List of Torquay United F.C. managers
Torquay United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Torquay, Devon. This is a chronological list of all Torquay United managers from 1921 until the current season.
When the second incarnation of Torquay United was formed by the merger of Torquay Town and Babbacombe in 1921, Torquay Town striker Crad Evans was installed as the club's first player-manager. After three seasons at Plainmoor, he was succeeded by Harry Raymond before Percy Mackrill took over the reins in 1925. Under Mackrill, United won the Southern League Western Section in 1927 and were elected to the Football League later that same year. Despite requiring re-election after the club's first League season, Torquay managed to establish a place in the Third Division South, albeit without ever finishing any higher than 10th position in all the seasons leading up to World War II. The club's most successful pre-War manager was Frank Brown who achieved three top 10 finishes in six seasons until 1938. After the War, Johnny McNeil brought greater success to the club and had led Torquay to second place in the Third Division South before suddenly leaving in March 1950. Unable to maintain the momentum following McNeil's departure, United eventually had to settle for a 5th-place finish.
Torquay's longest serving manager, Eric Webber, joined the club in October 1951 and remained in charge for nearly fourteen years. During this period, Torquay achieved their best ever finish to a season after narrowly missing out on promotion to the Second Division in 1957. When the League was divided into four nationwide divisions, Webber oversaw Torquay's first ever promotion after finishing third in Division Four in 1960. Torquay only lasted two seasons in Division Three and Webber eventually parted company with the club in 1965. Webber's successor, Frank O'Farrell, achieved promotion back to Division Three in 1966 after only his first season in charge. This marked the beginning of Torquay's most successful period to date, enjoying six consecutive seasons in the Third Division. However, O'Farrell himself left the club in December 1968 to take over the manager's job at Leicester City before eventually becoming manager of Manchester United in the summer of 1971.
O'Farrell's departure triggered a slow decline in Torquay's fortunes. His successor Allan Brown managed to keep Torquay in Division Three before being sacked in October 1971. However, Brown's replacement, Jack Edwards, failed to maintain the club's Third Division status and they were relegated in 1972. With Edwards unable to return Torquay to Division Three, the rest of the 1970s saw Malcolm Musgrove and then Mike Green preside over a period which was largely characterised by falling attendances and (at best) mid-table finishes. This was despite Frank O'Farrell returning to take temporary charge of first team affairs before the appointment of Green in 1977. O'Farrell would take over for one more season after Green's departure in 1981 while at the same time grooming his successor Bruce Rioch. After Rioch left the club under unfortunate circumstances in 1984, things got even worse for Torquay with the arrival of David Webb, whose reign coincided with two rock bottom League finishes and a fire which destroyed part of the grandstand at Plainmoor. Later preferring to concentrate on his role as the club's Managing Director, Webb eventually appointed Stuart Morgan as first-team manager in 1985. Morgan was the man in charge in 1987 when a last minute equaliser against Crewe Alexandra on the final day of the season saved Torquay from relegation to the Football Conference.
Arriving in the summer of 1987, Cyril Knowles managed to revitalise Torquay United and led the club to the Division Four play-offs in 1988. The following year, Knowles was responsible for Torquay's first ever Wembley appearance after reaching the 1989 Sherpa Van Trophy Final. The former Tottenham man was also notable for introducing a young Lee Sharpe to the Torquay first-team, attracting the attention of Manchester United who were prepared to pay a club record £185,000 for the teenager in 1988. Dave Smith replaced Knowles in 1989 and helped build the squad which eventually beat Blackpool in the 1991 Division Four play-off final, although John Impey was the man in charge for Torquay's second appearance at Wembley after Smith had left the club just weeks before the final. However, Impey would not survive as manager for long and Torquay were relegated after only one season in Division Three.
