Football Without Fans Is Nothing
It could be the greatest game in the world but if there are no people there to watch it then it becomes nothing. The fans are the lifeblood of the game.
Jock stein said those immortal words and I feel they become more important as the years go by with regard to the game we all love. Yes football has changed for good and bad but I am still pleased that I started experiencing going to football in the early 70s, though along with many other fans these days quite a lot of things make me sick about what’s going on in our game.
Don’t forget that since football was invented, us fans have pure and simple kept this spectator sport alive. Fans at Premier level in my opinion are treated quite poorly and many just choose no tto go anymore which is very sad.
In the lower levels of our unique footballing structure you find every club needs its fans and without them they would collapse, it amazes me how some clubs still survive with very little gate money. Yet at Premier League level clubs are quite happy to remind the fans that thieir hard earned income is no longer the main bread and butter income that keeps there clubs going, other sources of income bringing in more money.
Well, I am just waiting for the day when this extra income such as TV deals etc dry up, then I wonder how regular fans will then be viewed by the clubs. I still feel many clubs are living for the day and not thinking ahead. Anyone who takes their kids to non-league football will be able to confirm that often many turnstile operators turn a blind eye and let kids in free, it’s a small gesture I know but it’s the type of things most people don’t forget and end up spending the few quid saved inside the ground anyway.
Funny how it’s the clubs that need money the most who do these little things as well as scraping around for little bits of sponsorship here and there & each and every one of these clubs nationally rely on their own community to survive, they have no choice but to create goodwill.
I am aware that in the world’s second oldest league in the world, here in the north east, many clubs can’t guarantee if they will be playing the following season and again this is so annoying with all the money floating about and millions going out of the country with foreign players’ wages.
I ask, what is our football hierarchy doing to protect our games at all levels?
I have been to hundreds of non-league games and to be honest the Craic is excellent and of course the banter can be heard across the pitch. My favourite will always be the, “hey ref, was your hair in your eyes”, to the baldy ref whose decision-making is being questioned. It’s also heart warming to see often 5 or 6 mascots at some games, all of which is likely to be free or a small donation, as opposed to costing parents a small fortune at Premier level, even to be a ball boy/girl. We as toon fans have found out recently how our club is squeezing every extra pound out of its fans as opposed to those lower or grassroots clubs relying on every pound.
It’s important that football must take a long look at itself for the long-term benefits of the game as a whole, not just the richest league in the world. Without the other clubs the premier wouldn’t be what it is. Clubs like Newcastle could start putting their reserve games out occasionally to local clubs, so it means taking football to the people instead of the usual other way around.
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