Dom Roman – @DomRoman
The Ed looks at possible signings for Gary Johnson this summer
And so it came to pass, confirmation of what we had all been dreading to hear from Gary Johnson – the best players at Torquay United were moving on. It all made for a rather depressing day in the life of Gulls supporters, but we must say our farewells then move on. No other options have we! I look at more players who could be on GJ’s radar this summer, as rebuild the sequel swings (slowly) into action:
Marek Stech is a goalkeeper familiar to Gary Johnson from his days at Yeovil Town, and played a big part in Yeovil’s 2013 promotion to the Championship (yes that did happen!). After two years at Huish Park Stech moved onto Sparta Prague, before representing Luton Town and then Mansfield Town, who released him this summer. The 32 year-old did not play at all for ‘The Stags’ first XI last season, but could be looked at by GJ as someone who could step into Shaun Mac’s big shoes for 22-23.
Date of Birth: 28/1/90 – Height: 1.91m – Place of Birth: Praha (Czech Republic) – 21/22: League 2, No Appearances
Stephen Wearne impressed last season at Plainmoor on loan from Sunderland, filling in different roles around midfield and wing back, and scoring 3 goals to boot as the Gulls pushed for a top 7 place. Unfortunately his time at United finished early due to injury, hobbling off in the memorable win over Notts County. With Sunderland achieving promotion to the Championship, it was somewhat inevitable that Wearne would be surplus to requirements, and a return to Torquay would certainly go down well with the Yellow Army.
Date of Birth: 16/12/00 – Height: 1.81m – Place of Birth: Stockton-on-Tees – 21/22: NL, Played 14, Goals 3, Yellow/Red Cards 1/0
Another player based in the North of England last season was Gime Toure, who has been plying his trade at Carlisle United since 2020. Toure had previously played at Hartlepool in the National League and impressed with strong performances upfront. The strong 6 foot 2 striker would definitely give United a focal point to replace Danny Wright with, and we could give him an opportunity to kick start his career after a quiet spell at Carlisle.
Date of Birth: 7/5/94 – Height: 1.90m – Place of Birth: – 21/22: League 2/NL, Played 8, Goals 0, Yellow/Red Cards 1/0
Andy Williams is another ex-Gary Johnson player, joining him at Yeovil in their 2013-14 campaign, but only playing a handful of games due to injury. Since then the striker has been a regular first team contributor at Doncaster, Northampton and most recently Cheltenham Town. Williams is now 35 years old, so is definitely in the veteran category, but considering the success of Danny Wright in the last couple of years, his age may not put United off! An experienced frontman, who could make a difference at Plainmoor.
Date of Birth: 14/8/86 – Height: 1.88m – Place of Birth: Hereford – 21/22: League 1, Played 23, Goals 4, Yellow/Red Cards 2/0
Youngster Rhys Shirley (don’t call me Shirley…) was linked to the Gulls last year, but instead Gary Johnson signed up another Plymouth Argyle striker instead! Despite making his debut last season (and scoring), Shirley was shipped off to Plymouth Parkway and never returned to the Argyle first team, being released this summer. The 19 year-old could be looked at, he certainly fits into the ‘cheap, local and potential’ categories, and with the Gulls needing strikers it would be no surprise if he turns up for a trial at least.
Date of Birth: 18/1/03 – Height: 1.77m – Place of Birth: Gunnislake- 21/22: League 1, Played 3, Goals 0, Yellow/Red Cards 0/0