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Torquay - Gulls and Glory

Started on 28 January 2020 by Aaron
Latest Reply on 1 March 2020 by Justice
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Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
4 yearsEdited

Gulls and Glory

Well I'm back already. It took a record time of *Checks watch* 12 hours. I said I wouldn't be gone for long so here I am. Determined more than ever to gain some kind of success lower down in the English leagues I've already gone about putting the building blocks in motion to do just that with a new team.

The last save didn't go so well and that really isn't an understatement. Like I said before though, we go again and don't give up. A lot of mistakes were made and I feel suitably prepared to review them and figure out where we went wrong. So what can be done differently?

Firstly, I think it's become clearly obvious that I'm not great at lower league management so I think the problem to begin with was starting too low down the tiers. Let's change that. I took on Salisbury as they're my home town and that was practically the only reason. This time I'm looking further from home and as you can see I've picked Torquay United three leagues above.

Why Torquay? Well, firstly the kits and badge are probably the smartest I've seen this far down in a long time. That probably goes down for debate for some people. I also felt expectations at Salisbury were way too high and this instantly put a lot of pressure on me so this is something that definitely didn't help.

Torquay have only just been promoted to the Vanarama National and are predicted to be pulled into a good old relegation scrap. The boards expectations of me are too fight bravely against relegation so the pressure to win almost every game is virtually non existent.

Personally I feel like we can do a little better and achieve roughly a mid table finish, this would be a fantastic foundation to build from in a bid for promotion and I've got my fingers crossed I can keep the club away from any kind of bottom half battle.

My second mistake at Salisbury was certainly breaking the wage budget. I went above it by a grand trying to gain promotion and it achieved quite the opposite so for this time round with Torquay I have set myself the goal of not even going a pound over budget. At least for the first few seasons.

Lastly, player age. I took in a lot of experience from the streets at Salisbury. This was undoubtedly a mistake. They expected much more of a wage packet and offered little to no competition physically. I'm sure it will please everyone to know I'll be taking a younger approach by trying out untried, untested high potential youth players a lot more often.

These are the three main mistakes to highlight so hopefully we can combat and overcome all of these. It's going to be a tough first season but I've a lot more faith in this club than the last.

For those interested I shall leave some more information about Torquay down below.

Better luck this time mate.
Good luck! Lets hope you reach the New Year this time ;)
Good luck, let's hope you can do a bit better this time
Torquay should be doing far better than what the board are requesting. You shouldn't have to worry about being sacked this time. Well, knowing you...

Pre-Season & Transfers

Wasting no more time, I want to dive straight into this and introduce you to the squad, new players, and tactics.

I came in on the first day expecting the squad to be in a poor state considering the media predictions and board ambitions. To my surprise, I was greeted with players of far better quality than I had initially anticipate. Although I had no ex premier league striker like Leroy Lita this time, we had strength in depth and that already looks like it could be enough to keep us up.

I can have no complaints for any position on the field straight away. Except for maybe the striker positions which include only one decent goalscorer, however the other two don't seem that far off. Four players that instantly stick out are our loanee centre back Joe Lewis, right winger Kalala, Ben Whitfield on the left, and Armani Little in the centre of midfield.

There is course a lot more quality, Reid I'm hoping will provide double figures in goals for us this season and MacDonald looks like a strong asset in goal, however I'll be looking to add depth in that position.

These three are going to be instrumental in any success this year, Joe Lewis looks like an exceptional young talent and I expect him to command the rest of his back four/three throughout the course of the season.

Speaking of back fours and threes, onto the tactics. The first we're going to be training through pre season is a fairly simple 4-3-3. The screenshot currently states we're aiming to control possession with this one but having already played a few games ahead, I have since changed this to be a more direct counter attacking formation.

This will probably be the most frequently used of the three.

Next we have a more complicated tactic for the players to learn. A 5-2-3 (WB) tika taka style. Yes you might all think me mad, but I've seen this work very well in the lower leagues and I intend to workout a way of eventually having my side use this as their most regular playing style going forward. Things can obviously be tweaked depending on how it plays though.

I probably won't use this last one very often. For me, I rarely get any success with it, however I don't think plan C's come much better in the form of a tactic some may describe "Old Reliable"

We've had a lot of trialists at the club over the summer and will continue to have many more throughout the season. I can't really afford to bring anyone in given that there's only 1K of wages left to be spent. I'm doing this as a cheaper, quicker means of scouting in the hope that come next season we will have an extensive knowledge of the top quality players at this level.

