Sam Jones – @samuellejones
Sam Jones looks at Torquay United’s fixtures for the 2022/2023 season
Fixture release day has finally come around. I swear it comes around earlier every year. In the long days of the baking summer heat, those who live for football eagerly await the release so they can plan the next 9 months. Days are booked off, key fixtures highlighted and families briefed as the greatest show on earth finally begins (yes, I am talking about the National League). With United’s fixtures now released, I look at what the season has in store for Gary and his band of merry men, apart from the obvious 23 home games and 23 away games.
6th – Oldham (H), 13th – Halifax (A), 16th – Bromley (A), 20th – Boreham Wood (H), 27th – Maidstone (A), 29th – Woking (H)
We open the season at home to Oldham, a team who has just dropped out of the Football League for the first time ever. An opening day home game is always nice, but the Latics will be a bit of an unknown quantity following relegation. This is followed up by three games against teams who finished above us last season, with two of them being away. A trip to Kent for NLS Champions Maidstone is quickly followed by everyone’s favourite pantomime villain Woking at home on the August Bank Holiday. It’s a tough start to the season for United, but it will be good to get a couple of nasty away trips done early. Saying that, even if we struggle nothing will be decided in the first four games of the season (unless you’re Frank De Boer in 2017).
3rd – Southend (A), 10th – Aldershot (H), 13th – Solihull Moors (H), 17th – Wealdstone (A), 24th – Wrexham (A)
September looks a much nicer month, but still some big fixtures coming up. Our traditional Tuesday night Solihull game is back, with the Moors (hopefully) still licking their wounds from their Play-Off Final loss to Grimsby. Apart from that, everyone’s eyes will be drawn to Wrexham away at the end of the month. Last time the Gulls we’re in North Wales, Rob and Ryan were in attendance to watch the Lemon snatch a point for the Gulls. Will United manage the same feat against this seasons title favourites? Only time will tell.
1st – Southend (H), 4th – Maidenhead (H), 8th – York City (A), 15th – FA Cup 4Q Round, 22nd – Altrincham (H), 25th – Eastleigh (A), 29th – Notts County (A)
As the nights roll in and the jumpers are brought out of storage, the Gulls will begin (and most likely end) their FA Cup campaign. My guess is either Woking away, or whoever is bottom of the NLS at the time. This month also includes a trip to Yorkshire to play the NLN play-off winners York City. We’ll finally get to see the Boden-Duku front line we’ve always dreamed of. The Gulls also travel to Hampshire for bogey team Eastleigh and at home to Southend. Oh, and a trip to Notts County also beckons to see how the post-Burchnall era is getting on. Anyone remember the name of their new manager? No, me neither.
5th – FA Cup Round 1, 8th – Dorking Wanderers (H), 12th – Chesterfield (H), 19th – Barnet (A)/FA Trophy Round 2, 26th – Gateshead (H)/FA Cup Round 2
November is a quiet month for games, with only 5 in the Calendar (6 if we reach the first round of the FA Cup). However, it is by November when you can begin to judge how good a team actually is. The highlights here include a chance to see Covolan back at Plainmoor, Ben Wynter in his new surroundings and the first leg of the longest trip in the English Football Calendar. You just know social media will be full of “Respect” posts about how many Gateshead fans travel down to Plainmoor. Nauseating. Oh, and NLS Dorking come to town in a game that has never taken place before. The 2022 World Cup also starts this month, as England begin their quest to bring football home.
3rd – Dagenham & Redbridge (A), 10th – Oldham (A), 13th – Bromley (H), 17th – FA Trophy Round 3, 26th – Yeovil (H)
In the words of Noddy Holder, It’s Christmasssss! Well, it will be when these fixtures come round not as I am writing this in early July. A potentially nasty run of games could spell a bleak midwinter for the Gulls, but you know what December also brings? That’s right, the Boxing Day clash with Yeovil as United legend Chris Hargreaves brings his Glovers to Plainmoor for the first time as Manager. This fixture has been a right bonkers one over the last few years, with both teams scoring 6 past the other on separate occasions. Let’s hope for a repeat of last season, where the Gulls won 3-0 against the team from Somerset. This month will also see the World Cup Final take place, as Gareth Bale scores the winner to dod â phêl-droed adref.
1st – Yeovil (A), 7th – Halifax (H)/FA Cup Round 4, 14th – FA Trophy Round 4, 21st – Boreham Wood (A), 24th – Woking (A), 28th – Maidstone United (H)
January will roll around, as the UK welcomes in 2023 by drunkenly watching the Hootenanny and falling asleep at about 12:10am. In true footballing tradition, we once again play Yeovil this time at the delightful Huish Park. We also play the second leg of some of the teams from August, meaning that Woking away is in January. Just what we all want, a trip to Surrey in January. At least they have a Pizza Express. We’ll also be deep into the FA Trophy by this point, so if United are still in it, expect us to stop calling it a waste of time and start calling it the biggest Trophy in the world.
4th – Notts County (H), 11th – Chesterfield (A)/FA Trophy Round 5, 18th – Barnet (H), 21st – Dorking Wanderers (A), 25th – Southend (H)
February is the month where finger nail chewing becomes more commonplace, as the Gulls continue their fight for the title/the playoffs/safety (delete as appropriate). Home games against Notts County and Southend could be makers or breakers of our season and a first trip to Dorking is one for the bingo cards. February will also see Wynter return home, and probably a very soggy Plainmoor pitch. It will also be the final of the League Cup. Remember when we were in that? Good times.
4th – Aldershot (A)/FA Trophy Round 6, 7th – Solihull Moors (A), 11th – Wealdstone (H), 18th – Gateshead (A), 25th – Dagenham & Redbridge (H)
The penultimate month of the season, and the games are coming thick and fast. March sees our traditional Tuesday night trip to Solihull as well as the longest trip of the season as we travel to Tyneside (cue more “Respect” tweets). At least that is pencilled in for a Saturday. Home games against two of the London teams round off March. This could be a tough month, as two of the teams the Gulls are playing could be fighting for promotion come the end of the season.
1st – Scunthorpe (A)/FA Trophy Semi-Final, 7th – Eastleigh (H), 10th – Maidenhead (A), 15th – York City (H), 22nd – Altrincham (A), 29th – Wrexham (H)
The final month of the scheduled season, and it could be all to play for. 18 points will be up for grabs, which could be the difference between elation and misery. It’s not a bad last month, with games that are (at least on paper) winnable with a potential FA Trophy semi if we take it seriously enough. The final game of the season is an absolute cracker, with Wrexham coming to town. The bookies expect them to win the League, but how great would it be if we could spoil their party? Even better, imagine if they had to give us a guard of honour? Keep dreaming, I know…
May sees the FA Cup Final (no chance), the FA Trophy final (maybe) and the National League Play Off Final (please not) as the games which United could play.
Apart from the opening few games, United don’t look like they have many horrible runs of games. Obviously, this is all speculation at this point as who knows who will be the team to beat this season. Whatever the fixtures, let’s make sure we support the boys through thick and thin as I’m sure they will be giving it their all.