“It’s a pat on the back to the club for acting so swiftly in these uncertain times”
The Ed blogs about all things TUFC
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
“I had a couple of moments at the end of last week” you know those ‘chopping onions’ moments. The first one caught me by surprise, as I clicked onto a video where Nivea had organised for Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson to speak to a supporter who’d had a rough year. It transpired the gentleman had lost both his mum and dad before Xmas, and he explained to Jordan (amongst other things) how he had always sat next to his dad at Anfield and also given his Champions League final ticket to him just last year. The shock call clearly meant an awful lot to the supporter and gave him an enormous boost, increased further by the promise of two season tickets for the next season…whenever that may be. Emotional.
It was a lovely gesture by all concerned, but not one that would usually get me choked. This time it did! I think it resonated with me deeply because of the father and son connection. I started going to Plainmoor 30 years ago, not just to see the footie but also to spend time with my dad. That shared TUFC bond has remained ever since. Like many Yellow Army sons I have a strong connection with my father through sport; we’re not good at talking about feelings but we are good about talking football! Being denied the chance to share further highs and lows of Gulls footie with family and friends hurts, fingers crossed it won’t be too long before we all share them again.
The first moment had clearly weakened me and by the afternoon I was probably a pile of goo inside. The 2nd choker was non-football related but I’ll tell it to you anyway! A video had been made by my daughter’s primary school teachers to tell their pupils how much they were missed…hearts strings pulled. But what took me over the edge was the melancholy/sweet music, and that was that. I expect many of us have had these moments and that’s okay, the times they are often emotionally and mentally draining (well they are in the Roman house for sure!). It’s just the way it is.
Anyway we had football news this week, something for me to get my teeth into at least! The retention list was unveiled by Gary Johnson and the headline news was Jamie Reid turning down a new deal (like you didn’t know)…and no I didn’t have another moment on hearing this, although I was sad. I had clung to the hope that Reidy would sign a new deal and then be allowed to talk to clubs at a later date if he wished, thus giving us the possibility of more goals and more money for the striker. Losing him for free stings, but I’ve got used to transfer misery at TUFC. Rarely have we done good deals over recent years, with clubs taking advantage of our often precarious league/financial position. I’m still pissed off at that Eunan O’Kane deal, which Bournemouth exploited to avoid paying us very much at all. Typical Torquay United business.
In regards to the man himself I don’t need to reiterate what a journey the lad has been on at Plainmoor. Going from ‘zero to hero’ is not a narrative that occurs very often at United and certainly not with the turnaround in fortunes that Jamie experienced. In the end he was a local boy who just wanted to be used correctly as a striker, score goals and be loved – I’m pleased he earned all three. I wish him the best for future success wherever that may be. He can play in the Football League I am sure, and if utilised correctly, more goals and success can be Reidy’s for the taking. We’ll all keep an eye on his prospects I bet, especially when we’re not scoring and he is!
In the regards to the other main departure (apologies to Jared Lewington) I am mildly shocked that Kalvin Kalala was offered a new deal by GJ. A player who has the talent but not the tenacity, I had thought that the gaffer was ready to let him go – I certainly was. I just loved Kalvin during our NLS title winning season, his ability to glide past players and create something was a joy to watch. But as life got harder in the National League he only responded sporadically. There was some cracking goals, however that highlight reel papers over the cracks of a player who does not work hard enough for the team and cannot be trusted week after week. My last memory of KLK is a game towards the end of the season when he came on for 10 minutes as sub, looked disinterested and then slunk off towards the tunnel on 90 minutes. This was despite the team actually winning! Poor behaviour from the Frenchman and we’ll see if his gamble to look elsewhere pays off.
Apart from that it was reassuring that most of the permanent squad members are remaining with us and it’s a pat on the back to the club for acting so swiftly in these uncertain times. Whilst many clubs are holding back we are plotting for the future and that can only be a good thing. Somebody who does have the tenacity that Mr Kalala lacks is Ben Whitfield and his re-signing alone has lifted fragile spirits doused by Reidy leaving. Ben kindly answered some questions for us last week and comes across as a lovely honest lad who always has time for people. He has loved his time at the club so far and we’ve loved having him.
Add to Whits the likes of Covolan, Cameron, Hall, Wynter, Davis, Little, Andrews etc and there is something to build on. No doubt the priority for incomings will be to add firepower and that won’t be simple. Replacing someone who guarantees you 20 goals a season will have Gary Johnson racking his brains and his contact list. However, the 19-20 National League season may have been cancelled but it could still have provided us with something valuable, and that is experience for these youngsters. Our sponsored player Kyle Cameron is one of those guys and had a tough season at times, but the potential is there from the Geordie and I’m glad to see him signed back on.
Who knows when we’ll get to see the boys in action again? The Boreham Wood chairman Danny Hunter released a statement this week (see below) and his honest appraisal was that we wouldn’t play again until 2021. It’s a depressing thought isn’t it, but one that could ring true as health dictates…rightly so. Meanwhile the National League are still discussing play-offs, and are waiting for news on what the Football League will do before drawing up more plans. I’d be surprised if we see any other team than Barrow step up to League Two, but who knows.
At TT it’s been a fascinating week of nostalgia and we had that masked hero Tim Sills taking over our Twitter feed last Thursday night. The questions flooded in as you’d imagine and Sillsy was up to the challenge, answering every single one with plenty of candour and fun…his legendary status was elevated further in a fun evening. Apart from that we’ve had our own TT awards for 19-20, a superb dream team from Chris Morrish of Torquay Stats fame and also TT Top Trumps. I was inspired for the last one by seeing my daughter’s Frozen top trumps game, and that feature will be a regular from now on. There’s also more in the pipeline for the next week as we try to help fill the void! Get in touch if you want to contribute…the more the merrier.
All the best. Dom