These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

NO ROYAL PARDON



Printed in the re-arranged Southern League Central Division game v Ashford Town Tuesday 19th April  2011.  We won 2-0 in front 261 and now need just 1 point from 2 games to get in the play offs.

Forget the wedding nonsense, the big news from the Royal Borough is that after 118 years of history Windsor and Eton Football Club are no more. Downed by debts of a staggering £283,000 the club folded a couple of weekends back and have been erased from the Southern Premier League. We’d heard it was bad but you’ve got to ask how a club that pays just a peppercorn rent to the Crown Estates had got itself in such a mess.
Windsor’s demise makes this season a non league financial car crash.
In theory financing a football club should be quite simple; don't spend more than you earn unless you've got a guaranteed safety net. But it’s not as black and white as that. It costs a lot of money to keep a club going, irrespective of wages. Rent, electricity, gas, water and other bills add up whatever league you play in. Cut the wage bill and the football suffers; crowds drop and that loss of income becomes a vicious circle.
Then there’s the other flip side of the coin as one Bridgwater fan pointed out.  “There may be an element of sour grapes here, but we nearly got promotion to the Southern Premier, on allegedly a lower budget than most. We even slashed our playing budget due to cash flow problems, towards the end of the season. Now where do we find ourselves for cutting our cloth to fit? Windsor take one of the promotion places, despite paying wages they could never afford, Weston Super Mare (WSM) are reprieved in the Conference South due to other clubs doing much the same and instead of a very possible scenario where we could have been in the same division as WSM, we are two divisions apart. Then our manager leaves for WSM taking almost all the players with him. At least we still have a club still (we've gone bankrupt before in 1984), but we're struggling to get any sort of decent side together and crowds have dipped substantially. These things do have knock on effects for other clubs even if the links aren't direct.
It’s high time for the football authorities to act. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson recently described football as the "worst run sport in the country." In their election manifesto, the Conservatives promised a "wide package of reform of football finance and governance". Although they’ve probably cut that along with everything else they can get their scissors too.
There’s currently a House of Commons enquiry into football. Lord Triesman, the former FA chairman, Graham Kelly, ex-chief executive, and Lord Burns, who conducted the last football review, explained how they all tried to get English football to change and why, due to entrenched vested interests, it didn’t happen. Triesman said on the issues which really matter and which the FA is responsible – financial wellbeing, ownership of clubs, treatment of fans, making the national team's success a priority – it has "backed out of regulating altogether." Football, and this might come as a surprise, has become dominated by the Premiership to the determent of everything else.
As for Windsor it looks like they will reforming a couple of leagues lower. Their new chairman Peter Stott promises to do things different  this time around “The idea is to change the business model to create income streams that are not reliant on benefactors. So in the future for example, if you have got a 3G pitch and if we have got a gym in a stand, we are generating income. The bottom line is we either change or a few years down the line the next benefactor for whatever reason, dies, goes away or doesn’t want to know anymore and you are back to square one. It’s about trying to break that cycle.” 
Despite our rivalries we wish them well and hope they can rise from the ashes and become a force again in regional football.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreaciate for the work you have done into this post, this helps clear up a few questions I had.

3:31 am

 

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