Season in Review: The TT Team Vote For Their 2022/23 Highlights

TT BLOG

Luke Hunter

@gullsgullsluke

Luke and the team draw the curtains on a disastrous 2022/23 season

Luke’s Summary

Where do you begin with this season? From start to finish, with the exception of a few small sunny spells, it has been a calamity. I excused large parts of 21/22 because of the short time frame between the playoff final and the start of that season – to 22/23, I am of equal parts accusation as I was defence in 21/22 – we have so rarely had such a long pre-season – the gift of time to get the recruitment, squad and tactics perfect – and it was wasted. Completely wasted.

With the exception of the Yellow Army, not a single aspect of this football club has behaved like a Football League club this season and if I try and look at it objectively, TU(A)FC has gotten exactly what it deserved. Rightfully the fanbase is relieved to see United’s playing staff stay full-time next season, but for me at least, being a so-called big fish in a so-called small pond brings me no pride; and for what it’s worth being full time in 23/24 will be as pointless as it has been this season if those that represent us don’t act like it.

Given that they haven’t bothered to tell us, I genuinely hope Clarke Osborne, his board, manager, assistant and staff have reflected on 22/23 and acknowledged that none of it was good enough; they all let us down. Maybe then we can start to build back stronger next season, and perhaps this could become one necessary step back to take two forward – but make no mistake, anything like 22/23 again and this club will sink further, on and off the field.

The TT team have once again been absolutely exceptional this year in the worst circumstances; it was another record breaking (calendar) year in respect of site statistics and whilst criticism of the local media’s passivity has only increased, I think ourselves, along with the forums and podcasts across the independent Gulls-sphere can all keep their heads held high – it is more important than ever that the status-quo is challenged. I’d also like to just take this opportunity to thank our sponsors Bay Advocates and Galaxy TQ, and anybody who has ever bought anything from the Etsy shop, or even just visited here and had a little read – it keeps it all going. We’ll be back next season and with any luck it will turn out to be the start of a nicer period to write about…

Anyway, this piece, now into it’s third season, is designed to follow up the pre-season preview (please see for blind optimism) and try to finish things with a few highlights; be patient with us this season – there aren’t many! Thank you as always to the TT team; submissions this time from…

  • Andy Charles (AC)
  • Chris Wade (CW)
  • Clive Hayward (CH)
  • Dan Elliott (DE)
  • Dominic Roman (DR)
  • Harry Salvidge (HR)
  • Joe Uglow (JU)
  • Mark Hirst (MH)
  • Matty Hayward (Mha)
  • Rachel Malloch (RM)
  • Rich Heesem (RH)
  • Rowena Davis-Williams (RDW)
  • Sam Jones (SJ)
  • Sam Swann (SS)
  • Thomas Kelly (TK)

PLAYER OF THE SEASON 22/23: AARON JARVIS

RDW: “Aaron Jarvis – scored so many in a really poor team.”

DR: “Aaron Jarvis – a consistently strong performer in a terrible season at Plainmoor!”

AC: “Aaron Jarvis. His goals at least gave us a chance to stay up. One of last summer’s signings to actually succeed”

CW: “Aaron Jarvis. Played to a consistently high level in every game and scored important goals. 18 goals in a largely poor side is an excellent achievement.”

MH: “Aaron Jarvis. A squad was built that was short of creativity, but he worked tirelessly and made the most of what little came his way”

RM: “Mark Halstead. remarkable improvement and while goals mean prizes, great saves preserve points.”

MHa: “Aaron Jarvis, by a country mile. He’s been our best player in pretty much every game I’ve seen: strong as an ox, fantastic hold up play, and notching eighteen times in a team completely devoid of creativity. Will score a thousand next year, if we keep him.”

SS: “Aaron Jarvis. A fantastic individual season. He is a complete national league striker for me. Jarvis has showed the ability which earned him a move to Luton at a young age.”

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON 22/23: NICO LAWRENCE

SJ: “Ryan Hanson. Nah, only joking. Nico Lawrence was different gravy and carried the team on his back for so long. Will be in the EFL next season for sure.”

DR: “Nico Lawrence – a class act is Nico, also a shout out to Will Goodwin who impressed me in the first half of the season.”

JU: “Nico Lawrence, Rolls Royce of a defender, calm under pressure, could play out from the back, will go far in the game!”

CW: “Nico Lawrence. Perhaps odd for somebody that joined in January. But he was that good. Calm, assured, confident and reads the game really well for one so young. And excellent future in the game.”

MHa: “Hard to look past Nico Lawrence. Bless him.”

