Torquay United 6-1 Aldershot Town

This diary entry will detail (thankfully) things other than the drubbing handed down to us by basement boys Torquay.

Because as bad as that was, I never got to see the game having been left stranded at Upwey station because of South West Trains late service meant I missed my first connection.

I then discovered that the next train to Castle Cary was two and a half hours!

So I rang round some local taxi firms and had to wait 45 minutes in intermittent wind and hail on that isolated platform for a cab to arrive.

Β£73.50.

Because it’s over an hour through the countryside to Castle Cary. The driver, a lady and Manchester City fan, did her level best but roadworks meant that by the time we got there, I had just missed the 1727 train to Torquay.

When I finally got a train it arrived at Torre station just after the match had kicked off. I dialled two taxi firms both of which said they had nothing for 45 minutes.

A police car approached the traffic lights and I asked directions, telling them of my dilemma. They pointed me in the general direction and of course it’s a very long walk and uphill.

Along the way I passed a park where I could see floodlighting and people playing football on the grass. I decided to turn left and found myself walking up a very dark path into a wooded area.

Unfortunately I lost my footing and fell to my left into thick bramble. I suffer with fibromyalgia and so it wasn’t easy to get up. It took me a few minutes and because it felt like I was in a ditch and it was pitch black, it was a bit scary. I shouted help a few times but nobody came.

Once I got going again there were some local youths on bikes and scooters. They tried helping by looking at maps on their phones for the ground but they’d told me to turn right at the end of the road and to keep going.

So that’s what I did and according to another local man I was about two miles from Plainmoor.

It wasn’t until I met a young couple that I learned that I was bleeding from my head and there was a streak of dried blood all down the left side of my face.

My hands were badly scratched also. Finally I got to the ground with around fifteen minutes to play. I was on the opposite side at first and was told by a young steward that ‘my lot were five nil down’.

Of course expecting another away romp I didn’t believe him. I made my way round the back of the home end and there I could see our fans in the corner of the Bristows stand. It didn’t look many, maybe 150?

Now I was getting messages on my phone from friends asking where I was, worried that I was okay as I always keep in touch with them when I’m travelling alone.

Not all but most people know I have Asperger’s Syndrome. This explains my clumsiness (dyspraxia) and also disorientation.

So when I arrived at the gates they were shut. There was one steward. I displayed my e ticket and told him the reason why I was so late, what had happened to me, why I had injuries AND that I needed to be with my friends…

I was REFUSED entry.

The first reason that they gave was it was past ‘last entries’.

Then I asked if there were paramedics that could help me and get me cleaned up. This was refused too.

And I feel that when you now read what happened next you might be as dismayed and appalled as I was when we are supposed to be living in an inclusive society.

By this time there were three stewards at the gate.

I tried again, saying that I needed to be with my friends so they could see I was safe and told them I was autistic at which point the steward to my left said this:

“Oh you’re definitely not coming in then”.

I was quite stunned. I actually couldn’t believe what I had heard.

That remark was a strong case of exclusion. It was not appropriate or needed.

I was made to wait for friends as they came out I saw Craig and Chelsea, I saw Cobie and Heather too. Everyone else who knew me could see the state I was in.

I also learned from another steward about what they had done to another of our young and popular fans which I can’t elaborate on here because it is now part of a formal complaint submitted to Torquay United FC and their disabilities officer.

Later when I found my hotel I met up with two other Shots fans, the Welsh ones if you know them. One took me to the gents and it was then for the first time I could see how my face looked. He helped clean me up and we then met two other Gulls fans who were brilliantly entertaining (they both lived up north and were staying at the same hotel.

It was then that I was shown video footage that was recorded of one of the TUFC stewards acting over aggressively towards our supporters, one of whom simply called him a bully. And the other matter which I am not disclosing here concerning another of our fans alarmed me so much it’s also now part of my complaint against TUFC.

As for the match, the only goal I saw was ours, through the gates, Tommy Willard.

The result was obviously hugely disappointing for all of us but it’s done now – we have to wait and see what the reaction is next Tuesday – that’s a game I really want to go to.

in the meantime if you’ve read this you are aware of what I went through and how the Torquay staff treated me. And I hope you would agree that a formal complaint has to be made, not just about me but about how poor their stewards were towards many of us.

πŸ”΄πŸ”΅πŸ’•

ORIGINAL POST

True to say I’ve never seen us win at Plainmoor.

The last time I went was the 0-2 defeat, August Bank Holiday weekend I think. πŸ€” The one where Alex Finney hobbled off and the one where I paid Β£1.60 for a halftime polystyrene cup of Bovril.

HOTEL? NOT TRIVAGO

That time I managed a Β£32 hotel room via Booking.com (with breakfast) and oops, I did it again, Β£38 this time but with the 3-star hotel a stone’s throw from the football ground. Above is what I can expect to find (really good reviews so fingers crossed).

The difference this time around will be that we will be in the Bristows Stand. Some of us were the last time I went but we had that terracing as well but that will be empty Tuesday night.

TICKETS

These are Β£17.00 standard and are available on the TUFC website. Click on TICKETS and then make sure you click on CHANGE TO AWAY FANS then click in the yellow square to bring up the seat map.

Looks like a hundred plus reserved at the time of writing.

The train journey will be a lot nicer this time, none of that Southampton and Westbury nonsense. Via Castle Cary and a 3.5 hour journey down to Devon.

CURRENT FORM

I didn’t make a blog post for Saturday. Dorking away went swimmingly really and what better way to look back at it than by our ace vlogger, HiccupEU.

THIS team and THIS guy right now. Hiccup said it on Saturday and it’s time to give praise to Tyler Cordinho (I’ve put some sunglasses on him here because despite him being a defender, he’s putting other defenders in the shade). πŸ˜‚

What we feared the most on Saturday was maybe the surface (though we train in artificial sometimes do we not?) and their attacking plan. I can’t help thinking it might have been different had Seager put that chance away but we knew their defensive frailties and as the match wore on, there were similarities in how we rolled Eastleigh over away last season.

THE GAFFER

I was one of a few who thought it was crucial to bring in an old hand, someone with FL experience, mostly because I know we have a squad here capable of much better things if only the group had a managerial leader capable of getting the best out of them.

Well, now I’m thinking differently taking into account what Ross McNeilly has done elsewhere and seeing these tactics and modifications that have transformed the team, so unlike the team that folded a month ago at home to Wealdstone.

Its clear to me that he and the other academy staff, let’s not leave them unsung, have presence and the effect at the moment is infectious – like McNeilly is out there on the pitch with them.

So I’m minded to think that maybe the board should extend the probation until the New Year at least. Big tests on the horizon for us against Southend and Wrexham. Let’s see how the new model fares against those and NOT to be too downbeat should we lose.

OUR OPPONENTS

Very surprised to see the Gulls struggling and where they are right now. Maybe Johnson’s days are numbered or maybe not – he’s adamant that they can improve and turn things around.

Maybe it’s a great time to be going there, given our current form and that just maybe their minds will be thinking about next Sunday and the FA Cup visit of Derby County.

PUBS FOR AWAY FANS

Went in Boots & Laces last time. That’s their supporters club lounge bar that allows away fans in. Never been comfortable mixing with home fans when away. Standard for NL these days but if you’re travelling in numbers and we may have 200 tomorrow, not the best of ideas.

Not much if anything near to the ground, there’s The George on Babbacombe Road but maybe Shots fans will have some pre-game ales in Torquay itself.

Safe journey to all those going and let’s hope we can get another positive result.

WE ARE THE πŸ”΄ RED AND πŸ”΅ BLUE

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