Sam Druiff – @samdruiff
Following on from United’s relegation back to non league football, manager Chris Hargreaves set about building a team to challenge at the top end of the National League table. One of those was marquee signing, Luke Young. Having been released from Plymouth after coming through the ranks, he soon became a firm favourite, picking up the captain’s armband for the new season.
The team started well, despite going down to a 3-1 opening day defeat away at Gateshead. Luke scored his first goals in the yellow and blue in a 4-0 home win against Nuneaton. He then went on a scoring spree, many of which coming from trademark free kicks; the pinnacle being a stoppage time winner at home to Woking, a long-range free kick driven low into the goal, prompting jubilant celebrations, Torquay were looking good and were right up there. Luke had formed an inseparable partnership with fellow summer signing Courtney Richards. A game at home to Wrexham saw Youngy score one of, if not the best goal Plainmoor has ever seen; a yellow throw headed away from the Wrexham box, Young took a touch and thumped a volley into the top right hand corner – belter!
Torquay finished the season in 13th. The summer saw big changes as a new consortium came in, placing Chris Hargreaves and Lee Hodges on Gardening leave. Paul Cox came in, unfortunately for Young though, a first serious injury hit him. A serious knee ligament injury meant he would miss much of the season. Cox resigned, Nicho came in and the first ‘great escape’ was on. Young made his comeback in a 2-0 win at home to Altrincham as the gulls climbed to safety dramatically.
With Nicho at the helm for the next season, Young was looking to get back to his best, and he certainly did, renewing his partnership in the engine room with new captain, Courtney Richards. United struggled again this season, but Luke remained a constant positive through the season. Torquay managed to save themselves on the last day, a 2-0 win at home to North Ferriby kept the Yellows up.
Nicho managed to persuade the gifted midfielder to give the gulls one more season, promising a play off push, Youngy agreed and united set about making the right challenge. A slow start saw Nicho sacked, and a month without a manager saw Torquay drop lower and lower in the table. Gary Owers came in and tried to settle the ship. However results kept going against Torquay and it was a tall order to turn around. Luke’s performances won him the man of the match award in most games, and deservedly so. He won the fans’ player of the year for a third time in four years as well.
In Luke Young’s four years at Torquay he is the player who always gave a minimum of a 7/10 performance, leading by example, he deserves every bit of credit that comes his way. The most creative midfielder in the conference era, with dead ball ability that others simply don’t possess. After a few injuries I do question his mobility, but he was never a ‘runner’ when he first signed, his talent and the way he reads the game makes up for it though. You knew that he would always give his all, leaving nothing on the pitch. I wish him all the best at Wrexham, a surprise move, but one that will suit him for me. He knows the league, he needs to play in a good team, and he deserves a chance of a successful season. He won’t go down as a legend, but he’ll be more than fondly remembered at Plainmoor.
Five of the Best Luke Young Goals
ALDERSHOT TOWN 2017 (50 SECS ON VIDEO)
BARROW AFC 2018 (FIVE MINS ON VIDEO)
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
If in doubt give the man of the match to Youngy! That pretty much sums up Luke’s time at Plainmoor. He’s had fitness battles, injury battles and relegation battles – but when the midfielder was on the pitch he was invariably one of our best performers. In a turbulent and grim time at the club, Luke has remained professional and continued to cajole his team-mates. Overall I feel like the club has let him down by not surrounding him with sufficient talent or similar commitment to the cause.
My LY Highlight from his time at TUFC was not that Wrexham goal (though it was an absolute screamer wasn’t it!), but his opener against Altrincham in 2016. Luke had barely kicked a ball that season and after returning from injury was so desperate to make a difference. The net-buster saw a huge release of emotion from him (and us) in the celebrations that followed and meant the team edged closer to the ‘great escape’ – a memorable moment.
Don’t get me wrong Luke has his faults as a footballer, he’s not the strongest or quickest and he will never be the best defensively – however as we all know, Youngy can spray passes around the park with ease, deliver perfect set pieces and test any goalkeeper with his shooting ability. Unlike many players who have left Plainmoor in recent years, Luke’s heart and fighting spirit will definitely be missed – he was never afraid to crunch into tackles even after his injury lay-offs. I have my fingers crossed his future at Wrexham is bright.
GOOD LUCK LUKE