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Crisis at Torquay United as owner steps down

Thursday, 22 February 2024 14:21

By Guy Henderson - Local Democracy Reporter @GuyAHenderson

Torquay United's Plainmoor stadium (Picture courtesy: Guy Henderson)

Struggling Gulls to be put into administration

Torquay United football club is to be put into administration

In a statement issued this afternoon, owner Clarke Osborne said that he was stepping down due to circumstances beyond his control.

He said he was unable to continue his financial support for the club, and added that building a new stadium for the Gulls had been the driver for his investment, a project that he has been unable to deliver.

The administrator’s role is to try and stop the club from being liquidated by finding someone who will take the club on.

The full statement from Mr Osborne reads: "“It is with sincere regret that I advise that circumstances beyond my control during the last five weeks have brought me to the position that I am unable to continue financial support for the Club and I have today filed on behalf of the Directors, an intention to appoint an administrator to the Club and Company.

"The prospect of creating a new stadium and commercial facility was the driver for the investment, the excitement to deliver something truly transformative for the Club and Torbay.

"I would reiterate what I have said many times, that Torquay United is blessed with fantastic, passionate support and I am sorry that we have not been able to reach our goal for the Club and fans, despite significant effort and investment.

"I would like to pay a personal tribute to both George Edwards and Mel Hayman who have worked tirelessly for this Club, voluntarily. Their selfless time commitment, and passion for the Club has been limitless despite some very difficult headwinds.

"I also pay tribute to the entire Torquay United family, the Team both on and off the field of play, for their hard work, commitment and in some instances on a voluntary basis.

"The financing of football in this country is precarious and can only thrive in the lower divisions where there is either a close collaborative relationship with the local authority, it is a trophy asset or is backed by substantial local individuals and businesses. I believe that it needs a fundamental overhaul of its financing structure, rights distribution in the lower leagues and recognition that many clubs represent a fundamental part of the local community and its visitor attractions. Ambitious Clubs should in my opinion be given special status in their push to bring in investment, develop facilities, bring spend and employment to the local economy.

"I have today stepped down as Chairman of the Board.

"Now is the time for the Club, supporters, Torbay community and the Local Authority to come together and continue on the path to the future. I will assist a change of ownership where and when invited. The detailed plans, proposals and related data for the proposed developments will be gifted to the Club as will any time requested to assist in the future planning and development.”






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