Dear members, and fellow TUFC supporters,
Firstly, hoping this finds you all safe and well, 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us in different ways. Not least, the directors and staff at TUFC who have also had to deal with the numerous implications of the Covid restrictions, in order to keep our club functioning at the level it has achieved. I cannot go without mentioning the start that Gary Johnson and his team have made, and the apparent strength of the squad that our ownership has enabled to be built, has been so uplifting for I am sure all of us.
As we held our AGM last week, a complete summary of the minutes will be available to members shortly, I would like to thank those members who attended. There were pleasingly a number of exiles represented. I also wish to offer my gratitude to all of the TUST board for their support and continuing excellent voluntary work as a team, strictly following your remit, during the year. They are all completely committed TUFC supporters. We, as yourselves I am sure, just want our club to do well and have a long term future providing an important service within the fabric of our community.
If you read the following newsletter, we make them as brief as we can, you will obtain further information on our recent actions. We have had lengthy and useful meetings with TUFC, through Dominic Mee on behalf of the directors; maintained a positive and mutually supportive liaison with the Torquay United Community Sports Trust; likewise with the acting chair of the evolving Torquay United Supporters Club as well as with the Torquay United Women's team and kept in touch with the national situation, where it might relate to the well being of our TUFC.
This has included, most importantly, supporting the FSA in their 'Sustain the Game' and 'Let fans in' (when safe) campaigns; the lobbying of government and our local MPs to include non-league and grass roots clubs in any Covid survival package; communicating the need for the government proposal to initiate an 'Independent Fan-Led Review of the future governance of football' as soon as possible. Indeed, as well as receiving positive responses from our MPs, we also received a lengthy one from the parliamentary secretary for Digital, Media, Culture and Sports. The Parliamentary debate for this governance review to be launched as soon as possible received unanimous support from all parties!
Looking forward to seeing fans in football grounds again, and wishing TUFC well in the difficult task of making this happen.
Stay safe and well,
THE TUST IAN TWITCHIN TROPHY AWARDED TO KYLE CAMERON
This shield was provided by TUST in memory of our long serving, local legend and is fittingly awarded to the player who makes the most appearances during a season. Unfortunately, as you all know, last season was cut short but we were delighted to present the second award to Kyle Cameron whose name will be added to the previous winner’s, Liam Davis. We hope to arrange a further presentation to Kyle when supporters are able to return to Plainmoor next year.
25th November 2020
This year’s AGM was held virtually via Zoom due to the Covid restrictions. We were uncertain how many members would choose to attend in this way but were pleased with the turnout which included a number of exiles who would not normally be able to attend a local meeting. We hope that in future years we will be able to offer the opportunity for our distant members to attend virtually.
The Chairman opened the meeting with a detailed summary of the trust’s activities during the past twelve months including its community outreach, political engagement, business partnerships, press coverage, meetings with the Club and involvement with supporter organisations both locally and nationally. He also referred to the current calls for a fan-led review of the governance and financing of football at all levels.
The Treasurer presented the profit and loss accounts showing a turnover of £10,401 and an operating surplus of £5,442. In accordance with TUST policy, up to 50% of this would be committed to community initiatives. The balance sheet showed total funds of £48,766.
Only four nominations had been received for the seven vacancies on the board, all being existing board members and they were therefore duly elected for a term of two years without the need for a ballot. It was noted that the board was keen to attract new members, particularly from under-represented groups such as exiles, females and younger supporters. We are also seeking someone with marketing experience to join our dedicated team.
Report of the board
Nick Brodrick, board member with responsibility for Supporter Liaison, provided a detailed summary of his activities during the year which included his weekly column for the Herald Express and surveys of all National League clubs in respect of season ticket refund policies and streaming services.
Nick referred to TUST’s continued liaison with local MPs and councillors, national football organisations and the formation of the Devon Supporters Trust Group which was hoping to expand to cover the South West region.
He updated members on the improved relationship with the Club, indicated by the willingness of its directors to engage with TUST via regular meetings with Dominic Mee, the Club’s Media and Supporter Liaison Co-ordinator. He had recently requested an interview with Clarke Osborne to mark his fourth anniversary of ownership and was awaiting an answer.
Rob Burkitt gave a summary of TUST’s activities on social media and its website.
Robin Causley reported on TUST’s community outreach programme. A strong partnership had been developed with the Torquay United Community Sports Trust (TUCST) and we look forward to building on this with new manager Matt Anthony. Robin also reported on the informal dialogue held with the fledgling Supporters Club and that there was a desire from both parties to work constructively together to compliment rather than duplicate their respective roles.
Rob Dickinson reported on the Torquay United Womens Football Club which is run independently from the main Club. TUST had formed a strong partnership to support the team as part of its community outreach remit.
There were a number of questions and suggestions from the floor including discussion about plans for a new stadium, the owner’s investment in the team (which was widely welcomed) and uncertainty over his long-term strategy. More openness around such plans was required if they are to be creditable. It had, for example, been many years since the last Fans’ Forum.
However, it was agreed that regaining league status was the absolute priority.
It was suggested that occasional, informal Zoom meetings for members may be welcomed by exiles in particular. It was agreed to pilot this in the New Year.
The Secretary noted that despite the year’s economic hardship and the fact that some fans may lose interest in a trust when the team is successful, TUST membership had actually increased.
The Chairman closed the meeting by thanking the board for all their hard work during the year and the attendees for their support and valued contributions. He concluded that we all want Torquay United to be a successful community focused club and one with a secure future and that lies at the heart of TUST’s remit
MEETING WITH CLUB REPRESENTATIVE
Members of the TUST board held their latest meeting with Dominic Mee, the Club’s Media & Supporter Liaison Co-ordinator, earlier this month. It was another useful discussion about matters of mutual interest and an opportunity to provide suggestions for improvements and raise supporters’ questions. Inevitably, some of the issues we want to get involved in are on hold during the current pandemic restrictions.
SUPPORT TUST - SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY