Exeter City have experienced the pain and uncertainty of entering administration, so have Plymouth Argyle, and now Torquay United are on the brink of making it an unwanted hat-trick for Devon football.

Languishing in mid-table of the National League South and with spiralling costs, the Gulls have announced their intention to call in administrators.

Owner Clarke Osborne said in a club statement: “It is with sincere regret that I advise that circumstances beyond my control during the last five weeks have brought me to the position that I am unable to continue financial support for the Club and I have today filed on behalf of the Directors, an intention to appoint an administrator to the Club and Company.

“The prospect of creating a new stadium and commercial facility was the driver for the investment, the excitement to deliver something truly transformative for the Club and Torbay.

“I would reiterate what I have said many times, that Torquay United is blessed with fantastic, passionate support and I am sorry that we have not been able to reach our goal for the Club and fans, despite significant effort and investment.

“I would like to pay a personal tribute to both George Edwards and Mel Hayman who have worked tirelessly for this Club, voluntarily. Their selfless time commitment, and passion for the Club has been limitless despite some very difficult headwinds.

“I also pay tribute to the entire Torquay United family, the Team both on and off the field of play, for their hard work, commitment and in some instances on a voluntary basis.

“The financing of football in this country is precarious and can only thrive in the lower divisions where there is either a close collaborative relationship with the local authority, it is a trophy asset or is backed by substantial local individuals and businesses. I believe that it needs a fundamental overhaul of its financing structure, rights distribution in the lower leagues and recognition that many clubs represent a fundamental part of the local community and its visitor attractions. Ambitious Clubs should in my opinion be given special status in their push to bring in investment, develop facilities, bring spend and employment to the local economy.

“I have today stepped down as Chairman of the Board.

“Now is the time for the Club, supporters, Torbay community and the Local Authority to come together and continue on the path to the future. I will assist a change of ownership where and when invited. The detailed plans, proposals and related data for the proposed developments will be gifted to the Club as will any time requested to assist in the future planning and development.”

Any parties who would like to express their interest, are requested to email secretary@torquayunited.com

Within hours of the statement from Osborne, manager Gary Johnson also departed Plainmoor, ending his five-and-a-half year reign at the Torquay United helm.

Upon leaving the Club, Johnson issued the following statement. “After discussions with the Football Club, we have mutually agreed that I should leave Torquay United with immediate effect.

“I have enjoyed most of my tenure, but given the current situation, both parties agreed to part ways. I thank the players, the football staff, the office staff, as well as the Chairman & Directors for their support over this time.

“I wish the Club all the best for the future.”

In all the uncertainty of a turbulent 48 hours at Plainmoor, assistant manager Downes was put in charge of the team on an interim basis and he guided the Gulls to a 2-2 draw with Aveley in front of a bumper crowd, as Torquay fans showed their support for the club.

Plymouth Argyle, who are a shining example of a club that has emerged stronger from the administration process, recovered from two home defeats to secure an excellent 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough on the weekend, thanks to goals from Matty Sorinola and Ryan Hardie.