Very confused - what is GI's game?

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Very confused - what is GI's game?

Post by TorquayDNA » 13 Sep 2017, 10:55

Hello all, first proper post on here. I've been a reader of the forum for a long time and it's about time I joined in!

Lots of questions in my head right now but the most prominent is this: What is GI's intention in buying and investing in TUFC? I'm trying to reason it all out but really struggling:

As far as I see it, there are a number of reasons why someone would buy a lower-league football club:

Emotional connection: Firstly, an emotional connection with a club because of its location (IE hometown, birthplace etc) could be a good reason. I can well imagine a local businessperson wanting to invest in his/her local club because of the strong tug on the heartstrings (we all know what that is!) But why would a company based in Bristol want to invest in a club 90 miles deeper south? I don't think I need to say anymore... I think we can certainly discount any emotional reason for GI investing in TUFC...

Industry: What I mean by this is, a sports group might well have interest in buying a football club that is a good fit for their other interests. So if GI owned a number of other successful (or potentially successful) sporting enterprises that could dovetail nicely with TUFC then that would make perfect sense. Say, for example, they wanted to combine football with athletics and saw TUFC as the perfect opportunity - they could build a multipurpose stadium that suited both very well. This is becoming quite popular (look at Spurs' new ground). But I can't see that any of GI's 'projects' would fit into this strategy (unless they're planning to start something like this from scratch in Torbay)

Investment: Purely on an investment basis, someone with sporting/entertainment experience and a healthy network could look at TUFC's heritage, the fanbase, and the affinity many people across the UK and Europe have with the area as a holiday destination and see a lot of potential in building up the club to compete at Championship level and maybe higher. Taking inspiration from Bournemouth and Swansea who are both relatively close by, and even Exeter Chiefs as a very local sport success. This would, however, take a very very long-term approach and it's high risk, given the sheer amount of investment needed not only on the pitch but in terms of infrastructure. Would GI see TUFC as their best option, given the myriads of other small clubs with potential that are prevalent across the UK?

Development: This has been covered so many times, but I'm at a loss. I know GI have tried their hand at this more than once, but I'm really struggling to see why on earth they'd want to go through all this hassle and cost in return for a small piece of land in an area where house prices are below average. Surely there is almost no way they can make a good amount of money out of this as a development project?


So, there you have it: open for sensible, reasoned discussion! I just cannot work out why GI have bothered to waste their time on this project. It doesn't seem to stack up on any level. However, if they could make their intentions clear then I'm sure it would help a lot!


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Post by Dave_Pougher » 13 Sep 2017, 11:06

Confused? Why?

GI obtain freehold after convincing hard up council they going to build a new stadium and relieve council of any financial responsibility. New stadium never really materialises, Plainmoor site levelled, houses shops built, GI moves on. Them and council disposes of 100 yrs of sporting history with one dot of guilt. Simples.

I'm afraid they are to the sport of football what ISIS is to world peace.
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Post by PhilGull » 13 Sep 2017, 11:09

It's a business decision. They see investing in Torquay United as a way to make money. It's a long-term investment, reliant on building a new ground/leisure complex/whatever money generating scheme the Council will allow in return for redeveloping Plainmoor.
Despite what some seem to believe they surely do not want to run the club in to the ground - that simply does not make any sense from a business point of view. The money invested in players over the summer and now a new management team (who although being a cheaper option than some still require some compensation for their previous employers (the really cheap option would have been Hererra and some old clogger player/assistant) show to me at least that they are intent on at least keeping the club afloat.
Bare in mind that the club was haemorrhaging money (and I assume still is) GI/Osbourne will be pumping money in (probably in the form of loans) but still, they are making an effort to keep the club moving forward.
Do I like GI? Hell no. Do I like Osbourne or Harrop? Nope. But, I can see what they are trying to do (at least I can interpret what I see them doing and draw conclusions from it).
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Post by Dave_Pougher » 13 Sep 2017, 12:06

Good posting Phil, I like the optimism.

However looking their track record I can't see that GI have any interest in the future of TUFC.
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Post by Glostergull » 13 Sep 2017, 12:09

Wow. Dave Pougher. I haven't seen a post from you in ages. I thought you were dead!
Philgull, Your post would make sense if GI had a track record of actually completing a stadium at any of the ten or so projects they have been involved with. indeed they do own Swindon Speedway but no stadium has been built there or looks like it will ever be built there. as my photo's show from the summer. Last June if you want to have a peek. their real intention is development and that only. I doubt they even have intentions of moving the speedway here. ooh boy, that would go down well locally. NOT !
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Post by TorquayDNA » 13 Sep 2017, 12:13

Thanks Phil, that's what I was hoping. I just can't see any justification or reason for an alternative explanation. Like you, I don't believe they would want to run the club into the ground. There's clearly been investment already, as well as funding the loss that the club is making. That means that getting their money back through the development of Plainmoor is just plain business sense and completely understandable in the circs.
I've often thought that for all there is to dislike about GI, Osborne and Harrop, it would do us well to see the situation in their shoes.
If they are genuinely in this for the long run, then TUFC are set for a successful run. The beauty of football is that, in order to make more money for the owners, it makes sense to aim for increased support and that involves climbing up the leagues.
They may not be popular, but if they can turn TUFC back into a successful club through the injection of some much-needed business acumen then happy days.


