Some Torquay United fans could be back inside Plainmoor as early as Saturday, December 5, after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said supporters could return to local football stadiums at the end of the current national lockdown in England on December 2.
Elite sport, which includes the National League, has only been played behind closed doors since March, but under the new tier system set to be introduced from Wednesday, December 2, football fans look set to be able to return to grounds in Tier One and Tier Two areas – but not Tier Three.
In Tier One areas, 4,000 spectators or 50 per cent of the ground’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be allowed, with 2,000 spectators or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lower, in Tier Two. In Tier 3 areas, all sporting fixtures will continue to be held behind closed doors.
This is all subject to further approval by MPs but it does mean, for the home game against Wrexham on December 5, Plainmoor could host 3,250 fans (50 per cent of the ground’s 6,500 capacity) if Torbay is in Tier One at the time, or 2,000 if the area is in Tier Two. It would be the first time a crowd would be inside Plainmoor since the visit of Chorley on February 29.
There will be a lot of work to be done by the club to make that happen – and manager Gary Johnson suggests ‘the devil is always in the detail’ – but after saying at the weekend he wanted the team to be top of the table for when the fans return, the announcement feels well-timed for the Gulls.

“It is fantastic news, of course it is,” said Johnson. “The devil is always in the detail, as they say, so we have got to wait for official confirmation as to what exactly the percentage of your gate can be and what tier we are in, but it’s a good start to getting things nearly back to normal.
“It is definitely good for the club and I have been saying it would be nice to be top of the league when the fans come back.”
If fans are allowed back, Torquay will have four home games in five games – Wrexham on December 5, Maidenhead United on Tuesday, December 8, Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday, December 15 – and Yeovil Town on Saturday, December 26.
The away game among those is at King’s Lynn Town on Saturday, December 12.
After beating FC Halifax Town 2-1 on Saturday, with goals from Asa Hall and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, and securing a five-point lead at the top of the National League table – going into a ten-day spell without a game – this is all really positive stuff.
Johnson said: “It is a great period for us – for our fans to come in – because we have got four home games in five games, so the whole club could give it a right go.
“If we get fans back then they’ll be buzzing and we’ll be buzzing and we can get the club going again.”
Without a game this Saturday, Torquay are next in action at Wealdstone on Tuesday next week.
Wealdstone are one of four teams on 17 points who are five points behind the Gulls – along with Sutton United, Woking and Maidenhead United – but Sutton have the chance to catch up tonight when they play Wrexham.





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