These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the National League South in a swanky new ground. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton.

Saturday, March 02, 2019


Printed in the National League South game v Hemel Hempstead Saturday 2nd March 2019  We won 1-0 in front of 669
I could just lie and say that I got all cultured in Bath last weekend, but the shameful reality is that I just went to the pub and then watched Slough lose a game of football. But I did use Bath City's toilets which judging by the state of them, must be a listed building. Bath's ground is a wonderful old stadium, but its not pulling its weight and in the bar before the game they were showing off plans for its redevelopment.
Bath moved into Twerton in 1932 when it was just a village, and it wasn't really until the 1960's that the area started being developed. But the club and Twerton need a boost and the football club need to increase income streams if they are to progress. If approved the multi-million pound investment will include new shops, a refurbished High Street and improved public space with a new community hub, a gym, 3G pitch student accommodation, affordable housing for local people and co-living apartments for key-workers – oh and a new grandstand.
Supporters took over the running of the club in May 2017 raising £300,000 to pay off debts and this development is a throw of the dice, life saver for the club.
A life raft is what Notts County currently need to stop them going into administration with debts of £7 million, taking the chairmans company with them. The oldest professional football club in the world, in the country in which the game was founded, where the top flight is the richest in the world and has revenues in excess of £5 billion, totally bust. Or to put the £7 million debt into prospective. £7m a year is less than West Ham are paying Javier Hernández this season. Five league goals to date.
There are more than 50 league clubs in England and Wales who'd had their hundredth birthday before the Premier League was even founded. Yet only six teams have ever won it and its wealth is becoming ever more concentrated in the hands of the Big Six. Man Utd's £19.6m pay-off to Mourinho and his staff, would pay the wages of all the players, managerial team, coaches, and all other staff, at an average League Two club. For eight years.
Football at any level is a game of chance. One slip, one misplaced pass, one wrong decision. Small margins between success and failure but as with life money can buy you success and football club owners now have two simple strategies: Plan A: Be lucky Plan B: Find an oil sheikh/oligarch. What could possibly go wrong?
Last season Cardiff City lost £654,000 a week to get promoted to the Premier League. Cardiff paid out £137 in wages for every £100 of income as their wage bill increased by 67% while directors pay increased by over 400% ! Their loses last season will probably come in at around £400 million.
Cardiff took a punt and won but how long can these joke shop economics of the madhouse go on?
Martin Calladine from The Ugly Game Blog pulled no punches “The entire Premier League is built on a pyramid of tens of thousands of clubs, and on the accumulated prestige and game-going culture of millions of fans over many generations. The Premier League's wealth was founded on a century of other people's work. And while lower league clubs slip into financial danger, the handful of clubs at the very top insist that they alone generate the massive wealth in the Premier League. It's gangsterism. They have their hands in the pocket of every league club in Britain. And while Notts County slip away, remember this whenever you hear of a football club in trouble. Premier League owners, who insist lower divisions clubs must survive on a pittance, had a whip round to give a departing employee a £5m goodbye present.”
As someone much more eloquent than me put it 'UK football is the Wild West. A billionaires poker table. A bonfire of money. A castle in a slum, a banquet while people starve.'
Of course clubs can be run better, and Bath City have come up with one way to generate extra income but when I hear Slough fans moaning about our recent run of results, I wonder what they want. With average crowds of 815 at our council owned ground, we only have income from the gate money, half the bar takings, Slough Town lottery tickets, golden goal matchday sponsorship and ClubShop Sue's bobble-hat fund. How much do you think we should risk on player wages to get promoted? I would love Slough, infact, all football clubs, to publish their gate receipts and expenditure after every game and ask supporters for their ideas of how they can increase income. Introducing a rich shriek to the club is not the answer or the solution, but bringing a new mate or three along would help. Especially if they drunk loads of beer in the bar and had to buy a new pair of lucky Slough Town underpants for every game.


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