The following is an update from Torquay United owner and Chairman Clarke Osborne.
First, my thanks to the incredible Torquay United supporters for their outstanding loyalty in what has been a very difficult season so far.
No one anticipated, the excessive injuries and on many occasions, being on the wrong side of football luck. It is a big ask now to avoid the drop but I believe that Gary Owers has the skill and determination to keep us in this division and we will provide Gary and his team with every resource available to achieve this aim.
After pulling off the great escape last year, we entered this campaign with every intention of challenging at the right end of the table and raised the playing budget to a level we felt would enable us to become a real force in the division.
Unfortunately, the worst possible start to the season has had us on the backfoot from the beginning. Gary inherited a team very low on confidence and fitness and I applaud his efforts in improving the fitness, belief and options within our squad.
We go into this weekend with 17 games remaining and 51 points still available. In football as in business success comes from preparation, determination, team work and a bit of luck. We all work hard to eliminate that last piece of luck and for certain, bad luck does not last.
I was impressed from day one at the passionate support of the Yellow Army and although a cliché, it is in these hard times that the team most needs that support and encouragement.
Whilst we have no direct control over the game we do have over the structure and stability of backroom operations. I am very pleased with the progress of General Manager Geoff Harrop and his team in the last 12 months. There is no luck here, just hard work and building a team of people determined to succeed. We have seen real progress in rebranding the club, shop refurbishment, stadium upgrades, new online presence, enhanced commercial and hospitality output, and improved processes in terms of ICT and internal communications.
The major success, in my opinion, is the reformation of a youth system at our Club and the start of building a strong sustainable Academy. It forms the backbone of future sustainable success.
Our goal remains: to build a sustainable and successful club based on a sound financial and operating structure delivering entertainment and sport to the whole of Torbay.
Circumstances on the pitch have impacted some of our time-frames but the potential is still there for all to see. Torbay deserves a successful football club, one that is rightfully competing back in the Football League. We set this as a realistic target over a five-year period and that has not changed. If the worst happens this season, our objectives remain, even if we have one extra step on the ladder to achieve our goal. Please don’t take this as in any way defeatist, everyone at the club and I am sure every supporter will fight to the last and I believe that we will win through.
I am convinced that a new purpose built multi event stadium and academy, with supporting leisure activities, good road and rail communication and acres of car parking will provide the facilities and finance for sustained success and bring considerable inward investment and spend to Torbay. The Mayor and the Council are aligned in this vision and are both supportive and encouraging. So the ingredients are there, we just need to accelerate the pace and build momentum and support towards these major leisure developments.
I cannot say that our first 12 months has not been challenging, but I hope everyone can see that we have been up for the challenge and placed our effort and money on the line. I think we have brought stability, security and an attainable vision and come what may in the remainder of the season we intend to complete this project and deliver a sustainable and successful future for the Club.
So, let’s pull together and give Gary and his team our full support and encouragement for the battles ahead.
Torquay United Chairman