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