Torquay United new era is all feeling real ahead of fixture release

It suddenly feels real! These were the words of Torquay United co-chairman Michael Westcott as he watched the players being put through their paces by manager Paul Wotton on the 3G pitch at the club’s South Devon College training base on Friday.

Torquay will train at the college’s top quality training ground as well as use Buckland Athletic’s Homers Heath on Thursday evenings this season – and with a new manager in place, 16 players signed up, and new commercial deals being done left, right and centre, today there will be another forward when the National League South fixtures are released.

The club will learn who they will play on day one – Saturday, August 10 – and the rest of the forthcoming afternoon at 1pm. And that will add another layer of excitement before the hugely-anticipated first pre-season friendly against Buckland on Friday night.

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Westcott said it was hard work getting here, after he led the Bryn Consortium through the trials and tribulations of the takeover – but now he can see the fruits of that work blossoming almost on a daily basis.

“We have got players now, we have got a training ground, it’s fantastic seeing Paul so hands on; the whole back room staff is here, the training kit’s here – it all feels real now. It feels like we have got a football club up and running.

“It has been considerable work. We had all of the work when we were trying to bid to get the club, then we had all the diligence work once we were told we were in prime position, and then it was pretty frenetic for the first four weeks trying to get all the people in all the right jobs, putting support systems around Paul and Neil to allow them to really focus on recruitment – and also, in the background, look at how we could reorganise ourselves to better communicate with fans, to better engage with commercial sponsors and start learning the business of football.”

Westcott says he prefers to look forward, rather than back at what went wrong under former owner Clarke Osborne, but there has been a modicum of relationship fixing to do.

“Some may have felt a bit disenfranchised from the club because the club was previously focused on different things. And we sought to address that and if there were some bridges that needed to be repaired then we’ve worked really hard to do that.

“A prime example of that is, here we are sat at one of the pre-eminent sports facilities in South Devon, if not the best, world-class facilities, and we are here as a result of re-engaging and re-evaluating that relationship with South Devon College to allow Paul and Neil and their team to have access to the very best facilities we can provide locally. And at the same time, produce a road map and a foundational pathway for our youth development, which is something that the Bryn Consortium feels super-strongly about.”

Tickets for the game have been selling fast and fans wishing to get their first glance of the new Torquay United are advised to buy them online at Buckland Athletic’s website or via the link on Torquay’s website.

Westcott can’t wait. “We are gagging for football now,” he said, as training on the pitch wound down and the players were given a weekend off.

“We have been talking about football and getting our arms around the club but we are so excited for Buckland away. Really excited to see the players and the formation that Paul has got them playing.”