“Gamedays supporting your local team cannot be beaten”
The Ed blogs about TUFC match-days
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
6.30ish (often earlier)
Wake up early, always early…the price of having young energetic children and their inability to agree with their parents that a non-work day is a time of rest. Our two beautiful alarm clocks turf us out of bed, and the weekend kicks off.
Breakfast, CBEEBIES on to ease us all into the day (any newish parent will testify that it is a channel worthy of the licence fee alone, and that Mr Tumble is worth his weight in red noses..). Gradually opening eyes, hope kids initially don’t move too much…so I don’t have to move too much. One…maybe two cups of hot drink to aid my evolution from dozy dad to something slightly more fun.
Entertain/look after the kids…whilst checking #TUFC Twitter, posting some TorquayTalk tweets – check WhatsApp group, banter with the rest of the group. Who says men can’t multi-task! Enjoying spending time with loved ones…but obsessed with the upcoming footie. The balance of my life remains work in progress. But Football is what Saturdays are made for.
Early lunch (well breakfast is early…so therefore so is lunch) – then check time (a lot), check #TUFC Twitter, check TT WhatsApp group, tell Rich I’ll kindly pick him up on my way and gratefully pass the Twitter feed onto a willing contributor. TorquayTalk began slowly but now seizes on each matchday like it’s our last, thankfully I’ve gathered enough wonderful people to share responsibilities around – without them I’m nothing.
Scarf fetched from the usual place, up the stairs and open wardrobe to find a suitable yellow shirt (normally the new one). Cold enough for a hat? Probably, it always feels cooler at the ground – put it in. Enough fuel in car? Yes, didn’t fancy the stop anyway. I am good to go. I’ve waited long enough and don’t like tight parallel parking – time to move off to TQ1!
Say goodbye to the family, break up any squabbles occurring, move swiftly out of the front door before any new squabbles occur, then drive off with music on louder than my (understanding) wife normally allows. On my way…on my way.
Torquay appears on the landscape and after a detour past the Willows so does Rich, who jumps in merrily (don’t sit on the chocolates Rich…oops too late). We briefly discuss our lives and our troubles on the short journey…but the subject soon turns to Football. We always hope for the best and prepare for the worse, years of TUFC supporting sets you up that way. This somewhat infuriating season is no different.
Park the car at usual place, and hot foot it to the ground, 30 years of making the journey and I still cannot wait to get through the gates. Buy programme from normal moustachioed seller outside the family stand/Bristow’s entrance. This chap has been there for donkey’s years, yet we always greet each other like strangers (and I still don’t know his name). Enter the old ground through increasingly rusty turnstiles.
Survey pitch and question why supporters take their place on the Popside so early (well there’s so little going on), then up the steps to the Gulls Nest. Familiar faces abound (Travel club posse..DT…Nigel Tabb etc). Find the TT lads (look for Ryan’s towering presence to guide us), queue at the bar and attempt to ease Rich in front to buy a round. He’s had a lift after all..
Service always meandering at best, quick moan about why more people aren’t behind the bar, two pints of something finally procured, banter with the TT lads, all optimistic about winning (not sure why). The site has forged new TUFC friendships and created a real social network. Alongside the actual articles, this makes it all worthwhile. Cheesy but true…
Goodbyes to all, nip to the toilet, GAMETIME, scarf around neck, walk to the seat along the bottom of Bristow’s Bench. Debate the line-up (no Andrews again?), ponder if a player has been dropped or injured, clap the boys and GJ off. Come on lads this is our day, definitely three points this afternoon..
Make our way slowly past the elderly fans on our row who struggle to move their knees accordingly. Then greetings on Bristow’s to Plainmoor friends, eventually sit down after much debate over the previous games. Focus on the pitch, nothing else matters at this time. This is what it’s all about.
COME ON YOU BLOODY YELLOWS
Sitting on Bristow’s does not bring the same noise or atmosphere as a place on in the Pop but my dad has never wanted to stand for games, so it’ll do. The pros are nice people, great views on key moments and a seat to take it easy after a hectic family week. The cons are the lack of songs and the lack of fire in bellies – I jump up more than most to berate the referee or a player..few others get that animated. Apart from questioning the referee’s decisions at every turn (whether he’s called it right or not). Personally I’ve sat around in a quietly dull office with non-sports loving people all week…time to blow off some steam.
Whatever the score or performance there is some enjoyment to be had. From the opinions around and the banter thrown between us, or the regular confectionary brought to the match to sweeten the deal. There is a stubborn refusal to buckle totally to misery, though some games have tested it this season. I also give my own expert analysis to those who’ll listen…lucky people.
Then you get moments where things go right, the emotion takes hold and the grimy times are all forgotten. Those highlights stand out for us as they don’t happen very often and the sheer joy hasn’t changed for me over the years. Ruairi’s late goal versus Woking fell into that category, a jumping up and down fist pumping moment to savour at Xmas.
Troop out of Bristow’s slowly. The walk out after a loss seems to go on forever as the 90 minutes is discussed thoroughly and we have to wait for the joyous away team to exit the pitch. This has happened far too often in 19-20. The very decent crowds have remained patient and deserve better, though hearing some still clap the team off after the awful defeats to Yeovil and Stockport made me cringe.
I’m not one for booing (though Gary Owers temporarily changed that), more of a slow trudge and a shake of the head…I’d probably feel better after cussing and swearing at the lads but that’s not my style. Meanwhile a win and the weekend is instantly a good one, that’s the chance we always take and I would not be anywhere else.
F##king hell I have missed Plainmoor! Gamedays supporting your local team cannot be beaten and the 22nd Feb cannot come soon enough. It may be a game where we predict 3 points and once again fall short, or it may see the Gulls come back to life and entice grown men to spontaneously hug or high five awkwardly in the stands. Tell me it’s the latter and the entrance of new signing Ade Azeez has given us spark to a season which is ‘sleepwalking to an end’ (Ben Currie’s very apt words).
With Armani Little getting back in the groove and Reidy due more goals, I am positive that there are still celebratory stories to be written this season – starting possibly at Wrexham (A game which will be covered by Joe Uglow for TT). Results to take away any threat of relegation, reinvigorate the support, enthuse a frustrated Gary Johnson and finish on the season on a high. Time to deliver lads and prove to the gaffer that you are indeed good enough to wear the shirt. All the best at the Racecourse Ground. COYY