THE TT BLOG – by Dom Roman


Dom Roman


Dom discusses what should be Gary Johnson’s main aims this summer


Clubs who suffer relegation usually have one thing in common, and that’s a losing mentality which has spread like wildfire, and Torquay United are no exception. Considering all of Gary Johnson’s experience this is perhaps the most surprising element of our recent demise, and you could feel it from the top to the bottom of Torquay United all season. It was illustrated in not just the games that were thrown away, but also in the laughable press conferences and club statements. A strange ignorance of what was happening, and what felt like (until the final 8 games) an acceptance that the Gulls were heading down. The keys to reversing this mentality begins with the manager re-energizing himself and finding the fire that we were used to seeing in his first few years here. Then of course Johnson recruitment must find players who have the right mentality to take us forward, players who are born winners and simply hate losing with all their being. I see that in Kevin Dawson, signing him is an obvious priority and you still see that in Dean Moxey. More of their ilk can make all the difference, as this revamped Torquay United start to take shape.


Starting the season with Ali Omar and Ross Marshall in central defence was fraught with problems, and it was hard to believe that the club could not recruit a strong seasoned Centre Back to lead the back-line, a clear necessity after losing Joe Lewis to Stockport. That failure hampered us for much of 22-23, and we must not make the same mistake again. A new recruit would most likely start alongside Shaun Donnellan and Dean Moxey, and should be one of our main priorities this summer. This could be a keen young player like Kyle Cameron who has the potential and leadership qualities to blossom eventually into a NL player, or it could be a solid NLS defender who knows the division and is ready to face the challenge of playing for Torquay United. The main thing is we can count on them to defend!


Torquay United have been way too slow for the last couple of seasons. It’s been apparent on a weekly basis and for one reason or another this problem has not been dealt with. This has made the team too easy to deal with, opposition defences squeezing up and not concerned about the space in behind them, whilst the Gulls have not been able to counter attack with enough speed, something that wasn’t an issue when Aaron Nemane and Ben Whitfield were sprinting forward during the 2020-21 season. Last time in the NLS we had the likes of Reidy, Kalala and Janneh who could all shift through the gears, it’s unlikely we’ll find a trio who cause as much damage as them, but if United are to become more fun to watch next season and score plenty of goals, then a big infusion of pace in attack would be very handy indeed.


Setting a Plan A of 3-5-2 and not having capable and fit wing backs in the squad is a rather silly thing to do isn’t it? But that’s what happened to the Gulls last season. Dylan Crowe looked like he could fill that role in pre-season, but found the challenge of National League far too difficult to handle, and the other obvious wing back candidate Dan Martin’s season never got going because of injury. This left us lacking any attacking width using the formation and trying other tactics…before eventually Jack Stobbs and Lewis Collins took up the mantle in the late season Gulls rally. Crowe and Martin remain for the time being, whilst Stobbs has been offered a new contract, and could take on the right wing back position again next season. Jack is a natural winger but with Torquay likely to be on the attack more in the NLS that could work okay. However things play out with Crowe, Martin and Stobbs, these crucial positions need to be filled by strong and energetic wide players. Plan A depends on it.


In recent TT polls the popularity of Gary Johnson appears to be split around 50/50, which is understandable considering the whole agonising relegation malarkey! I think he does take an interest in social media, as his recent ‘Love me or not I’m here to stay’ quotes have recognised the criticism he has been getting from plenty of the Yellow Army. The best way to make supporters (including myself) believe in not only Gary Johnson, but the whole club for 2023-24, is by making strong early signings and showing that something promising is being built again, not only for next season but for seasons to come. Time heals a little and the hurt and anger many of us feel at the moment will ease, but only if recruitment goes well and results are very good. No excuses this time, he must deliver immediately to get the Yellow Army onside.







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I simply live and breathe Football and have supported Torquay United since 1989. I am a season ticket holder on Bristows and a Trust member. I set up TorquayTalk in 2017 to give true supporters a voice and honest opinions on their club.

One thought on “THE TT BLOG – by Dom Roman

  1. Agree with all you say Dom but my misgivings are linked to GJ I’m afraid.
    When you look at our Manager and his previous clubs, he has generally joined , then had a fairly successful two or three seasons but has then plateaued and moved on, I may be wrong but I can’t remember him being poached in his ascendancy to take over a bigger club and then taking them forward 🤔
    I may be wrong, lets hope so, but this time I really think he must be judged on his first ten games….and then maybe we will see a pattern.
    I’m afraid though that we have no one at the club with the power or knowledge of football to make an early decision 🙄
    Let’s hope I’m wrong and we bounce back🤗
    Tony Counter

    Liked by 1 person

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