TUST Chairman’s Statement

We have been aware for some time of the growing desire of our members, and many supporters, to obtain more clarity as to our owner’s long term plans, which could move the club in many directions. We also believe that now, in the interests of our club and Mr Osborne himself that transparency and communication from the owner are vitally important. This is critical in not only maintaining the confidence and support of the fan base and community as a whole, but whichever league we find ourselves in next season there will be a need for him to assess the viability of whichever plan he intends to follow for TUFC in the short, medium and longer term. We are willing to work with Mr Osborne and help him accordingly if we believe these plans are aligned to our own mission statement of “ensuring the long term sustainability of Torquay United Football Club”

To this end we have already, through emails, letters and via our monthly structured meetings with senior representatives at TUFC requested face to face meetings. So far, we have only had written communication which has previously been published to members. All contact has been through our local meetings with senior club representatives.

We have acknowledged that Mr Osborne has committed to funding full time football next season, whichever league we find ourselves in. Also, that he is supporting improvements to the training ground at Seale Hayne, whilst searching for a new location. We feel there is a good line of communication with the club locally and an increasing willingness to work together with all bodies associated with the club. The Premier League Fans Grant being an example and a catalyst for some of this work.

However, we feel this alone is no longer sufficient.

At our latest meeting last week we made it clear that we thought, at this juncture, a face to face meeting was now imperative in the interest of the ‘stakeholders’, the supporters and in sustaining support and regaining positivity for the future. A further request has therefore been made through the club to arrange this.

If there proves to be any further problems in arranging this face to face meeting we will approach Mr Osborne directly and will also offer to travel and meet him at a more preferable location if this is more convenient in view of his other business commitments. We are keen to remove any such barriers to a meeting.

We acknowledge that Mr Osborne is first and foremost a businessman, but whatever your objectives are it is always productive to engage with stakeholders, interested parties and customers alike.

As a significant proportion of the supporter base are now members of TUST and with numbers increasing, we feel it is only right for all parties that we should engage with Mr Osborne. Whilst we appreciate his approach to ownership may be different to others and his privacy in respect of business interests there exists no “normal” board structure for us to engage with and hence we believe there is no alternative to such a direct approach.

We are keen to stress at this point that nothing should detract from matters on the pitch. Unless we are mathematically relegated to the National League South, all efforts should be directed towards supporting the team. But, as the TUST board we are aware of our commitments to members and our independence. To be clear the overriding point is that we remain the “Critical” friend of the club. We must keep our focus on the long term picture as well as the short term on-pitch issues. Please rest assured, this continues to be the case.

When a meeting has been arranged, we will inform you, and of course of the outcome. We will also encourage our members to send us specific questions they would like us to include.
Michel Thomas
pp. TUST board

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