Dom Roman – @DomRoman
“I have never heard the award greeted by boos before and I hope to never hear it again”
THE YELLOW ARMY AND ARMANI
Saturday was a strange afternoon even for Torquay United, and the events of the last 10 minutes of the Dover game have rightly dominated social media ever since. Let’s make this clear, booing the award of the Man of the Match to Armani Little was completely unacceptable. The game had been terrible, no doubt about that, one of those 90 minutes that was agonisingly short of quality and apparently slumping to a meagre 1-1 draw. The second half especially tested my patience to the limit, a second chocolate bar scoffed (there had been an over-order on Double Deckers) just to keep myself from keeling over in a heap of frustration. A day when you start to question what you’re doing in life and the decisions you’ve made.
But let’s also get this straight, whatever your feelings for certain players are, leave them at your doorstep when you head to games and try to encourage these lads with positive vibes. What message does this booing send to prospective future TUFC players about moving down to Plainmoor? ‘Oh don’t go there mate, if they take a disliking to you then even if you score goals you’ll be for it’. What message does it send to new/occasional visitors who made it to Plainmoor on Saturday? ‘Not sure I’m keen to return with that type of atmosphere around’. What message does it send to someone like Armani Little, who has scored a goal and put in the effort, but hears silly boos greet his MOTM award and himself painted as the scapegoat for a poor performance?
I have never heard the award greeted by boos before and I hope to never hear it again. I’ve seen suggestions that the man of the match award should be voted for by supporters or done differently to avoid the wrong decision being made. However, that’s just not the point is it?! Game sponsors deserve to pick the MOTM as they’ve put money into the club. If they make a decision that isn’t popular then so be it – it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things.
Perhaps this is a wake up call for us as a fanbase, the away support has so often been excellent but at Plainmoor we are too quick to panic and get on the teams back when things aren’t going to plan. We can all try harder (I include myself in this) and redeem ourselves in the coming months, showing this team we are there for them rather than looking for scapegoats and opportunities to moan. I am a proud member of the Yellow Army and always will be, so the support messages on social media for Armani after the game were heartening to see…and maybe just maybe a bond between us and AL will strengthen in the coming weeks to benefit all concerned. He certainly showed character on Saturday and is obviously deserving of better.
Bouncing back after criticism has never been my strongpoint, so I can really appreciate Armani’s ‘I’ll show you’ reaction to the boos by scoring that winning goal. Fantastic. He’s one of the few players at Torquay United who can provide moments like that, using fabulous technique to get over the bouncing ball and find the back of the net. The stern ear cupping that followed was perfectly understandable and made for a rather weird moment that should have been wholly celebratory. What a crazy five minutes! A wildly inconsistent lad, but one with 7 goals and 6 assists already this season and one who could do even more with better backing. Rant over.
That’s four wins on the bounce in the league at Plainmoor. Yes the opposition teams have been fairly woeful, but the shoots of improvement are quietly springing out and some movement up the division is happening. I’m not getting carried away (games like Saturday aren’t going to prompt such enthusiasm) but we do have room for quiet optimism.
With Byron Moore striving to find fitness I think we can enjoy his wing play as the weeks go on, whilst we have Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Asa Hall and Sinclair Armstrong returning to the squad very soon. All three will make a difference, so being better is well within our grasp at Barnet and a good game awaits at the Hive. Unfortunately we also lost Dan Holman and Chiori Johnson to injury on Saturday, but that’s just typical wear and tear as the season goes on, though Chiori’s brief entry and departure was ridiculous, even for our injury record.
It felt like the midfield had an Asa-shaped hole in it on Saturday. Lapslie and Little were busy, but a calm influence in the midfield was sorely missed both in attack and defence. Without someone pulling the strings the team pushed forward without enough focus and composure, and thankfully Dover weren’t good enough on the ball to exploit our lack of size and strength. Meanwhile the movement and ability of CLE and Sinclair Armstrong will slot straight back in next Saturday. Add to that greater stability at the back with Harry Perritt arriving to partner Joe Lewis, and maybe, just maybe a proper team is starting to take shape.
With winnable games to come against Barnet and Aldershot, 6 more points would be huge for our season. I know the travelling Yellow Army will get behind the boys on Saturday, let’s banish last Saturday’s behaviour to the bin asap and move on together.
Shameless plug time! Are you struggling for Xmas gift ideas for Gulls supporters? Check out the TT Shop for some choice items designed especially for the Yellow Army…
COYY – Dom