local non-league team especially in the warm Torbay sunshine. And with Plymouth playing at Ipswich why not a trip up the A38 instead for the Green Army?

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Torquay United Women could only draw 1-1 at home to AFC St Austell Ladies keeping them second in the table three points adrift of Ilminster Women but having played three games more and with Sherborne Ladies breathing down their necks in third.

But good news for United’s Under-18s as after a 3-0 win over Yeovil Town they’re into their second Cup Final, this time the Gary Else Memorial thanks to goals from Lewis Brooks (2) and Ben Aldous.

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The overwhelming response to last week’s question is that United need to sign a striker for next season. And maybe, should it work out, Opi Edwards is being lined up to join on a permanent basis.

Forest Green manager Rob Edwards had this to say about Edwards’ loan, “He’s only played four games for us, so he needs to get game time for himself. He’s had a few injuries so it’s been a stop/start season for him. After four weeks, if he’s done well he’ll come back in. He deserves to go out and get some games.”

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Well done to the Yellow Army and Halifax fans for their 40th minute applause on Saturday in memory of Andrew Holland aka Westyorkshiregull.

Good on the club for sending out to season ticket holders a monthly newsletter, should be of interest to those who don’t keep up to date on events at TQ1.

Where do you see the Gulls finishing this season? Send your view to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT

Don’t forget Non-League Day on Saturday with Weymouth.

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