In the latest twist to the ownership saga at Torquay United, one of the oldest professional football clubs in the South-West, the Plainmoor outfit has been formally placed into administration following the appointment of administrators from Begbies Traynor.

Torquay has a rich history dating back to 1899 and spent eight decades in the Football League before relegation to the old Conference in 2007. The club did return to the EFL two years later but dropped back down in 2018.

Since then, it has been a sad story of a steady decline, on and off the pitch.

Former Yeovil and Bristol City boss Gary Johnson spent five-and-a-half years at the helm and did lead them back to the National League after relegation to the sixth tier, but the Gulls dropped down again last season and have endured a rotten campaign.

Former owner Clarke Osborne, who had given promises to build a new stadium, announced his intention to step away from the club on February 22 and Johnson left his post as manager.

Torquay United have been subsequently deducted ten points by the National League South, placing them into a perilous position, just five points above the drop zone with five games remaining.

The club statement said: “Scott Kippax, Neil Vinnicombe and Simon Haskew of Begbies Traynor have been appointed as joint administrators of Torquay United AFC Limited. They are legally advised by Robin Koolhoven of Stephens Scown LLP.

“The administrators said the appointment signifies a positive step towards transfer of ownership. A further announcement is anticipated within the next two weeks when the administrators hope to confirm that the Club’s future has been secured.  Creditors will be notified and can direct any queries to in the meantime.”

A further ‘supporter update’ issued from Plainmoor confirmed the club had “received firm bids from parties interested in purchasing the Club, and a further announcement is anticipated to be made within the next fortnight, when it is hoped that the Club will then be in a position to confirm that its long-term future has been secured.”

A consortium led by Torquay United Supporters Trust (TUST) and comprising a group of local businessmen announced their plans to launch a bid for Torquay United ownership last week, with the stated aim to create a ‘community-owned’ club for the future.

While that is the only declared bid at present, Torquay United were quick to issue their own statement after the TUST release, highlighting that there was more than one bid on the table.

The race for survival, on and off the pitch, has a few more twists and turns to take.  

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