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Back To The Future – Part 2
Could The Roman Revolution Come To Chester?
United For Survival
Thoughts Of Chairman Mark
United Colours Of Football


Once upon a time we could just turn up and watch our football team then celebrate or bemoan their performance. Increasingly we have had to campaign for the rights of our clubs to exist at all. David Ravenscroft, an Exeter City supporter offers his thoughts on the future of football.

As a fan of a lower League team, Exeter City, I am becoming more and more concerned about the plight of clubs that are facing the prospect of going under and that no-one gives a damn about it. Every day I read about fans from bigger clubs spend millions for this player or that player when teams like mine wonder if the wages are going to be paid.

I think it is about time when we the fans should unite and fight for the very survival of the clubs we see week in week out. I read about the plight of Chester City, when even the manager paid the water bill so the players could shower after the match and there are countless other stories of clubs not being able to pay for this or that. The fact is that the big clubs like Man U, Liverpool, Newcastle etc., seem to have forgotten that there is life outside the Premiership.

We have virtually no exposure on TV except if we draw a big team in the FA Cup, the national press coverage is a joke, all we hear about is how we have the best league in the world. It�s a pity that most of the big clubs can�t prove it by winning a major club trophy but as we can see they don�t get much further than the third round in European competitions.

Not so long ago teams in the lower leagues would have young players on their books that the bigger clubs would be interested in and would pay good money for them. This was a good way of money being distributed through football in general. But now most of the Premiership buy their new players from abroad and all the money is going out of the English game. Will there ever be another Ian Rush, Kevin Keegan etc., I feel sorry for all those young British players who don�t seem to get a chance to play for a big club.

I think that the money in football today has gone a long way to get rid of that community feeling that having a league club in your town brings. TV has a lot to answer for. When Sky bought the rights to show football it seemed that ITV and BBC were just waiting for Sky to make a mess of things and they could pick up the pieces. This hasn�t happened and now we will soon be having pay-per-view sot that rich clubs get richer and sod the rest. Our TV money has all but gone, so the financial stranglehold is getting even tighter. Once one club folds there will be a domino effect.

The chairmen of the smaller clubs need to get their heads out of the sand and wake up because one day they might not have a club at all. They need to unite with the fans and go to the FA and say "What about us? We love football as well as the big clubs, we play by your rules so come together with us and lets find a way of helping each other. Also our clubs must encourage youngsters to go to matches, offer them free tickets to games, it�s not as though we sell out and there is no room. Go to local schools, perhaps with some players and talk to them about their local team getting involved with their sports departments. Any way of getting people through the turnstiles. One thing that hurts me more than anything is the sight of children with Man United or Arsenal tops on and they have never been to see their local team play.

What I think we should try to do is join forces between clubs, and within clubs to get the footballing bigwigs to listen to us because on our own we are nothing but together they might just think about what is happening to us.

Here are a few ideas we might try
1. Get the FA to think about ALL of football
2. The FSA needs a kick up the backside to think about the needs of lower league fans
3. Tell club chairman � the fans love football � don�t freeze us out when we want to help
4. Perhaps we should form a lower league supporters association
5. Get more kids into local games
6. Get more press and TV to feature life outside the Premiership and Division One

This is not simply a go at the tope end of football . I know that most people who attend smaller games support a top team as well, but I want to try and redress the balance a bit. With most Premiership matches sold out there is surely a group of supporters who could be enticed to watch their local small club now and again � they might even enjoy it.

Finally, to all supporters of smaller clubs I would say that this is more important than club rivalries. This is the difference between seeing your team survive or died. Divided we will not win but unite we might just wake some people up. I do not, in the future want to watch a game on TV on pay-per-view at �15 a time because that is the only option available. Don�t think �My club�s all right now. It�ll never happen.� It could. Lethargy will only let the money men win in the end.

David Ravenscroft

ISSUE 26 Editorial
Back To The Future – Part 2
Could The Roman Revolution Come To Chester?
United For Survival
Thoughts Of Chairman Mark
United Colours Of Football
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