A message from the TUST Chairman following our Statement of 27th August
Following feedback and as a follow-up to the short note issued by the TUST board yesterday, I felt it was prudent to expand on the current position of TUST and its’ relationship with the club of late.
We have all been working very hard, much of this of necessity behind the scenes, towards protecting our club and preparing to be able to help build it back towards a position that the fans deserve, whilst juggling to maintain some diplomacy, and endeavouring to establish some critical and positive engagement with the owners. I acknowledge it has been a difficult task keeping our members informed of every action being undertaken by the TUST Board.
As you will no doubt be aware, we had a very positive meeting with Clarke Osborne (CO) in May where a commitment to meet with the TUST board on a regular basis was agreed. Since that time, he has not been present at any of our meetings held with club representatives although he was at the club when we last met (with representatives), but did not attend the meeting. This is clearly a position that has not gone unnoticed by myself or the TUST board as a whole and therefore we continue to review our approach accordingly.
We were made aware of the presence of CO and his team at the recent Mayor’s Forum and ensured we had a presence there to listen to the plans being discussed and to ask questions. We were offered a meeting by the CO team at the forum to discuss in more detail the proposed plans for the 'Torbay arena.' However, as yet, despite initial encouragement and a willingness to engage, the representatives have not arranged such a meeting despite the TUST board providing various dates to meet.
We note that letters to the club and CO concerning various issues such as: the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) national launch, members' questions and concerns, community outreach and Fanszone proposals have on the whole been unanswered, or responded to very slowly. We have, however, had a very good working relationship with the hard working staff at the club, as with Torquay United Sports in the Community Trust. The imminent Fanszone hub launch and the new trial 'club ambassador' run, being there to welcome, assist and talk to supporters at the entrances, is a good example of this. These are TUST led joint initiatives.
Meanwhile,we have successfully, up to now, lobbied our local politicians and councillors. This has been ongoing for a long time now. We have encouraged them to be aware of the facts and be vigilant in dealing with the future of TUFC, Plainmoor and any new stadium proposals.
Thirdly, on the wider front, we have been in constant dialogue with our national association, Supporters Direct and Football Supporters Federation(soon to merge). We have been receiving advice and support from the very top level continuously on how we should develop our strategy, and in preparing any future financial business plan if ever required. We have attended summits and conferences and networked with a number of league and non league clubs, who are friends of Torquay United and have shared experiences. The minutes of our meeting have reported on this. In fact, it might be worth reading the most recent ones, which we are at the point of sending out this week.
Finally, we have also, most importantly, been networking with, and obtaining feedback from, the local community. Not only with the loyal supporters at the ground, but also those that sadly, and maybe understandably, for various reasons attend no longer. As well, we have spoken to many people who have had significant experience of and leading roles in the past history of our club, for their advice and to receive their support. Furthermore, we have recently begun to engage with local businesses, and our signing up of 6 corporate members in the first few weeks of our new initiative has been very encouraging.Their names will appear in our new brochure, currently being finalised.
To remind you, our small team of board members and our working parties are working professionally and industriously, despite their own busy work and family commitments, and on a voluntary basis. The aim, as always, is to develop TUST's ability to be there to support, or seek to enable , the long term sustainability and good governance of our club in whichever way it is called upon to do so.
We do need your support, and appreciate every supporter who joins our cause and every member who contributes either financially or otherwise to our remit.
Kind regards, Michel