Torquay United’s Head of Medical, Gareth Law, celebrates ten years in our medical department today.
Gareth has experienced both sides of football having played the game at a professional level and then turning his talents to the medical side of the sport.
‘Lawsy’ signed as a YTS under Youth coach Paul Compton in 1998. He went on to score 47 goals in 49 games in the Youth team, helping them win the South West Youth Alliance League.
Gareth made his first 1st team appearance in a pre-season friendly against Charlton Athletic and signed professional terms at the age of 17. His 1st team debut came in a derby match against Exeter City, but it almost didn’t happen at all! Gareth was on kit duty for the match and managed to leave his shirt at Plainmoor! A shirt had to be purchased from a TUFC fan in the stand before ‘Lawsy’ could come on as a half-time substitute. United were losing 1-0 at the time but came back to score and earn a point.
Laws made a significant contribution to one of United’s greatest escapes from relegation in 2001. He scored the winner in a 1-0 win over Darlington in the lead-up to United clinching survival against Barnet on the final day of that season.
Gareth was released by Roy McFarland in 2002 and spent a season coaching under Frank Prince in the Football in the Community scheme.
While still playing to a high level locally, Laws returned to Plainmoor on July 2nd 2007 under the wing of former TUFC physio, Damian Davey on work experience. Laws then combined working at the Club as a sports therapist with finishing his degree.
An eventful four years was to follow as Gareth worked alongside Davey during the trip to Wembley for the 07/08 FA Trophy Final, the Conference Play-Off win in 2009, and the trip to Old Trafford for the League Two Play-Off Final in 2011.
The day after his last exam Laws was appointed Head of Academy Sports Medicine and Science in 2011, when now TUFC general manager, Geoff Harrop, was the Academy Manager.
Then First Team Manager Chris Hargreaves appointed Laws as Head of the First Team Medical Department in 2011.
We caught up with Gareth to find out a little bit more about his time at the Club.
Tell us about your high points at TUFC.
“Aside from the Finals, there have been so many high points.
“As a player, scoring my first goal was the best feeling ever. To have it happen at Plainmoor in front of a large crowd was something that you can’t describe. That memory will never leave me. Neither, will the memory of the Pop Side singing my name Vs York City at home.
“On the Medical side, I would have to say the highest point was Luke Young scoring on his first start after returning from his cruciate reconstruction, and us celebrating together. Luke was my first ‘major’ rehab project since becoming Head of Medical for the first team. There was pressure to have him returned to action in the quickest (but safest) time when we were facing relegation, and he played a pivotal role in our final games as we made our first ‘Great Escape’.“
What aspects of your job are the most rewarding?
“This is simple: having a player return to play following an injury (ahead of schedule always helps). I am fortunate I have worked with a lot of amazing characters and it is a pleasure seeing them grace the field and doing what they do best, when not so long ago they were distraught and sometimes in tears after suffering the injury. “
Why do you think you have stayed with the Club for so long?
“Having been at the Club since I was 16 years-old, and the Yellows are a major part of my life. I’m not just an employee, I’m a fan also. I want to do everything I can to help us achieve everything and be the best we can be. I’ve also been very fortunate to work with some amazing managers and characters – it feels more like a family sometimes with everyone so friendly and looking out for each other. Aside from being a player, it’s got to be one of the best jobs. I love my job!”
How do you think we will do this season?
“It’s been a difficult couple of years, but hopefully a new season brings new optimism and as always the management, backroom staff, and I will work tirelessly to achieve success this year. What I do know is we’ll take each day as it comes, train hard and prepare accordingly for the next game.”
I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me achieve 10 years here:
– Former TUFC Physios Damian Davey and Norman Medhurst.
– Managers Paul Buckle, Martin Ling, Chris Hargreaves and Kevin Nicholson.
– Academy Manager Geoff Harrop.
– The Clubs past and present directors.
– All of the background staff over the last 10 years.
– All of the many, many players.
– The Yellow Army!