The next two decades would see a succession of managers experience a wide variety of fortunes at Plainmoor. Yugoslavian Ivan Golac lasted barely a few months in 1992, while Paul Compton needed the experienced Neil Warnock to take over and save Torquay from the threat of relegation to the Conference in 1993. Don O'Riordan performed well enough to get United to the 1994 Division Three play-offs before being sacked in 1995 with the club again in danger of losing its League status. Kevin Hodges guided Torquay to another Wembley play-off final in 1998, but were second best to Colchester United on that occasion. Just three years later, the club had to call upon the experience of ex-Torquay striker Colin Lee to replace Wes Saunders when the club were again veering perilously close to non-League football in 2001. Nevertheless, by 2004 the club's fortunes had changed yet again with Leroy Rosenior becoming the first Torquay manager since Frank O'Farrell in 1966 to achieve automatic promotion. However, Torquay would again only enjoy one season in the newly named League One, and by 2006, it was the turn of Ian Atkins to pull off the 'great escape' and keep United in the Football League. While he was successful on that occasion, with turmoil on and off the pitch throughout the following season, neither Atkins nor Luboš Kubík nor Keith Curle could prevent Torquay from finally dropping out of League football in 2007.
The job of returning Torquay to the Football League was given to former United midfielder Paul Buckle. Despite a largely successful first campaign in the Conference, United would lose in the play-off semi-finals to local rivals Exeter City, while a week later, a first appearance at the new Wembley Stadium would result in more disappointment with a defeat by Ebbsfleet United in the 2008 FA Trophy Final. However, Torquay would make another return to Wembley the following season and were this time victorious after beating Cambridge United in the Conference play-off final, ensuring United's return to League Two after only a two-year absence. In 2011, at the end of Paul Buckle's fourth season in charge, Torquay reached the League Two play-off final at Old Trafford but were beaten by Stevenage. Immediately after the defeat, Buckle accepted an offer to become the new Bristol Rovers manager which led to the appointment of the current Torquay manager, former Leyton Orient and Cambridge boss, Martin Ling. With Ling currently on long-term sick leave, after Alan Knill successfully kept Torquay afloat, Martin Ling was sacked immediately and Knill was appointed permanently 2 weeks later.
Statistics include all first team competitive matches from 1921 until 16 November 2018.
It does not include statistics for any Wartime Leagues or county tournaments such as the Devon Senior Cup or Devon Bowl.
|Name||Nationality||From||To||P||W||D[A]||L||Win%[B]||Honours and achievements||Refs|
|Crad Evans||Wales||July 1921||May 1924||104||54||21||29||51.92|||
|Harry Raymond||England||July 1924||December 1924||16||5||5||6||31.25|||
|F.G.B. Mortimer||England||December 1924||May 1925||25||5||7||13||20.00|||
|Percy Mackrill||South Africa||July 1925||March 1929||176||76||37||63||43.18||1926–27 Southern League Winners
1926–27 Western League Runners-up
Election to 1927–28 Football League
|unknown [C]||March 1929||May 1929||14||4||4||6||28.57|||
|Frank Womack||England||July 1929||May 1932||132||41||30||61||31.06|||
|Frank Brown||England||May 1932||May 1938||279||93||62||124||33.33||1933–34 Third Division South Cup Runners-up|||
|Alf Steward [D]||England||May 1938||May 1940||48||18||10||20||37.50||1938–39 Third Division South Cup Finalists [E]|||
|Billy Butler [F]||England||August 1945||May 1946||2||0||1||1||0.00|||
|Jack Butler||England||June 1946||May 1947||43||15||12||16||34.88|||
|Johnny McNeil||Scotland||June 1947||March 1950||130||53||33||44||40.77|||
|Bob John||Wales||March 1950||November 1950||27||6||7||14||22.22|||
|Alex Massie||Scotland||November 1950||October 1951||42||10||9||23||23.81|||
|Eric Webber||England||25 October 1951||3 May 1965||680||275||164||241||40.44||1956–57 Third Division South Runners-up