Three signings have joined though on relatively cheap deals.

First up is Omolabi who I believe has the potential to go very far. Certainly at this level anyway. Moroyin, although not considered the best player in the world will fit into our 4-3-3 as the starting defensive midfielder. He'll be crucial to the set up and any injury to him could see us having to switch up to plan B. I'll be relying on him a lot this season and I hope he can form a great team in the centre with Armani and Evans.

Nakov just like Omolabi has the potential to go far in goal. He's very young and showing signs of great talent and fits the bill perfectly adding to our depth in goal. Having review our goalkeeper situation in the meantime, I've decided to loan him out to Hereford where he will become first choice goalkeeper.

Lucas Covalon will provide satisfactory cover for MacDonald until he leaves at the end of the year.

Daniel Ojo is an Italian left wing back that comes in on loan from division rivals Yeovil. He's probably going to play second fiddle to our current left back Liam Davis for now however he looks set to take the position dependant on performances from the bench, and in training.

We had a fantastic pre season this year. Despite losing 3-1 right at the end to Luka Nakov's new club we were unbeaten. 4 wins, 1 draw, 12 goals, 3 conceded. You can't ask for much more. We gave Stoke under 23s an absolute pounding. Having looked over their team quickly after the game I was quite shocked. They've got quite a few good players, perhaps some I'd even like to bring on loan in the future.

Onto the first game...

Dear lord don't be a repeat.
Some of the players contracted at the club are far better than this level. If you can get the best out of them and seek to get those around them to play at a good level, you could work wonders. I'm intrigued as to how your tactics will work, though.
Scott: Personally I'm looking for somewhere around a midtable finish but anything above would just be fantastic. Hoping to keep the stars of the team here next year and let some of the deadwood go to free up some wages for new comers!
Torquay is an interesting choice, pre-season has looked good, keep it up :)

Monthly Review - August

It's been a wobbly start to life at Torquay as you can see. Starting off the season against Harrogate I was confident we could get something from the game. This became even more apparent to me on the 28th minute when we took the lead, we'd started the game well and were looking very impressive.

John Stead scored early on in the second half which would level the game and despite such a quality looking performance from ourselves we were unable to gain even a point as Jack Diamond headed in a late winner for Harrogate. I can't argue that a win for them would be an unfair result, but a loss for us definitely was.

Against Halifax, same again. Although more defensively solid. The game ended 1-1, thankfully we managed to level the score in the second half. The performance again was particularly pleasing to me and had me feeling positively for the coming games.

I happily took a point from the second game but to stay up we need wins, and sure enough it finally came in our third game against Boreham Wood and we certainly weren't short of goals. 3-1 the full time score Armani Little showing off his incredible talent scoring 2 fantastic goals which would see us set a precedent for the next game in which we would bag another 3 points thanks to the only strike of the game coming from Jamie Reid up top.

It was disappointing to end on a loss to Barrow, the performance wasn't great but for a team predicted to come somewhat near the play offs I had kind of expected it to turn out that way. The upset just wasn't to be here.

Overall I'm very happy with our start, it's obviously not great and we don't look like pulling up any trees this year so far but I'm confident this kind of form can see us secure safety firmly in mid table.

Only 5 games in and Omorabi is settling in nicely and looking like quite the purchase. He's had one or two stand out performances amongst the rest of the squad I can see him developing a lot further into a top Vanarama National League side.

8th in the league. Not a bad start at all, but we all know things can go very differently further in. It's only 5 games, and there's a lot more to play. I'm hoping we can continue this form with a couple of wins next season.

Monthly Review - September

Following on from a fairly satisfactory first month at the club we've managed to continue into September with a decent run of form having gone 3 games unbeaten to begin. We faced some difficult opposition coming up against the likes of Dagenham and Wrexham.

To stay unbeaten against these two, beating Sutton in between is a massive couple of results. Scraped points against these bigger sides will really help us come the end of the season provided we take our chances against teams at the lower end of the table, and we all know it's not always as simple as that.

Jamie Reid was in terrific form and without him we wouldn't have gotten very far in these last few games. He's been the one leading the line ensuring chances are converted. He's quickly becoming a favourite of mine in this squad, he's not the best striker around but so far he seems to be doing the job we need him too.

