SkyDaz Torquay Preview

Last updated : 05 January 2006 By Darren Porter

Last week I had some criticism regarding these articles. Thank heavens we live in a country of free speech and so you, dear readers, are more than entitled to exercise your constitutional right of reply. I am merely grateful that any of you still read the damn things.

Criticism is sometimes stimulating in that it forces the writer to reassess his work and often leads to a renewed vigour. Hmm sometimes. It is difficult to write continually week in week out about the same subject. Originality is nigh on impossible. Other Sports Journalists (not that I am one!) at least get to pen articles on different teams and from different grounds. There are only so many times I can complain about the big fella being up front on his own!

Perhaps it is time for a new writer to step forward and take up the keyboard. I am sure the editors (not the group!) would appreciate some new, refreshing input. Until such a person comes forward I guess you’re kind of stuck with me. I know every team gets previews and reviews but I haven’t seen any others with a weekly assessment like I try and give. So maybe it is time for change. I would love to continue in the role but as we know too well, all good things must come to an end!

Speaking of which, as most of you know I am now the idiot on the pitch doing the pre match and half time announcements along with the substitutes and all the ‘that booking was sponsored by….’ PA work. Boy am I having fun! Plucked from the obscurity of the Tilton to stand on the hallowed turf next to my heroes is fantastic. My security clearance is ‘Access all Areas’. Hee hee I’m like the goons in ‘Wayne’s World’ with my pass. The previous Stadium Announcer, Keith Laurent, resigned from the post just before Christmas, after many years sterling service, for personal reasons that he has admirably kept to himself.

My debut against ManYoo was apparently like ‘Vicky Pollard on helium’. Sorry. I was nervous and I started with a high schoolgirl pitch and couldn’t calm down enough to be more professional. I’d have been popular down Villa Park though with that voice.

Hopefully against Wigan it was a more improved and polished performance. Hopefully. I think it has helped that the boys have played well in the two games and the bully boys have been sated in their anger. I am sure that they will be back to blame someone if we start playing poorly. But we don’t want to go there do we?

After drilling two early free kicks halfway up the Railway End Pennant’s head dropped and I feared for the guy getting his confidence back. Some of the crowd were rightly annoyed at the wasted chances and Bruce was also quick to admonish Pennant. Within just a few minutes though a gorgeous cross dropped perfectly onto his head and he cleverly sent it back the way it came past the diving Wigan keeper. The whole ground lifted and nobody’s head was held higher than Pennant. He was elevated to a hero again and for the rest of the match he was excellent, effervescent, persevering, ubiquitous and tenacious. Simple really, all he needed was a goal.

A few minutes later Super Mario prodded home and Wigan were spent. They failed to trouble the Birmingham defence despite the threat of the speedy duo of Camara and Roberts. The second half would have been more palatable if we had knocked in a third but in our current state that is just pure avarice.

We have all eagerly awaited the latch opening on the transfer window. Probably none more so than Bruce. In all the chat and speculation though I never heard the name of ‘Chris Sutton’. Another gem arrives at St Andrews. I know his spells at Chelsea and recently at Celtic have not made him look particularly prodigious but the one true test of how good a player can be is to see the reactions of the fans of the club he has left. The Celtic fans are all very upset at his departure and wish him all the best. No animosity. No Savage backlash.

That’s good enough for me. A long time ago in a far distant galaxy when I started writing these pieces I bemoaned the playing of one striker. Especially when we constantly bang the ball up and onto his head. And who exactly is he supposed to head it to? Please please please when Heskey is standing with his back to goal twenty yards out simply play it along the ground and into his feet. Let him control it and bring the other players into the game. Don’t hoof it and hope he does something with it. Please? Sutton will be there now, waiting, demanding and expecting. Give them the ball to play with.

I have no idea who else is coming on board. I wish in my current role I had an insight and could amaze you all with my inside knowledge now that I can almost touch some of the stars. But unfortunately I am still in the gutter with the other turds. At least I feel at home there!

Torquay away. I don’t know any of their players and I don’t mean that as an insult or to tempt fate. We simply have to win. No other result is acceptable. ‘Nuff said.

Keep right on to the end of the road. Then turn first right and third left. My house is just up the top of the avenue.