The TT Blog 12th April 2020

“Torquay United simply had to furlough the players to ensure survival”

The Ed blogs about all things TUFC 

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Dom Roman – @DomRoman

“How are you? Hope you are well?” Two questions I’ve asked a fair bit recently on texts, e-mails, WhatsApp and social media. It’s just become instinctive. Anyway I hope the answer is a positive rather than negative one. This isolation and social distancing is a test of mental fortitude for the masses like no other. Of course a minority are ignoring the government guidance on a daily basis. Just stay at home guys and girls – see the bigger picture and think of others…it’s not what everyday life should be about, but that’s the cards we have currently been dealt. Being unsociable has never been so important.

How am I doing? You may or may not ask! As a family we’ve been isolated together for longer than most, with over a week of preparation due to brief illness before Boris changed the rules. And overall we’re not doing too bad. Having two young kids makes days tiring and occasionally unforgiving, but there’s also no time for sulking or skulking about the situation. Neither of our girls understand fully what’s going on and run around playing like it’s one long Easter weekend (without a trip to the zoo or nanny and grandads). So there’s laughter, tantrums, playtime and thinking about it, that suits us just fine. Don’t get bogged down too much by it all if possible and find pleasure where you can I suppose is my advice…but that can be easier said than done. 

Don’t get me wrong, normality cannot come back soon enough – I want the kids running around with other kids (teachers should be paid more I’ve realised that); I want regular conversation that doesn’t revolve around who’s baby is who’s (grrr!), or which episode of ‘Waffle the Wonder Dog’ to put on (Cbeebies…and he talks if you must know); I want to be able to go the supermarket and not shuffle around awkwardly, I want to be allowed to win at any board game and most of all I want to A) Spend time with family and friends in person and B) Some live f#’#king sport. I can survive without football in the off-season…because there’s live rugby, cricket or something else on to temporarily take it’s place. But this is just ridiculous.

With the unfortunate postponements blighting the start of the year, I’ve barely seen Torquay United play in 2020 and this weekend it’s hit home the most. The sun is out, perfect days for football, meeting up for beers and banter with the lads – a double header of Barnet (h) and Aldershot would have been just the ticket. Instead I have to be content with You Tube highlights (most recently Woking at Xmas) and replays (England V Germany 1990) to help me through. Just hearing the crowd noise stirs the sports obsessive inside me and makes me yearn for a return to Plainmoor. It’ll be an epic TT meet-up when it finally happens…for now we’ll all just have to be patient.

“Torquay United is more than a Football Club, we are a family”. The message came from George Edwards last week that the players had been furloughed, but with a footnote that the determination remained to eventually take TUFC back to the Football League. This decision was a no-brainer I’d suggest. Torquay United simply had to do it to ensure survival and I’m sure Gary Johnson and the boys understand. It was actually nice to hear these thoughts from George directed straight to the fans. He’s a guy who is very much in charge at Plainmoor but has been anonymous to the Yellow Army. Would you recognise him if he walked past you (2m+ away)? I doubt it. More communications from George (and Clarke) will be very welcome – we’re not that scary and if we’re part of a family, then don’t be strangers. It’s good to talk.

Meanwhile the chaps in charge of Non-League football have been getting their knickers in a proper twist since Corona hit. Exhibit A – Keeping a round of fixtures on whilst all others had been cancelled. B – Deciding to null and void leagues underneath the NLN and NLS, despite over 150 angry clubs petitioning to over-turn the decision. Also taking away games but upholding existing suspensions and fines, they appear to be making it up as they go along! And C – This has been followed by a recommendation to the NL/NLS and NLH clubs to finish the season, with a survey soon to drop in their letter boxes – with the questions unclear at the moment. The likes of Yeovil Town and Notts County have already voiced their disappointment at this approach and it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

I find it strange why the National League has to rush things through and can’t follow the lead set by the Football League, which has yet to come to a decision. If League 2 teams somehow finish their campaigns, there will be two teams who may escape relegation if the NL is null and voided (which seems to be where it is heading) – whilst league leaders Barrow will lose out big time. As United fans this topic has stirred very little debate because we’re having a rare mid-table season. However, if we sat near the top then I’m sure we’d be considerably more heated about the whole malarkey!

It would be sad personally to see the games wiped from the records, plus player appearances and goals – I just don’t like that one bit. There’s a bigger picture I know but surely even using something like Points Per Game would be preferable, rewarding teams and players for what they contributed to a NL season up to this point. Sure our own season was/is inconsistent and frustrating, but the splendid goals from Reidy and Kalala, plus cracking wins over Halifax (a), Stockport (a) and Woking (h) don’t deserve to be eradicated from the record books do they?

I guess we’ll always have the memories…and You Tube clips.

All the best Yellow Army and Happy Easter. Dom

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I simply live and breathe Football and have supported Torquay United since 1989. I am a season ticket holder on Bristows and a Trust member. I set up TorquayTalk in 2017 to give true supporters a voice and honest opinions on their club.

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