Torquay United takeover is completed by Bryn Consortium

Michael Westcott (right) sits next to experienced former Torquay United manager Neil Warnock at a game at Plainmoor
Michael Westcott (right) and his consortium had been taking advice from experienced former Torquay manager Neil Warnock (left) [Rex Features]

National League South side Torquay United has been taken over by a group of local businessmen, subject to creditor approval.

The Bryn Consortium have completed their purchase of the financially-stricken club.

The Gulls had been in administration after former owner Clarke Osborne said in February that he and partners could no longer fund the club.

Torquay had 10 points deducted in March and ended the season in 18th place in the sixth tier.

Last week the Bryn Consortium of Michael Westcott, Tom Allen, Mark Bowes-Cavanagh, Rob Hawes and Simon Robinson became preferred bidders after administrators Begbies Traynor had originally accepted a rival proposal.

Under the terms of the deal a company voluntary arrangement has been entered into which would see all tax debts and trade creditors paid in full within six months.

The Bryn Consortium is named after the police dog that famously bit Torquay player Jim McNichol during the final match of the 1986-87 season.

The Gulls staved off relegation thanks to a goal scored by Paul Dobson in the stoppage time caused by the incident.

“This proposal is the best possible outcome for creditors, the club and the fans," joint administrator Scott Kippax from Begbies Traynor said.

"We are delighted to have reached the point of a conditional sale agreement, which would see all tax debts and trade creditors settled in full in a relatively short period of time.

"It is good news for the long-term future of the club and we are pleased to be able to present such a favourable proposal to creditors.”

The club has yet to release its retained list or decide who will manage the club next season.

Aaron Downes had been in interim charge after Gary Johnson left in February following news of Osborne stopping financial support.

“We are delighted to have provided a positive outcome for all creditors and provided a future for our beloved football club," Westcott said in a statement.

"There is much work to be done in the coming days and weeks, and we will issue a series of updates to supporters next week on the preparations and plans for the forthcoming season.”

Another new set of owners at Plainmoor

Plainmoor has been Torquay United's home since 1921 [Rex Features]

The Bryn Consortoum are the fourth group to own the club since 2007, when local businesspeople backed by lottery winner Paul Bristow took control.

But Bristow's widow sold the club in the summer of 2015 to a group of supporters following relegation from the EFL a year earlier.

They were unable to fund the club for long, with Osborne taking control at Plainmoor in December 2016.

Under his guidance the Gulls were twice relegated to National League South, although they also nearly won promotion back to the EFL.

Torquay were beaten on penalties by Hartlepool United in the 2021 National League promotion final.


Brent Pilnick, BBC Sport

This is a momentous day for Torquay United fans as they can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

The new owners are Torquay supporters - Michael Westcott's father was the touchline announcer at Plainmoor and had his ashes spread on the pitch after he died.

That will be a big plus for the club's fans who were always concerned about Clarke Osborne's plans to move the club to a new stadium and sell off Plainmoor for housing.

But the hard work is just beginning - the club has yet to unveil their retained list or appoint a new manager.

The Gulls lost almost £100,000 a month according to their last accounts and Westcott has said the club may have to have some part-time players as they try and build solid foundations.

But with people such as Neil Warnock backing the bid - the experienced manager has been advising the consortium - the future is looking a lot brighter for the club on the English Riviera.

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