First of all we would like to welcome our new members to the Torquay United Supporters Trust. We are delighted to see a marked increase in the number of those who have joined us over the past couple of weeks in pursuit of our goal to help secure the long term future of Torquay United. We would encourage all our members to share and advertise the values and beliefs of our organisation to everybody, to continue to unite our supporter base. This is a very difficult period in the history of Torquay United and therefore uniting and retaining the supporter base has never been more important.
At the same time,we would also like to make a personal appeal to our members when discussing the obvious issues and problems with our beloved TUFC, that we refrain from using personal insults against members of staff at the club. We are trying hard to build relationships and work with the club locally and communication is key in ensuring the best outcome. As you will appreciate, any such actions only serve to make this task more difficult.
Letter to Clarke Osborne
You will be aware from previous communications that your TUST board recently wrote to Clarke Osborne to ask various questions regarding the current situation at the club. Your board made the decision not to publish this letter until such time as we had received a reply from Mr Osborne as this was felt to be the most courteous approach. We have now received a response and this letter together with a copy of our original letter is detailed in this Newsletter. There will be an opportunity to discuss the contents at our Special General Meeting (on Tuesday 30th January at the Livermead Cliff Hotel,Torquay @ 7pm). However, any members who cannot attend and wish to pass comment can email us at email@example.com where your views will be added to those of the attendees at the meeting prior to any next steps / further communication with Mr Osborne.
Special General Meeting (SGM)
We feel it is important to clarify one aspect of the SGM that has raised a few enquiries.Your board made the decision to arrange the SGM for our members only as opposed to the wider Torquay United supporter population. This was a conscious decision in order to listen to the views of our members who we have been elected to represent. We have received some very sensible comments from members and other supporters alike as to why we should instead open this up to non-members and their views are certainly valid. We have also received comments to the contrary as to why we should not! Therefore, we have decided to continue with this as a members-only event at the present time in order that we can use the meeting to articulate our current thoughts and actions, but most importantly to listen to our members whose subscriptions support the trust first and foremost. We have received many new membership applications since the weekend from supporters who have joined in order to attend the meeting. Indeed, we are very thankful to the various forums and their moderators for promoting TUST and to the volunteers before Saturday’s home game in raising awareness of TUST and for providing the necessary media for new members to join before next Tuesday and hence have their say.
We are certainly not discounting a further meeting with the wider supporter base, but it is important that we look to take things one step at a time in view of the current TUST infrastructure we have in place. We are aware that Devon Live have incorrectly published an article today stating that “prospective” members can attend the meeting and we are contacting them accordingly to amend this. That said, we are happy to accept new member applications on the night if non-members wish to come along and sign up at that point prior to gaining entry to the meeting. However, we feel there is ample opportunity for this to take place prior to next Tuesday through our website http://www.torquaysupporters.co.uk.
One final point, it would be really helpful if you could e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your attendance at the SGM in order that we can manage numbers and prepare the event accordingly.
Disabled Roof Project
We have been contacted recently by Sam Balsdon who was the person responsible for the fantastic fund raising work for the disabled roof project below Bristows Bench. Despite being £1800 short of his fund raising target, the contractor for the project proceeded to undertake and finish the home end work. Sam needs to raise a further £1800 to pay the contractor and we have agreed to support him in his endeavours. Sam will be attending the meeting next Tuesday and we are to hold a collection on the night to assist him with part of this shortfall.
We have received some excellent feedback on providing members with the option of paying a higher level of payment each month / year rather than the £2 per month / £24 per month current subscription fees. This is something we are now looking into with the current direct debiting facility we use and hope to report back to members on this shortly.
Our Treasurer (and currently Membership Secretary as well – Matt Gorman) has been spending time recently looking back through historic membership databases. It is clear that certain memberships are in arrears due to missed payments, cancelled mandates etc and therefore we would urge all members to check their subscriptions are up-to-date and particularly those who pay by cheque or standing order. It will certainly be helpful if members who are behind with their payments could rectify this position. If you wish to check the current position with your membership, please email Matt Gorman at email@example.com
Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Tuesday.
TUST Letter to Clarke Osborne and his Response
Wednesday 10th January, 2017
Dear Mr. Osborne,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Torquay United Supporters’ Trust, with reference to the increasing concern and disillusionment of our members and the majority of the fans and friends of Torquay United F.C. As you are aware, we, TUST, have been working hard together with TUFC and others to establish dialogue and to reconnect the fan base and community with our well loved club.
The Supporters’ Trust board believe that it is now very much in the interest of yourselves, the club, the supporters and the local community to give some direction as to your future plans for TUFC.
To this end, we have agreed to send to you the following questions and to request that you respond as a matter of some urgency, to avoid a further deterioration of goodwill . At this point, we have refrained from entering into the public debate, however we now feel it is necessary to make some response to the many questions being asked of us by our members and the wider fan base.
We ourselves, have been prepared to react, and indeed co-operate through constructive and open-minded discussion with yourselves for a long time. We would welcome you to take part in our next monthly meeting with TUFC if you so desire , which we are arranging shortly.
Meanwhile, we would appreciate a response to the following questions in the next few days, before our next board meeting on the 20th of January.
1. What further actions are being taken in terms of the current situation to try and stave off relegation?
2. Assuming we do manage to avoid relegation , what is the immediate plan for next season?
3. What kind of relegation plan do you have in place? Which model does it take after eg. Full-time, part- time players’ contracts, budget to reflect a promotion push for an immediate return to the National League top division etc?
4. Our members and the wider supporters base remain extremely concerned about how relegation will affect your long term business plan?
5. Where do you see supporters fitting in to this plan? Who do you intend to include in any open, constructive dialogue to help you fulfil this plan.
We thank you in advance for your anticipated response and look forward to meeting you at some stage in the future.
Michel/Mike Thomas (Chairman of TUST)
pp. The Supporters Trust Board
Clarke Osborne’s Response
Why the TUST? I am a Torquay United Supporter.
Why should you be a member of the TUST? Should you need to become a member to have a voice in the running of your club? No, you should not have to, BUT we believe that being a member of the TUST and therefore a part of Supporters Direct in partnership with The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), the FA and the Premier League plus many substantial partners will provide us with the support, backing and knowledge to strengthen the links between our Club and you, the supporters it serves.
Supporters Direct provide a range of services and advice to support their members. Since 2000 they have helped their members to establish over 185 trusts in the UK and have helped supporters to speak with one voice to challenge and change the way that clubs and the game are governed. Being a member of Supporters Direct enables the TUST to have access to a dedicated team with sport and divisional contacts. Supporters Direct will provide us with ongoing strategic, tactical and campaigning advice and support and training on how to run our organisation. Other benefits include free access to legal advice, regional membership training and seminars to help the TUST board develop their skills, access to a customer relationship marketing system suitable for trusts and clubs, and discounted rates to the Supporters Direct consultancy team of experts.
As part of the Supporters Direct movement, your supporters trust has increased profile and status, alongside a network of other like minded Trusts throughout the country.