Infrastructure development plans for Torquay United...

ON THE pitch Torquay United might be staring National League relegation in the face, but off it the Gulls appear to be gearing up not for the NL South but for a return to The Football League.

That might sound odd to fans who, after several more years of failure, have endured one of the worst seasons in the club’s history, but head coach Gary Owers revealed that owner/chairman Clarke Osborne is planning a summer of renewed investment.

Osborne has already announced that United will remain ‘full-time’ next season, whichever division they are in, and all the signs are that Owers will be given a competitive playing budget, very possibly up on his current one.

But the Gulls’ boss this week put some more meat on the bones of close-season spending plans.

They include more money to improve drainage of both the Plainmoor pitch and the surfaces at the Seale-Hayne training ground near Newton Abbot.

There will be a new gym built at Seale Hayne, and the Gulls’ Lodge, United’s player hostel on one corner of Plainmoor, will be refurbished.

The house, on Warbro Road, can accommodate up to eight players.

Owers is a big fan of Seale-Hayne, or its potential, and he has been frustrated that waterlogging at the site, something which has dogged a series of managers in recent years, has kept the area off-limits for much of the last few months.

But he said: “There is going to be a significant amount of finance invested in the infrastructure.

“I really like the environment at Seale-Hayne, and improved drainage and a new gym out there will mean we can do everything on site, and try and develop the culture I want. I haven’t been able to do that so far.”

On the pitch United have to start delivering where it counts, on the pitch, and that must happen next season. As things stand the Gulls are heading for their worst playing record since 1995-96 when they finished bottom of the FL with only 29 points.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.