HERALD EXPRESS - FANS' ZONE 20/05/2020
Some poetic justice for Barrow and Stevenage perhaps
For football fans these Covid-19 times are very strange as there seem to be more football stories about off the pitch matters than there ever were in a typical week when football matches were actually played. Debate continues to rage within the Premiership with virtual board meetings, meetings with clubs, meetings with players and meetings with managers. What is clear is the Government’s insistence that for everybody’s well being football on TV needs to return. For those who need a football fix, there has begun a trickle of TV matches around the world with the latest being the German Bundesliga but only if you have a BT Sport subscription. We, as Gulls’ fans, have known for a while that the National League season is over and now have been joined by League Two calling it a day. That decision with the likelihood of Stevenage avoiding relegation surely ends the need for any National League play-offs. All that has to be decided is whether Barrow should have the one promotion place which effectively would replace the EFL’s loss of Bury. But that’s likely to lead to another round of meetings and legal disputes… off the pitch. *********** It seems a little ironic that the two clubs in contention for relegation out of and promotion into the EFL should be Stevenage and Barrow. Barrow, some think unjustly, lost their Football League place in 1972 when they were voted out. Now they’re hoping to be voted back in. Stevenage, meanwhile, were denied promotion in 1996 from the then Conference, despite being champions, on a technicality - their ground being judged to have insufficient facilities. Of course we all know who benefitted from no promotion from the Conference that year as the team which finished bottom of the Football League was……! Should Stevenage stay and be joined by Barrow, for many that would be poetic justice. That reminds me of a more recent rivalry between Stevenage and United; anyone recall the 2011 Play-Off Final at Old Trafford? ************ One of the bonuses during this lockdown has been the resourcefulness of those bringing interviews with former players. TorquayTalk has had Mark Ellis while Richard Hughes in the Yellow Army podcast has had great talks with Kevin Hill and last week Martin Gritton. So that got me thinking: which ex-Gull would you like to hear from? Send your nomination to: firstname.lastname@example.org. ************** Two stories have caught my eye: firstly Viv, who sits near me in the Family Stand, started to bring her grandson, Austin, to matches. Austin featured on the club’s website for having donated his quilt covers to a local children’s charity. So Austin whose name are you putting on the back of your replica shirt now that ‘Reidy’ has gone? Secondly, long standing Gulls’ fan Jim Ward , from London, wrote to us at TUST, after reading this column explaining how he chose the team to support as a 7 year old, picking the name from a newspaper because of the letter Q in Torquay! Jim celebrated his 75th birthday last week. *************** Finally, thanks to those who sent in suggestions for ‘Three Word Fun’ about what you’re missing about no football. My two favourites are linked: Bryan from Torquay missing ‘The Gulls’ Nest’ and Phil from London missing ‘Half Time Beers’, with “Saturday Never Comes’ from Rick a close third. To all Yellow Army fans, stay safe.
Nick Brodrick, TUST board member and Supporter Liaison Officer, writes a weekly column for the Herald Express under the heading "Fans' Zone". Keep an eye out for next weeks edition in the paper on wednesday.