Dom Roman – @DomRoman
7th August 2018 – TUFC may have triumphed over Bath in front of a big Plainmoor crowd, but it’s a wretched evening for Jamie Reid upfront. Started in tandem with new skipper Brett Williams, Reidy toils to no avail and his control deserts him as passes divert off his shins and roll out of play. It’s hard to watch and the Popside are quick to voice their disapproval as the frontman trudges off despondently at half time. He doesn’t come out for the second half.
13th October 2018 – The ‘new TUFC’ led by Gary Johnson travel to Eastbourne and much like the Bath game struggle to gather themselves in the first half. Jamie Reid is again upfront, but this time he is a man on form – a man who has rediscovered his love for the game and a goalscoring touch. No panic, not subbed this time – he is our no.1 striker and proves it with a scintillating 2nd half hat-trick (highlights below). The road to TUFC redemption after a miserable 17-18 is ahead and Jamie is currently in the driving seat.
The relationship between Reidy and the Yellow Army in the last couple of years has been rocky at best. Introverted and shy in appearance, Jamie is just not the sort of character that the Popside warms to – and criticism had clearly made the striker uncomfortable and wary of engaging with the fans.
I have been critical of him myself at times, maybe overly but in my defence last season there was plenty of bad reviews to be given all-around – it was our worst ever campaign after all (We try not to have unbalanced views on TT…though sometimes it’s hard!). But one thing I have never been sure of, is Reidy’s ability to be a proper first eleven striker – someone who you pick before any other. His recent form has proved me wrong and he’s now the first name on the team-sheet.
The here and now is 9 in 7 games and an explosion of Reidy-mania on Twitter, whilst the forums and Facebook have to come to terms with praising someone who had become a regular scapegoat in their eyes. That 7th August performance seems a long time ago and I reckon he’ll bag at least one more this Saturday. At the moment the goalposts look huge for Reidy and scoring is just inevitable, long may it continue.
The main concerns we have at the moment are injuries…again. Injury prone or not, players who come to TUFC seem to be engulfed in knocks soon after they make the trip! Last season it was Gowling, Pittman, Gosling and more – now we have the likes of Sokolik, Bass and Dickson already out, and Sendles-White has also picked up a knock at the weekend. With Gary Johnson ignoring Andre Wright and Chris Regis, and Jason Banton rightly left on the subs bench – there are gaps in the squad that need filling.
Two or three new guys to bolster the squad would be very handy, as the winter fixtures will soon start to bite. New man Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala has already made his entrance and impressed Sam Jones at the weekend with his ability on the ball. Gary Johnson scouted and signed him for Cheltenham last summer, making it an easy decision to bring him down to Plainmoor. Having him, Opi, Reidy and Janneh in the team gives us pace to frighten teams and eventually brought about the end of Eastbourne’s stubborn resistance.
Gary talks about bringing the fans back to Plainmoor this season, fans who have lost faith and patience with the team in recent years. The dull football served up by the Gary Owers regime would have been the final straw for many, but attacking and winning football can make such a difference when you’re planning your weekends! The main aim is to get near to 2k for each game and anything more is a bonus. The reality is National League South football after all and with away followings minimal there’s only so much interest that playing the likes of East Thurrock and Western Super Mare will generate.
I’ll be there on Saturday for the Winchester game – I would hope the recent form and lack of homes games will galvanise a decent crowd to attend. Winchester City secretary Matt Richbell has kindly answered questions on his team for TT this week. Matt does so many jobs for the club I’m surprised he had the time to answer the qs! I know so little about opposing teams this season that these interviews have been fascinating and the interviewees are all really looking to facing the mighty Torquay United! Winchester City players will relish the opportunity to play on the immaculate Plainmoor surface that is for sure.
FINAL WORD: Circumstances (mainly bad weather) meant I missed the Legends event last Friday, Sam Druiff said it was an enjoyable evening and very well attended. I hope to see more of these scheduled in the diary, it’s an excellent chance to relive memories and have a laugh (and drink!) with fellow supporters and I’m sure the TUST will look for more opportunities. Well done to the TUFC Under-18s this week as they banged 7 past Yate Town to sale through in the FA Youth Cup. I’m looking to get an Under-18s related article on the TT site in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled! See you at Plainmoor this Saturday, let’s make some noise and most importantly get back into the sacred (and for so long mythical) First Round proper.