There really is something good happening at Plainmoor these days

Every Wednesday in the Herald Express, our Torquay United correspondent Richard Hughes takes a sideways look at what's going on in the world of the Gulls. This week, he talks about Paul Wotton's unveiling as manager and that there is some hope at Plainmoor

Don’t expect miracles – but there really is something good happening at Plainmoor these days, and it is filling us all up with hope and positivity – the kind of which has been hard to enjoy in recent years.

Not just because it was held by the seafront at the Livermead Cliff Hotel, but the press conference to announce new manager Paul Wotton last week was like a huge breath of fresh air.

I stood and watched after the main talking had been done – and it was a lot to take in, really. Neil Warnock being interviewed by the wall above Institute Beach by BBC cameras, Paul Wotton talking to the new co-chairman; my old mate Guy Henderson chatting away to Michael Westcott. It was a hugely positive afternoon for all Torquay United fans, be they in the room or in most cases not.

Read More - Neil Warnock says Torquay United will 'give it a go'

Read More - Torquay United manager Paul Wotton reflects on week one in the job

The communication breakdown of the last five years is fixed, that’s for sure, with fans being kept in the kind of loop that they could only hope for in the Clarke Osborne years. Even just that little video of Wotton and Warnock sitting on deckchairs under umbrellas in the pouring rain was enough of a signpost to say: this is the new way, a different era, come and join us as we shape the future of our club.

I don’t particularly like the word – but Michael Westcott and his intrepid band of saviours want to be known as ‘custodians’ rather than owners. But, to be fair, I am happy to call them whatever they want (within reason, of course). But let’s perhaps take a step back and wonder – what might have happened if... The administrators clearly made a mistake in dismissing the Bryn Consortium the first time around. How did that happen?

The original preferred bidders cannot have had a better plan than these guys – but being disregarded did not stop Mr Westcott and his mates in keeping the pressure on the administrators and when talks broke down with the original preferred bidders – who, you will note, have never been revealed – he made sure the administrators were aware they were ready to re-engage.

Now, I am no businessman; nor do I pretend to understand the ins and outs of administration more than, well, an administrator – but come on guys, what were you thinking?

Michael Westcott talks a good game and I think we have all discovered he is slightly more approachable than the previous chairman. But the people who he has surrounded himself with seem all good people too. There are creative minds, business minds, leadership minds – and notably, no real estate, or closed minds. These people don’t want to sell Torquay United for housing, they just want to sell Torquay United to a wider audience, to grow the club and achieve success.

Pre-season is going to be ace, isn’t it? A first friendly at Buckland is perfect. I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again – Buckland is a lovely club and one that was possibly ignored a bit too much by the former owners of their bigger neighbours. One thing I can guarantee any Torquay fan going to Homers Heath in July – you will have a ball, and the food is brilliant.

But let’s not get too carried away. There is a danger of that I guess. Look at me – I am probably doing it now. Paul Wotton has one hell of a job on his hands – with only one player (we believe to be Austen Booth signed on) and a whole squad of the ‘right kind’ of players to put together pretty quickly. I expect Paul’s phone is pretty hot at the moment.

So maybe I should at least leave one criticism in each column, going forward, just to keep myself in check. Last week I said it would be churlish to point out that at the end of the Princess Pier video, Paul and Neil were walking out to sea instead of towards dry land.

And this week we were asked to vote for one of four new away shirts to be made by local company VX3. For me there was only one sensible choice, and Option 2 was indeed the winner, but only just, with 42.41% of the votes compared to Option 4’s 37.92%.

“The amazing response we have received is just another example of the passionate support Torquay United is blessed with, and we can’t wait to share more exciting kit news with you in the coming weeks,” said a statement on the club’s website.

However, I am not the only person to notice the palm trees on Option 2 are not Torbay palms, which is slightly annoying. Apparently the people who did the designs have been told and I am hoping that they might be able to do something about that.
Ignoring the fact that palms aren’t pink unless they are Disney, I insist on Torbay palms – pretty please.

However, in the scheme of recent things, over the five years – what do they say? If the wrong type of palm tree on a pink away shirt is all you have to worry about...

Get the best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you love here