Shouldn't Big Clubs Support Little Clubs?
Tom CTID sent Vital Manchester City the following.
Just because I support Manchester City, it doesn't mean I don't have any other football interests. I like to think I'm a bit of a football freak, knowing lots of useless trivia and thousands of player's stats. Yes City is my first love, but I also like to support the fellow northwest teams (Utd and Liverpool excluded). This season, for example, I am willing on Rochdale to promotion, with the hope that Bury will join them in the playoffs, and Blackpool can clinch a promotion spot in the Championship.
Maybe this is down to me listening to local radio's coverage of football on a Saturday afternoon for many years. The radio coverage keeps you up to date with teams in and around Manchester, so player names start to become familiar with you as the reporters feed back their updates to the listening audience. So when the transfer window opens and I see one of Rochdale's best players being sold to Watford (Will Buckley), I start to get a little concerned about Rochdale's promotion push.
I am of the opinion if you start selling your best players then you're not going to win many games. Now I know teams in the lower leagues aren't awash with money, so they need to balance the books solely to survive, let alone push for promotion. This leads me to the question: Should big clubs support the little clubs?
This weekend saw Stockport County relegated to League Two. Yes it has been on the cards for most of the season but it's still a sad sight to see. Even more worryingly is the fact that football league rules state that no team can start two seasons in administration.
Stockport went into administration in April, at the end of the 2008-2009, and after the talks about a takeover have never materialised, they have now found themselves in administration for a whole year and the prospect of being kicked out of the football league, and that would most likely see them being wound up.
To me that would be terrible, and when you look at the money Stockport owe it is even worse. They owe roughly £500k to £750k, which compared to Premier League clubs budgets and Premier League player's wages is nothing. Another example is Chester City who have been wound up and thrown out of the football conference because they couldn't pay £16k - again peanuts compared to the Premier League. Surely City can help them out, can't they?
Now I'm not saying that it's City's responsibility to look after other clubs because we are the richest club in the world, nor am I telling Sheik Mansour what to do with his money, but I think some sort of arrangement could be made. I have a few ideas I would like to share with you.
Firstly, and the most obvious, is plain and simple. Clubs give money to the lower leagues, but I think that's wrong. For starters I believe that Premier League clubs should look out for their own 'regions'. For example City, Utd, Bolton and Wigan would look out for teams nearby like Stockport, Macclesfield, Rochdale and Bury. So finance would be passed to those clubs directly, a bit like a feeder club, which leads me on to my second idea.
Why not use a club like Rochdale as a feeder club? City would pay them an annual fee, and in return City would be able to loan youth players to Rochdale and play a pre-season friendly against them at Spotland, generating more much needed revenue. The same could apply to Utd and Bury or Liverpool and Tranmere. As far as I am aware I don't think there is anything like this in place at the moment, though I could be wrong.
My third idea is ticket offers. This Saturday is of course the Manchester Derby, and kick off time is the unusual 12.45pm, were used to Sunday 1.30pm. As a result Macclesfield has delayed there kick-off time this Saturday to 3.30pm to hopefully allow fans of City and Utd the chance to turn up and watch the game. I'm guessing this is aimed at arm chair viewers who after full time will quickly make their way to the Moss Rose.
This will help boost the attendance, but there are always empty seats. Why don't clubs come together and organise a Ticket Offer. An example could be if you buy two adult and two child tickets to a City game you can get the same ticket combination to a Macclesfield game for £20 or something similar.
My final idea is 'Friendly Tours'. I know City kind of do this anyway, but during pre-season why not go on a tour of the northwest and play the likes of Oldham, Stockport, Bury, Macclesfield and Rochdale. Again that would generate more finances for the clubs as it would boost attendances and sales of food.
Anyway they are my ideas. Just a thought!