“TUFC will have to be more organised than ever to manage a restart with so many possible pitfalls and concerns “
The Ed blogs about all things TUFC
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
So have you been back to the pub yet? I like to start with the pressing issues! I’ve not been a regular pub goer in recent years, but when something is taken away from you – it can make you long for it back. So myself and an old friend decided to visit our local on Tuesday night (please support your local landlords, they need it most). Leaving it until after the initial charge was sensible, and the pubs were very quiet, making distancing easy. Unfortunately last orders at the 1st pub of choice were designated to be 9pm – considering we got there at 8.45 that seemed rather conservative!
It was just nice to be out and about putting the world to rights with a mate to be honest. We are trained to be sociable in pubs rather than at home drinking tea or coffee, so it was an enjoyable couple of hours. The one catch is that this friend has absolutely no interest in football (strange I know) – but having known each other for over 25 years it’s a sacrifice I’ve had to accept. Some normality and chatter in a beer garden ensured a welcome return – even if prices were somewhat eye watering and the normal post-pub kebab was agreed as a step too far (health matters after all!).
You may have noticed a new TT blogger in town last week (not literally), as Matty Hayward made a TT blog debut with a splendidly engaging piece on Black Lives Matter. Matty decided to head straight into hard-hitting matters and raised several points that had our TT group debating candidly into the evening. I think it’s a learning process for all. For my part I endeavour to treat everybody equally and with the same level of respect, no matter who they are – something we shall be preaching to our two children. There should be no fear in meeting people of different races and religions, and in an old-school way I’ll judge individuals on how nice they are. Avoiding pre-judgements and stereotypes is something I’ve matured into over the years, and hopefully movements like BLM will continue to educate and make a difference rather than fading away. TT are not afraid to voice our opinions on such matters and I look forward to more Hayward blogs!
This week I caught up with Torquay United Community Trust manager Jamie McInnes. It’s been a frustrating time for the trust as lockdown minimised what they could and can achieve, especially in terms of their children’s football events. However the trust have done their best to help out the local community, and that heart and commitment is lovely to hear about. People like Jamie who go the extra mile to bring joy and help to people who need it most are always worthy of mentions, and I wish him all the best for the future with both the trust and the reinvigoration of the Torquay Women’s team. The women’s team has had an uphill struggle in recent years, but with the ladies game continually growing there is plenty of potential for a successful future. Get involved if you can.
Something I think we can all agree on recently is the delight at Exeter City being trounced in the Wembley play-off final! I have a lot of respect for the way the Grecians are run and I can only envy the quality of their fans engagement and sound business plan (plus they have Nicho!)..but the thought of both City and Argyle being two divisions above us filled me with dread. The possibility of at least one Devon derby being rekindled in 2021 is something to warm all our Yellow Army cockles. The build-up anticipation, the big crowds (if possible), the pressure and the intensity – bring it back asap. City released a number of players last week, so we may soon have one or two ex-Grecians onboard this summer (Warren is odds on surely?) – let’s hope they’re more Wayne Carlisle than Darran Rowbotham (ask an elder if necessary)..
Closer links with the likes of City and Argyle is something we should certainly be aiming for. The struggle to convince players down to Devon remains very real, and with Lee Johnson sadly departing Bristol City – our pick and mix from the Ashton Gate youth team could face interruption. Hey I’m not saying we befriend them and take them to the pub on Tuesday nights, but Exeter City’s youth team produces plenty of talent and if we can unearth more guys like Reidy then things at Plainmoor are looking up. Argyle and United used to trade players on a regular basis but this hasn’t been the case for years – with the Greens in League One maybe Gary will pounce for some exciting prospects. We await signings and patience is key at the moment – but the arrival of Warren and Danny Wright can’t be far off can it?!
Mid-September is still be banded as a date for a return to football action, not that anything much has come out of the club to alert us either way. If the capacity will be limited to something like 50% at Plainmoor as social distancing rules rule, then there could be a big rush for season tickets once sale does take place. If the more casual supporters face missing out by not having a ST then they may dive in. It’s all so unknown at the moment and I’m just speculating really, but TUFC will have to be more organised than ever to manage a restart with so many possible pitfalls and concerns, otherwise it could quickly turn into a nightmare. The Australian Rugby League has social distancing in place with 3 seats in-between sets of presumably co-habitating supporters. It’s not brilliant is it but a crowd of any sort breathes life into sport and I’m sure the Yellow Army will just be keen to return, making the best of the situation and supporting our team. On our way…on our way…maybe.
Speaking of fans engagement and returning to games, the FSA and the Non-League Paper have teamed up to produce a smart survey for supporters to give their views on a restart. Please fill this is in when you’ve got time, it’s not too onerous and asks the right questions that the National League and teams like Torquay need answering. Staying safe and being back amongst a socially distancing Yellow Army is something we can cautiously look forward to – maybe a Gary Johnson fist-pumping celebration is not too far away..
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