Torquay United's Steve Breed: Commentary box to directors' box

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Steve Breed as commentator and chief executive
Steve Breed has travelled all over England as a commentator, but is now running Torquay United

He's travelled hundreds of miles and described dozens of goals, but commentator Steve Breed has moved away from the microphone for a very different challenge - running the football club he supports.

Torquay United fan Breed has bought a stake in the National League club as part of a new consortium running the Gulls.

But more than that, he is now the chief executive.

"I'm still a fan," insisted Breed, 41, who still owns the nursing company he set up in 1992 in his native Torquay. "I've been a fan since I was five when my parents first brought me here.

"But my role has changed. I was doing commentary and I've been running the travel club for many years. I'm in a prominent role now and I have to take my professionalism on through that," added Breed, who has been part of BBC Radio Devon's team of commentators for the past two seasons having been a summariser since 2010.

Broadcasters on the boards of football clubs
Nick Owen: BBC Midlands Today presenter is chairman on League Two club Luton Town.
Garry Richardson: BBC sports broadcaster was a director of National League side Woking until earlier this year.
Alan Parry: Football commentator once held a role as a director of Wycombe Wanderers.
Brian Moore: ITV football commentator spent seven years on the board of Gillingham.

But is that not easier said than done? A chief executive has to make dispassionate decisions to ensure the success of a business, while fans will often let their hearts overrule their heads.

"What the club are going to get from me is complete honesty and 110% commitment," Breed told BBC Sport.

"I've owned my old business for over 20 years and it's a very successful business, so I think that does qualify me to be able to take on what I've learnt by building my own company up to take it on here.

"But I think, quite frankly, I'm always going to be a fan, whether I'm the chief executive or the sweeper-upper."

Breed and his team of new directors, who took over the club in June, have not been shy in making big changes.

Among their first decisions were to put former manager Chris Hargreaves on gardening leave after he decided not to take a pay cut, scrap the club's youth academy and bring in former Mansfield boss Paul Cox to replace Hargreaves.

Breed continued: "The club has haemorrhaged money. That's very clear with the losses that we've posted over the last few years and that's my main objective - to look at all the costs so we can make as much money available for the manager to put it out on the pitch.

"I'm confident we have the people in place to run this football club in a far more efficient way than I believe it was previously."

Breed's highlight in the commentary box came last season when Torquay captain Luke Young blasted in a thunderous long-range winner against Wrexham.

"It was probably one of the best goals I've ever seen live," he said. "But it was a real comedy gold moment for a radio commentator because I hit the roof. I was jumping around in the commentary box going nuts and being unprofessional, but I enjoyed it very much."

So can the chief executive of a football club still double up as the voice of the team on a Saturday afternoon or a Tuesday night?

"I think my radio days are numbered," he admitted. "I'd still like to do some radio commentaries but I'm not sure how that will come across to the fans, to be honest."