Plainmoor

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English Riviera
The Moor
Torquay United Football Club - geograph.org.uk - 120247.jpg
Full name Plainmoor Stadium
Capacity 6.500 [1]
Field size 112 x 74 yards
Construction
Built 1921
Opened 1921
Tenants
Torquay United

Plainmoor is a suburb of Torquay, Devon, but is best known as the name of the stadium in which Torquay United Football Club currently play.

History[edit]

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.

The Main stand at Plainmoor in 1981

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.

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 Webb came to Plainmoor in 1984 and prompted a few cosmetic changes to the terracing. Then on 16 May 1985,[2] just six days after the Bradford City stadium fire, a third of the old grandstand was destroyed during an early morning blaze.[3] 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. Currently a New stand is being developed in the place of the previous Grandstand.

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 main stand that was originally from Buckfastleigh Racecourse was demolished in the autumn of 2011 and accordingly the ground capacity was reduced. A new stand filling the complete length of the pitch, unlike the previous stand, was erected during the 2011-2012 season and opened in August 2012, in time for the start of the following season. It was named Bristow's Bench after the late former director, Paul Bristow who so generously supported the club after a lottery win. In December 2012 a big screen was installed between the popular side and the away end.[4]

Future[edit]

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.

In the not too distant past there was some talk of re-location, 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).

With the new stand being built re-location now seems extremely unlikely.

Record attendance[edit]

  • 21,908 v Huddersfield Town, FA Cup 4th Rd, 29 January 1955

References[edit]

Coordinates: 50°28′35.07″N 3°31′25.77″W / 50.4764083°N 3.5238250°W / 50.4764083; -3.5238250