Torquay United boss wants to re-open the youth academy

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

Torquay United manager Paul Cox says he is in talks to try to re-establish a youth team at the club.

The Gulls were forced to close their academy this summer as part of cost-cutting measures following a takeover by a group of local business people.

"We had a massive meeting about re-establishing the youth set up for next season," Cox told BBC Sport.

"The talks were really positive and it's something I'm really looking forward to building."

Cox says plans are at a very early stage, but his comments come just a day after the National League club's director of football told BBC Sport that Torquay could fold if some of those who were laid off by the Gulls after the takeover are successful in claims against the club.

"The youth is very important to this football club and I think to Torquay in general," added Cox, who was appointed as manager soon after the takeover.

"My hopes and dreams are not to just have a post-16 youth team but having eight-year-olds upwards and a conveyor belt of young local footballers coming up into Torquay's first team."

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

Since 2009 eight players have graduated from the club's academy to play in the first team, with Northern Ireland youth international left-back Levi Ives the most successful.

He played 20 times for the Gulls last season before securing a move to Championship club Bristol City last month.