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Torquay supporters make plea to owners as concerns grow over club’s future

Torquay United supporters make a desperate plea to their owners as concerns grow over the National League club’s future.

The financial statement was published last week, but it has left fans extremely worried, calling for commitment from those at the top as debts mount.

Nick Brodrick, who is the chairman of Supporters’ Trust, has urged to the club owner Clarke Osborne, to ‘confirm he is committed to the club’s future’.


The statement reveals that the debt of Riviera Stadiums Ltd was at around £4.2million as of June 2022.

His company Gaming International, bought Torquay around seven years ago, at a time the club was on the brink of going bust, going on to found Riviera Stadiums Ltd.

He also put in place a “Five Year Plan”, setting out a plan with hopes of getting the Gulls back in the Football League with a new stadium.

Osborne has invested over £2million into the club since coming in three years ago.

£300,000 was put into them in the first six months of their ownership, onto top of the £120,000 that they had given to the previous board a year prior.

By the end of the 2017-18 campaign (when they were relegated to the National League South), £1.4million was then put in to cover the losses of £959,000.

Osborne invested over £2million into the club by October 2019.

£300,000 was put into them in the first six months of their ownership, onto top of the £120,000 that they had given to the previous board a year before.

By the end of the 2017/18 season (when they were relegated to the National League South), £1.4million was pumped in to cover the losses (£959,000).

They were days away from administration, before clinching immediate promotion back to the National League in 2018-19, and things were looking on the up.

The councillors of Torbay voted against the idea and the Torquay owner told shareholders at an annual meeting a few years back that costs meant that the new build couldn’t go ahead, though he still remains in talks as he looks for an alternative site.

In 2019–20, Torquay finished 14th in their first season back in the fifth tier after the season was cancelled in March 2020 due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020–21, the Gulls were top of the National League between October and March before a poor run of form saw them miss out on automatic promotion by finishing 2nd and after a playoff semi final win, Torquay managed to beat Notts County 4–2 after extra time to set up a playoff final against Hartlepool, the showpiece finished 1–1 after extra time, but, Torquay lost out 5–4 on penalties.

Torquay made it back-to-back wins at the weekend in their bid to avoid the National League relegation zone after edging out relegation rivals Scunthorpe 1-0 at Glanford Park.

Lewis Collins got the only goal of the game with Gary Johnson’s side moving five points above the Iron, and to within three points of Gateshead and safety.

But in the same week, concerns remain with the owners an the latest finances statement emerges…

@tibsashton tweeted: “Owners committed only until end of 2024 season. How do you make Torquay United commercially sustainable when losing over £1m a year. No way to meaningfully change revenue streams other than going part-time.

“Any more comment from the owner only committed “into” the next season and the strategic plan. Lost over £1m for year to 30 June 2022.”

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Brodrick is concerned over losses of approximately £23,000 per week – in June 2022, and it has led to a rise in members of the Torquay Supporters’ Trust. 

They also want to gain clarity over if the club will relocate part-time if Torquay go back down to the National League South.

Nick Brodrick, chairman of the Torquay United Supporters’ Trust, said as per Devon Live: “We share the concerns of our members, who have been contacting us regarding the latest financial statement from the club, which shows an operating loss of around £23,000 per week. The total annual figure of £1.89m reflects the year up to June last year, so this is likely to have increased over the last nine months. We are also aware that the debt owed to Riviera Stadiums Ltd, the owners of Torquay United, now stands at £4.2m.

“Torquay United fans are rightly worried about the future of the football club and during the last month our membership has increased by 40, with over 20 joining in the past week. Given these worrying figures, now, more than ever, we need to hear from the owner Clarke Osborne to confirm his commitment to the future of the football club.

“In the meantime, TUST, while at this time having no desire to take over the running of the club, will do everything in its power to ensure that there is a sustainable Torquay United for thousands to enjoy for years to come.”

This is what Twitter users said as Torquay United supporters make plea to owners while concerns grow over the club’s future…

@SmoothinPedally: “The club’s Covid-hit Five Year Plan has fallen behind schedule”. What bloody plan? In other news, my 5-year plan to build my own rocket and fly it to the moon has also ‘fallen behind schedule’. #tufc

@tomd0312: Not good reading 🫣, statement from the board needed ASAP. #tufc

@alfiejackson92: Would love to hear the thoughts of @KieranMaguire

@The_bournes: A final push to make the council sell the ground maybe? The threat of them not backing the club past 2024 unless we generate more income. GI may claim the club is a more viable going concern in a new stadium. I doubt the council will want to lose the club altogether

@orchardsedge: The club is fucked

@jameschalk163: Osborne has been intending all along to fold the club this summer and sell the ground for development. This statement is the smoking gun.

@RichHeesem: This is very concerning news well done to @tibsashton for raising it. We do need some kind of comment from the owner. But we won’t get it. Please support the @TUSTCOYY as best you can #tufc

@chrisjballard: this is very not good. Needs comment from the owner, asap. But of course he’s saying nothing – so join the @TUSTCOYY

@DomRoman: The overall structure and planning has never been good enough. Youth systems closed and restarted when other teams have built their foundations on it, hardly any fees gained on player sales, no hospitality or facilities for fans built into bristows..amongst numerous other things!

@ferrarif50lover: Don’t you worry, Tobias, Osborne has ‘a plan’ to put the club on a sustainable commercial basis.

@Easters86: It’s why a new stadium actually makes sense in lots of ways. It’s just these clowns would never ever build it.

@HarryGoLocky: 200k gained from the FA Cup run that has seemingly vanished in to the ether

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