Earlier this week, the chairmen of the Premier League clubs delivered another body blow into the heart of grassroots football. The man pictured above is Richard Scudamore, retiring as the head of the Premier League, 19 years in making it the global phenomena it has become today but to the detriment to everything underneath it from the Championship down.
Each Premier League club has been asked to stump up £250,000 to give Scudamore a golden handshake, a handshake for someone who earns a salary of £2.5 million pounds plus bonuses already. A mere bit of pocket change for clubs at the top end of the tree, but money crying out for distribution into non league football where it could be put to much better use.
For what he has achieved to make the Premier League the most watched and sought after league in the world, Scudamore has ten times over earnt the salary he handsomely gets paid, so why does he need this extra in the pot when clubs throughout the pyramid struggle to get through months at a time let alone seasons?
The answer is he doesn’t! Imagine what that money could do for 100 non-league clubs up and down the country, what it could do for councils and park pitches, many of which are no longer equipped to last a full season. No longer is the game taking into account its clubs supporters nor those volunteers who pack out grassroots football to ensure clubs take to the field every Saturday and survive from year to year.
I know full well how hard it is as Secretary of a grassroots football club. There isn’t enough cash filtering it’s way down to help clubs of all levels provide their communities with a place to go not just on Saturdays but during the week to gain vital income and in a time where the top end of the game is awash with cash it’s a fundamental problem.
The FA no longer run the game in this country or the Premier League would be hauled into line, thats the real reason why the cash comes into the top and 99% stays at the top. And in the meantime, the rest struggle on in most cases living week to week and inside overdrafts just to provide their loyal supporters with a place to watch some real football.
If it wasn’t for Spurs trying to compete with a sensible business model against the rich clubs, I probably wouldn’t bother even half as much as I do with the Premier League because it primarily is detached from the rest of football and from the people who use their hard earned wages to fund season tickets and travel long distances in support of their team.
Whilst most would say they’ve earnt their money and should spend it how they see fit our football system is unique to Europe and needs to be protected for it to sustain itself for generations to come, why should we lose it at the cost of the greed of others?
Money has become no object to these teams and seeing some people priced out of the beautiful game is becoming uglier season by season, it does give non league clubs a chance to try and win over these disillusioned spectators, but it’s hard without the tools to improve facilities to get these people coming in and keep coming, and by that of course I mean money!
The next question would be where does the game go from here? The answer is a bit unclear, European leagues, more wealth, even bigger TV deals and meanwhile your local club just about manages to club together to give the ground a lick of paint, quite a sobering thought when you think about it………….