Torquay United striker Nathan Blissett has moved to Plymouth Argyle for an undisclosed fee.
The forward, who scored eight goals in seventeen appearances last season to help United avoid relegation to National League South, moves to Home Park after finding the net four times this season.
Blissett’s arrival at Plainmoor in January was a turning point in United’s attempt to stave off relegation and ended in the side achieving the ‘Great Escape’ under the management of Kevin Nicholson. He will be remembered by the Yellow Army for his wholehearted approach to the game.
In total Blissett made 36 League starts and four substitute appearances for United.
Some words from the Gaffer, Kevin Nicholson on Nathan leaving TUFC:
Congratulations Bliss, we will miss you –
This is perhaps the best and worst part of the job for me.
The best in that when I meet with players and bring them into this program, I promise them that I will improve them, or as our mission statement says “Develop the person, player, maximise potential”. So, to see so many of our players go onto bigger clubs and stages is a great feeling and makes us all very proud.
However, it is also the worst part of my job. The worst part in that you develop very strong relationships with these players, they become like family and when they move on, it is tough to say goodbye to them.
Plus, as a football manager who wants his team to win every week and to get this club back into the football league, it is very tough to have to sometimes lose one of your best players. It is of course unrealistic to expect players to turn down great opportunities, and I will never stand in the way of any player bettering himself. But that doesn’t make it any easier each time you lose another player you have worked so hard to develop.
Bliss came to us at a kind of crossroads in his career, but I knew his potential and I knew we could get the very best out of him in this program. His performances through the miracle of survival last year were immense. That success was achieved with a great TEAM ETHIC.
He came back this year and was a monster for us, doing the work of 2 or 3 men, defending as well as attacking, and much of which went unnoticed but is a credit to his “team first” attitude. We have under achieved as a team but he has never stopped working.
As any player here will tell you, this is a lot of hard work. Our warm ups are tougher than most training sessions, we push people physically and mentally beyond what they thought they could handle, and everything is done to an elite level. We expect total buy-in and total commitment, and if we get that, we have proved we can help players achieve the levels they have the potential to reach. Bliss’s work ethic and attitude are exceptional. He like many others does the things that no one sees that we ask of players here, like the hard work in the gym, with what he eats and how he lives his life.
As with Butts, Gus, Dan, Smithy and now Bliss, we tell them all, “we would love you back here at any time, you are part of this family, but we hope we are watching you on TV at the very highest level rather than having you here with us again”.
I will have many fond memories of Bliss’s time here, too many to list. The header at Boreham Wood that really got everyone believing we could pull off the miracle last year. His sheer will to keep grinding us to a win at home to Kidderminster last year when at 2-0 we “took a nap”. And even better when Chaney did him with the backwards running trick at practice last April. But my over-riding memory will be of a very hard working, intelligent and high character young man who deserves every success he achieves.
It isn’t ‘goodbye’ as we will see him back in the gym with us each week hopefully, but his presence will be very much missed at training.
Now the opportunity shifts to the next Bliss, Butts, Gus, Lavercombe or Smith. We have plenty in this squad already who are well on the way to being next and it is my job to find the next rough diamond and polish him up.
Good luck Bliss, thanks for everything you did for us in saving this club as part of the “greatest ever escape”. You will always be a legend here.
With Bliss leaving it has opened-up opportunities elsewhere in the squad. I'm very happy to report that we can officially welcome back a familiar face and one of the hardest working players I've had the pleasure to work with, not to mention an experienced leader both on and off the pitch; Shaun Harrad.
Shaun will be back with us for the rest of the season (subject to International clearance) and I very much look forward to working with him again and I know he is desperate to get back out there in a yellow shirt.
We have also been able to secure Jamie Reid for the rest of the season and he is a player who I think will really benefit playing alongside Shaun.
I think there is a lot more to come from Reidy, we have seen glimpses this season but it's now our job to really squeeze every ounce of potential out of him for the rest of this season and we will be working to set some very clear and focussed objectives for him.
I'm excited to see just how good Reidy can become.
I'd like to say a massive thank you to Exeter and Paul Tisdale for giving us a deal on Reidy that allows us to keep him for the season and we will make sure when he returns he goes back a better person and a better player.
I can't wait to get these guys out on the training pitch again; build some chemistry and prepare for our game on Saturday.
Please get down to support us if you can, our last few games have certainly been great value for money but above all in those games I think we have all seen the passion, hard work and desire that I expect from players representing Torquay United!!