‘The beautiful game’. That’s the case for most North-West football clubs within the Premier and Football League. These clubs are fortunate enough to have a good financial backing from their Owners and Chairpersons.
This is certainly not the case for a lot of North-West Non-League clubs.
One of Altrincham FC’s vice-presidents Eric Robinson said: “Funds should only be made available for ground improvement as to the individual club’s requirements.”
Unlike billionaire-owned Manchester City FC, who can afford to spend millions on pitch improvements, stadium developments, and new signings when needed, Non-League clubs are suffering as a result of inadequate funding.
Insufficient funds have affected clubs in several different ways, with the likes of Evo-Stik Premier Division clubs Altrincham FC, and Ashton United FC suffering from several recent match postponements due to unplayable pitches.
Whereas, National League sides Macclesfield Town FC, and Chester FC are also feeling the brunt of financial hardship. The Silkman owners failed to pay players their January wages, siting a ‘cash deficit’ as the cause, and fan-owned Chester have been in financial turmoil as of late, with the owners needing to find £50,000 for the club remain.
Eric went on to say: “Any funding that is made available from the FA (Football Association) to Non-League clubs I feel should be on a percentage basis.
“All clubs should be encouraged to operate within their respective budgets.”
There is clear evidence to show not enough funding is available within Non-League football. Dissimilar to clubs higher up the league ladder, those who are fortunate enough to afford under-soil heating, pitch drainage and/or full-pitch frost covers, as well as have the finances to comfortably pay a player £100,000+ per week. Clubs lower down the ladder, are struggling to afford any form of frost-prevention, pitch drainage and players wages.
There is an argument that some clubs in the higher leagues have ‘earned their wealth’.
However, with more and more clubs facing financial uncertainty and fighting to keep their matches on week-in-week-out, is it time the FA to provide/invest more money into Non-League? Or should clubs be forced to ‘deal with’ the harsh results of inadequate funding and ‘earn their wealth’.