The TT Blog 23rd June 2020

“Games without fans feel soulless and passive

The Ed blogs about all things TUFC 

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Dom Roman – @DomRoman

“Greetings to all, so how is everyone enjoying the world of closed doors football?” Not very much is the general consensus. I have watched a reasonable amount of action from the Premiership since last week and there have been enjoyable moments (and it’s definitely better than nothing), but in truth games without fans feel soulless and passive. Where’s the oohs at a near miss; the polite clapping at a header back to the keeper; the instant uproar at a debatable challenge; the banter between fans and a sarcastic cheer at a misplaced pass (amongst other things)?! The spontaneous moments that football brings and joyous celebrations and connection between players and their adoring fans is painfully lacking.

Supporters bring atmosphere, humour, heart and occasion to games – their noise elevates players to give extra and unsurprisingly crowds are a huge miss (meaning I’ve drifted in and out of games). Hopefully the Premiership, with all their financial riches, can now appreciate that more than ever. Without the paying fans they are nothing. In the meantime I’ll continue to tune in here or there, and I think games may be best viewed in connection with friends or family. Bantering with mates on a watch-along app (as offered by Sky Sports and BT Sports) enhances enjoyment at home and is a little reminder of what we’re missing on the terraces. Oh how I have missed that. 

In the world of Torquay United, there is speculation that non-league football may return by late September. I think we’d all love that to be the case, as long as the Yellow Army can attend. It’s all just speculation at the moment, but with the furlough scheme only lasting so long clubs will be desperate to get games scheduled if it’s safe enough – their financial status will depend on it. Season tickets need selling. What that will mean for us returning supporters is anyone’s guess – perhaps placed in seats with a space in between one another – no high fiving or hugging at a goal?! I hope we can have as much normality as possible, even if I have to book my pre-match pint in the Gulls Next a week in advance! The logistics behind starting off 2020-21 will bring nightmares to many teams backroom staff in the coming months…it’s just lucky we’re so organised isn’t it?!!

On the TT website we’ve moved back into Transfer Speculation mode for 2020. I have to admit I’m a sucker for some transfer gossip, I used to try the clubcall back in the day. This was a premium phone number in the pre-internet days which promised you exciting transfer news, but basically held onto you for as many minutes as possible without telling you anything at all…sucker indeed! It was either that or refreshing Teletext/Ceefax.. Anyway Chris Perry and Tom Dumanois have both picked out a batch of players in the past week who could tickle Gary Johnson’s fancy, and the two lists made for interesting reading. Even if they did contain some inevitable ex-Gulls.  

But what do we need, I hear you ask? I don’t think the requirements are very different to last summer, though without Reidy about the need for a striker is heightened dramatically. The spine of the team requires investment for sure. Kyle Cameron needs a partner who’ll help him develop as a centre back and bring calm to a defence that was often infuriatingly flustered in 2019-20. In midfield Asa Hall will remain a key player, but age and injuries are catching up on him so I’d like another engine room enforcer – someone physical who protects the back four and wins the ball back. Some proper bite to make the Gulls less easy to play against.

Upfront we cannot afford any more incoming mistakes like Manny Duku. Two new strikers who can provide us with a balanced threat both on the ground and in the air could hold the key to a decent season. Unlike Duku they must dovetail well with the existing squad and I’m sure GJ has numerous options lined up. Otherwise, at full back the TUFC squad needs at least one alternate to Wynts and Davis and I can envisage more loan signings to cover other areas such as midfield and wing – most probably from Bristol City’s youth squad! I’d like to think many of the current squad will mature and improve into next season, so our starting point for the summer is pretty good – I trust in Gary to do the rest.

FINAL WORD

Speaking of the importance of fans brings me to a new website that we’ve recently become involved in. The Fan Hub is a new app that is being developed to appeal to true supporters up and down the land, with the eventual expectation of rewarding loyal followers, and sharing content from various bloggers and podcasters including TT. Bristol Rovers podcast man Harley Thorne is driving this venture and is hugely passionate about football, so if you have a minute sign up – https://joinus.fan-hub.com/ – I am looking forward to seeing how this progresses. Meanwhile our own site has had a sweet makeover from website whiz Luke Hunter in recent weeks. I think it looks rather sparkling and I hope you agree.

All the best, 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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