DE: “Nico Lawrence – change the defence when he arrived. Always calm in the ball and would love the see the stats of goals conceded before and after he arrived”

HS: “Lawrence – A player wise beyond his years, was a rock at the back and a reliable player for Gary Johnson. His intelligence shone as he made 20+ appearance for the gulls and didn’t receive a single yellow card.”

GOAL OF THE SEASON 22/23: HALL v ALTRINCHAM (A) & NOUBLE v MAIDENHEAD (A)

SJ: “Noubles first against Maidenhead. The chip over the keeper from the angle was delightful. A full season of him and Jarvis would’ve probably kept us up.”

RH: “Nouble against Maidenhead. Chip a hoy!”

CW: “Frank Nouble’s first goal at Maidenhead. Technically so hard and so little margin for error. Outstanding ability to pull it off.”

JU: “Jarvis against Dorking Wanderers away, came at a really important point in the game just before half time, 25 yards out, top corner, doesnt get much better than that!”

CH: “Goodwin v Derby. For the joy of it. A deserved leveller in the gloom and the rain. Will we ever see the like again?”

MH: “Aaron Jarvis at Dorking. A missile, from the other end you could see it was in as soon as it left his boot”

MHa: “Asa’s second at Alty was absolutely obscene. I was celebrating the moment it left his boot. A dreadful shame that it wasn’t a winner.”

DE: “Frank Nouble @ Maidenhead, the first goal. The class he showed that game and that finish was pure quality, it’s a great goal!”

TK: “Asa Hall Alty (a). Being right behind it in the away end, he hit that shot beautifully. Something about Asa and scoring beautiful goals. It wasn’t quite as good as the one he scored at Dover the previous season but that goal was the best one I saw live this season. Top draw!”

SS: “Despite a poor season, we scored a lot of high quality goals this season. Jarvis scored a lot of high quality goals, however Dylan Crowe’s equaliser against Altrincham gets my vote, just above Brett McGavin’s goal against Hampton.”

GAME OF THE SEASON 22/23: ALDERSHOT (H)

AC: “Aldershot home. 6-1 when everyone was expecting another home defeat. More shocking than anything”

JU: “York City at home, this game had me really believing we could stay up, ultimately it wasn’t to be but the performance the lads put in was quality”

CW: “Some obvious ones. Aldershot and Derby at home, Dagenham away was an excellent performance. But the game I enjoyed the most was York at home. Two teams going for it playing football the right way. Brilliant game.”

MHa: “I watched Alty (h) in a Manchester pub. Managed to convince a few fellow alesmen to support the Yellows. Went absolutely mad when Dylan Crowe (!!!!) fired in from range. It was certainly the most ridiculous game.”

TK: “Hard to look past Aldershot at home. The first signs of life in one of the worst Torquay sides in my lifetime. Everything went right for us that night. Jarvs scored a hattrick, United finally got their first home win of the season and optimism was returning to the supporters that we could start getting ourselves out of danger. That was on November 1st, we wouldn’t win again that month….”

HS: “Maidenhead United 1-3 Torquay United – being based away from Devon, my viewing experiences have been either from the tele, radio but being at the ground and seeing the gulls win boosted my hopes that Torquay would continue to play National League Football. The team were tactically spot on, not allow Maidenhead have any advantage when they had the slope of the pitch and the wind and then using that in the second half topped off a great display.”

SS: “4-4 at home to Altrincham. Terrible defending, great attacking and the best for entertainment. All 4 goals were disgraceful to concede and Ross Marshall’s temper cost us once again. However, Crowe’s equaliser was a great moment.”

BEST AWAY DAY OF THE SEASON 22/23: MAIDENHEAD UNITED (A)

RDW: “Barnet away, Tom Lapslie Appreciation Society there in numbers!”

RH: “Barnet (a) beers, trains and a big following from the Yellow Army”

CH: “Maidenhead. Everyone went. We thought we should win, and we did it emphatically to keep the dream alive.”

CW: “Maidenhead away was excellent. Nice day, 3-0 win and I had my sons with me. That sense of hope returned then too.”

MH: “Southend. We won, it was September and there was hope it might kick start something. It didn’t”

RM: “can I go pre-season? Buckland. lovely club, great conversations and some tidy ales in the late afternoon sun.”

MHa: “Maidenhead (a) goes down in the history books as one of *the* great away days. Taking over the town, starting singing at 2pm and not stopping til we got home, NOUBS, hope, train rowdiness. Just delicious.”

DE: “Boreham Wood (a) Was the beginning of the run, and nobody expected anything from that game! Stood next to Charlie Baker, Adrian Durham, Paul Hawksbee and Jim Proudfoot was a little surreal.”

