What have we been up to?
Matty Hayward gives a rundown of some highlights from the TT Lockdown output
Matty Hayward – @mattyhayward96
You’d have thought that lockdown; a 100-day suspension of English football; and a months-long suspension of Torquay United games might cause the content stream of a Torquay United-based blog to dry up somewhat. On the contrary, while the lull may have limited the newsworthiness of our output, it has allowed us to run a long, warm, bubbly bath of nostalgia and wallow in it. The past, after all, is better viewed from the perch of time. This piece is to serve as a summary and a contents page of the best articles and features we have established throughout Lockdown, just in case you’ve missed any blinders.
The TT Blog
Lockdown has been no match for Editor, Dom Roman, who has kept up his impressive habit of churning out the TT Blog every couple of weeks. The regular, long-running feature gives a rundown on everything Torquay United and whatever else in the (usually footballing) world that takes Dom’s fancy. Here‘s the most recent edition: on football behind closed doors, Gulls transfer speculation and the Plainmoor post-Lockdown.
TUFC Dream Teams
This is another long-running feature that has continued to run. We invite contributors and other Yellows fans to pick their favourite XI of all time. We try to vary the age of people who get a go, so not all the teams include mostly Ling/Buckle era heroes! Here’s just a select few to get you going: Sam Jones‘, Alex Rowe‘s and Clive Hayward’s team of the 1980s.
There’s something in the human condition, I think, which makes us particularly attracted to lists, charts, rankings. This works no better than in football, when individual opinions on players and matches can be formed and solidified in moments. It’s always interesting, therefore, to look at how others rank things in certain categories. As a taster, here’s Sam Druiff on his top 10 loanees, Clive Hayward on his worst away days, and Andy Charles on those players who made ten or fewer appearances in Yellow and Blue.
Another heavy dose of Lockdown-fuelled nostalgia, here. We asked our contributors to give us a rundown of some of the campaigns that stick in the memory. Editor Dom plumped for Leroy’s 2003-04 season, Buckle’s nearly men of 2007-08, and the Wembley heroes of 1991, while Clive Hayward took us back to 1987-88.
With all the controversy around statues lately, we thought it’d be safer and more sensible to celebrate our Yellows heroes in the form of a nice article. Plus we simply don’t have the means to erect statues. As the weak pun in the title suggests, Gullacticos is a feauture which eulogises some fan-favourites of the past. They have included Lee Mansell, Jason Fowler, Rene Howe, Luke Young, Neville Southall and Angus MacDonald.
Our resident statto and general Gulls encyclopedia, Andy Charles, has continued his ex-Gulls Watch feature into Lockdown. Here‘s the most recent one, focusing on current Gateshead gaffer Mike Williamson, the first name I had on the back of a TUFC shirt Alan Connell, bashful forward Jody Banim and plenty more.
What started out as a small feature has become an absolute Spotify behemoth. Sam Swann invited contributors and readers to write – in Desert Island Discs style – an article about their favourite few songs to be added to our playlist. This has been combined with additions from Twitter polls to make an enormous 6 hour-long playlist, available here. The Lockdown editions come from Luke Hunter, Sam Jones and Jamie Holmes.
The TT Debate
Lockdown has been a time of arguments. It’s the natural result of families being under each other’s feet 24/7, a government that – let’s say kindly – splits opinion, and a lack of meaningful football as a natural outlet for frustration. TT have tried to channel that discord into a feature, called the TT Debate, where two contributors go head-to-head with 500 words each on a contentious topic. The idea is still in its embryonic stages but the first two editions – me Vs Sam Druiff on the (in)ability of Lee Mansell and Matty Orton Vs Ben Currie in the Leroy V Buckle debate – have caused explosive scenes on Twitter and in groupchats.
TT Top Trumps
Time for more ranking and rating – this time in the form of the exceptionally alliterative TT Top Trumps. The bigwigs in TT Towers take a letter a week, and rate some ex-Gulls on their pace, passing, power, skill, shooting, and tackling. We’re up to H already, where – in my opinion – Chris Hargreaves gets a very generous 7/10 for pace!
The power of social media is that you can basically get in contact with anyone and they’re usually willing to answer a few questions for you. Goodness knows how journalism worked before this, perhaps people picked up a telephone or something radical like that. We love hearing from ex-Gulls at TT, so last month Dom caught up with Mark Ellis and we published an interview by Ross Kaniuk with Martin Ling. Just a week ago, Dom produced a monster of an article about our 998-minute run without conceding a goal, featuring interview contributions with Ellis, Guy Branston and Kevin Nicholson.
Matt Roberts swept in last month with a new feature, discussing the highs and -depressingly frequent – lows of Yellows transfer dealings over the last few summers. He talks us through two summers of Nicho – the additions of modern legend Jamie Reid and undoubted chump Yan Klukowski – and the infamous Owers Recruitment Era.
But it’s not all nostalgia. Chris Perry and Tom Dumanois have penned pieces about potential transfer targets for the coming season.
The thing about football and blogs is that not everything fits neatly into a box. Sometimes, there is a need to just write what is relevant and important at the time, to follow one’s nose on passion projects or areas of interest. And some features only have one article so far, but are nonetheless worth a read as standalone pieces.
For example, Ben Currie’s “A Match in Time” article, remembering our 3-1 destruction of Chelmsford last season is a lovely injection of joy – a reminder of those cold, atmospheric, hopeful nights at Plainmoor. What’s more, Clive Hayward’s My TUFC Story is a personal piece looking back at his first few memories of Plainmoor, big away days, and favourite players.
There was some more personal accounts as Sam Jones listed the things he missed most about gameday – as you’d expect, it’s relatively pub-heavy. I, as self-appointed TT Jamie Reid correspondent, eulogised about my favourite memories of his time in a Gulls shirt and how sorely he’ll be missed.
So that’s what we’ve been up to. We hope you’re enjoying it and, rest assured, there’s plenty more to come. If you have any ideas for features, or fancy making your own contribution to one of the current features, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or Dom on Twitter, or message the TT account directly.
COYY – Matty
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