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Torquay United rule out new signings after budget cuts

By This is Devon  |  Posted: October 02, 2010

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TORQUAY UNITED chairman Simon Baker has underlined the importance of the FA Cup as one way in which the Gulls could try to restore manager Paul Buckle's reduced budget this season.

Buckle revealed this week that his budget has been cut, a fact which Baker confirmed.

No figures have been released, but it's believed that Buckle has been operating on a budget of around £1million for some time.

The Gulls' boss still had some money unspent out of that figure, but the shortfall is not now available, at least for the time being.

It seems that more than £100,000 has been taken out of Buckle's budget.

He has described it as "a shock" and "a big blow", adding: "At this moment in time I can't add to the squad."

Baker said: "We are just being prudent, and Paul is now working on a reduced budget.

"It is less than last season's, although that budget was increased at Christmas last year.

"If we are able, either from a pick-up in attendances, commercially or from a Cup run, to increase Paul's budget and take it back up to the original level, then we will."

Cup revenue is nearly always a 'bonus' for any club.

United play a Johnstone's Paint Trophy Second Round tie at Swindon Town next Tuesday, but far more important will be the First Round of the FA Cup on November 7.

Buckle revealed: "At the start of the season, I'm given a playing budget to assemble a squad — it has been the same in the previous three seasons, and I've had no complaints over that.

"The board of directors have always been very good, and I have never gone over budget.

"I know how important the finances are to the club, and this season I decided to keep some money back for if, or when, the team needs some help.

"A couple of weeks ago I thought it might be time to add one or two new faces, but the frustrating part for me is now the budget has been cut, quite considerably, because of some financial restraints the club has off the field.

"It is disappointing, and it does change things, being that at this moment in time I can't add to the squad.

"The club has always been very fair with me, together we have done good things and I'm proud of that.

"Not just the success on the field, but because we all know how hard it is to run a football club, off it as well.

"You can't spend over your means.

"I have raised money through the sales of Matt Green and Mustapha Carayol, and it was hoped that I could then go and replace Scott Rendell, who was a big loss for us with 15 goals last season.

"A total like that needs to be filled.

"Basically, we need to try and push for even more support through the gates at Plainmoor because if you look at us, we have been at or near the top of the league this season, but the crowds haven't reflected that.

"We can't really generate extra money from 2,500 attendances, great though that support is.

"This budget cut has come as a shock to me, but the finances are so important, we have to have a football club and if we have restraints off the field, then they need to be addressed, it is as simple as that.

"I have to pay respect to that situation.

"We have our house in order on the pitch, there is value for money on the field.

"It would have been good to be able to support the squad right now, but if you look at a lot of the teams in and around us, they have more money than we do and bigger budgets to spend."

Buckle added: "I have a good relationship with the chairman and the board, I know the club inside out, I played for the club many years ago and I know the size of the club and the support base.

"It came as a surprise that my budget had to be cut, but that's life.

"I'm certainly not looking to go anywhere else.

"I have a big job to do here, it is a blow, but we will get on with things."

Baker commented: "We have been carrying out a full financial review of the club...but it has already flagged up that revenues as things stand will be down on last year.

"If you look at the first five home games this season, we are 1,700 spectators down through gates, and that equates to something like £15,000-20,000 which, when repeated over the season, will total around £100,000.

"Dean Edwards (commercial manager) has been doing a fantastic job...but it has been tough in the current economic climate to find sponsors, so commercial revenue also looks like it could be a tough time for us.

"There is no pressure on Paul to sell any players, although if a good offer came in, and it was right for the player, then we would, of course, consider it.

"We have put in place some cost-cutting measures, it is well known that the club lost £700,000 the year before last, and £600,000 last year by the look of it."

The record 2008-2009 deficit was given as the reason for the decision to part company with former chief executive Colin Lee in May.

And United are also preparing to replace Plainmoor's old Grandstand with a £1.5 million new development.

The project has just gone before planners at landlords Torbay Council, and the club hopes to start work next spring.

This afternoon Buckle sends his team out at Shrewsbury Town trying to halt a run of five games without a win.

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