Watching from the side is easier than listening from home

Torbay Weekly

Last Saturday was the first time, I'm pretty sure, that I've had to sit at home and listen on the radio to my team playing since I was recovering from my heart operation at Cheltenham five years ago.

Apart from the fact that we won 3-2 at King's Lynn, I can't say that I enjoyed it much. I had to stay away with a bug for one thing, but the main reason is that I'm a very bad listener!

It reminded me how tough it must be for our supporters when they can't travel to away games and have to tune in instead. It was so frustrating for me, because you can't do anything about what's happening hundreds of miles away.

When I'm on the touchline, I'm nowhere near as nervous as I was at the weekend, because I know I can deal with whatever I've got to get nervous about at the game.

I have to admit that there were a few times when I felt like ringing Downsey (assistant Aaron Downes). Not because I thought he might be getting anything wrong - I have 100% trust in him, he's a big boy now and I have no worries about how he might be seeing things on the pitch. It was more through my own nerves and wanting to know exactly what was going on.

It was his first game in charge, and I'm delighted that he was able to celebrate a win. I know he would have taken it badly if we had lost, whatever the reasons.

But the whole afternoon also reminded me that, although we all get disappointed when things don't go well, you can't take it too personally.

When people moan at you during a game, you can't be oblivious to it, but you have to learn not to take it too much to heart and deal with it.

I've since watched the full film of Saturday's game, Downesy and I have talked it through and there was a lot to be pleased about. We scored three good goals, all from stuff that we'd worked on during the week - that's always a big plus.

The first came from one of Dean Moxey's long throws to Danny Wright, the second from winning the ball back with a good move between Armani (Little) and Connor (Lemonheigh-Evans) to Danny with a great finish and the third a very good piece of play by young Stephen Duke-McKenna from a cross - we've wanted him to be more of a goal-threat and he certainly delivered there.

When we're on our best game, we always stress how important it is to have an end-product - a quality cross, a chance made or a shot or header.

I often say to people: "If you want to be a top player, you have to have fire in your belly and ice in your head".

Some talented lads have it naturally, and others have to develop it. But it's nearly always a ticket to going higher in the game.

A big shout-out to Chris Todd and his Under-18 team, who had two terrific results at the weekend.

I've had excellent reports of how well they played in beating Bridgwater 3-2 in the South West Counties Youth League - they only need one more point for the title with two games still to play.

Then the next day they beat Plymouth Parkway 7-1 to reach the Devon Cup Final.

They are a very good group, and several of them train with the first team - they're almost like 'apprentices' in that way.  Here's hoping that they can finish the season with the 'treble' they've set their hearts on.

I'm already looking forward to Halifax away this Saturday, which is a big game for us after the run we've put together - eight wins, five draws and only two defeats in 15 games is good going by any standards.

And, all being well, I'll be back on the touchline instead of listening on that radio - much less stressful..!

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