The TT Preview 20/21

Luke Hunter brings together TT thoughts on all things 20/21.


Luke Hunter – @lukehunter8

The wait is nearly over – a competitive Torquay United match is creeping over the horizon, so close, yet so far. The usual pre-season excitement is certainly dampened at this point; there will be no crowd of optimistic cider brains, moaning bastards, or indeed, Paul Bastard descending on Plainmoor this Saturday, the latter certainly seems unthinkable. At the time of writing, there isn’t much of an operational plan* in place to even speak of, hopefully we’ll know more soon enough but poignant questions regarding attendance, finance and sustainability remain unanswered.

*See you on the stream – excitement kicking in now!

TorquayTalk will roll on, Dom has done an epic job (especially since March) leading the pack and keeping the site content-rich and well, alive. We have reported on every competitive match for the last two seasons and I really hope we can keep that going through 20/21 one way or another – I’m grateful more than ever that we have this platform, it has been a dire few months for lower league football fans but the void has been at least partially plugged with indie content. To that point, I always try to plug this at the start of the season but TT works best with wonderful contributors, we always need ‘stuff to push’ so if you’re interested in penning a piece, no-matter how large or small, please do get in touch!

To the football! At the very best of times, it is difficult to look back at yesteryear predictions without grimacing, so we’ll only quickly revisit that. Unsurprisingly, none of the TT team suggested that COVID-19 might draw the 19/20 campaign to a premature close.  Correct calls were few and far between but Dom, Rach and Rich can be pleased to have predicted Jamie Reid would walk away as top scorer with 18 – even if he didn’t get the full quota of matches. Buoyed by a title and Gary Johnson, perhaps we (generally speaking) got a little bit ahead of ourselves this time last year. It is easy to forget just how difficult the National League is, whilst often tarred ignorantly by the prejudice of the ‘non-league’ brush, it is arguably much more akin to the professional leagues above. None of us predicted a finish outside the top ten, but 15th didn’t feel as disappointing as it might have done at the start of the campaign, especially with all those injuries – who knows, maybe a season of consolidation is what we needed – despite the utterly bonkers external circumstances we’re currently navigating, I think we’re capable of kicking on a little bit this season. 

Ahead of 20/21, I distributed a selection of questions to the TT team, this is very much collaborative preview so a huge thanks to the collaborators:

• AC – Andy Charles
• BC – Ben Currie
• CH – Clive Hayward
• CW – Chris Wade
• DR – Dom Roman
• JJ – Jonny Jones
• MA – Marcus Arscott
• MH – Matty Hayward
• MR – Matthew Roberts
• RH – Richard Heesem
• RM – Rachel Malloch
• SD – Sam Druiff

1) TUFC Player of the Season 20/21:

  1. Ben Whitfield
  2. Armani Little
  3. Kyle Cameron/Ben Wynter/Danny Wright

How they voted:


What they said:

DR: “Ben Whitfield – Ben rarely has a bad game does he! Whits always gives 100% even on bad days and I can see him chipping in 10 goals and running away with the player of the year vote”.

AC: “Ben Whitfield. Most creative player we have. Always gives his best”.

CW: “Armani Little. Outstanding footballer but needs to stay fit.”

RM: “Ben Wynter. steady, reliable and ever so likeable.”

Ben Whitfield
Photo courtesy of Gary Chadwick

2) TUFC Young (21 and under) Player of the Season:

  1. Olaf Koszela
  2. Louie Slough

What they said:

LH: “Slim pickings, perhaps testament to how experience driven we are this year – Olaf looked fantastic in pre-season, he’ll get (and take) his chance this season”.

CH: “I think Slough and Olaf are the only possibilities”.

BC: “Olaf Koszela, looks like he might get more of a chance this season, GJ clearly thinks he’ll be the real deal.”

MR: “Olaf Koszela – looks like he’s grown physically and mentally since last season, looking good in a number of positions during the friendlies. Would be great to see him kick on this season if he gets the opportunity.”

