THE NON-LEAGUE football world often lives within a false economy that does little to dissuade clubs from flirting dangerously with financial ruin. Some clubs live way beyond their means, paying out everything they accrue and agreeing players’ wages that are totally unrealistic when one considers the earning power of the clubs.
It’s a questionable business model – often a club is propped up by a few individuals ploughing-in money to keeping the club afloat. Mostly, clubs that live beyond their means arenot successful – the number of clubs that are actually successful is very small. Of course, it does depend on how success is quantified, but mostly, fewer than 10% of clubs in a 22-team division can experience true success each season. It begs the question, is money being well spent in the non-league game?
The precarious nature of non-league football is best illustrated by a crude calculation revealing that football alone will struggle to support a club. Take, for example, a club that generates £2,000 per match from an average crowd of 350. On the other side of the balance sheet, that club might pay out around £ 2,000 per week over a 40-week season. That generates a significant gap, to be met from sponsorship and social income. And that does not take into account any infrastructure costs, bills, rates or expenses.
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