Torquay United Supporters Trust ready if bidders back out

Torquay United Supporters’ Trust chairman Nick Brodrick says they can be a safety net – just in case the administrators’ ‘preferred bidders’ can’t get a deal over the line before the National League AGM in June.

There has been silence from the administrators and their preferred bidders since Torquay ended their season with a 5-0 home win against Havant & Waterlooville on April 20.

The team secured its National League South status on April 16 when they beat Taunton Town 2-1 in Somerset – and there was a bit of a party atmosphere for the final game. But now the football is over it has all gone quiet, with the administrators still talking to the preferred bidders about taking the club on behind closed doors.

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Obviously there is a lot to be thrashed out after former owner Clarke Osbourne walked away in February and pulled Gaming Interntational’s financial lifeline. But there are concerns that these talks are taking too long - especially as the club needs to be out of administration before the National League AGM on June 8. It is imperative that a deal has been done with the as-yet unnamed bidders – or another party – by then, or the team may not be allowed to compete in the National South next season.

Brodrick, who was involved in a TUST/consortium bid led by businessman and Torquay fan Michael Westcott, which did not get ‘preffered bidder’ status, said: “Once they have declared who they are we would love to have a conversation with them. And if for some reason the due diligence throws up something which causes them to back out or whatever, then I know that Michael Westcott and his investors and TUST would be willing to step in and,well, save the day.”

Rumours persist online that craft beer giants Brewdog are the preferred bidders, but it is more likely to be a consortium of South West business people that includes people already working at the club. Chief executive officer George Edwards and director Mel Hayman are continuing their voluntary work at Plainmoor into the close season.

The wait for more news might be frustrating for the fans, but for interim manager Aaron Downes and the players that ended the season with the club it could be career defining. Fans are split but many would like to see Downes given the chance to lead the Gulls as a full time manager, after his short spell in charge following the exit of Gary Johnson. And players are bound to be looking elsewhere for contracts with Torquay unable to offer any at the moment.

Torquay’s under-18s team won their third Gary Else Memorial Cup in a row when they beat Bridgwater United 3-0 at Plainmoor on Saturday – but none of those players can be signed on first-year professional contracts until a deal is done. It would be a shame if the club misses out on the likes of Jacob Wellington and captain Liam Poole if they are tempted by offers from elsewhere before Torquay are out of administration. Wellington made his debut league debut as a 17 year old in the last game and set up Arkell Jude-Boyd for his goal.

However, at least two of the youth players who helped pull off a brilliant League and Cup double are believed to have decided to sign for other clubs already, as Torquay continue to be in limbo. It is fair to say that silence is not always golden at Plainmoor.

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