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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 17/11/2023




It has certainly been an interesting week on and off the pitch in the story of Torquay United with an embarrassing home defeat to Somerset rivals, Yeovil Town, a fans’ forum and a welcome away victory to steady everyone’s nerves.

Let’s deal with matters off the pitch first. Through the club’s unwillingness to grant the request to hold a fans’ forum it fell upon TUST to organise one which took place a week ago at the Livermead Cliff Hotel. Around 150 supporters followed the session either in person or virtually with the overriding concern being the lack of communication from the directors and particularly the owner about his plans.

The promises Clarke Osborne made on acquiring Torquay United Football Club are well documented, none of which sadly have transpired. That the plans for the future of the club are shrouded in mystery creates a void which, in this day and age of social media, leads to all kinds of speculation.

And of course references are made to Gaming International’s track record of taking over sporting venues, promising new stadia without ever actually building any. Torquay United Football Club is currently owned by the majority share holding of Riviera Stadium Ltd.


The events of last Wednesday’s forum leading to a motion for a peaceful sit-in protest which was carried unanimously resulted in the club issuing a statement.

This statement generated immediate media interest not just from the Torbay press but the local news programmes on ITV and BBC who both featured the story last Friday evening and Radio Devon on their Saturday pre-view programme.

The statement contained a personal attack on myself which was at best both unfortunate and inaccurate. It would be good to think someone at the club could reflect on the wording and issue a retraction and an apology.


TUST was pleased that Torbay MP Kevin Foster made it back in time from Westminster to join the meeting along with a representative from the Exeter City Supporters Trust as they celebrate their 20th year running their club.

And since the meeting and the subsequent statement there has been a surge in TUST membership with around 50 new members signing up.

Due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas the idea of protests is very much in the national news and whilst it is every citizens’ right to protest these should be peaceful and lawful and this is what was stipulated at the fans’ forum.

For there was a proposal, which was carried, for a sit-in following the home National South fixture with Tonbridge Angels.


There were other significant football events last week when, in the King’s Speech, Charles III told those assembled that ministers will establish an independent football regulator who will give fans more power over their clubs. This legislation will safeguard the future of football clubs.

Clubs in the top five tiers will all have to apply for a licence to continue operating in England and Wales so that means that Torquay’s current league status (tier 6) excludes them from being eligible.

The legislation will introduce tougher owner and director tests for clubs to address what the Government calls “growing concerns about financial mismanagement.”

Tracey Crouch MP who led the Fan-Led Review commented, “…it is important that measures are put in place to ensure the national game is fit for the future.”


On the pitch the Plainmoor faithful were simmering down from Tuesday’s unacceptable loss to runaway league leaders Yeovil Town who put on a five star display reminiscent of some of Gary Johnson’s earlier sides under his management with slick, fast attacking football. That Yeovil only scored three was a relief and a surprise - as their manager Mark Cooper said afterwards - but it was their 12th consecutive victory.

So, it was on to bottom club Havant & Waterlooville, with only one win all season and that over Yeovil, on Saturday. United’s syndrome of only playing one half was in evidence and it seemed to need divine intervention over half time, with manager Gary Johnson giving what he referred to as “a sermon”, to jolt his team into action which saw the introduction of recently signed sub keeper Filip Chalupniczak.

And what a fillip he turned out to be saving a penalty to deny the home side an equaliser.

Fortunately new loan signing Theo Williams and Brad Ash saved United’s blushes as they came away with three much needed points …but still remain ten points behind Yeovil. New signing Ethon Archer had the Yellow Army all a quiver with an impressive debut.


Non- League Crowd Watch: Chesterfield 9,667, Oldham 6,418, Scunthorpe 4,195, Dulwich Hamlet 3,334, Yeovil 3,162 and Macclesfield 3,002. The magic of the FA Cup continued this week with these key replays for non-league sides: Grimsby v Slough Town, Horsham v Barnsley and Cray Valley Paper Mills took on neighbours Charlton. Predictably, the league sides all won but for the losers it was a great pay day.

United’s Under-18s had a 2-1 league win over Bath City and on Saturday United’s first team take on Yeovil again this time in the FA Trophy.

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