“This young man has come in and is determined to prove his quality from the off, which is lovely to see” Dom on Armani Little
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Things are heating up…both in a literal sense and in the world of Torquay United (no I’m not going to discuss the weather this week). This humid heatwave doesn’t deter TorquayTalk though and last week saw the eagerly awaited debut of the ‘TorquayTalk Podcast’, hosted by TT contributors Marcus Arscott and Sam Druiff. The idea had been banded about by our group for a little while and it’s something I would love to have been a regular part of, but time is not my friend at the moment (who knew having two kids would make podcasts an impossibility..) so up stepped Sam and Marcus to the…erm mark.
The first couple of episodes have been exactly what I had hoped for. The two lads have their fingers on the pulse of Torquay United football, give their views on the present rather than the past and are a brilliant representation of what TorquayTalk is all about – independent and not afraid to call a spade a spade. Honest views from true supporters. I may even appear at some stage if I promise not to cramp their style too much! Myself and Sam Druiff have a habit of disagreeing about numerous TUFC-related topics and I’m sure that could make for an enjoyable pod – with Marcus a sensible referee in the corner! The great thing is this pod will keep improving as the double act hone their skills, and both are totally dedicated to the project (and their team)…so tune in.
Away from the mike and back on the pitch, the latest PSF was another entertaining affair at Plainmoor on Tuesday night. With an U-23s team such as Swansea visiting you always expect an open game and that’s how it turned out. It was that man Armani Little who illuminated the first half with another free-kick special. This one didn’t hit the heights of the Argyle blockbuster (what will!) and the defensive wall/goalkeeper looked slightly out of position but who cares. This young man has come in and is determined to prove his quality from the off, which is lovely to see. Gary Johnson (unlike his predecessor) is a terrific judge of character and it looks like he’s brought in another diamond.
The only concern from Tuesday was the injury list, with Koue Niate the latest to miss a game and joining Ryan Dickson, Lucas Cavagnari and Liam Davis on the sidelines watching on. Now it’s no time to panic as GJ will tell you, but four injuries with our smallish squad is a decent dent (Niate will hopefully be back for Saturday). It appears that Frankie Vincent will keep deputising at left back, and Ben Wynter did well at centre back in another illustration of his growing confidence as a footballer. I’m sure Gary would prefer more cover in defence (I don’t want Asa at CB!) and who knows maybe we’ll have another incoming before the week is out. Panic buying is not in the gaffer’s make-up, he’ll sign the right player when they come along and I have 100% faith in him buffering up the squad before Boreham come to town.
The exciting Ollie Cooper sure impressed for Swansea on their wing and GJ was hinting mischievously at a loan from the Swans…maybe he was just teasing Dave Thomas, but who knows! On the Gulls side of things Matt Buse again made a solid impression with his tenacity and work-rate. After playing in every pre-season friendly surely the ex-Taunton Town man will secure a deal for the coming season? He could be a valuable squad member with his can-do attitude and versatility, so a deal must be around the corner.
The TUFC squad currently contains the 17 below:
Goalkeepers – MacDonald, Covolan
Defenders – Davis, Wynter, Cameron, Niate, Baxter
Midfield – Dickson, Hall, Little, Kalala, Andrews, Vincent
Strikers – Duku, Reid, Koszela, Keating
Onto the weekend and a tastier fixture for the Yellow Army as the Grecians make the trip down on Saturday. I will also be making the trip and it may be with my oldest daughter. Is a 4 year-old ready for the Plainmoor experience? Probably not. Is a 4 year-old capable of sitting still for a while whilst I investigate if the Duku/Reidy partnership is a winner? Probably not. Can I take enough food and drink to keep her happy for a couple of hours? Probably not. But that’s not the point. Since having kids I’ve been raring to share my football with my family. It’s daddy’s second home and it’s a big part of who I am, so I think I’ll take the chance and see how it goes. I wouldn’t risk taking her to a competitive game just yet mind…I’m not that silly!
It’ll be a great test for us as City have reloaded this summer and will be aiming for another promotion challenge in League Two, as they continue to move away from the Paul Tisdale-era. The fact it’s a local derby will add some welcome spice to the occasion and the away end should be fairly chocker on a nice summers day in the bay. Bloody hell I have missed these fixtures! The rivalry hit a peak in 2007-08 and but for a brief renaissance a few years later, never got going again as we sunk to the Conference. I am just looking forward to getting back to Plaimoor really after over three months away (the footie withdrawal symptoms kicked in at the play park last Saturday!!) and this last PSF before the season start is the final sharpening exercise for all. Let’s get it on!
In the world of TorquayTalk, one article that got plenty of people talking was Helen Chamberlain’s TUFC Dream Team. Helen agreed to write the piece a while ago and I was delighted. Soccer AM was great (fact) and it was even better when Torquay United got a mention (fact) – Helen was never slow to mention her team and has always been a proud supporter of the Gulls. So I waited and then waited some more, whilst HC deliberated over the choice of too many lefties! Eventually she just went for it and chucked Kelly, Gibbo and Nicho into the XI. Unorthodox of course, but the article is honest, funny and full of heart – that’s the main thing after all and it’s a must-read (link below). I think the Dream Team feature has been terrific this summer, yes I am biased, but I’ve loved presenting it.
Our latest Catch Up with TUST Chairman Michel Thomas aired this week and it made for slightly sombre reading as the barriers between the club and the trust seem to be higher than ever. Anyone who knows Mike or any of the enthusiastic trust members, will realise they are die-hard supporters of the Gulls who have stuck by the club through thick and thin. They only want what is best for the club and have been involved with thoroughly positive initiatives such as the supporters FanZone which was very well-received outside Plainmoor last season. Other clubs co-operate with their trusts and gain the benefits, why can’t ours? Instead, it just appears as if Torquay United want to ignore TUST and hope they go away – a situation that I’d like to see rectifying.
FINAL WORD: The National League Paper asked for volunteers to talk about their NL team last week and I was only happy to respond. So watch out for my answers in Sunday’s paper – the trickiest question was on this summer’s recruitment. Almost like asking for opinions about a movie before reaching the ending, I did my best anyway so look out for it if you buy the paper. Otherwise we are primed and ready to hit the ground running for 19-20. With the podcast in place the TT mix is complete and I’ll be hitting opposition supporters for views on their teams before you know it (Boreham Q&A already in the bag). Eight games in August is a nice easy starter for all isn’t it! We won’t let you down next month and neither will the team I bet. See you on Saturday. COYY