“In midfield the addition of Armani Little looks a smart bit of business”
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
The TT Blog is back as I come back refreshed and revitalised after a week in sunny Spain with the family. Okay, to tell the truth I needed another week off to get over it! Lounging on a sunbed and taking it easy, doesn’t apparently sit well with a 4 year old – who would have guessed?! I tried to take a break from football news but with free Wi-Fi at the hotel, #TUFC was never too far from my thoughts. This obsession doesn’t fade into the background easily, despite my best efforts to concentrate on everything else. My young family don’t give a monkeys about the possibility of Jake Andrews joining us on a two year-deal, so that tends to focus the mind a little!
Slow and steady is the mantra so far for Gary Johnson’s 2019 summer signings. The high regard in which we hold GJ is reflected in the lack of panic from the Yellow Army and the confidence I think we all have in his squad building abilities. The recruitment will be methodical and assured, with no panic buying of any tom, dick and harry who is willing to give the bay a chance. That YA confidence is reflected at the bookies as well. TUFC are around 5th favourites for promotion at 11-1ish. With our current assemble that doesn’t seem overly generous, but when you’ve got the best manager and the impact he brings to the table, it’s clear the bookies are not taking any chances!
We have no fear heading into 2019-20, but in reality it’s also difficult to summarise our promotion potential at the moment – there’s still important pieces to be added. Top of the list for GJ is probably a centre back and I doubt there’s too many quality ones about, and even less who are ready to jump at the chance for a move down to Plainmoor. We can’t expect to score bucket-fulls this season, so somebody who helps breed confidence into the back four and dovetails nicely with Kyle Cameron could be our most important incoming.
In midfield the addition of Armani Little looks a smart bit of business. Woking dominated us in the engine room during that April blockbuster, and Armani’s ability on the ball, especially on set pieces caused us all sorts of bother. Whilst the part-time Cards will most likely hover around the relegation zone (no disrespect to them, that’s just the way it’s normally been!) – United should be aiming higher up the table. So it’s an excellent move for Armani to further his own career and show what he can do at a bigger club.
The much speculated Jake Andrews signing has not materialised, disappointing considering the strong rumours (Harry Lovering I’m looking at you!!) – but at least it livened up a rather dull few weeks in the world of TUFC. It’s still a possibility I guess, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Jake returned to Plainmoor along with winger wizard Opi Edwards, a player who showed versatility and skill, but then succumbed to niggling injuries at Plainmoor. The chances of the two other City youngsters CLE and Janneh getting the band back together is remote, but there is bound to be other Johnson-Johnson options to provide us some more sparkle for 19-20 (see quote from GJ below).
“Although it would be great to have near enough a full squad in pre-season, I always leave a couple of loans for later, or if any good players come up that we might not have thought were available,” GJ – 19th June
Upfront Manny Duku has long been mooted as a signing – strike one for the TUFC Transfer Gossip articles! The highlight footage of Duku looks promising – strong, direct and takes penalties (an important matter considering our recent record!). Whether this footage will translate to Plainmoor, you never really know. He’s another ex-Cheltenham signing to follow GJ down to the bay and the last one Kalvin Kalala is a cracker, so here’s hoping for some fireworks from the big man. As a partnership, him and Reidy could be golden. He won’t offer the same movement and pace that Janneh had in spades, but if the two gel nicely then goals will follow I am sure. I’d suggest we still require another striker to bolster our options mind you. With Olaf Koszela still very young and untested and Ruairi preferred on the wing, I’d expect somebody else joining Manny and Reidy – if the right man is available.
The TUFC squad currently contains the 14 below:
Goalkeepers – MacDonald, Covolan
Defenders – Davis, Wynter, Cameron, Niate
Midfield – Dickson, Hall, Little, Kalala
Strikers – Duku, Reid, Koszela, Keating
The afore-mentioned Transfer Gossip articles have gone down well this summer, as we push harder at TT to fill the gap/void in our lives that the end of the season brings. Chris Perry has researched thoroughly in recent weeks and tried to scribble down realistic targets, whilst looking to avoid ex-Gulls. A difficult task and he’s done a great job. Numerous former players have been linked this season, but I doubt any will turn up – Gary has too many contacts and too much persuasion to rely on that sort of tactic. But as Matty said in his ‘Never Gull Back’ blog, if the right one comes along then who knows. With another incoming likely this week, I cannot wait to see who the new faces will be as this squad takes shape.
Apart from that, our Dream Team feature has been bubbling along during the summer and keeping supporters talking. There’s been occasional criticism of choices, which I find slightly puzzling to be honest! Every supporter has their own preferences on players for different reasons, it may be a certain game or season that sticks in their mind – but I’ve really enjoyed reading the explanations. Let’s face it, it would be boring if we all picked the same guys wouldn’t it. Only Rodney Jack seems to be an omni-present in every line-up (age of the supporter permitting!), and I can’t argue with that. Below is my team from a couple of years ago, and I wouldn’t make any changes to it just yet. It’s dominated by the early nineties (my earliest teams), 2003-04 (my favourite team) and 2009-12 (the last good team we had) – oh and Rodney Jack is there obviously!
FINAL WORD: Are we ever seeing our new yellow strip in all it’s glory? The 120 year one has gone down really well, but how about selling the shirts we are actually going to play in! Meanwhile TT has it’s own merchandise in the form of a new mug, the design uses Luke Hunter’s new and improved logo and looks pretty snazzy I think (see below..and yes snazzy is a word!!). On a more serious note, the TUST still appear to be hitting their heads against a brick wall. Mike Thomas and the team have offered some interesting initiatives to the club, but have received negatives responses from the hierarchy. Other clubs work with their trusts and have reaped the rewards, as communications heighten, supporters engage and share ideas that will benefit everyone. Instead, the owners seem to distrust the TUST and what they are trying to achieve – most likely believing that they are the opposition, with the intention of launching a takeover bid. That is incorrect and it’s a real shame the two parties cannot harmonise for the good of the club. On the plus side the Herald reports that Gary Johnson is happy with the owners and they have never said “No” to GJ so far, which is how it should be isn’t it!