Benji sings his way into Gulls squad

Torbay Weekly

Whenever you welcome a new player into any group, it's not a bad idea that they have to prove themselves to their teammates, off the pitch as well as on it.

It's got nothing to do with how good they are. It's got everything to do with what sort of character they are, and how they're going to fit in with people who may have been together for quite a while.

Some of the old 'initiation' ceremonies that went on once would be frowned on today, but at Plainmoor over the last few years every new player has to stand up, often in a hotel lounge before an away game, and sing.

It doesn't matter if they can't put two notes or two words together. That's not the point. They have to pick a song, stand on their own two feet and do their best.

You never know what to expect.

It's quite an ordeal for some younger lads, and everyone understands that. But it just helps to earn them a place in the group. It's a way of saying 'I'm me - here I am, and I'm with you'.

Believe me, we've got some terrible voices in our dressing-room. We've one or two pretty good ones as well, but only two in the current squad have ever had a standing ovation after their 'debut' song.

One was Billy Waters, who'll always give everything his best shot. And the other, I'm happy to report, is our new signing Benji Mbunga-Kimpioka.

Benji had hardly got to know everyone before he had to get on his feet before our game at Dagenham and Redbridge last weekend.

I'm no expert on the hit parade in 2021, or whatever they call it these days, but Benji sang his version of  a song called 'Black and Gold' by Sam Sparro. It wasn't just him on his feet when he finished.

Well done, Benji. And if you play for us as well as you sing, we'll all be very happy indeed!

Just before the Dagenham game, the National League announced - not before time, either - what they were going to do about Dover Athletic and their decision to furlough all their players back in February and stop playing matches.

It's been hanging over everyone, and it needed sorting out.

The news that their record has been wiped out was kind of what we expected. We hoped that they could find some genius at maths to come up with a brilliant answer that left us all happy but we knew that wasn't going to happen.

Some clubs came out better than others. We lost the three points we got from beating Dover (2-0). Sutton and Hartlepool lost no points, except the two games they were still due to play against them.

The League also fined Dover £40,000 and docked them 12 points from the start of next season.

Dover could be appealing, so we'll see where that one goes.

I do hope that all the other teams in our division, who have gone along with the league vote and are carrying on playing, stay competitive to the end of the season. Credit to them for doing that so far.

You have to admire the run that Sutton are on - nine wins in 12 games unbeaten, I believe - and Hartlepool are in very good form as well.

But I've managed teams that been out in front all season and ones who have come with late runs, so we haven't given up hope of catching Hartlepool or Sutton yet. Not by a long chalk…

Stay safe, everyone.