I'm slowly becoming more and more convinced that it's time for our Liam Davis to make way at left back for our loan signing Ojo. Ojo edges Davis in terms of Physical ability, probably due to him being about 12 years younger. My assistant tells me he's on a level par with him too, so depending on performances I may look to change this around.

Aside from all that, it was again a shame to end the month so poorly. We fought well against Bromley. Every time they score, we replied instantly. Every time we scored, so did they. We didn't have it in us for a third goal and because of that we took no points home.

Dover was both a rough result and performance, they sit rather low in the table and I was expecting to beat these guys at home but the players had other ideas, and that was to not show up.

I'm happy with the start we've made. I'm the first to admit again that it's not brilliant but sitting firmly in mid table is exactly where we're aiming to be at the moment. Two points is a tiny difference between us and the drop zone though, and I can't help but feel like we brought that on ourselves by losing to Dover, who occupy the first relegation spot.

That was a big six pointer already, and we failed to capitalise.
Rough results but hopefully something to build on??

Form will hopefully be round the corner
Considering you were expected to be involved in a relegation scrape at the start of the season, it's been a positive start. The two wingers look incredible so hopefully they can help you to a decent finish this season.

Monthly Review - October

So we're looking good. Not great, but good at the very least. We were beaten only once this month and took home 6 points from the remaining 4 league games. Aldershot were able to get the better of us and I expected to be writing that at the end of the month considering they're fighting their own battles in play off contention.

We did get humbled, no the performance wasn't positive. The only thing to take from the game is that Jamie Reid bagged yet another goal for the season, and because of scintillating form in the last 10 games he's done enough to earn a spot in team of the week three times this season. He's also the leagues second highest scoring player.

Hednesford in the FA Cup was a different kind of battle. Instead of putting up with a constant bombardment of shots and fluid attacks we found, we found ourselves battling our own mentality in front of the net at the other end of the pitch. Shot after shot, but we could only muster one goal. Of course the hero of the day was Jamie Reid and we were drawn against Gillingham in the next round away from home.

A tough opponent to face in just a couple of games time.

Yeovil was the only win of the month and although Ojo has been starting regularly these last couple of matches he unfortunately was ineligible to play against his parent club. Liam Davis came in to fill the spot once more and didn't disappoint putting in a solid defensive display.

Kevin Kalala who's been ever present on the right wing this season got the only goal of the game that would eventually make us 1-0 winners come the full time whistle.

Despite the draw at the end of the month, I remain pleased. Eastleigh proved to be a tough outfit to host but we feel pretty content with knowledge that they came to our ground and found us a lot harder to break down than they probably thought we'd be.

We're still only 2 points clear of the drop zone and that's leaving me on edge going into November. Chorley is our next game, they're 22nd. A win here could be a huge boost to our survival credentials.

Monthly Review - November

Despite the words of OMGItsToddzy, form was not around the corner.

What a month to forget. By the time the Solihull game came around, I was starting to worry and wrack my head around trying to figure out what exactly went wrong for results and performances this bad to occur.

To this day I still haven't a clue, maybe the squad just wanted to make things harder for themselves in pursuit of a challenge? I'd rather they left those thoughts on the back burner if that does happen to be case.

Starting off at Chorley, placed 22nd in the league away from home a win was expected rather than hoped. We looked good too in the first half. Really productive on all fronts, especially upfront as Ben Whitfield opened the scoring from left wing with a fantastic shot into the top corner.

Asking for no complacency, I got EXACTLY that. The images of Chris Holroyd scoring a hattrick within the first 10 minutes of the second half will be forever etched into my brain. Truly PTSD inducing. To add to that, he went and scored a 4th. I never want to see this mans name on a team sheet again, unless it's mine.


Gillingham were obviously in no mood to mess around in the FA Cup, beating us 4-0. There's not really a lot to say about this tie really. We were awful, the scoreline shows that and it was expected too. No giant killings this season I'm afraid.

By the end of the Fylde game, things were becoming very bad indeed. We needed a win desperately. Sitting in amongst the relegation zone we were eager to put things right in the next three games.

We were by no means fantastic but we managed to pull two points out of some tough teams in Notts County and Maidenhead.

Somehow we managed to nick all three against top of the league Chesterfield. Utterly amazed at how we've pulled this off taking into consideration our last few results. It makes the Chorley and Maidenhead games seem all the more worse as they're both trying their best to stay up with us.

Level on points with 21st.

It's happening again, isn't it?

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