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A BRIGHT YELLOW FUTURE


A BRIGHT YELLOW FUTURE


The last five weeks have been an incredibly stressful time for all supporters as we face the very real possibility that our beloved football club could cease to exist.  


As far as we are aware, the option of somebody being prepared to single-handedly shoulder huge losses going forward is not on the table.  But after a period of intense work behind the scenes, TUST is pleased to announce an exciting proposal which it believes will lead to a bright, sustainable future for the club if our bid is successful.


Since Clarke Osborne’s announcement of his withdrawal from the club on 22nd February, we have been in discussions with several potential owners.  We are now working in partnership with a consortium of passionate businessmen who are all long-standing supporters. Together, we are of the opinion that it is possible to rescue the football club. 


With this in mind we have submitted a bid, as a TUST-led consortium, to take on the ownership of Torquay United. The objective of the partnership is to create a successful and sustainable fan-owned club with a sound, sensible financial foundation.


Initially, the club would become partially fan-owned, with TUST being the vehicle for this fan ownership, and the remaining shareholding being held by a group of investors who are experienced business professionals or successful entrepreneurs. 


It is our hope and ambition that by the start of next season, the fans would own half of the club.  It is important to note that the long-term vision of both the investors and TUST is that the club ultimately becomes 100% fan-owned.


TUST have access to the Forever Yellow Fund, which currently stands at £60,000, some of which will form part of the required funding for us to “buy into” the club alongside the investors. 


As fans we will need to raise further funding over the next few weeks, approximately £150,000 as a minimum, to fulfil our obligations as part of the partnership to stabilise and reset the football club. We envisage that this will happen through a Community Share Issue but will confirm the details of this in the coming few days. 


The consortium believes the fund-raising target is both realistic and achievable, given the precedent set by other clubs who have found themselves in our position. Examples include Hereford FC, whose supporters’ trust raised £289,000 for 50% of their club in 2022, as well as Newport County, who raised £195,000 in under four weeks in 2015.


The business and investor group working alongside TUST is led by Michael Westcott, a life-long fan and season ticket holder with strong family ties to the club.  He is joined by fellow fans Mark Bowes-Cavanagh, Simon Robinson, Andrew Beaulieu and Tom Allen.  Joe Lovell has also joined the working group to help develop the strategic plans to secure the immediate future of the club. The group will draw upon their considerable business and commercial experience and a variety of skills and expertise to ensure that we can move forward in a sustainable and community-led fashion.


The consortium members would be contributing a considerable sum to kickstart the project.  We should stress that the people involved are genuine fans and are not in this for their egos, personal gain or any reason other than a desire to save the club and build a brighter future.  Indeed, they have no expectation of a return on their investment. The consortium group is by no means a closed shop, and so should anyone reading this also be willing to help, please contact TUST and we will introduce you to the group. 


Implementing a sustainable model 

Fundamental to plan is a belief that the existing cost structure of the Club is unsustainable at National League South level.  


The consortium has identified several areas where services and engagement with both supporters and the local business community can be significantly improved. We strongly believe that the promise of “a club owned by us all” provides a great incentive to leverage the benefits of human capital through the work that volunteers can do. 


Our friends at Exeter City and other community-owned clubs have seen the rewards from this in practice. In addition, with the knowledge and business experience of the investors, the group are developing a new commercial plan for immediate implementation to improve commercial revenue streams to strengthen the financial position of the club while improving the match-day experience for all. 


To achieve the long-term plan, it will be necessary for changes to be made as to how the club operates and is managed both on and off the field.  The new Board and its advisors will work to agree a realistic budget for next season and to deliver the group’s business plan over successive seasons in the medium-term. 


At this stage the above is only a high-level summary of the TUST led consortium’s vision.  But all involved believe that it can deliver a major upturn in the club’s future and lead to a stronger, sustainable, fan-owned and community focused football club.


We will, of course, be providing more detail if our bid progresses to the next stage and will consult TUST members before making a final commitment to this proposal. The TUST board are confident that it offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and will be supported by the vast majority of you.  


Finally, it must be noted that if our bid is successful the completion of this proposed acquisition of Torquay United is subject to the satisfactory completion of full-scope due diligence and approval of football authorities including the National League and the Football Association.







 


SUPPORT TUST - SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY


 





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