Non league football is the lifeblood of the game today, yet gets little attention from the media (apart from radio shows like the excellent BBC Non League Show or the Non League Paper). It is not in the best of shape to put it mildly. In the past year numerous clubs have gone to the wall, with not even a batting of an eye from the Premier League or the Football League. So what can we do about it? Well, we’ve got our heads together and come up with our 10 point agenda for change, our manifesto if you like. Today we launch part one covering the first three points.
1. Create standard co-operation partnership agreements between Premier League/Football League clubs and Non League teams.
Now this may seem like madness, but there is significant sense in this move as the Hyde/Manchester City model has shown. Last summer, after coming perilously close to being wound up in the High Court, Blue Square Bet South’s Hyde United signed a three year “partnership” agreement with Manchester City. City would refurbish Hyde United’s Ewen Fields ground and play their Elite Squad (aka reserve) games there and in return Hyde would lose the United and change their kit from red and white to white and blue (with a distinctly Man City-like diagonal stripe).
Nine months on and a visit to the ground does indeed show how smart it is, resplendent with perimeter boards for Etihad and Umbro. However on the field the team have continued to struggle and again this year face a tough fight against relegation. The excellent Ian King over at Twohundredpercent wrote about these odd bedfellows last year. Continue reading