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Post by westyorkshiregull » 13 Sep 2017, 12:23

TorquayDNA wrote:
13 Sep 2017, 12:13
Thanks Phil, that's what I was hoping. I just can't see any justification or reason for an alternative explanation. Like you, I don't believe they would want to run the club into the ground. There's clearly been investment already, as well as funding the loss that the club is making. That means that getting their money back through the development of Plainmoor is just plain business sense and completely understandable in the circs.
I've often thought that for all there is to dislike about GI, Osborne and Harrop, it would do us well to see the situation in their shoes.
If they are genuinely in this for the long run, then TUFC are set for a successful run. The beauty of football is that, in order to make more money for the owners, it makes sense to aim for increased support and that involves climbing up the leagues.
They may not be popular, but if they can turn TUFC back into a successful club through the injection of some much-needed business acumen then happy days.
Cheers Geoff great insight into things lol


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Post by TorquayDNA » 13 Sep 2017, 12:31

Haha, no I'm not Geoff!! Just trying to look at this in a balance light :)
I don't see the point in shouting out about Harrop's weight and his eating habits. So what if he doesn't eat salad, I know a lot of top-notch people who don't eat their greens and are slightly larger than average! The thing I'm interested in is if his efforts are well-intentioned or not. I've never met him and I can only comment on his actions that are made public, as well as what we can read between the lines. I must admit, by the end of last week I was extremely worried and beginning to fear the worst.
As a realistic optimist, I do try to see everything in the light of day as well as see things from other people's perspective. I don't blame people on here for fearing the worst with Harrop et al, but equally I understand that there may be very good reason for the actions of Osborne and Harrop. I can't imagine Osborne lets Harrop get away with it - Harrop even thanked Osborne for his patience!
One thing that really bugged me though is that Harrop never thanked the fans for their patience. He has clearly got a lot to learn - especially how to communicate and empathise with the fanbase!


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Post by Burnhamgull » 13 Sep 2017, 12:39

There's been a huge increase in "new members" since GI took over.

So much spin, I'm dizzy.
TUFC never fails to let its fanbase down.


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Post by westyorkshiregull » 13 Sep 2017, 12:43

Agree with last bit..i for one just felt like itbqas floundering and still do. However I'm warming up a bit now , the 2nd in command looks like he means business.
Look Geoff or not Geoff , fans have been had 4 weeks of misery and before that years of suffering. Quite frankly we have nothing to cheer about and that manifests to other things. People getting personal, people making up theorys , people not turning up match day. Ok got ok crowd last home game but we all know a successfull team is capable of 2500 plus....so for me the 1800 people was not a vote of confidence it was a show of loyal support. I've said things I may regret but other hand I feel so frustrated. Like my dad says it not losing its how you lose and with a rudderless ship and no direction it's been awful . We been sinking to new lows.
If im honest I've warmed a bit now , it's the new 2 man team which is a fresh start. What i want to see is more communication , and for this new manager team to have some what they call in Yorkshire " Yorkshire grit ".
It's now time everyone pulls together, I still do not trust gi and the regime , it's there job to prove a awful lot to us.


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Post by Yorkieandy » 13 Sep 2017, 12:44

A well thought out post TorquayDNA.

I do however disagree that TUFC are set for a successful run should GI be at the club long term. Yes it does make sense that in order to make money, the best way of doing that is to get more supporters through the turnstiles and buying 'stuff' at the club. Given that the footballing 'product' on offer at Torquay is and has been dire for quite some time and thus is more likely to dissuade fans from attending rather than the opposite desired outcome then it would be reasonable to assume that any new owners would come in and begin doing everything they can in terms of engaging the fans and communicating on a regular basis.

In fact the opposite has happened and GI on the face of it have seemingly locked themselves in a darkened room and hoped that Torquay fans would go away. That's the way i see it. Any meaningful communication when it does happen is so obviously pre-planned stage managed cack and so obviously reluctant.

GI have done their best to put fans off from coming to Plainmoor so it begs the question, why is that?

Perhaps they think that the less fans that come to Plainmoor the better as their is less resistance to any plans they might have for the club that isn't going to be popular. GI seem to like getting their heads down, avoiding publicity and ticking time away so the more fans that become disillusioned over time and fall by the wayside, the better for GI. They are experienced business people running a business like inexperienced business people.

