TORQUAY United chairman Clarke Osborne today gave his first indication of the probable structure to a new five-year plan for the football club.
After addressing shareholders at the Annual General Meeting, Clarke spoke of his continued desire and determination to bring fresh enthusiasm, fresh facilities and a fresh approach to Torquay United.
Top of the list of priorities are a return to the Football League, enhanced fan experience and engagement, the development of our Academy and a sustainable outlook to the business as a whole.
“From our early involvement with the club, we became acutely aware of the potential for growth at Torquay United, and that potential largely stems from the passion and loyalty of the magnificent Yellow Army,” said Clarke.
“To achieve success, we must build a modern football business, engaging with supporters, partners and club stakeholders. We must embrace change to reach our goals and I appreciate change can sometimes cause controversy.
“Torbay as a community deserves a multi-purpose stadium capable of attracting new entertainment options, as well as becoming a new home for Torquay United, but I reiterate the point we have always made: nothing will happen to Plainmoor until a new stadium has been built and is ready for use by the football club.
“The first area to address in five-year plan will be our core business, which is success on the pitch, and it is our desire to aim for promotion back into the Football League as soon as possible.
“Long-term prosperity and sustainability for the football side of the business will also come from growing our Academy. I have been delighted with the work done so far and we now have a youth system again, with the desire to become a fully-fledged Academy. As part of that aspiration, we plan to open a purpose-built facility for the Academy by 2021.
“In order to enhance the experience of our supporters, we plan relocation to a new purpose-built stadium by 2020, with improved entertainment facilities, catering options and all that comes with a modern stadium.
“We have already worked to improve communication and engagement with supporters and the community, and we must keep making strides forward in this area, utilising surveys, questions for the club series and an open-door policy for everyone holding a connection to Torquay United to voice their opinions and ideas.
“From a financial perspective, we have to build a sustainable business model, working with a local Board of Directors appointed by September 2017 and providing a clear allocation of funding for investment, promotion and development.
“Finally, I would like to again place on record our sincere thanks to Thea Bristow. Without her generosity, loyalty and love for Torquay United are the reason we still have a football club to develop.”