Gulls aim for £1million National League prize pot
- Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK
£1 million-plus - that's the 'prize' at stake for Torquay United to win the National League Championship or promotion via the play-offs.
Gary Johnson's Gulls go into the final two games of a pulsating regular season three points behind leaders Sutton United - fans will be back at Plainmoor against one-from-bottom Barnet on Saturday (3pm) - and six goals worse off (GD) than the Ambers.
But it's far from over and this could be a 'swing' weekend.
Sutton are at home to fourth-placed Hartlepool United on Sunday (12.15pm BT Sport) - Pools need to win to avoid the first round of the play-offs.
A convincing victory for United and a draw or, especially, defeat for Sutton would leave everything hanging on the final day (May 29) - Torquay travel to Altrincham and Sutton go to Barnet.
The rewards for promotion are immense. Above any increased revenue by themselves, United would be eligible for:
- £450,000 League Two 'Solidarity' payment
- £425,000 Premier League Academy contribution
- £140,000 community scheme assistance.
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United have already relaunched a self-funded youth scheme, but I understand they would seize on the Premier League money to ramp up that operation.
Manager Johnson insists: "We have not given up on the title yet", after his side produced another impressive display to draw 2-2 at third-placed Stockport County last Sunday.
That game marked the return to fitness of versatile defender Kyle Cameron and Player Of The Year Ben Whitfield.
Fans are currently voting for the Torbay Weekly-sponsored 2021 Player and Young Player awards.
The NL have announced the play-off details, with the first round (4th-v-7th/5th-v-6th) on June 5/6, the semi-finals (2nd-v-5/6 and 3rd-v-4/7) on June 12/13 and the final on Sunday, June 20.
Bristol City's Ashton Gate stadium has been booked for the Final, with fans allowed in.