Matty Hayward – @MattyHayward96
*Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V*
We’ve signed someone who used to play for Cheltenham, has done little since, but you probably back Gary to get the best out of him like he did in the past! I feel like I’ve written these words before…
Alex Addai is the new man making the Robins-to-Gulls switch. But who is he, what’s he about, and where does he fit?
Addai was born in Stepney, and though he started out on the books of Tottenham and Blackpool as a youngster, spent most of his early career in London and south east non-league sphere. I feel like there are millions of footballers who have “Whitehawk”, “Kingstonian” and “Carshalton” on their Wikipedia CVs, perhaps I just need to get out more. It was while playing for Merstham in 2018 that young Alex was spotted by Gary, and signed to Cheltenham on an initial one year deal.
The attacker played 81 times for Cheltenham, scoring ten (all of which came in his first two seasons). His last term, 2020-21, was punctuated with brief loan spells at Maidenhead and Solihull Moors, for whom he scored a goal each. The 27-year-old comes to Torquay, then, with a bit of Football League experience and a point to prove that he can play and contribute regularly at this level and above.
Here’s a handy compilation of Addai’s seven goals in the 2019/20 campaign. As you can see, he’s a quick, stocky fella with a decent eye for goal and a trick in his back pocket. A couple of these are sensational strikes, while one of them is a rebound from a missed penalty. Good that he’s got variety, I suppose. Come for the goals, stay for the trance music.
And here’s a video made, presumably by his representatives to get him a club, showcasing his abilities. The clips are much the same, but they highlight Addai in a red circle, and the occasional extra bit of skill or movement is added in. In many of these clips, he’s playing on the shoulder of the last defender, and is very direct, which clearly suits his extra pace.
Most Likely To
- Have a very lame joke made about “calling the AA”. On second thoughts, maybe that’s just a dreadful joke I’ve made up and it should never be repeated
- Play either up front in a two, or in the wide areas. His skill and speed suggest he’d be competent in both roles
- Challenge Dan Holman to a thigh-measuring contest
Least Likely To
- Be rushed into the side. He’s not played any football since the end of last season, and as we’ve seen from his two appearances for the Gulls so far, Gary’s short-term plan is to weaponise him in short doses
- Be the last ex-Cheltenham player we sign. My money’s on Chris Zebroski next.
It’s fair to say that many of the original pre-season signings haven’t worked out this season, or at least they’re taking a while to find their feet. We needed freshening up, another option in the final third, and a bit more pace. Addai provides all of those things.
Whether he’s any good is a different matter, and something we’ll have to wait and see. He’s clearly done a job for a decent League Two side for the last three years, so he’s probably not a donkey. We’ve not seen enough of him in a Torquay shirt to make any judgements yet, but early reports are that he’s lively and gives us a new dimension. Beyond that, who knows! It’s almost as if making predictions based on little evidence is futile!
COYY – Matty