Exeter City have offered a helping hand to Devon rivals Torquay United by agreeing to waive their right to a 50 per cent share of the gate receipts from Friday’s pre-season friendly at Plainmoor.
The move comes 12 years after the Gulls – under the-then chairman Mike Bateson – did similar for a pre-season friendly at St James’ Park, when Exeter were saddled with financial problems of their own. Back then, Exeter’s Supporters’ Trust had just taken ownership of a club saddled with debts of around £4.5 million and Bateson’s offer was gratefully appreciated by all concerned at St James’ Park.
Twelve years on and it is the Gulls, who are best by financial problems, which has led to the closure their Academy and seen members of staff laid off this summer. A new regime took ownership of the club in June and they are fighting to stabilise the club after several years of mismanagement. And now Exeter have generously allowed Torquay to swell their coffers a little by allowing them to keep the proceeds from Friday’s clash.
Exeter chairman Julian Tagg said:-
We remember only too well the situation we were in back in 2003 and we have not forgotten the terrific gesture by Mike Bateson and Torquay United when they agreed to waive their right to a share of the gate receipts in what was our hour of need,
We have always maintained a fantastic relationship with Torquay and we sympathise with their current situation. We hope the new regime can bring stability to the club and return them to the Football League in the very near future, so we can commence our great rivalry in a more competitive environment.
We hope this gesture goes some way to helping Torquay United and we encourage supporters of both clubs to attend Plainmoor on Friday and get behind their respective teams.
I am sure all genuine football fans will join me in wishing the new owners all the very best in their endeavours to bring League football back to south Devon.
Exeter’s gesture has been warmly received within the corridors of the Launa Windows Stadium. Torquay chief executive Stephen Breed said: –
On behalf of everybody at Torquay United football Club, we would like to thank Exeter City for their wonderful gesture.
It is fantastic to see Devon clubs sticking together in times of adversity and we hope for a good game of football on the night and we encourage as many people to come along to the Launa Windows Stadium and enjoy the occasion.
It is important for the people of Devon to support all our local side’s because we are very much a football outpost here in the Westcountry and it is important to build bridges with local teams within our community.
I would also like to personally thank Julian Tagg, who came to us with this generous offer.
On Torquay’s website they have an article headed “A Fantastic Gesture“.
Friday’s game kicks-off at 7.30pm and is the final pre-season fixture for both teams ahead of the season’s big kick-off on August 8, which sees Exeter entertain Yeovil Town in League Two and Torquay play host to Macclesfield Town in the National League Premier.
Admission for Friday’s game has been set at £10 for adults, £5 for 12-18-year-olds, while Under-12s can get in for free.