John­son con­cerned af­ter Truro U-turn ex­tends Plain­moor deal


Herald Express - - Sport - BY DAVID THOMAS

TORQUAY United man­ager Gary John­son is keep­ing his fingers crossed that the ‘new’ Plain­moor pitch, al­ready show­ing wear and tear af­ter 30 games in the first four months of this sea­son, can cope with more pres­sure af­ter Truro City’s sur­prise de­ci­sion to ex­tend their ground­share deal into the New Year.

Truro had in­di­cated that they were about to re­turn to their Treyew Road ground af­ter re­de­vel­op­ment plans for the site stalled un­til at least next sum­mer.

But, in a sud­den U-turn, the White Tigers have now an­nounced that they are stay­ing at Plain­moor un­til af­ter their ‘home’ game against the Gulls on New Year’s Day.

It means that both the Torquay-Truro hol­i­day der­bies, on Box­ing Day and Jan­uary 1, will be played at Plain­moor as well as five other league and cup games in­volv­ing the two clubs be­tween now and then.

“I just hope that the pitch holds up dur­ing that pe­riod,” said John­son as more heavy rain fell this week.

Sup­port­ers of both clubs have greeted the news with dis­may – United fans be­cause of their con­cern over the ef­fect on the Plain­moor pitch and City fol­low­ers be­cause their team will con­tinue play­ing 90 miles away from Truro.

Truro’s 3-0 win over Green­wich Bor­ough in the FA Tro­phy last Sat­ur­day is be­lieved to have at­tracted a gate of 39 to Plain­moor, and their re­cent league games there have strug­gled to pull in more than a hun­dred fans.

United redrained and re­laid the Plain­moor pitch un­der head grounds­man Chris Ralph, who left re­cently to join Ply­mouth Ar­gyle.

No an­nounce­ment on a re­place­ment for Ralph has been made by Torquay so far.

John­son was quick to point out that a Truro v Torquay game at Plain­moor on New Year’s Day, with all gate re­ceipts go­ing to City, is likely to pull in a much big­ger at­ten­dance than if the fix­ture was played at Treyew Road.

“I can un­der­stand it from [City chair­man] Pe­ter Mas­ters’ point of view – it would be fi­nan­cially ben­e­fi­cial for them to play here on New Year’s Day. I un­der­stand that to­tally,” said John­son. He has to look af­ter his club as best he can.”

John­son added: “Ev­ery­body en­tered into this agree­ment at the start of the sea­son. It was ob­vi­ously good for both sides, and there are ben­e­fits for us.”

One of those ad­di­tional ben­e­fits for United is be­lieved to be the reg­u­lar use of Truro’s ex­ec­u­tive team coach for away games, not only good for the play­ers’ com­fort but a con­sid­er­able cost-sav­ing too.

It had been thought that, once ground re-grad­ing work had been com­pleted at Treyew Road, City would be back there be­fore Christ­mas, and they sig­nalled that in­tent. The Na­tional League have sanc­tioned the move and the work has now been done.

But their lat­est state­ment reads: “The re­pair work needed at Treyew Road fol­low­ing the ground in­spec­tion by the League has now been com­pleted and we ex­pect to get the ground Grade B rat­ing within the next few days. Given that sit­u­a­tion, there is no rea­son for Truro City to con­tinue to ground­share with Torquay United at Plain­moor.

“Sup­port­ers of Truro City will know that the team are cur­rently in a ‘pur­ple patch’ (six games un­beaten) un­der cur­rent ground ar­range­ments.

“Given our league po­si­tion, we don’t want to take any ac­tion that may be detri­men­tal to cur­rent form and, as such, we will not be tak­ing any de­ci­sion to re­turn to Treyew Road un­til we play Torquay United at Plain­moor on New Year’s Day.

“We ac­knowl­edge that this will come as a dis­ap­point­ment for some sup­port­ers, but hope­fully it will be ac­cepted that this de­ci­sion to re­main dur­ing the in­terim pe­riod is the right one in our quest to re­main in this league.”

United, who beat Bas­ingstoke Town on penal­ties in their Tro­phy game at the week­end, have been drawn away in the first round proper to Na­tional League club Bore­ham Wood on De­cem­ber 15.

That, at least, has spared Plain­moor from hav­ing to cope with two games in 24 hours for the se­cond time this sea­son.

It will stage Truro v St Al­bans City this Sat­ur­day, while John­son’s pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Gulls (fourth) travel to Dul­wich Ham­let and then to Dart­ford in a re­ar­ranged fix­ture next Tues­day night.

Torquay’s next home match is against third-placed Welling United on Sat­ur­day week De­cem­ber 8.

Good luck girls: Buck­land Ath­letic ladies, here cel­e­brat­ing their FA Women’s Cup first round proper win against Chel­tenham, are at Wat­ford in the se­cond round on Sun­day. Full story, Page 65

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