Torquay United owner Clarke Osborne has confirmed that the club will remain full-time and professional whatever happens over the final six weeks of the season.
A courageous 1-0 Vanarama National League victory at Leyton Orient has set up a relegation showdown at Solihull Moors this weekend and Osborne has moved to confirm United will remain a full-time professional club, irrespective of the division they play in next season.
“Gary, his staff, the players and supporters have my congratulations for an excellent win at Leyton Orient,” said Osborne. “It was brilliant that 155 travelled so far from home on a Tuesday night. Radio Devon kept me on the edge of my seat during the whole of this very exciting game, with my anxiety levels spiking in the last two minutes when our defence almost conceded, and we were saved by the woodwork.
“I have heard suggestion, should we be relegated to the National League South, we will follow the norm and become a part-time football club. This will not happen; the club will remain full-time and fully professional, and will be funded for promotion.
“We have invested into a new youth system, stadium upgrades, the reorganisation and strengthening of management and systems, and the background work for major redevelopment of a new stadium and academy. This is not a plan for moving down a league and going part-time, this is a plan for the long-term sustainable success of Torquay United.
“There is constant speculation over my motivation and commitment to a club that is over two hours away and in a town where I have no other current or historic business interests. The simple answer, which I will repeat and take the risk of being boring, is that a friend asked me to help and took me to Torquay to look at the club and meet the board. I am a fan of football, still excited by the opportunities of building a leisure business and was enthralled by the history and people involved. I was happy to help and the rest is history, as they say.
“One of the people I met epitomises all that is fantastic about Torquay United. Thea Bristow and people like her were my motivation to be involved. She must be one of the UK’s special football fans and Torquay United is so lucky to have had, and continue to have, her support.
“The residents of Torbay and supporters of Torquay United deserve a club competing in the EFL, where much of the Club’s long history has been spent. The next generation of players deserve an Academy structure in which they can flourish. With hard work, determination and support from all parts of Torbay’s political and business communities, we will achieve this.
“Torbay deserves a quality stadium, capable of generating income 365 days of the year and it is on this cornerstone that all of us can make Torquay United a sustainable, successful club. This cannot be achieved by a part-time club.
“Now we travel to Solihull and what will no doubt be another compelling, and nerve-wracking, afternoon. The Yellow Army’s support can be the difference on Saturday. I thank every supporter for the brilliant dedication you continually show for your Club, which is the other cornerstone of Torquay United.”