Dom Roman – @DomRoman
The Ed looks at reasons to feel positive about the Gulls
Just like at the end of last season, suddenly becoming draw specialists has done us no favours at all and this time around our promotion hopes have gone flatter than a burnt pancake. With around 30 points needed from 14 games, and a squad struggling to cope, the odds are stacked against us higher than ever. However, there are reasons to be optimistic I think…call me a ‘Happy Clapper’ if you wish!
1 – GARY JOHNSON WILL HAVE MORE TIME TO REBUILD
The boss is our biggest asset and shows no signs of retiring into his slippers any time soon. With the play-off final finishing our season in June, key players jumping ship, opportunities limited to gather the right kind of lads and other teams regrouping and assembling stronger squads, even Gary Johnson has struggled to battle a tide of momentum swinging against him. He’ll instantly be more optimistic heading into this summer though. Shortlists of possible new signings will already be drafted up and he’ll also want to ensure important current players are retained if possible. More time to assess characters, create a better balanced and flexible squad, and embed them into his Torquay United culture. Let’s hope our owners back this man as much as possible.
2 – FINANCIAL FAIR PLAY
It’s wishful thinking to believe that teams like Chesterfield and Wrexham will suddenly struggle for league positions when Financial Fair Play regulations hit the National League (if they remain in the league). These teams know the rules are coming and will be ready to approach them accordingly, so will still be amongst the favourites for promotion. But these measures should help Torquay United. With big wages and incentives less likely to be offered at the drop of a hat, we should have more chance of competing for the better players and levelling up with teams who have stolen a march on us this season. Also, teams who are relegated down from the EFL could struggle to cope, though that often happens anyway! It’ll be interesting to see what impact FFP makes to what has become a crazy division, but with our club well run and commanding decent crowds, with any luck it’ll be a positive rather than a negative for 2022-23.
3 – YOUTH SET-UP
The youth set-up has now been up and running for a few years, and the commitment that Clarke Osborne has put into it is commendable. We can’t compete with Exeter City’s or Argyle’s established networks and sway to bring in the best local talent, but I would hope the investment we have made will bear fruit in the coming years. Imagine 2 or 3 youth players pushing through into the Gulls squad and making a difference, that would be fantastic. This may be an optimistic short-term point in this blog, but I can dream. Over to you Toddy!
4 – OUR SUPPORT
Not many teams in the league have the same level of support as TUFC, especially in terms of away attendances, where the Yellow Army turn up in substantial numbers everywhere we go. Having suffered without live games for a long while in 20-21, it feels like supporters want to take every opportunity they get to cheer the Gulls on and you can’t under-estimate the help this provides to the team. Torquay United have so many loyal and die-hard supporters, if mid-table is our destination this season, then I’m sure we’ll all be raring to go again in the National League in August.
5 – WE ARE STILL TORQUAY UNITED!
The fear when COVID hit was that many teams around our level would struggle badly and some would go out of existance entirely. The last of the COVID rules have now been lifted and thankfully we are still very much alive and kicking. We may still be non-league but our football club remain wholly professional, and of course still command a fabulous support. Plainmoor is still a place where you can go on Saturday afternoons to forget your Monday-Friday stresses and shout yourself horse for the boys in yellow. We all wish we were in the EFL and the pain of Ashton Gate lingers, but football is only a part of being a Torquay United supporter isn’t it? It’s about friends and family, our Gulls crazy community and sharing the glory and pain together – we can certainly continue doing that.
COYY – Dom
THE GULLS WEEK 28th FEB – 6th MAR by Danny Burnell
PROUD AWAY SPONSOR OF KLAIDI LOLOS