Tough week all round for Plainmoor staff on and off the pitch
Plainmoor has known better weeks, that is for sure.
A spate of injury and illness problems has been compounded by annoying international call-ups. What looked like the chance to register a reassuring home win over York City last Saturday turned into a 3-0 home defeat.
Then it emerged the club was preparing to make at least three members of its non-football staff redundant. One of them is believed to be club secretary Kerry Haggan, who has worked for the Gulls in various roles for longer than most.
An official announcement on that score, with expected role changes involved, is expected any day, but no company goes down that road unless cloth needs to be cut.
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United's 13-man board is clearly concerned about financial pressures, even though Torquay are not alone in the Football League's lower divisions in feeling the pinch.
If Gulls fans are sitting uneasily at the sight of their team with nine points from the first ten games, on a budget that is believed to be about 17th or 18th in the League Two table, imagine how the directors of Northampton, Portsmouth, Bristol Rovers or Southend United must be feeling.
Still, at times like this, you need a lift from somewhere, and the only place it can logically come from is the team.
The Gulls head to Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon – they are travelling up today – with a squad that probably will not stretch to a full substitutes' bench. They are far from full-strength. But out of these situations can come strength.
Only a couple of years ago United, under former manager Martin Ling, found themselves in a wretched run of results that prompted a worried board to offer Ling the option of diving into the loan market.
When Ling announced that he would rely on the players already around him, there was plenty of loud throat-clearing among the club's support.
Ling was proved right, United went on an extraordinary run through the winter up to second place and ended up losing in the play-offs.
Whether Alan Knill can conjure up something similar remains to be seen.
He and the club are going through a difficult spell, but Knill stressed this week: "It's important that you don't panic – you let everybody else panic, but in the club and in the group of players, you don't."
Two years ago, United stopped the rot under Ling with a 4-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon, after they had been given the runaround for most of the first half. A deflected shot by Danny Stevens just before half-time broke the deadlock.
Maybe United could do with something like that now, for Knill pointed out this week that all the formations, all the systems and all the theories in the world mean diddly-squat alongside what happens at the business ends of the pitch.
He said: "Midfield may be important, for helping to get the ball to where you want it, but, when the ball goes into the box, their box and your box, that's what's important."
United could do with a little more devilment, and maybe a touch more luck, in both those all-important areas.