Torquay United manager Gary Johnson - Credit: Thousand Word Media Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Many of Torquay United's summer signings pen two year deals

Dave Thomas

Several of Torquay United's key summer signings have penned two-year contracts.

Manager Gary Johnson has so far brought in eleven senior players, plus two first-year pros from their Academy, after six of last year's regular first team turned down new deals and left.

Because he's under 24, defender Joe Lewis was the only departee who generated any compensation, heading to newly-promoted Stockport County for an 'undisclosed' fee.

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans (Stockport), Armani Little (Forest Green Rovers), Ben Wynter (Barnet) and Player Of The Year Shaun MacDonald (Cheltenham Town) were among the other players who opted to leave.

And that exodus came after Lucas Covolan, Ben Whitfield, Aaron Nemane and, initially, MacDonald walked away from the 2021 Play-Off Final team.

But, answering questions from fans at Thursday night's Torbay Weekly Charity Curry Night at Newton Abbot's Eastern Eye restaurant, Johnson revealed that the Gulls have tried to avoid a repeat of those losses in another 12 months' time.

Johnson didn't name the players involved, but he confirmed that several new arrivals had agreed two-year deals, and he thanked the Plainmoor board for their role in securing those commitments.

He also pointed out that it improves United's chance of extending those contracts if players do well over the course of 2022-2023.

The TW evening, where assistant manager Aaron Downes joined Johnson in the Q&A session, raised money for Torquay's Rowcroft Hospice and Plainmoor's Defibrillator Appeal.

United must dust themselves down from Tuesday's 5-0 defeat against Plymouth Argyle, with Exeter City, who have joined the Pilgrims in League One this season, next up at Plainmoor on Saturday (3pm).

Johnson has stressed that, with the EFL starting a week earlier (July 30) than the National League, those clubs have been in training longer than United, but he's also demanded that his squad step up on their performance in midweek.

The Exeter game won't now be the Gulls' last friendly - they've arranged to meet former Plainmoor tenants Truro City of the Southern League Premier in Cornwall next Saturday (July 30) before the NL opener at home to Oldham Athletic on August 6.