Gulls fan's first complete season in 62 years - but hasn't seen ball kicked for real!

Joseph Bulmer

Sixty-two years after he first started following the club as a nine-year-old boy from Brixham, Torquay United fanatic John Brice is close to watching every single match in a season for the first time.  And he hasn't seen a ball kicked for real!

John, who now lives in Kent after a long career in journalism, is one of many Gulls supporters who have formed 'Zoom' groups to watch live 'stream' coverage of matches during this Covid-hit behind-closed-doors season.

Most of his friends are exiled fans in the South East but one lives within sight of the Plainmoor ground.

John recalled: "I used to be taken to Plainmoor as a lad by a family we used to deliver to - my dad was a milkman - and my payment for the trip each week was a bar of chocolate for each of them from the shop we also ran.

"They used to stand at the back of the old Pop Side and pass me down over the heads of the crowd to the railings on the halfway line.

"The only home game I missed for years was when we beat Newport 8-3 (October 1963) - my hero Robin Stubbs scored five - but I was there for the best game ever, the 3-3 FA Cup-tie against Spurs (1965)."

John started his career on the old Brixham Chronicle and eventually moved to London in the early 1970s - he worked for the BBC for many years.

"I've never stopped supporting United, but although I've managed to get to quite a few home games over the years, I've seen many more away from home," he said.

"We haven't been able to go to matches this season, but a group of us have watched every game via the 'stream' .

"It's just like being on the terraces - same banter, same oohs and aahs and excitement - and the friend who lives near Plainmoor even turns his laptop so that we can see the floodlights in the background!

"We're all hoping that United win promotion, of course, and we'll be watching right to the finish. We may even get to a game for real if we're allowed to!"