|Torquay United |
|Ground ||Plainmoor, Torquay |
|Formed ||1899 |
|Elected to league ||1927 |
|Club colours ||Yellow |
|Change colours ||Sky Blue |
|Head Coach ||Leroy Rosenior |
|Nicknames ||Gulls |
|Mascot ||Gilbert the Gull |
Torquay United Football Club, nicknamed the Gulls, are an English association football team based in Torquay. They currently play in Football League One. The club plays in a distinct yellow and navy strip. Its local rivals are the other two professional Devon clubs; Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle as well as Yeovil Town. However local derbies are currently rare due to Plymouth, Exeter and Yeovil being in different divisions.
The history of Torquay United is the history of three separate clubs. Torquay United were formed in 1899 by a group of school-leavers under the guidance of Sergeant-Major Edward Tomney. After a season of friendlies the club joined the East Devon League and moved into the Recreation Ground, their home for the next four years.
Having won their first ever honour in 1909 - the Torquay and District League title - the club joined with local rivals Ellacombe in 1910. With the uniting of the two Torbay clubs came a name change and Torquay Town were born.
After an uneventful 10 years Torquay Town merged with other local rivals Babbacombe to become Torquay United (again) in 1921. In 1927 Torquay United were elected into Division Three (South). In their very first season they finished bottom of the league and luckily won re-election to the league.
Throughout the 30s Torquay struggled against finacial problems, such as having to replace the stadium roof when it was blown off in 1930. They also failed to finish higher than 10th in 12 seasons. In the last few seasons before the Second World War suspended league football Torquay struggled in Division Three (South), finishing 20th, 20th and 19th out of 22 teams.
With the 1946 post-war resumption of league football Torquay United continued their run of pre-war form and finished 19th. However, partially due to the form of new striker Sammy Collins, the club broke the top ten barrier in 1949 by finishing 9th. The year after they finished 5th.
In 1955 Torquay United changed their strip colours. Their old black and white strip (which earned them the name the "Magpies") was changed to the current colours of navy and yellow.
With the change of strip came a change in fortunes. In the 1956/57 season Torquay missed out on promotion due to goal difference and ended up second in Division Three. Sadly the change in fortune didn't last and after the next season Torquay were placed in the newly formed Division Four (this was due to the deregionalisation of the leagues.)
After a season in Division Four Torquay United claimed promotion for their very first time, finishing third. However their winning form didn't last and after only two seasons in Third Division they were relegated on the last day of the campaign, with a 4-2 away defeat at Barnsley. Torquay didn't flounder in Division Four and came 6th in each of their first two seasons.
When Torquay finished 12th in the 1964/5 season Eric Webber, Torquay manager for 15 years was sacked. Webber had taken Torquay to their first promotion and to the FA Cup 4th round whilst assembling arguably the best ever Torquay squad.
Replacing Eric Webber was Frank O'Farrell who, in his first season in charge, oversaw Torquay's second promotion when they finished third in Division Four. With Torquay leading the table at Easter in 1968 Torquay United got their first ever coverage on Match of the Day. However promotion proved elusive as a poor ending run consigned them to another season in Division Three.
After three mid-table seasons and a change of manager Torquay once again got relegated to Division Four in the 1971/72 season. This led to a relatively uneventful decade with consistently mid-table finishes. However during the 1977/78 season a Devon born striker - Colin Lee - was bought from Bristol City.
Torquay won promotion once more in 1991, winning a play-off final at Wembley against higher placed Blackpool. Their trip to the then Division Three did not last long, however the introduction of the FA Premiership at the end of the season meant they were relegated from division three, to division three.
The end of the last season saw them winning automatic promotion against all odds in a nail-biting finale at Southend.
The current Torquay United ground is called Plainmoor and has a capacity of 6003. Plainmoor has been the Torquay United home since 1910 and the merging with Ellacombe and was shared with Babbacombe for 11 years until the sides merged.
Plainmoor held a record 21,908 people (before greater safety measures and seating were put in) for a FA Cup Fourth Round defeat against Huddersfield Town in in 1955/56.
Plainmoor suffered a fire in 1985 which reduced its capacity to under 5,000. The fire also destroyed the manager's office and changing rooms which were relocated to a couple of portacabins for a short time.
- Arjan Van Heusden
- Matthew Villis (on loan from Plymouth Argyle)
- Gareth Owen (on loan from Stoke City)
- Lee Cannoville
- Craig Taylor
- Alex Russell
- Tony Beadeau
- Jason Fowler
- Martin Gritton
- Jo Kuffour
- Kevin Hill
- Kain Bond
- Matthew Hockley
- Nick Skinner
- Michael Small
- Brian McGlinchey
- Steve Woods
- Richard Bouton
- Martin Phillips
- Kevin Dearden
- Adebayo Akinfenwa
The club won automatic promotion to Football League One for the 2004/05 season. The Gulls secured promotion on the last match of the season, denying promotion to Huddersfield Town on goal difference. This was the fourth promotion in their league history, the previous coming through the play-off system in 1991. Huddersfield were eventually promoted, the same season, via the play-offs.