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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 06/01/2023

Updated: Jan 14, 2023



A Very Happy, prosperous and successful 2023 to all readers of this column.

Yet another wet and miserable New Year’s Day on the open terrace for the brave 802 travelling Yellow Army as they watched the home side secure all three points with two late goals.

Whilst this was a spirited performance from Torquay, it was Yeovil who, in the end, had the killer touch.

Both keepers were kept busy with Grant Smith in the home goal and United’s Mark Halstead pulling off important saves.

The defeat leaves the Gulls rooted firmly in the bottom four and it was surprising that Gary Johnson said last week at his Press Call that he’s happy with the squad as it is. Many fans are questioning the wisdom of this, feeling that unless there is some new blood then relegation is inevitable. And it is hard to argue against this.

Then in his post match comments on Sunday he told us to expect a couple of signings to ‘ignite us a little bit more.’

Surely a manager of Johnson’s calibre cannot be happy with the current situation, only four league wins all season out of twenty-five with just one at home. As he said after the latest defeat even the directors are beginning to question what’s going on.


Just take a look at the record so far, against the other five sides in the bottom six, United have drawn four, lost three, winning none. Although it’s not an excuse, Torquay have the fifth youngest squad in the division.

As regards individuals, looking at positives, Halstead ranks seventh in the league for goalkeeping saves, well he has plenty of practice, 74 before the Yeovil games. Dillon de Silva is recorded as being one of the quickest in the league, his dribbling rate placing him fifth.

Unfortunately, there are too many other weak links which rather underlines the need for some fresh faces.

And one of them, Ricky Aguiar joins for a month from Swindon Town.


However, one player who seems to have risen close to National League standard is Summer signing Shaun Donnellan.

Donnellan was on the books of West Brom from 2015-2018 but never played for them spending much of his time out on loan. He had Football League experience at Stevenage, Walsall and Yeovil when they were in League 2.

In the National League he had a loan spell at Dagenham before signing for Woking in 2019 where he played 43 times. Next stop was Maidenhead playing 28 games last season before Gary Johnson signed him.

As one Torquay United supporter said, “Donnellan sums up the season for me. A decent utility back-up man, can ‘do a job’ at right-back, centre-back or central midfield. Unfortunately, Donnellan is miles better than any of those signed for those positions - if there were four of him they would all be in the starting line-up.”


New Year’s Day Non-League Crowd Watch: It was a day of some great attendances. In the National League Chesterfield thumped bottom club Scunthorpe in front of 7,751, fellow strugglers Oldham snatched a valuable draw with Notts County watched by 7,312. Woking kept up their play-off hopes as 5,297 crammed in as they beat local rivals Aldershot.

In National North local derbies drew the crowds: 3,421 for Kidderminster v. Hereford while Chester v. Telford had 3,007.

In National South: Impressive crowds for Dartford v. Ebbsfleet 3,386 and 3,107 for St Albans v. Hemel Hempstead.


Those of you who follow non-league football will surely recall the furore over the National League’s handling of the monies allocated to its 66 member clubs during the Covid-19 pandemic when supporters were banned from attending matches.

There is a very well researched documentary on YouTube ‘Gate Money - Inside Non-League Football Funding Fiasco’, it’s well worth a look.

The film charts the journey of National League clubs during the pandemic and how the £10million grant from the National Lottery was distributed but, not as promised, based on gate receipts.

There are many questions left unanswered, mostly by NL board members who refused to co-operate. But the biggest question is why did the board not follow the government’s allocation criteria? Watch the film and see what you think.



1. Stephen Duke-McKenna joined from QPR

2. Armani Little and Ben Wynter were selected for England ‘C’

3. United manager who died in March was Frank O’Farrell

4. Torquay United Women won the Devon Cup Final

5. Under-18 manager was Chris Todd

6. Player of the season 2021-2022 was Shaun MacDonald

7. Will Goodwin joined from Stoke City

8. Head of Youth Robbie Herrera

9. England winning the Women’s Euro Final

10. Mark Ellis came on loan from Barrow

11. The three United goalscorers were Dylan Crowe, Aaron Jarvis, Will Goodwin

12. TUST launched VIP Children’s treats

There was one lucky winner, congratulations to Jules Head of Newton Abbot who wins the £20 Torquay United club shop gift voucher; it’ll be on its way in the post next week.


United are at home this Saturday with FC Halifax the visitors to Plainmoor and this is yet another vital match with the Gulls desperate for a home win.

What are your predictions for Torquay in 2023? Send yours to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT





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