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Torquay v Grimsby Preview
By: Alex Green
TOWN fans of questionable sanity prepare themselves for the longest journey of the season in the hope that Town can secure their first back to back win of the 2008-09 campaign. Well you never know.
Two coastal towns separated by over 320 miles of tarmac and historical England. One the epitome of English middle class suburbia sugar coated in blue rinse and shuffle boards, the other clinging to the North Sea coast where the stagnant air of doughnut batter hangs gloomily with the fog supported by the soundtrack of My Darling Clementine for the millionth time that day. It's all very well and good this poor homage to Priestleyesque candour but who can slog a ball better for 90 minutes? Oh so many many other teams I hear you retort, but it’s the gladiatorial battle between these two footballing giants, which fixates us for the weekend ahead.
Torquay have returned from the no longer football baron land of the Blue Square League, Is Blue Square a fruity alcoholic drink aimed at 12 years olds or a betting company? I have no idea would be nice to know if we ever have to tread the groundwork down their. Anyway Torquay are back be supporting a less attractive Helen Chamberlain and their delightful yellow shirts.
Torquay United came about when 3 teams in the area came together firstly Ellacombe and then in 1921 Babbacombe and Torquay Town who at the time shared Plainmoor together during their brief rivalry. In 1925 Torquay made the FA Cup first round proper where they were eventually defeated by Reading in the second round replay 2-0. Two years later Torquay made the very sensible decision in playing in black and white stripes and it naturally brought around success as they were elected to Division Three for the very first time.
"80 years of almost getting relegated to the conference ended in getting relegated to the conference. Two years of building later and we are currently just above the relegation zone (I am not this pessimistic, and don't believe we will end near the bottom)"
Nothing but a success Torquay finished 4th just 5 points behind champions Burton who they beat 2-1 in the final game of the season. The Gulls went on to narrowly defeat Leeds giant killers Histon in the playoff semi finals before overcoming Cambridge under the Wembley arch by two goals to nothing.
"A rollercoaster of emotions and we finally won at Wembley in 90 minutes"
Survival is naturally the key with hope of building on it, local rivals Exeter have certainly set out a blue print on what Torquay should be aiming to achieve in seasons to come maybe not quite as quickly as Exeter have managed their great achievement.
"Hard work so far, the squad in general is strong enough when everyone's fit, if the manager makes the brave calls he needs to we will be fine."
The forward was signed in 1995 and instantly became a terrace favourite the Caribbean appeared 110 times for the club and managed to put 30 in the onion bag. His skill and eye for goal noticeably caught the eyes of those in the echelons above, Keegan tried to sign him for Newcastle in 1996 only for his work permit to fall through but it was the keen eyes of Dario Gradi who got the man some 2 years later becoming their record signing for £650,000. He improved on his impressive record at Torquay with 188 appearances and 42 goals for the Railwaymen. Jack currently plays at Nantwich Town and managed 13 goals for his country. If that wasn't enough he even managed to be noticed by the elite fanzine journalism over at Codalmighty, you know you've made it in football when that happens.
Perched a few miles from the cliffs of Babbacombe Plainmoor is small and neat with terracing for us visiting yobs, a small capacity does not detract from a good atmosphere and plans are under way for a larger and of course brand spanking new Main Stand.
"The right size for us, just wish the grand stand would get tidied up, but in reality it’s probably not a priority."
"When I was a kid they were always higher up the league pyramid than us, so I suppose I always thought of them as a bigger club, but in recent years I'd probably say they are may be near to where we were a few years back, before the club had its soul ripped out, that is."
Lee Sharpe, Chris Waddle and Neville Southall have all donned the yellow and blue, that’s one hell of a Fifa 95 team well a spine of one anyway.
A little argument like ourselves about who Torquay’s key game breaker may well be some say Tim Sill’s and another Kieran Charnock. Maybe it’s too early to tell.
Head to Head
Grimsby have won every other game stretching back to the 70's. Since the last match was a defeat it's our turn to win again.
P 20 W 9 D 5 L6 F33 A26
Torquay 4 Grimsby 1 (Sat 26th Jan 2007)
This really was some sort of nadir being the seventh defeat on the trot at the league's bottom club. A last minute consolation finally broke Town's drawing duck and we won the next game 6-0 at Boston, the other side who were eventually relegated.
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