Dom Roman – @DomRoman
June was always likely to be the quietest month for TT and so it proved! There was still some choice pickings to be had on the site, but mostly it was a chance for the TT team to recharge their batteries and chant “It’s Coming Home” and “Engerland, Engerland, Engerland” in a drunken state. Social Media man Luke even managed to injure himself as the penalties were taken on Tuesday night (silly boy), I’m sure he’ll fill you in with the details if you ask him nicely!
Since my last blog it’s been a fairly busy TUFC related period, as the squad starts pre-season training and shapes up for our first ever season in the National League South – what a time to be alive!! So let’s discuss the recent incomings at the club first.
Ben Wynter leaves Bromley to take up that cursed position of ‘Torquay United right back’. Ben spent last season on loan at Hampton after failing to impress Bromley in the 2017 pre-season and is a young lad learning his position. On paper not a bad signing and hopefully his time at Hampton will have given him the belief to take his chance at Plainmoor.
Following on from Ben was Samir Nabi. Nabi is our most interesting signing this summer so far, as there is plenty of talk regarding his skill level and potential to shine at United. Going by Carlisle’s fans on Twitter the midfielder didn’t get a fair crack of the whip with the first team and they would have liked to have seen more of him. We haven’t had a proper clever playmaker since Eunan, someone who works intricately between the lines in tight space, creates chances and give us some much-needed X-Factor – Samir could be that man (no pressure Samir!).
Two other signings have been made, and they are two guys who were already at the club. Youth teamer Olaf Koszela signed his first pro-contract and Liam Davis agreed to return for another year. Wouldn’t it be great to see Olaf do well and break into the 1st team this season. Meanwhile Liam is very welcome back. The left back didn’t always do himself justice, but the elegant defender is easily good enough for the NLS and we can only hope his injuries troubles have been banished for good (after last season’s injury nightmares I’m taking nothing for granted).
This means the current TUFC squad looks like this:
Goalkeepers – None
Full Backs – Ben Wynter, Liam Davis
Centre Backs – George Essuman, Jacob Sokolik
Midfielders – Asa Hall, Bobson Bawling, Jason Banton, Samir Nabi
Strikers – Brett Williams, Ruairi Keating, Jamie Reid, Olaf Koszela
Transfer Listed – Josh Gowling and JP Pittman
14 currently on the books but still no goalkeeper! The latest name linked is Alex Bass, a Portsmouth player who made his first start for the team last season. Only 20 years old Alex has signed a new contract with Pompey so they obviously think he is a future star. I’d rather have more experience in the position, but we’ll see how that one develops. No return for Vincent Dorel and that saddens me after the Frenchman’s efforts last season.
I hope there’s still another striker on his way. A physical presence who is dangerous on crosses and can link up play – get one of those sorted and a promotion battle could be on the cards. So far none of the summer signings look bad ones and my optimism has been rising a little. At the moment I’m still thinking a 4th-8th finish is most likely, but maybe I’ll be swayed to improve on that in the coming month or so.
Yesterday’s fixture list did not exactly cause ripples of palpitations and excitement amongst the Yellow Army did it! More like the grim acceptance on where we now find ourselves (in the s##t!) and which teams we’ll have to play from August. The fixtures look ok. Bath City for the first home game is not a bad fixture, time for Gary to show them what they’ve been missing!
Apart from that, Billericay at home in November will be an interesting one, whilst Gloucester is nice August Bank Holiday away fixture for the Yellow Army. Meanwhile Woking will expect to turn us over in September and April this time around – well they always beat us don’t they. The miles for the travel club will be considerably less this season no doubt, however whether many people will want to get on the coach for East Thurrock and Concord Rangers away is debatable! Dave Thomas will be there I’m sure…
What other news from TUFC? Well the Josh Gowling case is still ongoing, and ex-keeper Ryan Clarke has been warned for his tweeting – the club are certainly not messing around on these things. Best if Josh finds a new club asap, as his relationship with the manager and TUFC looks irretrievable. I can’t imagine the club are asking for a fee for the centre back, though maybe his recent injury troubles have made Josh less desirable. He was still one of our best players when fit, so another season at a decent level shouldn’t be beyond him.
Less than a week until the first pre-season friendly and it’ll be difficult to get fans interested, especially if the England World Cup dreams last into the semi-finals. (The summer fixtures are actually pretty good – Forest Green, Plymouth, Bristol City and Cardiff represent about as good as we could hope for) Plenty said they didn’t care before the Russia adventure started, well they care now don’t they!! I think we may well get pipped by the Swedes but I hope I’m wrong. Enjoy it wherever you may be and try not to get injured…