Torquay United gaffer and players give Community Day a 'big thumbs up'

Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United celebrates with the supporters at the final whistle during t

Gary Johnson, manager of Torquay United, celebrates with the supporters at the final whistle on Saturday. - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Torquay United's first Community Day was such a big success - nearly 1,000 'new' fans took up the offer of free tickets to last Saturday's 2-0 win over King's Lynn Town at Plainmoor - that the Gulls are already planning to repeat the venture.

Manager Gary Johnson, who took time out to meet community groups, young sports awards winners and local dignitaries before and after the match, gave the day a big 'thumbs up'.

"It was very important, especially after a few disappointing results, that the whole club had a good day," he said.

Sinclair Armstrong of Torquay United challenges for the aerial ball with Ethan Coleman of King's Lyn

In the stand were around 1,000 fans who were given free tickets for the Community Day at Plainmoor - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

"Sometimes you set these things up, and I've seen them be a bit of a damp squib - not at all on Saturday.

"The club worked very hard to make it work, the fans responded and the players and staff wanted to make sure that we played our part.

"I know the players appreciated the crowd and the atmosphere."

Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United celebrates with the supporters at the final whistle during t

Gary Johnson celebrates with the Torquay United supporters - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

United, who say: "Last weekend's event was just the start. There will be plenty more exciting initiatives to follow", are already planning to hold a second Community Day, and it may happen at a game before Christmas.

during the National League match between Torquay United and King’s Lynn Town at Plainmoor Torquay, D

Guests at Torquay United's Community Day

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Under the scheme - backed by Sport Torbay, the Torbay Weekly and Torbay Council - more than 1,000 free tickets were made available via community groups.

Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United during the National League match between Torquay United and

Among the grants presented on Saturday was £1,000 to Kacper Piwowar from Torbay Table Tennis Academy - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Thirteen local clubs have secured support via Sport Torbay's £30,000 post-Covid Back To Sport drive, which has also awarded grants to promising athletes Jacob and Kacper Piwowar from Torbay Table Tennis Academy, Abi Martin from South Devon School of Gymnastics and Lauren McGinnis from Churston Golf Club.

Abi Martin from South Devon School of Gymnastics is presented with a £1,001 grant from Gary Johnson and Cllr Darren Cowell

Abi Martin from South Devon School of Gymnastics is presented with a grant from Gary Johnson and Cllr Darren Cowell, deputy leader of Torbay Council - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Several of those were in the 2,500-plus crowd which saw United beat King's Lynn with goals by 18-year-old debutant Sinclair Armstrong, on loan from Queen's Park Rangers, and defender Joe Lewis.

Gary Johnson, manager of Torquay United, with Community Day guests including Torbay MP Kevin Foster at Plainmoor

Gary Johnson, manager of Torquay United, with Community Day guests including Torbay MP Kevin Foster at Plainmoor - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

United now have what should be one of their toughest games of the season this Saturday, away to ambitious Wrexham, complete with Hollywood actor owners and a wage-bill bigger than several EFL clubs.

"It will be tough, but we've got to go there, compete and believe we can win - not just turn up and hope for a draw," said Johnson.