Torquay United: Local investors preferred for Conference club

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Kelvin Thomas was brought in by chairman Thea Bristow last momth

The man tasked with finding new investors for Torquay United says he would favour them being locally-based.

Kelvin Thomas as she looks for new funding.

Bristow's late husband was part of a consortium that took over the club after their last relegation in 2007.

"I always feel that football clubs should be or could be run by people locally," former Oxford United chairman Thomas told BBC Sport.

"I just feel that it's better. It's not always the case, and there's nothing wrong with ownership outside Torquay, but hand on heart, if you could find some people locally that had some real affinity with the football club, similar to the previous consortium, that would be the ideal situation."

Torquay's recent highs and lows
May 2007: Relegated to conference, a new board assumes controlMay 2008: Lose Conference play-off semi-final to Exeter and are beaten in FA Trophy final by Ebbsfleet
May 2009: Beat Cambridge United in Conference play-off final at WembleyJune 2010: Benefactor Paul Bristow passes away aged 59
May 2011: Torquay are beaten by Stevenage in League Two play-off finalMay 2012: Torquay are beaten in League Two play-off semi-finals by Cheltenham Town
April 2014: Torquay relegated to the ConferenceJanuary 2015: Torquay drop to 13th in the Conference

Thomas says he has no plans but is helping Bristow out as she looks to reduce the level of financial support she gives the Conference Premier club.

Her late husband Paul won £15m on the on the lottery in 2004, but and she inherited his place on the board of directors before

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't a really good club, and it's an exciting place," Thomas added.

"We've just got to get a little bit more energy back in it and a little bit more fun back in it and show people what a club this can be.

"There's always interest (in investing in Torquay), it's just making sure you work through the process and ensure that people have the capability to follow through on that interest.

"You can talk to people forever, but they need to have the money to follow that through. It needs to have a business plan that says 'we want to drive the football club forward'."