Matty Hayward summarises the TT output for August
Matty Hayward – @Mattyhayward96
August. Usually, in football, a month of renewal. New seasons, new signings, new away fixtures to look forward to. This year, as with many things, is different. While football’s elite competitions drew to a close in a somewhat anti-climactic fashion, the professional lower and non-leagues must wait on tenterhooks for a few more weeks and months before turnstiles can creak open once more. The lack of action at Plainmoor has once again allowed TT contributors to dive into their memory banks to recount players and times past, while some have made their way to local friendlies as they creep back into something approaching normality. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been up to.
It’s been a blog-heavy month. Editor Dom and Rachel Malloch gave us a lovely trip down memory lane, discussing their first experiences of Torquay United and how they became the regular fans they are today. For Dom, his passion was sparked by radio commentary of the 1989 Sherpa Van Trophy final, which led to a debut the following September. Rachel’s story is of relocation from the Midlands, making a home in the Bay and falling in love with the boys in Yellow – her interest piqued by a disappointing December defeat at home to Walsall.
From games of old to games of new. This week, Dom, Andy Charles and Tom Kelly all made their returns to live football (I was going to say “the terraces”, but for all of them it was of standing by a railing at pitch-level). Dom popped along to his local club Heavitree United to watch their second team get battered by Newtown, Andy saw Bovey Tracey lose at home to Teignmouth, while Tom took in East Preston Vs Hamble Sports and Littlehampton Town Vs Hastings United.
I’ve remained a sofa football fan so far, and wrote a blog about how we Torquay fans can learn from the Champions League final and the potential of footballers to improve and grow beyond early assessments of their talent. I used the example of Serge Gnabry and how he was deemed not good enough for West Brom but has since become one of the world’s best wingers and a Champions League winner. Let’s bear that in mind as we jump to conclusions about new signings this season. A fortnight before, I wrote about football’s relationship with football and proposed that we adopt Goodbye Horse as a club anthem.
Players of Yore
We’ve done a lot of writing this month with, and about, former Gulls. @ExGulls gave us an update on transfers involving previous Yellows, including Nathan Blissett, Tyrone Marsh and Jean-Yves Koue Niate. Meanwhile, Matt Roberts continued his rundown of incomings of the past, this time writing about the Summer of 2014. That window saw Chris Hargreaves bring Luke Young, Ryan Bowman and Angus MacDonald in, so it’s fair to say it was more successful than some more recent dabblings.
We also had an excellent insight into Leroy’s Yellows in an interview between Matt Carpenter and Brian McGlinchey. Brian goes into great detail about joining Torquay, his time in Yellow and that day at Southend. It really is an excellent read. Sticking with full-backs, Clive Hayward wrote about the wonderful and socially distanced partnership of Gibbs and Gurney. The left and right wing-backs are curiously always thought of as a pair despite being so far apart on the pitch, and they brought great joy to Gulls fans in the late nineties.
Back in this century, Dom gave us a summary of the “What Could Have Beens” – players who he thought were good enough to make it at Plainmoor but for whom it didn’t work out one way or another, including the tragedy of Kieffer Moore, the forgotten grace of Danny Racchi and the supposedly lethal Ashley Yeoman. Also, the TT Top Trumps feature has continued apace, with players whose names begin with L, M and N all ranked this month.
Players of Now
We welcomed Torquay’s worst kept secret this month, as Connor Lemonheigh-Evans finally joined on a permanent deal after three loan spells. I profiled The Lemon’s career, highlighted his highlights in Yellow and discussed where he might fit into this season’s squad.
Later that week, Steve Harris considered how Gary Johnson may arrange his lineup this term. He gave a rundown of how we might look with both 5-at-the-back formations and four-man defences. Flexibility will be the name of the game this campaign, I think, with games coming thick and fast and plenty of versatile players in the squad, it’ll be important to be prepared for the tactical variety that the National League can provide.
That’s all for this month. We hope you’ve enjoyed our output this month and that this article has pointed you towards one or two gems that you may have missed. If you have any ideas for features, or fancy contributing to currently running features, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, Dom Roman, or the TT Twitter account.
COYY – Matty