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TUST News - Meet The New Chair

TUST NEWSLETTER


CHAIR'S WELCOME

Dear members,

For those of you who were unable to join us for our recent AGM let me introduce myself. Following Michel Thomas’s decision to step down, for personal family reasons, after five years in charge, I am very honoured to be taking over the chair.

At the AGM I thanked, on behalf of the board, Michel for his time in charge, moulding together a strong group of volunteers whose common interest is in the well-being of Torquay United.

Michel had the happy knack of allowing all of us to contribute to the debates and allowing the consensus of opinion to win the argument.

His knowledge of all things Torquay United is unsurpassed and his love and passion for the club is unbridled. If the club ever needed an ambassador to promote it Michel is your man.

I was pleased to be able to present Michel with a special glass trophy on behalf of the board.

I am a United supporter since 1965, my first match being that FA Cup tie at home to Tottenham Hotspurs and have been a season ticket holder in the Family Stand for almost 30 years. I have the dubious pleasure of sitting right below the directors’ box!

The current situation at the club is shrouded in mystery both on and off the pitch. The fortunes - or rather the mis-fortunes - of the team have a knock-on effect as to how fans perceive the ownership of the club.

Whilst we have no control over the actual football, we, as a supporters’ trust, are prepared for all eventualities should circumstances dictate and in the account of the AGM which follows this, you can see not only how busy we have been over the past year but also an insight into our planning preparations.

You will read of our recent partnership with the club funding VIP Treats for children with autism and other learning difficulties which started at the recent home game with Gateshead. We hope this may lead to renewing a meaningful relationship with the club’s directors.

And on that note, I wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Keep the faith and keep it Torquay United.

COYY

Yours sincerely

Nick Brodrick

AGM

At the meeting held on 24th November, the accounts for the year ending 30th June 2022 were approved and four board members were re-elected; Nick Brodrick, Rob Burkitt, Robin Causley and Rick Williams.


The following report was presented.


Report of the board


Michel Thomas, the chairman, thanked his fellow board members for their professionalism and willingness to give their time voluntarily to support our club and its community.


He summarized TUST’s activities during the year including its lobbying in support of the Fan Led Review and the visit by five board members to Westminster to meet Kevin Foster MP and Tracey Crouch MP, the report’s author.


Robin Causley, vice chair, informed the meeting of TUST’s on going dialogue with all three local MPs and leaders of Torbay Council.


Nick Brodrick gave a more detailed summary of the year’s activities including his meetings with George Edwards, Club CEO, which had ultimately resulted in the recently launched VIP Treats scheme to enable children with autism and learning difficulties to experience a match at Plainmoor. It was hoped that this initiative would open the door to better relations between the Club and TUST. He also referred to TUST’s support for the return of streaming of matches, the South West Supporters Trust Group and its contribution towards the Jack Leslie memorial in Plymouth.


Rob Burkitt advised the meeting of TUST’s social media activity during the year and its support for initiatives such as the provision of free sanitary products in the ladies’ toilets. He also explained TUST’s recent support for the Step One charity’s ‘walk and talk football’ scheme. Sam Druiff talked about the Talking Torquay podcast which he runs and its support for TUST.


Rob Dickinson reported on the progress of Torquay United Women’s Football Club which had gone from strength to strength during the year with sponsorship from TUST. This had culminated in an exciting victory over Exeter City in the TUST sponsored Devon Cup final in April and a successful start to the current season with the team reaching the second round of the FA Cup for the first time.


Bob Cole, who has been newly appointed as joint vice chair with Robin, gave an update on TUST’s continuing support for the Community Sports Trust including sponsorship of the new Junior Inspirations League for children with disabilities and the purchase of goals for the youngest age group Mini Gulls. He highlighted the importance of TUCST’s role in the community with its wide range of activities for all age groups and promoting the Club’s name.


Rick Williams, Secretary, gave a brief report on the work of the Strategy Team which is tasked with ensuring that TUST is as ready as possible to respond in the event of any unexpected change in ownership or circumstances at the Club. He explained the purpose of the contingency fund and referred to the good dialogue that TUST has with the local council.


He then presented a brief summary of the results of the recent membership survey. There had been 149 submissions which represented a good response rate of nearly 40% of members. The age profile was inclined towards older supporters with only 13% being under 35. Just over a third were season ticket holders.


There was good support for TUST delivering its core objectives although only 67% agreed that it was succeeding in promoting supporter influence in running the Club, which is not surprising given the lack of dialogue. 85% of respondents said that they believed TUST represented their views with none disagreeing.


The second part of the survey had asked about members’ match day experience. The overall rating averaged 5.7 out of 10 and the half time entertainment scored 4.9 out of 10. Worryingly, 21% of respondents stated that they had decided against attending a game because they couldn’t pay on the gate. Goal celebration music had a mixed response with 25% in favour but 58% against.


Finally, members had been invited to suggest ways of improving the match day experience and the most common themes had been improvements to the quality of catering and card payments for food, payment for admission on the gate, pre-match entertainment and children’s games at half time. There was also a lot of support for holding concerts at Plainmoor during the Summer and for allowing the women’s team to play on the pitch.


The survey results had only recently been received and the board had not yet had the opportunity to fully consider them.








 


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