Promotion to 1960–61 Division Three
|Frank O'Farrell||Ireland||May 1965||14 December 1968||177||79||40||58||44.63||Promotion to 1966–67 Division Three|||
|Jack Edwards (caretaker)||Wales||14 December 1968||8 January 1969||2||0||1||1||0.00|||
|Allan Brown||Scotland||8 January 1969||11 October 1971||140||50||43||47||35.71|||
|Jack Edwards||Wales||11 October 1971||January 1973||68||18||16||34||26.47|||
|Malcolm Musgrove||England||January 1973||22 November 1976||188||61||58||69||32.45|||
|Lew Chatterley (caretaker)||England||22 November 1976||November 1976||1||0||0||1||0.00|||
|Frank O'Farrell (caretaker)||Ireland||November 1976||March 1977||14||4||2||8||28.57|||
|Mike Green||England||March 1977||May 1981||221||82||54||85||37.10|||
|Frank O'Farrell||Ireland||June 1981||June 1982||53||14||18||21||26.42|||
|Bruce Rioch||Scotland||July 1982||14 January 1984||86||32||18||36||37.21|||
|Jimmy Hargreaves (caretaker)||England||16 January 1984||4 February 1984||2||1||0||1||50.00|||
|David Webb||England||4 February 1984||21 August 1985||75||20||20||35||26.67|||
|John Sims||England||21 August 1985||21 September 1985||8||1||1||6||12.50|||
|Stuart Morgan||Wales||23 September 1985||21 May 1987||96||20||32||44||20.83|||
|Cyril Knowles||England||22 June 1987||30 September 1989||133||55||28||50||41.35||1988 Division Four play-off Runners-up
1989 League Trophy Runners-up
|Dave Smith||Scotland||7 October 1989||2 April 1991||90||34||31||25||37.78|||
|John Impey||England||6 April 1991||8 October 1991||28||10||4||14||35.71||1991 Division Four play-off Winners|||
|Wes Saunders (caretaker)||England||9 October 1991||February 1992||23||7||5||11||30.43|||
|Ivan Golac||Yugoslavia||February 1992||May 1992||19||5||4||10||26.32|||
|Paul Compton||England||May 1992||February 1993||35||9||3||23||25.71|||
|Neil Warnock||England||15 February 1993||2 June 1993||15||5||5||5||33.33|||
|Don O'Riordan||Ireland||June 1993||29 October 1995||122||38||39||45||31.15||1994 Division Three play-off Semi-finals|||
Kevin Hodges (caretakers)
|29 October 1995||November 1995||2||0||0||2||0.00|
|Mick Buxton (caretaker)||England||November 1995||17 November 1995||1||0||0||1||0.00|||
|Eddie May||England||17 November 1995||May 1996||32||3||11||18||9.38|||
|Kevin Hodges||England||May 1996||June 1998||107||38||26||43||35.51||1998 Division Three play-off Runners-up|||
|Wes Saunders||England||June 1998||28 March 2001||149||47||42||60||31.54|||
|Colin Lee||England||28 March 2001||2 July 2001||9||3||4||2||33.33|||
|Roy McFarland||England||20 July 2001||23 April 2002||50||13||15||22||26.00|||
|Leroy Rosenior||Sierra Leone||9 May 2002||25 January 2006||184||59||59||66||32.07||Promotion to 2004–05 League One|||
|John Cornforth||Wales||26 January 2006||13 April 2006||12||4||3||5||33.33|||
|Ian Atkins||England||26 January 2006||27 November 2006||28||9||7||12||32.14|||
|Luboš Kubík||Czech Republic||27 November 2006||5 February 2007||15||2||5||8||13.33|||
|Keith Curle||England||8 February 2007||17 May 2007||15||2||4||9||13.33|||
|Leroy Rosenior [G]||Sierra Leone||17 May 2007||17 May 2007||0||0||0||0||—|||
|Paul Buckle||England||2 June 2007||30 May 2011||226||104||58||64||46.02||2008 Conference National play-off Semi-finals
2008 FA Trophy Runners-up
2009 Conference National play-off Winners
2011 League Two play-off Runners-up
|Martin Ling||England||13 June 2011||15 January 2013[H]||81||32||23||26||39.51||2012 League Two play-off Semi-finals|||
|Shaun Taylor (caretaker)||England||28 January 2013||19 February 2013||6||1||0||5||16.67|||
|Alan Knill||Wales||20 February 2013||2 January 2014||4||0||1||3||0.00|||
|Chris Hargreaves||England||6 January 2014||15 June 2015||75||27||15||33||36.00|||
|Paul Cox||England||17 June 2015||18 September 2015||10||2||4||4||20.00|
|Kevin Nicholson||England||28 September 2015||17 August 2017||93||28||23||42||30.11|
|Robbie Herrera (caretaker)||England||17 August 2017||12 September 2017||6||0||2||4||0.00|
|Gary Owers||England||12 September 2017||12 September 2018||45||12||12||21||26.67|
|Gary Johnson||England||13 September 2018||Present||11||7||3||1||63.64|
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