NEW GULL PROFILE
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Seven new signings in one day? What a club! So it’s time for TT new Gulls profiles, which is usually Matty Hayward’s fortay, but with so much to cover I’ll be delving into the background of a couple of players to lighten his load. First is our new midfielder Tom Lapslie…
CAREER SO FAR
So far in his professional career Tom has only played for one club, having signed for Colchester United’s academy at the age of 16 and then making his debut in the FA Cup in early 2015. Since then the midfielder has made 170 appearances for the Essex club, scoring four goals. Well we’ve got enough goal-scoring midfielders haven’t we?! The club were unfortunately relegated in 2016 after finishing 23rd in League One, but Lapslie took the opportunity to assert himself in the first team and was named Colchester’s Young Player of the Year for 2016-17.
A notable highlight from his time at Colchester was a winning penalty in the Carabao Cup shoot-out versus Spurs (see below) in 2019, which pretty much bookmarked him forever in U’s history and sealed his popularity at Layer Road. In the last two seasons his appearances have dwindled and he suffered a difficult last year at the U’s, with knee surgery interrupting his start to the campaign and then hamstring and groin injuries keeping him out for periods. He did return for some farewell fixtures, before departing in May 2021.
Date of Birth: 5th October 1995 – 25 years-old
Place of Birth: Waltham Forest, London
Previous Clubs: Colchester United
League Stats 20-21: League Two – Played 13, Goals 0, Bookings 3
Out of all of our seven signings, Tom’s name stood out – not exactly as a statement signature but as a properly good incoming with proven EFL ability. It’s generally a promising sign when a player is tagged as a ‘former club favourite’, and it certainly seems like he enjoyed a nice rapport with the U’s faithful going by comments.
His outgoing remarks on leaving the U’s were heartfelt – “Hopefully one day I can come back and play against Colchester and that will be a nice occasion. It’s nice to hear people wishing me well and that people are disappointed that I won’t be pulling on a Colchester shirt again, next season. But that’s football and the decision has been made – these things happen. I have to accept that now and I wish the club and the fans every success. I can’t look at it with too much regret – I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I do look forward to coming back at some point and I hope that when that day comes, I don’t get the customary boos! I’m not asking for celebrations but a little ripple of applause would be nice!”. Boos or no boos, please let this return be during 2022-23!
The chap may lack stature (let’s call him diminutive shall we?) but tenacious is a word banded around on his arrival, and as a combative midfielder it looks like he’s been signed to help Asa Hall protect that Gulls defence, give the skipper more chances to push forward and stand in for Asa if necessary. With the likes of Little, Andrews and CLE better going forward, Tom balances out the midfield options nicely to sharpen up the ‘wasps around a picnic’ approach that the gaffer loves (any excuse to use that metaphor).
His enthusiastic and lively presence should certainly help us as the season progresses, and with a number of EFL years under his belt I’m sure the National League won’t hold any concerns. The 25 year-old has been unlucky with injuries in the last year, so that set the alarm bells ringing slightly…but let’s be honest if everything was perfect, he probably wouldn’t have made it to Plainmoor in the first place. Let’s hope Tom and the rest of the squad can avoid too many knocks in 2021-22. Meanwhile the new man sounds like he’ll be all action and all energy in that midfield, a Hockley-type crowd favourite in the making.
Check out all four of his Colchester goals below…
VIEWS FROM PREVIOUS CLUB
“Tom Lapslie is a whole-hearted, tenacious midfielder whose main strengths are his closing down, tackling, organisation and shielding of the back four. Although he is not a dribbler or a passer of great vision, he can still surprise you during games by popping up on the right wing every now and again! He will probably be most fondly remembered by U’s fans for scoring the winning penalty in the shoot out against Spurs in the Carabao Cup in 2019. Injuries have not been kind to him recently and he was going to struggle to start regularly for us, but I would still have liked us to keep him – he would have been a reassuring presence coming off the bench when we were trying to hold on to a lead or see out a game” – Daniel Woodrow (Season ticket holder)
““Everybody can see what a huge asset Tom Lapslie is. It’s why our success with John (McGreal) and I over recent years has been geared around Tom because he’s non-stop, he sees things that no-one else sees, he covers ground that no-one else can. He epitomises what I want from someone wearing a Colchester United shirt because he shows absolute endeavour and absolute drive and desire to go and play for Colchester United” – Steve Ball (Manager)
– Tom is the older brother of George Lapslie who plies his trade at Mansfield Town.
– His penalty winner versus Spurs in 2019 took them into the League Cup quarter finals for the first time since 1974-75.
– He was number 4 at Colchester and takes the same number at Torquay from a certain Kyle Cameron.
– His last red card was against Exeter City was for a professional foul on Ryan Bowman in 2019.
– His full name is Thomas William Cavendish Lapslie.
MOST LIKELY/LEAST LIKELY
Most likely to:
– Get the Yellow Army onside quickly with a string of bustling displays.
– Become a default man of the match in poor TUFC performances.
– Be compared to a small yapping dog in midfield/Matt Hockley.
Least likely to:
– Have his surname included in a chant – what rhymes with Lapslie honestly?
– Become embroiled in a battle to be top scorer after a series of net-busters.
With Matt Buse departing a gap appeared in the Torquay United midfield that needed filling, and with no disrespect to Busey, Tom Lapslie is an appropriate upgrade. He brings plenty of EFL experience, a terrific work ethic by all accounts and at 25 years-old, peak years still ahead of him. Heck he can even take a shoot-out penalty, though goals are one thing he’s unlikely to bring to the table. However, it’s a smart bit of business from Gary Johnson…no shock there.
COYY – Dom