Torquay United’s new Head Of Youth Robbie Herrera is determined to build on the work done by his predecessor Chris Todd, and he has the qualifications to back it up.
Torquay born-and-bred Herrera, 52, is back at Plainmoor after previously serving the club as player, assistant manager, caretaker and youth coach.
But since he last left the Gulls nearly seven years ago, former QPR and Fulham left-back Herrera has worked in a series of other touchline roles, including coach to Plymouth Argyle’s Under-18s and Under-23s and, until last October, manager of Dorchester Town.
He says: “I’ve got a strong background in youth football, and not just at Torquay.
“Toddy did a fantastic job – I had a great meeting the other night with the age-group coaches, who are all working off their own backs.
“I think it’s important to have some sort of ‘DNA’ and playing philosophy – a Torquay United way, if you like – and that’s something I’ll be introducing with Gary (Johnson) and Aaron’s (Downes) help.”
Herrera has been cheered by the reception he’s had since his return – “We were in a tough time when I was with the first team last, and I didn’t know what sort of reaction I would get, but it’s been really good,” he said.
Todd came to the Head Of Youth job from a previous post at South Devon College, and he combined both roles before leaving to become assistant manager of Yeovil Town earlier this summer.
Herrera will work exclusively for United, but he stressed: “I know several of the people in the College Department well – that link will continue and, hopefully, get stronger.”
* The release of the 2022-2023 National League fixtures handed Torquay United a first-day home game, against relegated Oldham Athletic (August 6), for the fifth time in six seasons.
The list has also been kind to United in other ways – they are once again at home on the always lucrative Boxing Day, against Westcountry rivals Yeovil Town, and on the last day of the season (April 29), when pre-season favourites Wrexham come to Plainmoor.
After the December 26 derby against Yeovil, now managed by former Gulls captain and manager Chris Hargreaves, United will head for Huish Park for the return on New Year’s Day.
But there will be no other fixture between those two holiday matches.
Not for the first time Bromley and Solihull Moors, as well as newly-promoted Dorking Wanderers, will be midweek games, home and away.
The regular campaign will finish on April 29, and the Play-Off Final is also earlier than usual, on May 13 at a venue still to be decided.
TORQUAY UNITED 2022-2023 FIXTURES:
August 6 – Oldham Athletic H, 13 – FC Halifax Town A, 16 – Bromley A, 20 – Boreham Wood H, 27 – Maidstone United A, 29 (Mon) – Woking H.
September 3 – Southend United A, 10 – Aldershot Town H, 13 – Solihull Moors H, 17 – Wealdstone A, 24 – Wrexham A.
October 1 – Scunthorpe United H, 4 – Maidenhead United H, 8 – York City A, 15 – FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, 22 – Altrincham H, 25 Eastleigh A, 29 – Notts County A.
November 5 – FA Cup 1st Round, 8 – Dorking Wanderers H, 12 – Chesterfield H, 19 – Barnet A, 26 – Gateshead H.
December 3 – Dagenham & Redbridge A, 10 – Oldham Athletic A, 13 – Bromley H, 26 – Yeovil Town H.
January 1 – Yeovil Town A, 7 – FC Halifax Town H, 21 – Boreham Wood A, 24 – Woking A, 28 – Maidstone United H.
February 4 – Notts County H, 11 – Chesterfield A, 18 – Barnet H, 21, Dorking Wanderers A, 25 – Southend United H.
March 4 – Aldershot Town A, 7 – Solihull Moors A, 11 – Wealdstone H, 18 – Gateshead A, 25 – Dagenham & Redbridge H.
April 1 – Scunthorpe United A, 7 – Eastleigh H, 10 – Maidenhead United A, 15 – York City H, 22 – Altrincham A, 29 – Wrexham H.
- Torquay United fans will have a chance to meet manager Gary Johnson and assistant Aaron Downes, and ask them about their hopes for 2022-2023, at a Torbay Weekly-sponsored Charity Curry Night at Newton Abbot’s Eastern Eye restaurant next week.
The evening is set for Thursday, July 21 (7pm), with tickets (including a three-course meal) costing £25, of which £5 will be donated to Torquay’s Rowcroft Hospice and United’s Plainmoor Defibrillator Appeal.
The TW’s chief sportswriter Dave Thomas will host a fun Sports Quiz, followed by a Q&A session with Johnson and Downes.
Bookings (pay on arrival) can be made through the Eastern Eye (07473 182317).
Torbay Weekly Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.