Amazing supporters made enough noise for three times their numbers

Torbay Weekly

Anyone who hits our motorways on a regular basis knows how it can take years off your life, or that's how it feels, especially at this time of year.

We've had some real marathons to our away games over the last few seasons - nine or ten hours on the road is not uncommon on a Friday - and bank holidays like the one we've just had are an ordeal for everyone.

So you can imagine how we all felt when the best part of 400 Torquay United fans turned up to cheer us on at Notts County last Saturday.

Lots of them made the journey from South Devon - I dread to think what time some of them must have set out - but I've realised over the last three years how many supporters we have living around the rest of the country, and they turn out whenever we're on the road.

We've seen it at all sorts of places, not just bigger grounds but the Ebbsfleets and Thurrocks on Tuesday nights.

They always amaze us, as much as they cheer up the opposition club secretaries!

I can't stress how important those fans were in helping us to get a 1-1 draw at Meadow Lane.

It was always going to be a tough atmosphere with almost 7,000 home fans there, but our supporters made enough noise for three times their numbers, and they never let up.

Obviously all my team, on and off the pitch, were desperate to get a result, for ourselves and the club, but most of all for those fans.

The last season without supporters was very difficult, for us football people who have always lived for that match-day 'buzz'.

I was proud of the way that our players kept up their levels of commitment and quality without any real atmosphere in the grounds, although being in the promotion race all season did help.

It was only when supporters were allowed back, even in limited numbers, that you realised how much we'd missed them.

And the noise that 6,000 inside Ashton Gate for the play-off final only confirmed that.

I'm still sorry that lads like Sam Sherring and Adam Randell played a whole season for us, without the experience of playing regularly in front of the crowds that we get at Plainmoor.

It's very disappointing that our first two games of this season have not turned out well, but once again our fans have stuck with us to the end.

Of course, you always get one or two who are frustrated and let you know about it, but that's part and parcel of the game, especially at professional levels.

There are plenty of clubs and grounds around the country where crowds 'turn' all too quickly, but I wouldn't list Plainmoor among them.

Developing and improving young players is what a club like ours is all about.

We've signed quite a few in that bracket this summer and there are times when you could do with a bit of luck while we're working on them.

I never make excuses, but we're not getting a lot of luck at the moment - especially not with red cards!

But, as I said after Monday's game against Woking, I don't lose faith with players I sign after a couple of games. And I'm not slashing my wrists just yet.

One thing I am looking forward to is seeing our fans at Maidenhead on Saturday - I know they'll be there as always, and we'll do our level best to give them reasons to cheer as loud as they did at Notts County.