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  • Writer's pictureTUST

June Newsletter

Chairman's Comments

Dear members and supporters, Firstly, hoping that all of you and your loved ones have managed to stay well and safe during these past few difficult months, furthermore that those with concerns about their work and businesses may soon see some light at the end of the tunnel. Looking forward to the day when we can all meet together again at Plainmoor and at Gulls' away matches around the country. The club's response to the pandemic lockdown has been in my view positive, I am sure providing reassurance for many supporters. The ongoing regular connectivity with the supporter community by TUFC, Dominic Mee, Gary Johnson, the players and key staff members has been very welcome. Moreover, our directors reacted to the onset of the lockdown swiftly and, in my view, correctly. Since then, the club has also shown some commitment in funding our manager to offer new contracts to a significant number of last year's developing squad as well as making further improvements to the pitch. However, it would be really a positive move for supporters to hear more regularly and directly from our chairman and owner, albeit through his directors which he often prefers. Furthermore, to have direct contact with TUST in order to see how we can move forward in supporting the long term future of our club. Gary Johnson's recent interview surrounding the cranking up of our youth operation is of particular personal interest, being involved in Torbay and District Schools F.A. football for many years during my career as a primary school sports teacher. I have always taken an interest in our local talent being nurtured by their home town club, having had a lot of involvement with people such as Paul Compton, John James, Frank Prince etc. who shared a mutual interest in the club helping develop local young footballers through their hometown team. I have myself seen so many make the grade during the times when a sound infrastructure was in place, as well as seeing many potentials lost due to various reasons. This can prove to be the lifeblood of a lower league football club. I do hope the club perseveres in the good work of creating an infrastructure whereby parents of local children make the choice to join the Torquay United set up in preference to other good youth development schemes from outside of the area. Finally, our excellent TUST team has been keeping very active, via emails, phone calls, virtual meetings and bulletins during these challenging times. They also, particularly the media team; our Supporter Liaison Officer via the Fans’ Zone column in the Herald Express and our secretary have continued to regularly update you and ourselves not only on local, but also on national  matters that may possibly be of  future significance in some way to our club. Meanwhile, we have been keeping in touch with other stakeholders, such as our local community leaders and business fraternity; The Devon Supporters Trusts group; The National Non-League Council; with the recent government football related initiatives and not least the Football Supporters Association (FSA). Of course, you have been able to read about these actions in our bulletins and monthly minutes' summaries. Looking forward to returning to watch live football again and supporting my local team! Stay safe and well everyone, Michel Thomas

Summary of June board meeting

Future financing of football - the Damian Collins MP proposals

The board, having previously considered and endorsed this proposal which has the backing of a number of politicians and the FSA,  had written to the three local MPs seeking their support on behalf of local, community based non-league clubs. The Chairman reported on his recent telephone conversation of well over an hour with Kevin Foster MP regarding this and other football / TUFC related matters including the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill and the proposed suspension of the current Football Creditors Rule.  KF had indicated his support for the core ideas of the proposals.  He was interested to hear of TUST’s own work on its strategic plans and recognised the importance of the Club to the wider community in The Bay, not only those who attend games. The Secretary reported that he had also received a written response from Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes, indicating his support for the Collins’ proposals and for TUST. Press and media coverage

Nick Brodrick was congratulated on his regular Fan Zone articles for the Herald Express which presented an opportunity to get TUST messages out to the wider public as well as other football related topics. It was noted that the free Torbay Weekly paper was also providing extensive coverage of TUFC matters including regular interviews with Gary Johnson and articles by former manager Colin Lee and long standing reporter, Dave Thomas.  It was felt that the community focused Torbay Weekly may provide a significant challenge to the monopoly of the long established Herald Express. Nick noted that the Torbay Weekly had run a couple of items after he had included them in his own Herald Express column including the latest announcement that the Torbay Weekly would be running a Player of the Season ballot on behalf of the Club.  There was no mention of this on the Club’s own media at the present time.  Neither had there had been any announcement from the Club on the subject of curtailed Season Tickets, another issue raised by Nick.  Premiership clubs had advised their season ticket holders of plans for refunds or discounts on future tickets but it wasn’t clear what other National League clubs were doing.  It was agreed that Nick should survey them. The Chairman reported that he had attended the virtual curry night with Gary Johnson in attendance and had used the opportunity to flag up the Damian Collins proposals.  He had also had informal conversations with Andrew Candy of the Official Supporters Club and Dominic Mee, the Club’s Media & Supporter Liaison Officer covering various subjects of mutual interest.  The latter had promised to pass on his comments to the directors. Radio coverage

At the suggestion of a TUST member, clarification had been sought from the Club about any contingency plans to provide radio coverage in the event of the new season starting behind closed doors, perhaps in partnership with BBC Radio Devon. Ian Twitchin Trophy 2019/20

As the season had drawn to a premature finish, it was decided that the ITT should be awarded to Kyle Cameron as the player with the most appearances. It was decided to seek the Twitchin family’s views on how the presentation should take place and, if they wished, an approach would be made to the Club to see if it could be included in the presentation of the Player of the Season and other awards. Torquay United Community Sports Trust

TUCST had reported that it had remained busy and financially viable during the lockdown period.  They were planning for the coming season and looked forward to the continuing partnership with TUST. The board noted the work done by Jamie McInnes and his colleagues in the community during the current crisis and congratulated them on this which reflected well on the good name of TUFC. Torquay United Women’s Football Club

The TUWFC committee had written to confirm that TUST’s recent financial support had allowed  the team to complete its fixtures until lockdown intervened, therefore enabling the team to retain its status in the Women's national football league pyramid.  Reference was made to TUWFC’s new commercial brochure.  The board agreed that it would be happy to promote this in order to help the team gain the sponsorship needed: Strategy Team

The board received notes of the Strategy Team meeting held on 4th May and a verbal update on actions taken since.  Nick Brodrick was thanked for contacting other trusts with a survey on the implications of the Covid pandemic and their fund-raising experiences and the Secretary summarised the responses which would now be considered by the team as part of the on-going planning process. Nick also advised that a virtual meeting of the Devon Supporters Trust Group was being arranged shortly.


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