The TBIR Blueprint for the future of Non League football – part 2


After the successful launch of our campaign, and our feature on the BBC Non League Show no less we are ploughing on with points 4 to 6 on our agenda for change.  To review or comment on points 1 to 3 click here, otherwise forever hold your peace.

4. All clubs to offer free entry to under 16’s.
Let’s face it, children should not have to pay to watch football.  In fact how many actually watch the whole game anyway? Earlier in March I took both of my young children to Chelmsford City.  They were charged £3.50 each.  £7 for two under ten’s who were then going to spend about the same on snacks, sweets and drinks.  They saw no value in the £7.  How is charging that amount encouraging parents to bring their children to the games.

Kids go free, but Leprechauns are extra

Families are being priced out of the professional game.  Even in League Two, a child of 7 years old can be charged at up to £10.  In the Blue Square Bet Premier some clubs charge up to £7 for juniors which again is far too high.

My reasoning?  The pocket money test.  Apparently the average weekly pocket money for a ten year old in England is £4.92, well according to the Daily Mail so it’s not 100% correct.  In the Fuller household it is £2.50, rising to £3.50 for chores.  So according to Crawley Town, if a ten year old wanted to go to a game they will have to pay twice the weekly “salary” of my ten year old.  To put that in an adult context, if they charged the same twice the weekly wage to get in then a ticket to watch a Blue Square Bet Premier league game would cost over £1,600!

At the start of this season I did some research on behalf of Lewes FC on ticket prices.  The cheapest basic entry in the league was £9, the most expensive £11.50 (Chelmsford City again).  But only two clubs offered free entry for the under 16’s – Lewes and Farnborough.  Since then a number of clubs have brought in the scheme realising the value it has as a marketing tool. Continue reading

The TBIR Blueprint for the future of Non League football – part 1


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

Are you watching David Gold?


£18.50 for this view?

The thought of having to watch my football in a half empty athletics stadium is as appealing as watching a DVD box set of Kerry Katona and Katie Price’s TV highlights. From significant experience of watching games overseas in grounds where you are up to 30 metres from the action I cannot remember one match which I can say was watchable when played in such a stadium. I’ve been to some of the best in the world – Berlin’s OlympiaStadion, Barcelona’s Montjuic, Istanbul’s Ataturk and Vienna’s Ernst Happel, and I’ve been to some of the worst – Rotherham’s Don Valley, Brighton’s Withdean and Moscow’s Dinamo Stadium. And the one thing that links them all is the fact that there is very little atmosphere, and this translates to the players.  Are you listening Sullivan, Gold et al?  Of course not. Our good friend Ian King wrote in When Saturday Comes this month about the real losers in the whole Olympic Stadium farce were of course the fans who simply weren’t consulted.  As a club member at West Ham I can certainly agree with that, never once having been asked my opinion about the move. Continue reading

A house of Cards


Lewes 0 Woking 4 – The Dripping Pan – Saturday 26th February 2011
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so below is twenty thousand of them summing up a depressing afternoon at The Dripping Pan.  Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible we hope.

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