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Turner Outlines Away Travel Decision

19 March 2014

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Chief executive Chris Turner has moved to set the record straight in the wake of criticism from some supporters regarding away travel to Plymouth Argyle.

The decision was taken to cancel True Blue Travel plans for Tuesday night's match due to the low demand which would have resulted in a sizeable loss if a vehicle had been laid on.

Turner said: "There were 12 people who wanted to travel to the game with True Blue Travel and that sort of figure does not add up when you have a 49-seater coach. 

"We had a similar problem for the game at Exeter earlier in the season, which was also a midweek game. We put on a mini-bus on that occasion and we received criticism at the shareholders meeting for doing that instead of providing a coach.

"The club does not run True Blue Travel as a profit-making venture, but neither do we run it as a loss-making venture. If we were organising away travel at a loss of £750-900 on a regular basis, we would soon be in trouble financially. 

"We approached three companies about the possibility of running a mini-bus to Plymouth but the cost was too high as they would have had to employ two drivers. The club simply cannot afford to sustain losses such as this."

Turner points out that the club had been willing to subsidise travel to Devon to a certain extent, before it became apparent that the loss would have been too high. "We were actually prepared to sustain a loss of £500 in order to facilitate travel to Plymouth for supporters," he said.

"The figure was going to be higher than that, however, so common sense tells you that this was not an option. The football club has got to be a sustainable business and it isn't at the moment. We cannot add to our problems by suffering losses in all departments of the club.

"Contrary to certain comments made, we very much appreciate the support we receive and we'll do everything we can to help fans travel to games. I don't like talking about financial matters when it comes to supporting the team but we have to make sensible decisions to protect the interests of the club."

Turner praised the work of Club Superstore manager Maureen Patrick, who organises True Blue Travel. He said: "Maureeen, together with her staff, works tremendously hard to try and ensure that fans are able to travel to games with True Blue Travel.

"The reason behind my decision to make this statement is because I appreciate the great work done by employees and I don't like to see them come in for any unfair criticism."

Turner issued an open invitation to anyone who would like to offer any suggestions regarding future travel arrangements. "If anyone has any ideas to improve travel to away games, I am always open to suggestions and would be willing to sit down with anyone for a chat," he added.

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