Again, why is that? I cannot think it's just an oversight.

Nicholson was a cheap option and wouldn't have cost much to pay off. IMO the budget has been poor and IMO the two new guys are likely to be a cheap appointment also. Business people spend as little as they can for maximum gain.

Thea Bristow wasn't a businesswoman so ended up putting millions into the club for no return. She was surrounded by business people who i'm reasonably sure didn't come away from Plainmoor out of pocket at the end of her / their tenure at the club.

Business people try to make money any way they can. Thea will know that now to her detriment and the clubs.

Torquay fans should also keep this in mind should they have a wobble and think that maybe, just maybe GI intend to run the club properly and get it back to where it belongs.

This isn't part of a successful business plan i'm afraid.

None of us really know but as i've said before, i don't trust or take at face value doctors, coppers, teachers, judges, charity directors so i'm certainly not going to trust a group of people who, as Glostergull has rightly said, have been involved in many sporting clubs for the last God knows how many years with intentions of building new stadia and not yet built any.

That is proven history and all we have to go on. They have had chance after chance to prove to everyone that on this occasion they do actually mean what they say however it's cry wolf. The manner in which they have conducted themselves during their short tenure at the club just backs up the evidence available prior to them taking over.


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Post by Neal » 13 Sep 2017, 12:45

ITS ABOUT MAKING MONEY!!

We know because Osbourne stated in an interview that he wasn't really a football fan. And to confirm that How many games has he attended and watched the football club HE OWNS.

We also know that this is a long term project, they have stated there is a 5 year plan at least. Although none of us know what it is in detail.

We know they want to build a new stadium etc etc.

Do they want to run the club into the ground NO. THEY WANT TO KEEP IT GOING AND GET ENOUGH SUCKERS THROUGH THE TURNSTILES SO IT DOESNT COST THEM TOO MUCH WHILE THE SO CALLED PLAN IS ACHEIVED.

And all they have to do is dangle carrots, spin and be careful not to alienate too many fans in the process. And it will work, because some of you are so naïve, desperate, stuck in your ways and sorry to say probably have nothing better to do to realise it.
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Post by moneylife » 13 Sep 2017, 13:06

Just suck it and see :) as the phrase does


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Post by Yorkieandy » 13 Sep 2017, 13:18

All i know is that GI took a month to get new managers in without saying a word during that time. In that time the club have played 6 games i think and not won any and are 3 wins from safety already. Confidence is shot, the players are struggling and then they bring in two lower tier, inexperienced and likely 'cheap' men in Owers / Kuhl. No disrespect meant to Owers / Kuhl.

Whilst everyone clamoured for a highly experienced, renowned manager who has a history of coming in to clubs all but doomed and instantly pick up wins we have Owers / Kuhl. Getting said highly experienced manager and assistant in would have cost lots of money as would the money they would likely request to buy players.

The pressure is immense on Owers / Kuhl. They will be a cheaper option and i would think they would be given next to nothing in terms of funds to buy players / loan players in. They have to come into the club and actually exceed the expectations that we would have for a Ronnie Moore for example on less resources than a Ronnie Moore would want. I'm not saying that Owers / Kuhl can't get the club out of the brown stuff but what i'm saying is that GI have hindered the club and increased the odds of relegation by firstly taking a month to appoint but then also appointing two men with next no experience who are coming into a pretty much instant success / fail scenario at the football club. Lose the next 2 or 3 against some really tough sides and we could be talking needing 4 or 5 wins just to get to a position where other teams above the line are in sight.

Nicholson was sacked with 18 points to play for before today and against sides down at the bottom by and large.

So when we are discussing about what GI are up to it's worth remembering that if the club are cut so badly adrift by the middle of October then it's their manipulation and handling of the whole management saga that has contributed to NLS football next season and not Owers / Kuhl.

Again, is it just GI being inexperienced football owners or something else?


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Post by TorquayDNA » 13 Sep 2017, 14:02

Great posts Andy and thanks for your thoughts. I agree, it's that unknown 'is it something else' element that has got everyone worried. Osborne is an experienced businessman and yes, his past record isn't at all rosy. If he has managed to make his money purely from squeezing every last penny out of sporting venues at the expense of the club then it's very worrying.
I just can't see that he'd go through all this trouble (including the possibility that he may never get what he wants from Torbay Council) just to secure a small piece of land in Torquay that isn't going to generate a huge amount of cash for him. If he's into land-buying for development, surely there are far easier and more lucrative options? I genuinely don't believe that he only wants to develop Plainmoor and just drop the club. I may be wrong, but I can't see how it makes business sense.
It's still too early days to tell what's going to happen. One thing is for sure, and that is that Torquay United Football Club needs its fans more than ever.

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