Owl sees that south Devon football team Torquay United have been taken over by Gaming International, a Swindon-based company thought to be keen to extract value from the development of their ground, Plainmoor. The freehold is owned by the local authority.
Moirai Capital of Exmouth fame/notoriety are also Swindon based. And have some interesting links with Gaming International, including the ill-fated Milton Keynes Bowl:
It’s been a tough time for Torquay fans recently … and they have their worries about their new owners:
“Torquay supporters are aware of Gaming International’s record at Reading and Swindon with respect to stadium redevelopment. There have been several online discussions amongst our supporters, the most recent being:
and a fan notes:
The man behind this company Clarke Osborne has now set up a new company “Riviera Stadium Limited”.
Gaming International Limited was once known as Bristol Stadium PLC.
Clarke Osborne was a director of Bristol Stadium PLC when Bristol Rovers could no longer afford to pay them the rent in 1986. Rovers were forced to play in exile in Bath for ten years.
Osborne was Chief Executive of Bristol Stadium PLC when Eastville was sold to Ikea for £19m. There were promises that a new greyhound site would be found in Bristol – but it did not happen. I think Reading has suffered a similar fate.
I am sure that the new owners will lend the football club enough money to keep those fans who don’t look beyond the end of their nose happy for a couple of years. My fear is that the day will come when they will want everything they lend back plus a return on investment. They are not fans and they are not a charity.”
but surely such illustrious connections can only make things, er, better?
According to BBC website:
“There has been talk of the club leaving their Plainmoor home for a new ground on the outskirts of the town, a plan which the Torquay United Supporters’ Trust has questioned.
“With GI, our biggest concern is that they are a property developer, they have very little interest in football apparently and they have very little connection with Torquay as a place,” TUST spokesman Alan Robinson told BBC Sport.
Might we see Gaming International in Exmouth some time soon? Stranger things, much stranger things, have happened!