We all know that Non League football is going through a tough time. At the top end of the pyramid, clubs like Luton Town, Wrexham and Grimsby Town are operating almost as League clubs still, whilst the “upstarts” of Forest Green Rovers and Newport County have wealthy owners who are gambling on the next step. The crowds are comparable with their Football League cousins as too are the wage bills. But even in the top division there exists the “have” and “have-nots”. This season the Blue Square Bet Premier features ten clubs who have Football League experience in the past. Most of these still retain a Football League business model. But at the other end of the spectrum the Conference hosts teams such as Braintree Town, Hyde, Nuneaton, Alfreton and Tamworth. Clubs who survive on crowds as low as 600 in the case of some of these, competing with full-time outfits. Even in the Premier League the comparison between the likes of Man City and United and Fulham and Wigan Athletic is not so stark.
Many clubs reach the Blue Square Bet Premier, but soon slide back down, with the financial burden simply too much. The season Lewes spent in the top-level of non league football some five years ago almost cost the club its very existence. Forced to put in additional turnstiles, segregation and other ground-grading criteria, the clubs fail to see additional fans come through the turnstiles to prop up the other side of the balance sheet. No investment on the pitch soon sees a season long fight against the drop, and with four going down it is hard to escape. Some clubs are simply too good for the regional Blue Square Bet North/South but not able to compete in the league above. One such club is Ebbsfleet United.
Last weekend the Chairwomen of the club made a dramatic appeal to the fans:-
“In all seriousness and joking aside, now is the time to stand up and be counted. Whether you are MyFC, Fleet Trust, both or one of our loyal supporters who just enjoys watching the Fleet, please lose your pounds now!
The unfortunate timing of the weather and home fixtures being cancelled has really left the club strapped for cash and the coffers are bare!
LOSE YOUR POUNDS OR LOSE YOUR CLUB!!!!!
The Football Club is asking EVERY MyFootballClub member, EVERY Fleet Trust Member and EVERY Supporter near and far to donate a minimum amount of £30.00 or as much as you can afford to save the club.
Please do not ignore this plea, it is very real and has been decided as a last resort today here at the club.” Continue reading