“The best part of the travel club is the social aspect involved throughout the season”
Harry Lovering blogs about the TUFC Travel Club..
Harry Lovering – @HazzTorqz
Covering a total of over 10,000 miles in the National League this season, Torquay United Travel Club; whether it be Barrow away on a cold Saturday in February, or simply Yeovil or Eastleigh, the travel club will run it’s ever-present transport to each and every game (Unless it’s Gateshead back in the day!!). Offering a friendly welcome and humour/banter to new customers coming on board, alongside games such as the golden goal competition, entertainment often provided by our very own duo of Mark and Graham, and your very own fashionably designed membership cards.
For me, simply the best part of the travel club is the social aspect involved throughout the season. The enjoyment I get from speaking to both new and familiar faces every week who share the same passion and excitement to watch the yellows home and away is what in my eyes makes the travel club so brilliant.
I first came on board the travel club with my mum in 2011 when United made the journey to Hereford and I then returned back for many other trips including the likes of Cheltenham Town. However, after many years of gathering up the courage to board the coach by myself I eventually decided to put those doubts behind me and went on the travel club for the first time on my lonesome to Braintree (a) back in 2016. That day Nicho’s United, after a dominant second half performance, came away victorious 1-3 with goals from Jamie Reid, Youngy and Gallifuoco.
After at first being hesitant to go on board the travel club alone without knowing anyone that well, I stick to the fact that it is the single best decision I have ever made in my life to date. I have certainly never looked back since becoming a regular and to date have only missed one or two away games on the travel club since that Braintree journey. Everyone on trips is incredibly welcoming and I enjoy my day so much around people who are now hopefully going to be my lifelong friends. Certainly if you’re ever hesitant about booking a seat without knowing many people, then my advice to you would be to go for it. We might be a quirky bunch but we certainly don’t bite!!
The humour involved on board the travel club is often what keeps you going after a defeat. I vividly remember the season under Owers in the National League back in 2017-18, when despite knowing what was to come often enough at an away game (a grim defeat), the travel club was always in relatively high spirits before and after the game. Basically refusing to allow our spirits to be crushed by the impending doom of relegation!
Whether it be Nigel Tabb breaking the VW transporter door off it’s sliders, after a 4-0 hammering at Wrexham back in the 2017-18 season, Martin cracking his ever-present jokes, Julie bringing her on board smelly yogurts and curry, myself running up and down doing the golden goal often unsuccessfully as the driver takes a sudden swerve, or Mark and Graham doing what they do best in making everyone laugh – the day, win lose or draw is always a good trip out. The travel club funny moments will be winning a TV soap opera award soon I’m sure of it!!…..
The travel club has a lot to offer alongside the social and humour involved on board. The golden goal competition takes place every trip with myself at the helm. The winner receives £30 if they guess the minute of the first goal in the match correctly, and £10 for the minute of the last goal in the match. As well as this, you get a membership card when you join the travel club after your first trip and this can be used for any game this season – it’s a way for us to go a little it more upmarket in the world of football!! The coaches we have for fixtures, with a shout-out to Abbots for providing them and their drivers for taking us to these games – because without transport we are pretty useless. The vehicles are always comfortable and often have onboard toilet facilities unless it’s a trip to Barrow, for example, whereby the VW transporter is more appropriate- however the more bookings we get, the bigger and nicer the vehicle is!!
Finally, a big mention must go to Mark and Graham for organising these trips for us, booking the coaches, arranging times and prices and entertaining us all season long. A lot of hard work, time and determination goes into not only making it possible for a lot of supporters to get to away games, but also making sure we have a great day out and in the long-term meet friends for life. Football, for the travel club especially, is that “get away” from the mid-week stress of work or school. A chance to go and enjoy yourself – something that I myself look forward to and it keeps me going throughout the week knowing I have that to enjoy at the weekend. There is something for everyone on an away trip; a mixture of ages – whether it be a quiet sleep, read of a newspaper or book, football talk (especially the man in the know Dave Thomas), banter or getting your pounds out to enrol on the golden goal competition (yes Martin I’m talking to you when I say this!!).
To conclude this blog, the Torquay United Travel Club never has a dull moment, is always upbeat, smiling and humorous and we welcome anyone of any age, gender etc on board with open arms. I personally will never look back with regret on my decision to become a regular because I have made so many friends and met so many new people on trips that it has increased my self-confidence no end. And of course it’s also allowed me to go so many away games, and support the lads as always.
You can now book online by private messaging our Instagram account (tufc1899_travel_club), alongside the traditional Facebook TUFC Travel Club group and Mark and Graham’s phone numbers. Go check out our social media pages and give them a follow and a like if you can. Booking a spot on the coach has never been so easy, so if you ever want to book on for a trip or have any queries before an upcoming game then don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.
We look forward to seeing as many as possible booking on for another fun trip to Stockport next Saturday!! COYY