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TORQUAY UNITED CHAIRMAN SIMON BAKER: Still much to be done...

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

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I FEEL it is always worth looking back to see were you have come from in order to work out were you are going.

Roughly 2000 days ago we (the consortium, all of us Gulls fans and most born locally) bought Torquay United, a proud club that for the first time in 82 years found itself relegated to the Conference with just four players to its name, no youth set up, a grandstand about to be condemned and no mowing machine worth speaking of.

We have achieved promotion out of the Conference, been to Wembley twice and Old Trafford once. Now as we enter 2013 we are an established League Two club with a thriving youth department which has provided four of the current squad and has stopped the drain of local talent going to Plymouth and Exeter.

We have a magnificent new stand - Bristow's Bench - and some excellent ground-keeping equipment. This has been achieved through hard work and of course the financial input of the Bristow family. Thank-you Thea.

Now is not the time for patting ourselves on the back. There is still so much to be done and complacency is often the cause of failure.

We want to attract as many fans as possible to the club and the key to growth is increasing the number of supporters and getting the results on the pitch. These are interconnected.

We want to become an established League One team, but not at the cost of jeopardising the club. We are proud Torquay United has never been in administration.

We are in the process of establishing a really good training ground at Seale Hayne where we can also use some of the Premiership standard facilities of the Hannah Rogers charity.

This will help the team prepare, recover from injuries and also help in recruiting new players. For the supporters we are working with the public transport companies to make it easier to get to and from Plainmoor as we know parking is an issue.

We want to keep on improving the match-day experience, the new Big Screen is a part of this. Stewarding, refreshments, ticketing etc are all better but can still improve.

We want to establish supporters' clubs in the towns of South Devon so fans can get together and come to games together. We want to make coming to games affordable, but earn enough income so Martin Ling (manager) has a playing budget that allows him to compete successfully.

The list of projects is almost endless. We have achieved some of the bigger ones, but there is still so much to do.

If you are a regular thank you very much. If you have not been to Plainmoor for a while - or have never been - do come up. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised by the stadium and the quality of the football.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hopefully see you all on New Year's day when we entertain Wimbledon. Come on you Yellows!

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