is a suburb of Torquay
Torquay is a town in the unitary authority area of Torbay and ceremonial county of Devon, England. It lies south of Exeter along the A380 on the north of Torbay, north-east of Plymouth and adjoins the neighbouring town of Paignton on the west of the bay. Torquay’s population of 63,998 during the...
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...
, but is best known as the name of the stadium in which Torquay United Football Club
Torquay United Football Club, nicknamed the Gulls, are an English association football club based in the tourist resort town of Torquay, Devon. They played in the Conference National in 2008–09, but were promoted to Football League Two after a 2–0 win over Cambridge United on 17 May 2009 at Wembley...
At the time of Torquay United's formation in 1899, Plainmoor was the home of Torquay Athletic Rugby Football Club. In 1904, the rugby club secured the lease of the Recreation Ground, where United had been playing, and United's Torquay and District League rivals Ellacombe moved into the vacated site at Plainmoor, leaving United homeless.
In 1910 United merged with Ellacombe to become Torquay Town. Ellacombe’s Plainmoor ground became the home of the new club, and the shared home of local rivals Babbacombe.
Torquay Town and Babbacombe finally merged and became Torquay United (again) in 1921. In 1927 United were elected into Division Three South of the Football League
The Football League, also known as the npower Football League for sponsorship reasons, is a league competition featuring professional association football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest such competition in world football...
A new wooden grandstand costing £150 was erected for United’s inaugural season in the Football League; it had previously stood at Buckfastleigh Racecourse, where its twin can still be seen today. The roof of the stand was blown off during a gale in 1930.
Very little changed for the next fifty years as the ground saw generations of supporters move through its turnstiles. During the 1954/55 season over 21,000 fans watched Torquay’s 0-1 defeat at the hands of Huddersfield Town. The same season also saw United become one of the first lower division clubs to introduce floodlights to their ground.
David James Webb is an English former professional footballer who made 555 appearances in the Football League playing for Leyton Orient, Southampton, Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers, Leicester City, Derby County, A.F.C. Bournemouth and Torquay United. He became a manager, taking charge of A.F.C...
came to Plainmoor in 1984 and prompted a few cosmetic changes to the terracing. Then on the 16 May 1985, just six days after the Bradford City stadium fire, a third of the old grandstand was destroyed during an early morning blaze. Nobody was hurt, but as a result, the ground’s capacity fell to below 5,000. In the few years after the fire the ground saw little change. At one point the manager’s office and changing rooms were situated in a couple of portable cabins behind the old Mini Stand.
During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Plainmoor has finally seen some major changes. The old Mini Stand made way for the all-seating Family Stand, which also houses offices, the boardroom and the club shop, as well as the pub and restaurant Boots and Laces, and the 200 Club bar.
The Cowshed, made out of corrugated iron and wood, was replaced at the Ellacombe end of the ground by the old mini-stand, while a tv gantry sits on top of the popular side stand. Also, in time for the beginning of the 2000/01 season, the new Sparkworld Stand was opened to accommodate away fans.
The land is still owned by the local council and, although talks about the club purchasing the ground have taken place on several occasions in the past, no deal is on the horizon.
Any further changes to the ground will not be happening in the near future. Although the old Buckfastleigh Racecourse stand still survives opposite Westlands school, former chairman and owner Mike Bateson was adamant that any money being spent would be directed at gaining promotion, rather than on the ground.
In the not too distant past there was some talk of re-location, and although this is not completely out of the question, Mike Bateson believed that would only happen if:
- Torquay saw a multi-million pound sale or two.
- The authorities pay the club to make way for further development of Westlands school.
- The club become League One regulars (at present in League Two).