Matt Roberts – @MatthewVA438
Matt discusses the departing Wynts
The summer of 2018, let’s not beat about the bush, were dark times for Gulls fans. We’d just been relegated to the lowest level in our history with the dubious privilege of playing the likes of Gloucester (in a field in Evesham), East Thurrock, Concorde Rangers and Hemel Hempstead all to come in the months that followed.
To say that our recruitment under the soon-axed Gary Owers was mixed would be an understatement. On the one hand you had, for example, Bobson Bawling and Jason Banton while on the other you had Asa Hall and Ben Wynter. In the case of the former, they were dispensed with almost immediately when Owers left the building and Johnson arrived. Hall very quickly emerging as a leader figure in the dressing room.
Wynter was somewhat of an exception to the signings back then, it took a while for him to emerge from his shell and show us what kind of a player he could, and indeed would become in the years since. I’ll admit that I expected to see him follow the likes of the aforementioned Banton and Bawling out the door in the Autumn of 2018, but he worked incredibly hard and forced himself into the starting XI under Johnson as we stormed our way to the Conference South title. When Owers signed him, he said of Wynter: “That right sided position was filled by a number of players last season so I’m looking for someone to nail down that position for themselves”. His wish came true, it just needed a different Gary to help.
An ever-present as the season wore on, and responsible for without doubt the most iconic goal in Torquay United’s recent history. That day at Woking has been etched into folklore among Torquay fans and for good reason, with Wynter’s late goal effectively sealing promotion back to the fifth tier. By the time that Eastbourne came to Plainmoor the week after, we already knew that the job had been done, barring some exceptional circumstances.
Back in the Conference and Wynter was (and has been since) one of the first names on the team-sheet. I don’t know about you, but I’ve just got used to having a dependable right back in the last four years. Ben isn’t the flashiest of players, full backs rarely are, but you can bet that he’ll get a solid 7/10 at the very least week in week out, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday from August to May.
A player who we all know would be comfortable (at the very least) playing at a higher level. I was hoping this would be with us as we were within touching distance of promotion last year but that wasn’t to be. Would I want Wynter to stay for many more years? Absolutely, without question. Can I feel aggrieved that he’s leaving to pursue a new challenge probably closer to home? Absolutely not. He’s given us four years of faithful service and leaves with universal goodwill from the fanbase. We wish him all the best.