“I’m not sure we’ve appreciated quite how good Connor Lemonheigh-Evans has been this season”
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
No ‘Yellahs’ football over the weekend, but plenty of drama left in the football world. Firstly let’s talk about the ‘Green Army’ and their struggles which ultimately ended up in relegation back down to League Two. Putting Devonshire rivalries aside, that Scunny second goal was absolutely terrible sportsmanship. I understand the reluctance to kick the ball out for the every injury, but sprinting to stop the injured goalkeeper chucking it out and then going for goal is pretty diabolical behaviour!
In the end it wasn’t the dagger that sent Argyle down, as Southend did the business. United fans on Twitter were fairly overjoyed at this! For my part I do have some sympathy for their plight. Firstly because I remember the Home Park faithful coming to Plainmoor in support of us in 2016, when our mere existence was in question and secondly I’ve never seen the Greens as a massive rivalry for United, mainly because we’ve so rarely been in the same league. With the right manager (not Gary Johnson thank you) they should be challenging in League Two next season, but who knows in Football.
In the NLS there were a couple of wild play-off games, as Woking and Welling set up a tasty looking final at the Kingfield. At 2-0 down to the plucky Stones I was mentally counting the Cards out, eyeing up Mick Jagger related puns and pondering which players we could pounce on for 19-20 (no the name of Ben Gerring did NOT crop up)! Then a spirited fight back, three goals and still a chance of National League football. Welling are a tough team and the final could be a very close affair. How nice to sit back and relax, rather than take part in stressful play-offs – 1st place is always best.
Meanwhile In the world of TUFC it’s been all post-season review, celebration and reward for the main NLS men of 18-19. It was a frenetic week at TT towers – Goal of the Season (as advertised by the Herald), April Player of the Month, TT season grades from Matty Hayward, Tweets of the Week and the TT awards all on the agenda as we rounded things up in style. I’m lucky enough to call on opinions from a number of contributors and they always have them in abundance!
Goal of the Season for me was Jamie Reid’s sizzler against Concord – SPEC-TAC-U-LAR. In the player awards, it had to be Reidy, whilst my 2nd/3rd was Kyle Cameron and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans. I’m not sure we’ve appreciated quite how good the midfield maestro CLE has been this season. Players who can work in small spaces, manipulate the ball past the opposition and pick out the front men, have been so sparse at Plainmoor in recent years – the midfielder does all that and more. Maybe because he gets on about his business quietly and with a minimum of fuss, Connor’s contribution to the title charge has been slightly overlooked. Not by (Sir) Gary Johnson I’m sure.
For the player gradings Matty Hayward had the pleasure of reminding us that Wright, Nabi, Banton, Regis and Bawling were once a part of the sad looking Owers United set-up! Out of those, Banton wins the ‘golden raspberry award’ from me. As a winger who had played League football and joined us in his mid-twenties, which should be your prime, Jason looked anything but primed. Is he motivated to still be a football player? In the end JB yoyoed around a few teams on loan, before turning up at clearly desperate Truro City along with Chris Regis. Those two under-achievers are exactly the wrong calibre of players that the Tigers required to fight off relegation.
Of the rest, I know Chris Todd was disappointed with the efforts of Andre Wright when he was in charge at Gloucester and Samir Nabi just didn’t have enough drive or energy to get himself into GJ’s team. Young players who have tumbled down the leagues and perhaps don’t have the heart to climb back up. Maybe they’ll prove us wrong. The only one out of that list who appeared to have a decent attitude was Bobson Bawling – he just isn’t a very good footballer!
Talking of good footballers, the Bet365 Twitter feed has prompted fans to pick their favourite team’s best ever squad of 23 (World Cup style). It’s the sort of task I love to complete! Some of the squads scribed have actually been sad to read, with youngsters struggling to fulfil the squad and including odds and sods who were inconsistent at best (I’m looking at you Courtney Cameron!). For slightly older fellows such as myself, the pool is larger and it has to be to include man mountains like Darren Moore and Matty Elliott! Below is my squad (and TT’s Ben Currie’s) from nearly 30 years of following the Gulls…
Olejnik, Veysey, Marriott, Nicholson, Gibbs, Holmes, Lloyd, Moore, Elliott, Woods, Taylor, Russell, (Paul) Hall, Loram, Mansell, Hill, O’Kane, Hargreaves, Fowler, Graham, Jack, Sills, Bedeau
Easy choices? Most of them really. United legends like Hilly, Elliott, Woods, Russell, Loram, Graham and Jack walk into the squads of most supporters I’d imagine (age-dependent). Goalkeeper is not easy. Bobby O put in probably the best goalkeeping season I’ve seen at TUFC, whilst Veysey maybe gets a partly sentimental vote for being between the sticks when I originally started going to games – his loyalty to the cause on his coaching return also gains some extra credit. Big Nev misses out!
In defence we’ve been lucky enough to have numerous brilliant centre backs over the years. I picked Woodsy, Taylor, Moore and Elliott – but the likes of Alex Watson, Guy Branston and Mark Ellis also hold fond memories (amongst others) for me. Left back was easy with Nicho and Gibbs shoe-ins, whilst on the right side I had to cast my mind back a little further! Phil Lloyd is another tough competitor from 30 years ago and Paul Holmes was as consistent as they come before eventually getting a chance in the Premier League with Everton and West Brom. I know what you’re saying…where’s Joe Oastler?!
Midfield includes those ultra-competitors Hargreaves and Mansell, with Russell, Fowler and O’Kane giving the squad a tough of class. The afore-mentioned CLE actually reminds me of Russ, the way he takes command and tidily distributes the ball. Winger Mark Loram was one of the laziest looking players you’ll see, but bloody hell he could play and in truth Eunan O’Kane’s class has never been truly replaced. Hilly had to be in the squad. Out of the current crop Ruairi Keating’s (see below) attitude reminds me of Kevin – total heart and desperation to do well every time he sets foot on a football field. Guys like that can be the life-blood of our football club.
Attackers-wise; Tim Sills, Rodney Jack and David Graham walk into the squad. You can say we’ve had plenty of more talented strikers than Sillsy and you’d probably be right. But did they have the 100% commitment and big-game moments ‘the masked one’ made his trademark? I doubt it. I plumped for Tony Bedeau to join them. I could’ve easily included the likes of Jason Roberts, Rene Howe or Dean Sturridge instead, but for Tony’s longevity at the club and being a bright spark in some tough times at the club, he wins a spot. I’m sure he’ll be delighted! I hope the next few years sees the emergence of guys who can fight for a place in this squad, though it may take a return to League Two action to tempt me into changes. We do a Dream Team feature during the summer, so if you’d like to pick your top Gulls XI (plus subs and a manager) please get in touch.
FINAL WORD: Torquay United Ladies are hoping reload their squad for 2019-20, see below. The ladies have been excellent before, and I’m sure they can be excellent again. Get in contact if you can help. Otherwise we await news on Season Tickets. Why the club didn’t have details sorted so they could be sold at the hugely attended Hungerford game, I’m not sure – still much to learn about maximising your sales guys! On the plus side a new kit selection is on it’s way. There’s been some previews of the kits at the awards night and the club have been building up anticipation through the usual social media channels. The TUFC1899 on the chest looks very sharp and I’m sure they’ll be plenty of takers. People wanting to show off their Torquay United colours and excited about the prospect of a new season already..the world of TUFC has changed.
Photos courtesy of Dennis Kallmer
torquaytalk.com – @torquaytalk