TK: “Hampton & Richmond. Maybe a bit biased here with my links there at the time but just how fate brought things together for me and my Hampton supporting friends and the genuine respect between everyone at full time. I volunteered at the entrance and then reported for TorquayTalk and the emotion of winning that game and finally getting a big name in the first round draw was palpable. Definitely the best burger I’ve had at a football ground (although sadly gone now) and most importantly bragging rights for me until next season starts!”

UNSUNG HERO OF THE SEASON 22/23: KEVIN DAWSON & MARK HALSTEAD

RDW: “Halstead – so much improved after last season and our relegation would have been confirmed earlier without him”

SJ: “Mox. Still got the quality that saw him play in the Prem. Always gave 100%, despite being around when the Pyramids were built. Need him next season if we were to get out of regional football.”

DR: “Difficult one! Nobody stands out particularly at TUFC. The travel club for continuing to go to every game, despite a total lack of support from the club.”

AC: “Mark Halstead. He’s had plenty of praise so maybe not completely unsung but considering most people wanted him out of the club 12 months ago its been a surprising season from him”

DE: “Kevin Dawson – was nice to have a midfield when he arrived at the club and his performances each game were excellent. He gave it his all for the club”

HS: “The Yellow Army – one of my favourite things about Torquay United is the fans. The unwavering support for the club no matter where they play is to be admired, from travelling down from Altrincham to drinking cans on a train they’ll go wherever the Gulls go. Also, it’s mentioned by opposition fans on a regular basis how amazing the Yellow Army are, no matter what the result that they come and support their team for the whole game!”

SS: “Mark Halstead. What a fantastic turnaround from Mark. To go from a disastrous first season full of mistakes and nervous errors, Halstead made the no.1 spot his, this season. He had 4 or 5 stand out games and made some great saves all season. I would love him to stay next season.”

BEST MOMENTS OF THE SEASON 22/23…

RDW: “Slim pickings – but becoming more friendly with more of the fans and meeting more people in person has made me feel like even more a part of this club.”

RH: “Oldham at home. It was all downhill after that.”

JU: “Maidenhead win, not too many to choose from this season but that win did feel special, ultimately though it would mean nothing in the end.”

AC: “Will Goodwin equaliser v Derby. Just a very special few minutes in a season full of forgettable ones”

CW: “Will Goodwin’s goal against Derby. Great atmosphere, late goal, the knowledge of the financial rewards it would bring. All that being a football fan is about.”

MH: “Derby again. Mainly for Goodwin’s equaliser, shortly followed by watching my old work colleague Laura Woods get absolutely drenched in the post game monsoon. That was funny.”

RM: “Meeting Mr and Mrs Lapslie in the Gull’s Nest after Wrexham. Lovely people, interesting conversations. Oh and wonder Will’s equaliser goal v Derby in the cup.”

TK: “Will Goodwin equalising against Derby and the subsequent replay. That was a proper limbs moment. Torquay deservedly getting that replay and playing at a “big ground” was a welcome change of pace. Despite the result at Pride Park, it didn’t matter at all. To see and hear the support we brought that night was testament to the loyalty the Yellow Army continue to provide to the club, even when things are tough. We deserved a goal and almost got one but alas, that would have just been the cherry on the cake. For that one night, we didn’t have to worry about being the worst club in the National League.”

FINAL SHOUTS 22/23

SJ: Shout out to Dom and all the TT contributors. Phenomenal effort, and will be needed next season. Oh, and join TUST.”

RDW: “Huge shout out to any fans that kept going in numbers to away games during this season. Weather and football have been awful – you deserved better.”

CH: “Nat Obs Pod!”

DR: “The Yellow Army, for being hugely loyal in the face of an awful season. They have stepped up when they could easily have shied away. Monumental support, well done to all.”

CW: “The ever dependable Dean Moxey. Outstanding again. And all of the Torquay Talk crew. Engaging with like minded fans in such troubled times has been great. Recording GEV each week has been like therapy at times!”

MH: “Nothing positive. I look at the table and struggle to understand how we got to be so bad that 20 teams finished above us”

RM: “Gary Johnson, Aaron Downes, coaching staff and brother Johnson, must do better. Much better in 23/24.”

MHa: “The fans, obviously, are absolutely insane in the best possible way. There is absolutely nothing rational about continuing to spend (a large amount of!!!) money to travel the country, watching a permanently failing football club, whose hierarchy is completely dismissive of any supporter involvement. And yet, we’ve done it all season, and we’ll do it again. Well done all.”

TK: “To all those who watch our YouTube episodes and contribute to making TorquayTalk what it is now, thank you for your support. We’ll see you all next season.”

COYY – LUKE

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