Torquay United close youth academy as part of cost cuts

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Torquay finished 13th in the Conference in their first season since falling out of the Football League

Torquay United have closed their youth academy as part of cost-cutting measures following a takeover of the National League club.

The club hope they can expand their Football in the Community scheme to try and develop players in the area.

The club had a category three status academy, but its director Geoff Harrop left the club earlier this month.

"We would like to put on record that we did not create this situation," the club's new owners said in a statement.

"We are extremely sorry for all the young boys who have been in the system and the dedication shown by these talented youngsters, and their families, has been outstanding at all times."

The club closed their academy back in 2004, but decided to bring it back in 2009.

But one of the coaches who is losing his job says the club may struggle to be allowed to re-open it again if times change.

"The Football League will be reluctant to let the academy open again as it's the second time it's happened at Torquay," Kevin Nancekivell told BBC Sport.

"But the decision's been made and we'll have to move on. My biggest concern now is to try and find clubs for the scholars, they're all good players and they'll get league clubs with no problems at all," added Nancekivell, who has also worked as an academy and first team coach at Plymouth Argyle.

One of his colleagues, former Gulls and Scotland Under 21 midfielder Craig Easton, believes the decision is short-sighted.

"It's a devastating decision to take and I'm not sure it's the correct one," he told BBC Sport.

"Four players were offered professional contracts this season, there was almost a fifth, and looking down the age groups there were a few coming up.

"There were certainly assets there coming through the youth department, really good players, that Torquay United aren't going to get the benefit of.

"The financial situation isn't great, but those kids coming through would have helped Torquay United in the future."

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