Ambitious consortium want Torquay United back in the Football League

A consortium of ambitious South West business people are believed to be talking to torquay-united-fc>Torquay United’s administrators about taking the club back to the Football League within a couple of years – after the team secured its National League South safety last week.

The ‘preferred bidders’ are currently going through a phase of due diligence and the final sale of the club might not happen until mid-May – but the secretive consortium is understood to want a return to the National League in year one, and the EFL in year two.

That is exactly the kind of message fans would want to hear from any new owners, despite the possible continued involvement of chief executive officer George Edwards, and current director Mel Hayman, who many supporters feel are an unwanted link to the former owner Clarke Osborne.

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It was a lack of information under the previous owner that fostered a divide between fans and boardroom – and now a new period of radio silence is feeding a hungry rumour mill that has already linked owners of craft ale giant Brewdog and nationwide retailer The Range to bids for the club.

But with the more likely scenario being a group of South West business people, coupled with current and former directors, fans may have to wait until the middle of next month to hear promises of a return to the EFL that might balance out any continuity from the Osborne era.

Interim manager Aaron Downes has asked for patience, while not even knowing if he will be offered a job. So, in the meantime, Downes and the squad – only one player is believed to still be under contract for next season – would be foolish not consider offers from elsewhere if they come.

Talking to the Herald Express on Monday, Downes said: “It is definitely unique for me at the moment because usually you know one way or another if you have been retained or released. But these are the circumstances that we are in. We understand and I have said all along we have to have patience and respect for the process.

“We have just got to honour that and be patient and the most important thing is the club is put first. Whatever happens, we have played our part in keeping the club in the division and now we have just got to have a bit of patience with the powers that be that they make the right decisions. And then once everything has been sorted out we can hopefully move forward.”

The players finished the season in style after winning 2-1 at Taunton in midweek when they beat already-relegated Havant & Waterlooville 5-0 in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 at Plainmoor. Downes said he thought fans “got their money’s worth” when goals from Brad Ash, Austen Booth, Will Jenkins Davies (two) and Arkell Jude-Boyd added up for the win, with Torquay 4-0 up by half time.

Downes said: “We wanted to give people something to go home happy about and to end the season on a high. The season has not been how we would like, but the boys have put in a great performance today.

“We could have had 12 comfortably, we could have had a lot more goals. It was a superb performance and hopefully it sends everybody home happy. It has put a little bit of a gloss on the end of the season and we can hopefully start moving forward and we can start to look up and look forward now to the future with a bit of positivity.”

Downes added: “Everyone’s situation is very similar, we are in an uncertain environment right at this current stage. We spoke to the players and I have just asked for honesty and respect from them, and I’ll do the same to them. As soon as I know anything I’ll be speaking to them and vice-versa.

“The players have been so focused on the club situation and now they can shift their focus to themselves. So, fair play, they deserve that because they have put a lot of dedication and self-sacrifice to the cause. But now they need to focus on themselves a little bit.

“I’ll hopefully be a sounding board and a guide for them. A little bit of patience and we will soon see where we are at. I know the club is doing everything it can to get things sorted as quickly as possible.”

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