Contact With Clarke Osborne
As previously reported, we have been pressing for a face to face meeting with Mr Osborne for some time. We have long held the view that it is essential as a trust representing the views of a large proportion of the Torquay United Supporters that we engage directly with Mr Osborne in order to open up a line of communication, given the absence of a local board of directors. Constant speculation as to the long term plans of the owner is damaging to the club and the community. If we can gain access to Mr Osborne to get to understand his position and perhaps help and influence his course of action then that can only be a positive move.
I am therefore pleased to report that yesterday, I managed to make contact with him directly by telephone for the first time. As a result, I was able to have a lengthy conversation lasting for around an hour. The call was not expected by Mr Osborne and therefore it was particularly pleasing that he was willing to give me such an amount of time without prior notice. I am pleased to report this conversation was personable, yet honest and frank from both of our perspectives.
This initial dialogue has enabled me to clear up some misconceptions he had regarding TUST. It provided me with the opportunity to outline our aims, role and remit as a trust. It was also clarified, to some extent, as to the way we feel we can help our club, but with the common aim of securing it's long term sustainability aligned with good governance. It was also pointed out in detail that we have considered the many possible future scenarios for our club, without as yet knowing for sure which one will manifest itself, ranging from a clear new stadium plan to the unthinkable position of administration.
Mr Osborne is also now aware that we actually have a very comprehensive understanding of the economic implications of running a football club, and that we have a team of very professional members, contacts and football organisations who would be more than willing to assist us in helping our club if there ever, regrettably, arose a time of necessity due to an untenable crisis. We sincerely hope that this never comes to fruition.
He remarked that he has received very positive and encouraging feedback from the club's senior staff in relation to the structured dialogue held between TUST and the club locally through our joint monthly meetings. Also, he was very enthusiastic with the joint community outreach initiative we are progressing with the backing of the Premier League Fans Foundation.
To conclude, Mr Osborne has agreed to meet us, members of your board, for a face to face meeting in the next few weeks, when he anticipates being in the area. We will inform you, when we have arranged an exact date at which point we will invite your feedback (please feel free to email us, or talk to us), in order to reflect and pass on the consensus of your opinions to him. I would imagine that this meeting, hopefully, will take place at the end of the season when our league position will have been confirmed. Although realistically, and sadly, it may well have been by the time you get to read this!
In summary, we are encouraged to have taken an important step at this time to engage directly with Mr Osborne. I have made it clear that we have no hidden agenda. We are solely interested in ensuring the long term sustainability and future for our beloved club and a path back to where we belong on the footballing ladder.