TT TALKING POINTS
Andy Charles – @CapitalGull
Andy discusses talking points from the game versus Chippenham
Exercising the “little grey cells”
Interesting comments from Gary Johnson before Saturday’s game, basically asking Torquay’s budding Hercule Poirots/Jessica Fletchers/Steve Arnotts (one for each generation) to cut down on speculation about Trialist A/B/C/D and any other randoms who might turn up at training or in matches.
So what happens? We get “Player A” instead of Trialist E and everyone knows who he is as soon as he comes on. And didn’t the Unnamed One play well too… Lively from the start, great movement, good on the ball and then thunderbastards one in from 30+ yards with a left foot which strikes like a traction engine.
Now what? We sign him and celebrate the most impressive trial performance since Ronald Huth or lose out and get blamed for “knowing too much”. You do kind of understand the secrecy from Plainmoor at times, but I don’t think the guesswork is ever going to stop, especially in the social media age. I’ve even seen fans aged over 50 taking multiple pictures of a trialist against Plymouth trying to find out who Dan Holman was.
If there was an entry for “busy midfielder” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Tom Lapslie underneath it. I can see him becoming Torquay’s most popular central midfielder since…well…Asa Hall!
If I walked past him in the street I would probably have about 500 guesses at occupations, and influential football player would not be one of them. He’s a proper throwback – 80s hairstyle (I would love some hair to style to be fair), shirt tucked in and pretty much only a couple of inches taller than Danny Stevens.
But what an engine he has got. Duracell batteries would run out before Tom Lapslie. Tackles, works like a Tasmanian Devil, decent passer of the ball and a clear midfield leader who will stand up for his team-mates. Colchester fans wondered why they let him go and I can see why. He’s definitely a League Two-standard player and we should be grateful to have him.
The “Hol” Package?
Last season, I think we would have been promoted as champions with a second goal-scoring option. Not decrying the goals scored by Asa and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, but we really needed that second striker especially when Danny Wright was out.
Scott Boden and Billy Waters both had their moments, but there never seemed to be a run of form from either and eventually those fallow months in early 2021 when the goals were hard to come by proved costly.
So now we hand that striker opening to a player who has basically been out of the game, or playing at a much lower level, for two years while building up a business. But the early signs are positive – he played well against Plymouth and could easily have had a hat-trick on Saturday. One thing I really like about him – he’s not scared to shoot, and two of his long-range efforts could easily have ended up as “worldies” before a more exquisite chip than Harry Ramsden has ever produced made it 2-0. Hopefully his work in strength and conditioning might benefit the rest of the squad as well.
The additions of Holman and Swiss Army Knife player Chiori Johnson on deals before Saturday’s game took the squad up to a healthy level, although the back end of the bench options – Louie Slough, Alex Moyse and Scott Piper – might be better suited to joining Olaf Koszela out on loan at Southern League clubs.
I’ve no doubt Gary Johnson is looking to add a couple more on loan before the big kick-off against Altrincham, and if he pulls another Adam Randell and Sherring out of his hat before August 21 I am sure we would celebrate.
No doubt many will hope the Unnamed One from Saturday rocks up as the next permanent signing – he’s available as a free agent but being courted by others – but what else? I’d say another centre-back would be ideal either as cover or to battle Lewis/Omar for starting roles, and another striker/wide forward with a little bit of pace, because that is something we really lack.
Fearless prediction for 2021-22
Joe Lewis will emerge as one of the best central defenders in the National League. Whether he’s alongside Ali Omar – or Sam Sherring if that pipe dream happens – Lewis will lead the Torquay defence and hopefully produce as good a record, if not better, than last season. It’s a tough ask but Lewis looks calm beyond his years and a defender who could definitely play at a higher level.
Up The Gulls! – Andy