Paul Wotton favourite to be named new Torquay United manager

Truro City manager Paul Wotton has emerged as a leading candidate to become the new Torquay United manager, with Neil Warnock becoming a ‘football advisor’ at the National League South club.

Wotton, 46, captained both Plymouth Argyle and Southampton during a 21-year career before becoming a coach at Home Park. He was named the manager of Truro in 2019 and guided the Cornish club to the Southern League Premier Division South play-offs in 2023 to win promotion to the National South. In the same year. Also in 2023 Truro was taken over by Cornwall Rugby League owner Eric Perez and Wotton signed a new ‘multi-year’ contract.

Last season Wotton managed to keep Truro in the National South with a budget significantly lower that most of the teams in the division - despite playing their final home games at Gloucester City, 200 miles from the Cornish city, before a planned return to the Duchy next season.

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In the final weeks of the season, both Truro and Torquay were in danger of dropping into the Southern League - but Wotton kept Truro safe, as Aaron Downes kept Torquay safe.

Former assistant to Gary Johnson, Downes was Torquay’s interim manager after Clarke Osborne walked away from the club in February, and Johnson stepped down. Downes kept the team up after the club was handed a 10-point deduction (because Torquay had filed an intent to go into administration) and it lost another point after playing suspended defender Ross Marshall in a draw at Weymouth.

Downes was reluctant to talk about his hopes of becoming the manager at Torquay under a new regime during the season, but after it was over he spoke about the oddity of the situation.

“It is definitely unique for me at the moment because usually you know one way or another if you are being retained or released,” he said. “But these are the circumstances we are in, we understand, and I have said all along we have to have patience and respect for the process.

“The most important thing is the club is put first and whatever happens we have played our part in keeping the club in the division. We know we have just got to have a bit of patience with the powers that be - and once everything has been sorted out we can hopefully move forward.”

However, since Friday’s announcement that the Bryn Consortium, led by businessman Michael Westcott, has agreed a deal to buy the club, speculation has been rife that it will be Wotton who is the next manager, not Downes Westcott confirmed to Radio Devon this weekend that former Torquay and Plymouth manager Neil Warnock, who has managed teams in the Premier League during a long career in some very hot seats, will be a football advisor, after the 75-year-old watched the last three home games of Torquay’s season from the directors’ box.

Now, with Wotton being tipped to join him, there will be a lot of hard work to do to put together a squad capable of starting the National South season strongly, in order to get the club back into the National League.

Whether Torquay will remain full time in a majoritively part time division is another one of the big decisions the new owners will have to make. But one player being tipped for a return is former captain Luke Young, who was released by Wrexham after they won promotion to League One last season.

Midfielder Young was a fans’ favourite at Torquay between 2014 and 2016, before moving to Wrexham where he played a big part in their return to the Football League under Hollywood owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. However, would the player, at 31, want to drop down from League Two to the National South when he is sure to be of interest to teams playing in the leagues above?

Westcott said in an interview with DevonLive on Friday that there would be a series of updates for fans this week - probably starting with who the manager will be. Watch this space.

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