Paul Cox says Torquay United are no longer non-league 'big boys'

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Paul Cox
Paul Cox was unveiled as Torquay's fourth permanent manager in two years in July

Torquay United manager Paul Cox says the club must get used to not being the 'big boys' in the National League.

The club were relegated from League Two in April 2014 and have struggled with a much-reduced budget since.

"One of my biggest battles this season will be to overcome the stigma that's still attached to us," he said.

"There's still a lot of people out there with, I think, delusions of grandeur that haven't acclimatised to the fact of where we are yet."

The Gulls are currently 18th in the National League, having finished 13th in the Conference last season.

Torquay were taken over by a consortium of local businesspeople in the summer after millionaire owner Thea Bristow left.

The recent ups and downs of Torquay United
2004: Promoted to League One 2010: Paul Bristow dies. Wife Thea takes his place on the board.
2005: Relegated back to League Two2011: Lose League Two play-off final to Stevenage
2007: Finish bottom of League Two and relegated to the Conference for the first time in the club's history2012: Finish fifth in League Two, losing to Cheltenham Town in play-off semi-finals
2007: New board takes over after relegation, including lottery winner Paul Bristow2013: Finish 19th in League Two after manager Martin Ling is forced to take time off for depression. He is later relieved of his duties and replaced by Alan Knill
2008: Lose in Conference play-off semi-final to rivals Exeter City2014: Knill is sacked in January with Torquay bottom of the league, but new boss Chris Hargreaves cannot save the club from relegation
2009: Return to Football League after winning Conference play-off final2015: Torquay finish 13th in the Conference with Thea Bristow leaving the club and a new board taking over with a vastly reduced budget

Since then the club has been forced to operate on a reduced budget, closing its youth academy, leasing part of the training ground to Plymouth Argyle's youth team and still facing legal claims which director of football Dean Edwards has said "could finish the football club".

"We're not the big boys any more," Cox told BBC Sport ahead of Torquay's first-ever league match against newly-promoted Bromley.

"We just can't think that we're Torquay United and people are going to roll over and give us three points, we're going to have to work extremely hard with the situation we're in at the minute.

"With the profile we've had in the past, teams will want to come to Plainmoor because they'll look at the pitch, they'll look at the stadium and they'll want to play here and they'll see us as a big scalp.

"If we keep continuously telling everybody that we're the 'bigger' club, the future won't look so healthy.

"Ask the people at Hereford United, ask the people at Stockport County, the people that sit there and believe that they have a given right to bat clubs, it always ends in tears."

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