3) TUFC Top scorer

  1. Josh Umerah
  2. Danny Wright/Andrew Nelson

How they voted:

TT - topscorer

What they said:

SD: “Wright, natural goalscorer and with some very creative players and Nelson/Umerah to do his running he’s all sorted”.

CW: “Josh Umerah. Big, strong and can finish. Given regular starts, he could be an excellent addition.”.

RM: “Josh Umerah. He’s got the moves like Reidy.”

DR: “Josh Umerah or a loan striker. Josh had looked lively so far and could be a real asset this season, saying that I have it in the back of my mind that a loan guy will come in do the business!”

4) Your most anticipated TUFC fixture and why?

  1. Yeovil (a)
  2. Weymouth (a)
  3. Stockport County (h)

What they said:

BC: “In Covid times it is hard to get excited about any match but would be nice to get one over Yeovil after last year.”.

SD: “Stockport on the opening day, return of competitive football. I think it could be quite emotional to see it”.

JJ: “Yeovil away for obvious reasons. I’m taking an umbrella this time.”

LH: “Weymouth (a) – I think there’s a slim chance we could be allowed in by then, it’s a ground that has previously alluded me and there should be a decent number there”


5) Most likely league winners?

  1. Stockport County
  2. Notts County
  3. Torquay United

How they voted:

TT - Title Winners

What they said:

MA: “Yeovil had a quality squad already and have made a few cracking additions, so I’d keep an eye on them. Notts Co have similarly recruited well and are chucking money at it. I’ll go for a top 3 of Notts Co, Yeovil and Stockport”.

JJ: “Boreham Wood have a good squad. Like it or not they’re always in the mix”.

MR: “Stockport County – They’ve spent a fair bit of cash early on and their fans seem confident. Yeovil and Notts County will be up there”.

MH: “Head says Stockport, heart says the Yellows”.

6) Any potential National League dark horses?

  1. Weymouth
  2. Maidenhead
  3. Torquay United

What they said:

MA: “Haven’t Aldershot just signed Ross McCormack? That’s a ridiculous signing for this level. Otherwise, maybe this is finally Wrexham’s year?”.

AC: “Maidenhead. Recruited well this summer”.

MR: “Normally one of the promoted teams does well, Weymouth maybe? They’ve got the perpetually angry Josh McQuoid so who knows?”.

DR: “I’ll say Maidenhead and Aldershot, some interesting signings from those two – maybe they’ll do something this season.”

7) Other National League players you’re most excited to see?

  1. Ross McCormack
  2. Myles Anderson
  3. Adam Marriott (Kings Lynn), Ruben Rodrigues (Notts County)

What they said:

MH: “I’m excited to see how long Myles Anderson lasts at Weymouth (or how long Weymouth last in the league with Myles Anderson in the team)”.

RM: “Ross McCormack. from championship to national league in 3 seasons, that has to be an intriguing spectacle”.

AC: “Ruben Rodrigues from Notts County. Early reports about the Dutch recruit are exciting”.

SD: “Ross McCormack and my mate Jamie Sendles-White”.


8) The division’s top scorer?

  1. Rhys Murphy
  2. Kabongo Tashimanga
  3. Ross McCormack

What they said:

RH: “Ross bloody McCormack”.

MR: “Rhys Murphy or Kabongo Tshimanga – Two top strikers at this level who are still with their clubs or in the division while Scott Quigley and Jamie Reid have moved on”.

MH: “Heart says Umerah, head says one of the Jennings lads”.

CW: “Kabongo Tashimanga. Quality.”

9) TT Tips: TUFC Final League Position

Average final position: 7th

How they voted:

TT - predicts

What they said:

MA: “Unless we make a few top quality loan signings, I think we’re lacking in a few areas. 10th”.

MR: “7th – We’ll miss Reid up front and we’ve shown in the pre-season friendlies that we can still go to sleep at the back worryingly often. There’ll be far better teams than Chippenham and Hemel Hempstead who’ll punish us for such mistakes.”.

MH: “Realistically, I think we’ll finish about 10th”.

DR: “6th – much dependant on fitness and the strikers firing. I’m quietly optimistic!”

Well, there you go! If you made it this far, congratulations… Here we go again – COYY – Luke.


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