Rowena Williams – @RowenaWilliams1
After a slight delay, and a lot of fan engagement, on 18th November Torquay United announced that they would be backing the Her Game Too campaign – a campaign that supports women in football (be it fans, players or officials) and aims to remove the widespread sexism from the game.
Alongside the announcement that Torquay had signed up, the club also announced that the home fixture against Halifax on 27th November would mark the first official Her Game Too match at Plainmoor and would be celebrated by a very generous gesture of giving away 1000 tickets to women and girls who wanted to come and support The Gulls.
The free tickets were for the Wollens Terrace only, which follows the pattern of the recent community days’ ticket giveaways. It would have been nice to give everyone the choice of which terrace/stand to go to, however, the idea that the Wollens Terrace can be seen as a comfortable and safe space for those who feel less confident about attending matches may encourage more people to give Plainmoor a try. From the Popside it was great to see the Woollens Terrace looking busy with a diverse crowd and it was clear many fans had taken the club up on their free ticket offer. What was interesting was that there were more women and girls in the Popside than I have seen before and so it really feels that the club is sending a loud and clear message that female fans are welcome and respected at Plainmoor – and this message is being heard.
It was clear from the start that the club were putting their money where their mouth was with the day. There were announcements on the tannoy about the campaign and the club’s involvement, an article in the programme, the Her Game Too banner displayed on the screen and there was a playlist which focused on female bands and singers. The only problem with the day was the actual football …
Moving forwards with the Her Game Too partnership, it would be great to see a permanent advertising board on the pitch-side to maintain the campaign’s exposure, as well as continued advertising from the club on its social media channels. The club must continue to support the campaign long term as this will have the most positive impact.
It’s important to also mention the other amazing initiatives the club has got behind recently as there have been a lot of positives off the pitch (the less said about on the pitch the better!)
· On October 20th the club announced the launch of Retro Gulls Club which will encourage fans over 50 to meet once a month in Boots and Laces for a variety of activities and to meet with United stars past and present.
· On October 23rd Torquay had a Community Day at Plainmoor, giving out 1000 tickets for the Wollens Terrace to local residents, as well as 100 tickets to parents and children in the family end, and free tickets to 16 prize winners from Sport Torbay.
· On 13th November the club offered 1000 tickets for the Wollens Terrace to fans who work in the NHS and care industry to say thank you for the difficult two years they have faced.
· On 17th November the club announced they would be partnering up with the charity Andy’s Man Club, a charity that aims to get more men talking and opening up, breaking down the stigma of men’s mental health and preventing male suicide – a crucial issue in the UK today.
It has been great to feel proud of the club once more. Not only is it supporting its fans and encouraging diversity at the club but it is also re-connecting with the local community and, when it comes down to it, this is what lower league football is all about.
It’s always great to feel proud of your club, and right now, there is lots to feel proud about as a Torquay United fan, long may it continue. #coyy #tufc
COYY – Rowena
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
The performances on the pitch often dominate our feelings for the club, and unfortunately we’re all feeling rightly pissed off due to the league position. But off the pitch the club is starting to make genuine strides and we should be proud of this. Strides and initiatives with the local community that will hopefully strengthen the historically fractured and laboured links between Torbay and it’s football team, strides in it’s engagement with supporters and strides with the next generation due to the blossoming Youth development headed by Chris Todd.
Torquay United can always do better and evolve their ways to meet this hectic changing world, but don’t let the losses dampen down your pride for the club and what they mean to us all. They may test our patience, there may be more downs than ups, but this our wonderfully strange club and we are here for better and for worse! Well done to United for trying new things and creating positivity off the pitch….hopefully it’ll soon be mirrored by the team.
COYY – Dom