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Football Club Finances on Good Morning Britain




A small segment on Good Morning Britain to discuss the precarious position that some football clubs currently find themselves in.


It's interesting because the football industry doesn't conform to the standard laws of supply and demand when it comes to the survival and viability of any of its constituent clubs.

Susannah Reid brought in a comparison with the Arts industry and the government support that is being given to theatres and suchlike, yet I don't feel that it is a fair comparison.

Theatres aren't dependant on one another to uphold a pyramid structure that allows a flow of organisations as they succeed or fail. In fact, quite the contrary. It would better serve theatres if others failed catastrophically and left them a larger share of the consumer market.

This just wouldn't happen in football. There is a tribal loyalty to a football club that goes way beyond it being a "service provider". Club support is so entrenched that, should Tottenham Hotspur go to the wall, it would be a very cold day in Hades before you saw any of their supporters turning up at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in order to 'consume' the product on offer. Or Barnet for that matter. However, a regular patron of the The Vaudeville wouldn't have a similar quandary if it shut its doors and they had to frequent The Old Vic for their theatrical morsels.


Equally, the closure of a theatre doesn't tear the fabric of the Theatre industry structure by leaving a gaping hole in the system. The ramifications to the football industry are far greater than just 2 less fixtures in the calendar.


Furthermore, the essential nature of a football club to a community cannot be overstated. Especially in towns where their primary industry went to the wall in recent decades. Former mill towns like Burnley and Blackburn, mining towns and cities like Sunderland, Newcastle and pretty much anywhere in the North East, and geographically isolated towns like Carlisle and some coastal extremities, are wholly dependant on the football club's existence to support local commerce. Matchday trade, printers, food suppliers, local transport and businesses around these transport hubs, these are all reliant on the increased revenue from fans that pass through. It extends even further, the community work of the club, the employment beyond the playing staff of the club, all reliant on the club's existence, never mind its success.


And need I go into the psychological and emotional impact that this would have on a community? We are already seeing the chasm in peoples lives that the inability to attend football matches creates. Not just the loss of a significant joy or past-time, but also the loss of social interaction. Whole friend groups and social lives are built around the supporter experience, not just at the match itself, but also watching it together at another venue, the subsequent conversations and interactions it generates throughout a week and the sense of belonging that many supporters have with their comrades, a sense of identity.


In an already troubled world, allowing a football club to go under would be a heinously shortsighted action by both the industry and the government at large.

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