Dom Roman – @DomRoman
It’s over 20 years since a teenager named Steve Tully made his debut for United in an away day draw at Barnet, and it wasn’t long before the adventurous full back was flying up the wing for the Gulls on a regular basis. United let the defender go in 2002 and our loss was eventually Exeter City’s gain. Steve became a vital defensive cog under Paul Tisdale and helped the Grecians to promotion from the Conference and then further success in League Two.
In our latest ‘Catch Up With’ interview I caught up with the ex-Truro manager to discuss all things Torquay United (and also Exeter City…):
Hi Steve, thanks for talking to Torquay Talk. Plenty of questions to get on with so let’s not hang around…
Can you remind us what you are up to these days since leaving Truro in 2016?
Hi, since leaving my role as Truro City manager I’ve been coaching down at Plymouth Argyle Academy working with the age groups 16s – 18s, a role I throughly enjoy .
You played well over 100 times for United, what were the highlights of your time at the club?
Obviously making my league debut at Barnet in a 3-3 draw. Scoring my first Professional goal in 1-1 draw at home to Leyton Orient. The thing that stands out was being able to play alongside an idol in Neville Southall, as an Everton fan that was surreal.
Who were the best players you played alongside at Plainmoor?
Answer above also players like Chris Waddle and Rodney Jack but for me I learnt a lot from Andy Gurney, real tough player but good guy.
As a marauding full back you were somewhat of a fans favourite, was it a surprise to be released by the club in 2002?
Massive surprise didn’t see it coming and it took me sometime to get over it. Especially at the time we didn’t have a manager as Roy McFarland decided to walk away.
How did Exeter City fans treat you as an Ex-Gull and what was Paul Tisdale like as a manager?
The fans were great at Exeter. As soon as my first game was finished I felt a real connection and bond with them.
Paul Tisdale was the best manager I played under, a real tactician and as a player I knew exactly what he wanted from me on a football pitch, which was massive.
On paper you did a very good job in your first managerial role at Truro City, was it a shock that the club let you go and did you believe you could take them up to the National League?
Yeah was delighted with the job I did at Truro City FC. I was always told make sure you leave a club a better place to what you found it. I definitely did that to get promotion in my first full season and then finish with it’s highest ever league position in the National Conference South – 4th place just missing out on promotion in the play-offs was very pleasing.
I was disappointed for my contract not to be renewed but that was the chairman’s prerogative so you have to accept it and move on. I did believe another season we could of made National League but that’s football and you have to move on quickly .
What’s your take on the current situation at TUFC and as someone who cares about the club do you understand the fans frustrations?
I totally understand the frustration of the fans they’ve had a raw deal over the last 4-5 years and the club is crying out for success.
I think the club needs an owner to open and honest with the fans, and I think Clarke Osbourne has the best interests of the club at heart but we just need to see him in person be around the place more to appreciate his efforts because he has backed the club financially; just want to know his long-term aspirations.
You have attended plenty of games this season, why do you think we struggled so badly and eventually got relegated?
I was staggered to see Torquay used nearly 36 players during the season a lot of loan players with no real bond or team spirit in the squad and it took the new manager too long to try and sort.
Also I believe there’s been a blame culture at Torquay by managers, ie. haven’t been given funds, it’s not my squad, they’re not my players. You know what you’re stepping into and once you sign on the dotted line to be a manager I believe for me you take all the responsibilities from then on – it’s your squad day 1, end of.
As somebody with a good knowledge of the NLS, what’s the standard of football like in the division?
It’s a tough league unforgiving, you’ve got to be mentally and physically strong a lot of Saturday-Tuesday games, need to start well otherwise you’re always playing catch up.
How do you think we’ll do next season and what do you think are the keys to Gary Owers turning our fortunes around?
Down to the manager to sort a strong spine; will he be able to keep the players he’s offered contracts to? Recruitment is massive and he needs to get the fans on side, show a bit of passion, show that you care because at present haven’t seen that.
And finally do you still have ambitions to manage in the future?
Yes I will manage again, when will that be I can’t tell you? But I’m looking for the next adventure and I know when I get that chance I will be ready more experienced than ever and ready to build on a successful first job. I’m recharged, more energised and more passionate than ever. One thing you always get from me is a smiling honest person.