Thomas blogs about the Travel Club
The Struggles of the Torquay United Travel Club
Fans are the life blood of any football club.
The Yellow Army are amongst one of the most loyal and dedicated sets of fans in the country. No matter how good or poor we’ve been, the Yellow Army continue to amaze with excellent numbers travelling the country to support the lads in Yellow.
For Yeovil away, our closest game of the season, over 800 members of the Yellow Army travelled in the pouring rain, Dorking away, we took 400 on a Tuesday night, even Dorking manager Marc White referenced the excellent travelling support in his post-match interview, York away, we took 251, just a few instances this season of our wonderful support and the huge potential the club has to grow, if run in the right way.
Many fans in the South West would normally drive or strike permitting, travel by rail to attend away games, however there is another alternative and one I really think deserves a lot of attention and that is the “official” Torquay United Supporters Club.
I’ve known Mark who runs the travel club for a long time now. We often stand together for most games and banter at how terrible his beloved West Ham United are. Despite this flaw, he is a truly great guy and many who do know him, know the fantastic work him and his wife do for the charity “The Thrive Project” in the local community – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1538178146254278
I have used the Travel Club many times in the past and had a great time despite most times seeing us lose away from home. You quickly get to know the regulars who rely on the service on matchdays and those new are warmly welcomed by all, whether on a 52 seater coach or the 14 seat minibus.
Those who organise the Travel Club tick make for a fun and banterous approach to away travel with the chance to win some money through the “Golden Goal” game that runs on every trip.
At first, the Travel Club were heavily publicised by the club, details of travel would often be announced over the tannoy and a one page spread in the matchday programme. However, as time has gone by, support of the Travel Club seems to have been removed all together by the club. Take a look at this season’s programme and see if you can find any details about future travel with the Supporters Club. I’ll wait.
For a club who always praises the Yellow Army week in and week out for their excellent support, it’s sad and frustrating to see that the support of the Travel Club has been totally neglected and ignored.
Things have been made even more difficult with the cost of living crisis and the introduction of midweek streaming platforms. With the lack of support from the club, the work that Mark, Harry and everyone else associated with the Travel Club have to manage is heightened immensely.
Sadly on a few occasions this season, the Travel Club have been unable to run travel to away games which is a great shame. The cost for arranging transportation, fuel costs, staffing and the distances that the Yellow Army face on a regular basis away from home means quite often it is not viable for even a minibus to run.
Whilst streaming has been a good option for fans to watch their teams from home, it has resulted in times where numbers for away travel are not worth the cost of putting on trips for those wanting to experience the game live, which is understandable and is not an attack on any supporters looking at saving money. It is sadly for many, the reality of life to pick and choose how to watch football games at the moment. I could have saved myself £40 by watching our away trip at Woking at home via stream for example. Following this club away from home is not a cheap endeavour, that’s for sure.
The Travel Club post details on their official social media channels . Sadly, it seems those involved in the club refuse to promote them so any support is very welcome. Despite tagging the club in tweets, it appears that Torquay United do not wish to engage which is a shame considering their preaching of #onecommunity and the obvious fact that vocal travelling Torquay supporters can provide a valuable boost to the team.
I really hope the football club will change their stance in the future going forward and find a way to establish an open communication channel with the Travel Club, especially with the likelihood that the football club will be playing regionalised football in the near future. The costs do not go down just because (potentially) next season we will be in a Southern based league. With trips to Dover, Eastbourne, Oxford on the cards, that is still around trip of over 400-500 miles for the Yellow Army.
I’m delighted to see that the Travel Club have arranged travel for Gateshead this weekend and anyone making that trip in a day from Devon has my upmost respect. With a departure time from Paignton of 5am and most likely returning home near midnight, I tip my TT Gulls hat to you. I’ll be spending the weekend in the North East enjoying what Newcastle has to offer and I know that the support we’ll bring will continue to impress, despite the shambles of a season we are having.
I end this article by asking to please give the Travel Club support before the end of the season if you can. They are all friends of mine and I really want them to thrive in the future and be successful. After Gateshead, we have five away games left and if you can, please consider supporting the Travel Club as an option for away travel.
Mark, Harry, Nina and everyone else who makes the Travel Club tick, thanks to you for continuing to support the club in providing coach travel for those who want to support TUFC in the local area. I understand the financial aspect the last few years have had a huge impact in numbers and costing to put on travel and I sincerely hope that the club revaluate their stance and begin to work with you and not against you in promoting the excellent work you do every other weekend for the loyal Yellow Army.
See you all on Saturday!!
One thought on “TT BLOG – The Travel Club by Thomas Kelly”
Great article. Congrats.
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