“Many clubs co-operate with their trusts and gain the tangible benefits. Not ours”
The Ed blogs about the latest from the world of TUFC
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
“Nothing says ‘Happy New Year’ more than a goalless draw at Dagenham and Redbridge does it?” Well actually at the minute it will do and you can chuck in phrases like ‘decent point away from home’ whilst you’re at it. Our first clean sheet since October (my goodness that is pitiful guys) should not be sniffed at. Here was a United side casting off the Yeovil (h) lethargy and rolling their sleeves up, and our TT contributors appreciated it along with the rest of the travelling 275 Yellow Army (amazing turn-out). No goals but something to build on being the general consensus from my esteemed colleagues, and they know better than most. Podcast man Sam Druiff was even interviewed by Harry from the Beeb. He’s been quite coy about that has Sam – only retweeting and sharing the picture on his Twitter and Facebook profiles, typically shy behaviour from the young man!
The game appeared to mark an alteration in attitude and tact from Gary Johnson, putting a flag in the sand and showing rare pragmatism in what has been a gung ho 15 months in charge. Getting men behind the ball and making life difficult for the Daggers, plus improved performances from the likes of Kyle Cameron and Robbie Cundy, and some smart stops from Lucas Covolan helping to earn a point. The Cameron and Cundy partnership had the makings of a winner in September/October before capitulating in November/December – whether this step in the right direction continues is debatable but I’m sure their shattered confidence will be boosted at least (yes I still want an experienced CB in).
I was especially critical of Robbie Cundy against Yeovil Town and to be honest I’d rather not see him and big Jean in tandem again. The partnership was a disaster and the Glovers would have probably bagged at least 4 if not for the sending off. But as so often in football a chance of redemption for the City loanee now presents itself and I’ll be delighted if he returns to the form we glimpsed against Boreham in the FA Cup. That day he showed his potential and was tagged a ‘colossus’ by Gary Johnson – more of that please. Meanwhile I’ve never lost faith in Kyle Cameron’s ability and not just because he’s our sponsored player! Kyle is big, strong and quick – the attributes are there, he just needs to believe in himself and hold his nerve in tough contests. Keep at it Cam.
One City youngster who is returning to Ashton Gate is Saikou Janneh. Saikou’s arrival back to action in Essex was a pleasant surprise to us all, and he almost, almost finished the loan spell with a flourish. It wasn’t to be, but at least our final memories of SJ will not be that red card V Chesterfield! The loan spell didn’t go nearly as well as we hoped (expected), in fact it was fairly disastrous. The striker was thrown back into the first XI too early and generally looked off the pace, his frustration boiling over into that stray elbow before Xmas. Saikou’s mojo will return, you can count on it. The lad has too much ability and confidence to let these rough couple of months keep him down. I wish him good luck for the future.
IN THE HOLE
Soon to make a comeback is Armani Little and I am looking forward to seeing the midfielder back in action. One noticeable disappointment in our wretched recent form is the lack of guys playing in-between the lines and knitting together attacks. Even against Yeovil with the man advantage nobody could find pockets of space to exploit, and the Glovers found us embarrassingly easy to contain. Armani was brilliant at taking up those positions around Reidy before he got injured; scoring two goals versus Harrogate and then hobbling off. Typical of our luck this season. The main thing is not to rush him back into action, we made that mistake with CLE, Asa and Saikou and paid for it. Maybe 20 minutes in the FA Trophy this Saturday and push on from there, Little’s quality has been sorely missed.
Another man who could make hay in-between the lines is Jake Andrews, who unfortunately found himself at left back on Saturday. It’s been a stop start season for Jake, and it’s a shame he hasn’t had the chance centrally. He never lets us down on the left wing, but his close control, ability for an intricate pass and eye for a dangerous shot on goal are more suited to inside. Contingency plans at full back haven’t been good enough this season from Gary Johnson and I’m sure he regrets not finding more adequate back up last summer, but January presents opportunities to put this right. We await incomings and totally trust GJ to improve the squad in the next few weeks.
The FA Trophy has started to gain more importance now and could be our best chance of glory in 19-20. I’m not writing off our play-off opportunities completely, but it would take an excellent run of form and there’s too many question marks surrounding the class of 2020 for my money…I would be hugely glad to be proved wrong! FC Halifax Town (H) is Saturday’s fixture at Plainmoor. The men from the Shay have fallen from grace since a bright start and much will depend on how seriously they are taking the Trophy – though they surely won’t be as bad as Aldershot. The club should consider discounting the tickets considerably to bump up the January crowd. After big loyal followings over Xmas/NY and that embarrassing performance at Yeovil, I think the Yellow Army deserve it! I fancy a narrow win for United, a goal for Reidy and the first proper FA Trophy run since Hargreaves was in charge (and Wrexham battered us).
Off the pitch the club has not covered itself in glory recently and yes I am talking about their treatment of the TUST on New Year’s Day. For anyone who hasn’t heard, the trust were giving out copies of their new brochure outside the ground (see link below), and were asked by stewards to move away (as instructed by George Edwards). How ridiculous. This was no anti-TUFC brochure attacking the owners, but a brochure looking to engage local businesses and supporters for the good of their club. A club they have followed through thick and thin over many years, a club they want to engage with and co-operate with for the good of supporters.
It’s a sad example of apparent paranoia from the owners and the trust members were understandably livid. Many clubs co-operate with their trusts and gain tangible benefits in the community. Not ours. This stubbornly negative approach to true supporters like chairman Michel Thomas and other members is completely reprehensible and the police were even called. Do me a favour and give your heads a wobble TUFC. For all the initial doubts and scepticism on their arrival, Clarke Osborne and his team have made positive strides at Torquay United, but engagement with supporters remains arm-length at best. This is a great shame and I don’t suppose it’s something that is likely to change any time soon.
Here is the link for the TUST Brochure: https://www.tust.co.uk/2020-tust-brochure
In the meantime let us move on from the depressing defeats and focus on the next fixtures, and most importantly get behind Gary Johnson and the lads. TT have questioned GJ’s decisions in recent months, but never his position as Torquay United manager – that would just be silly. Our season is at a crossroads, but he’s just the man to make the right adjustments, realign the lost identity of the team and have us motoring once more. Here’s to a successful and upwardly mobile 2020, starting with an #Incoming January.
TUFC JANUARY FIXTURES
11th – FC Halifax Town (H) – FA TROPHY
18th – AFC Fylde (A) – NATIONAL LEAGUE
25th – Ebbsfleet United (H) – NATIONAL LEAGUE