How many clubs will fold this season?

by Mystical Mike

Thursday, November 6th, 2008
 

Is your club one them?

Four or five top Non League clubs are on the brink of going under, that’s the stark warning this week from one Chairman involved in his own financial battle.

Whatever your love affair with Grays owner Mick Woodward, if he’s right in his assertion, then a mighty black hole is about to rock up underneath the grassroots game.

I’m not going to name names, but I’ve a fair idea who those clubs might be, and I know my reaction to it, but how does it make you feel?

I wrote an open letter to the Chairman of the FA a couple of weeks ago with a similar message, how would he feel if one of the teams at the top of the pyramid went under, the likes of Manchester United, or Chelsea?

At the time I had vague idea of the dire situation facing Non League. Now in a week when at least two respected Chairmen have stepped forward backing up the rumours, is it time to fear the worst?

They’re not my clubs, it’s not my battle, but still it’s one I want to fight.

If the rumours are true, five clubs, you’ve all heard of, five separate sets of fans, five histories spanning hundreds of years, supposedly near the pinnacle of the non league game could be about to disappear, then how many others?

From top to bottom we could be about to lose some big names, but do you care?

Sit down and have the same conversation with any fan at Scarborough or at Halifax and ask them how they felt, when debts spiralled out of control.

Personally, I’ve looked in my dad’s eyes and seen that fear that he may never get to see his club play again, and it’s not something any fan should go through. I’ve seen the effort put in to drag the same club back up once more, where the real fans were not in it for money or kudos, but for maybe sentimentality, or passion, or for the club.

So why should you care? You should care now, as your team could be one of those five, and you should act now to make sure that it’s not too late. Get a fan on the board, demand to know what’s happening with your side, demand to get involved and don’t let it happen.

If the rumour mongers are right, five clubs in the non league game are a couple of digits away from history for all the wrong reasons, don’t let yours be one of them. I certainly won’t.

Non League Show

Caroline Barker presents The BBC Non League Football Show
Every Monday from 9pm via www.bbc.co.uk/nonleague
Real Football, real fans.
If you’ve got a story email the team nonleague@bbc.co.uk

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  • Stevie

    a lot of teams in the non league are full time professional now, surely this must have something to do with lack of funds in the non league game, players require larger wages, grounds need to be filled.

    A friend of mine is a Leicester fan for his sins, he is totally fed up with the lack of atmosphere at the Walkers and has bow started watching Kettering Town, maybe he’s a glory fan as Kettering are doing rather well, or maybe he loves real football supported by real fans? One thing is for sure, more none league teams will gain more fans as so many fans of Prem teams are getting fed up with the game

  • Jamie Farrier

    But surely Stevie with the amount of money in the modern game, such finances should get through to the lower clubs. I would’ve understood five clubs going under decades ago when football didn’t have such money available even to the Manchester Uniteds or the Chelseas of the game, but to talk of five clubs going under given the obscene finances we’re in during modern times and it’s an outrage.

    Earlier on, Danny and I travelled to see AFC Wimbledon – I don’t mean to get on my high horse here, but even if it’s just once a season, go to a non-league match. You’ll feel all the better for the experience, especially the heartwarming feeling of cheering them on as the cold, dark evenings roll in, and your local team will be a little bit better off for you doing so.

  • Stevie

    I see what you are saying, but are you telling me the same twits who abandoned Man United when the Glazers took over are still going to watch FC United play? I doubt it.

    I think the days of the hardcore football fan are long gone, it would cost over £500 quid to watch 4 games per month. Which is why I guess the non league teams should benefit…

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