Why TUFC?: Very simply, I come from a family of Torquay fans and I live 5 minutes down the road from Plainmoor. They’re my home team.
Year Started Supporting TUFC and First Game?: My first game was Torquay United 3 Oxford United 0 in April of 2004. If I’m honest, my sole memory of that game was that Oxford wore a navy kit. The first season I remember being a regular Torquay fan was the first season in the Conference, so 2007/08. I suppose that makes our most recent relegation my 10th anniversary season. What a way to celebrate it.
Favourite All-Time TUFC Players: I think there’s often a gulf between the players that I like and one’s that are the best footballers. The most talented players I’ve seen in a Torquay shirt would include Shaquille Coulthirst, Kieffer Moore, Joss Labadie, Nathan Smith and Bobby Olejnik – and what a five-a-side team that would be. But the word “favourite” leads me to say the likes of Nicho, Rene Howe, Elliot Benyon, Tim Sills, Wayne Carlisle, and Chris Hargreaves. I loved Duane Ofori-Acheampong, I obviously love Reidy in a similar way.
Best TUFC Memory: It’s weird. Of the years that I can remember supporting Torquay properly, I’ve seen us relegated twice, two “Great Escapes”, a 19th place finish and a 17th place finish. Despite this, when trying to work out my best TUFC memory I’ve had a huge smile on my face as I recount a number of great goals, crucial moments and fun away trips. I suppose that’s why we still bother and give them our money isn’t it, regardless of the tosh we get served up.
I know there are a few spring chickens like me doing this exercise, so I imagine they’ll all mention Sillsy’s goal at Wembley. That was utterly euphoric and a brilliant moment for the football club. I’ll try to be a little bit different, though, and say that there were a couple of games in the 2011/12 season which really stick in the memory. The victory at Home Park was fantastic, but the even more enjoyable game for me was the 4-1 defeat of Burton at their place. Rene Howe’s goal from outside the box that curled into the top corner which was right in front of me in the away end.
Worst TUFC Memory: The six poor seasons I’ve witnessed as a Torquay fan have also served up some absolutely awful memories which make the three play-off defeats pale into insignificance. Many of these awful memories are cold away beatings at the hands of teams like Braintree, Basingstoke, Chester, Woking (FA cup replay), Aldershot (the late 1-0 defeat there in 2013 was particularly cold), Guiseley and
Fylde. Some of those bad memories were warmer: 4-1 at Woking and being relegated at a relatively temperate Hartlepool spring to mind. I haven’t even mentioned the home hammerings by Braintree, Bromley and Maidstone.
But the very worst day I’ve had as a Torquay fan is probably this year’s defeat at Boreham Wood. Not only was it peak Owers ineptitude: Guy Gnabouyou playing 13 minutes at the end; a back three of McGinty, Davey and Andresson producing possibly the worst defensive performance I’ve seen; and being embarrassed 2-0 in front of 400 Arsenal fans, it also came on a day where I had a stinking cold. There was nothing I wanted less, that afternoon, than to be standing on a roofless London terrace in December watching thirteen incompetent footballers and Jamie Reid be outplayed by a group of semi-professional footballers being made to look Pochettinian.
Favourite Spot at Plainmoor: As a youngster who greatly enjoys a sing-song at the football, my natural home is on the Popside just to the left of the steps. “The singing bit”, as it was known when there was at atmosphere at Plainmoor.