Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses Torquay United season openers
Ahh, the anticipation of the opening day of the season. Everything is up in the air, all points are there to play for and the potential and promise of new players can be debated and discussed. The sun is out (the sky is blue), the beers are ready to be poured and footie friends are ready to regather at Plainmoor. Yes, I am excited for the new season! Do I think it will be a successful one? Quiet optimism. With so many new players and a squad looking to reassemble and discover a new identity, it’s harder this year than ever to make predictions. But we’ll be there, rain or shine, 3 points, 1 point or no points, I can confidently predict that! Here’s previous openers that come to mind from the last 20 years or so….
BRISTOL CITY (A) 2004
Those…were….the days my friend! The Yellows were League 1, and what better way to start than a rare away match at Ashton Gate. On a very hot August day the Gulls travelled to Bristol and in front of a crowd of over 14k, managed to commendably draw 1-1, with Steve Woods equalising a Leroy Lita goal with a second half penalty to send the Yellow Army home happy. The next fixtures were Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday, a tough start to a tough season for Leroy and the lads.
GRAYS ATHLETIC (H) 2007
2007, this was Colin Lee, Paul Buckle, Setanta and excitement. Cue a TV opener on a Sunday against Grays Athletic and a big crowd of over 4k. With the Yellow Army expectant of a thrashing, the Gulls somewhat inevitably struggled to find their rhythm and although Chris Hargreaves came close late on, it was a awfully frustrating goalless game. But the good vibes remained and it wasn’t long before a hatful of goals followed. That was fun…well until that Exeter game anyway.
CHESTERFIELD (H) 2009
Yay we were back in the Football League! Sunshine, smiles and a buoyant Yellow Army stormed to Plainmoor on 8th August 2009, and Paul Buckle’s team delivered, with goals from Scott Rendell and Lee Mansell earning us 3 lovely points. It was the perfect start to the season, and with an evolving squad we were on the up. Great day.
MACCLESFIELD (H) 2015
Exactly 6 years on and we were firmly entrenched back in the Conference. The club had been on the brink with Thea Bristow leaving and it took Dean Edwards, Dave Phillips and a few other investors to secure our status (with the crowd applauding them before kick off). With Paul Cox in charge the Gulls started off with a narrow win over Macclesfield, striker Alex Fisher poking home from close range. The season that followed was absolute pandemonium!
BOREHAM WOOD (H) 2019
With Gary Johnson now at the helm, the Gulls suddenly had purpose again and had pushed back up to the Conference in 2019. What better way to start than Boreham at home?! An early red card for Wood’s Fyfield tipped the game in our favour, and goals from Opi Edwards and a Mr Jamie Reid beauty put us two up, before a late Tyrone Marsh consolation. 2-1 to the Gulls and we were on our way (on our way). A club ready to make it’s mark again.
What do openers tell us about the season to come? Very little to be honest, they are just one game out of 46, and frankly anything could happen this Saturday. With Torquay and Oldham both signing a number of new players it’ll be a case of who settles earliest and perhaps who can score the first goal. With a big home crowd likely (and a good Oldham following coming down), I’m looking forward to finding out. See you at Plainmoor.