By Aiden Mynott
Where does the future of non league football lay? A short question but one that needs a lot of answers. Of course it all boils down to the amount of cash available some will immediately cry. I beg to differ albeit I accept cash or lack of it is a big part of the answer.
I’m sure those at Dulwich Hamlet F. C. would also throw in the make up and support of the local council as a big part of the answer. They find themselves in the middle of a disagreement between their ground owners and the councils planning department. Cutting a long story short the council have turned down the stadium owners plans to develop the site. As a result the owners have told the football club that they will no longer support the football club.
A number of clubs are nomadic these days as a result of similar disputes or decisions. To build a ground to the standard of those at Ware would be in suspect close to 10 times what it cost 22 years ago. That is a big investment involving millions of pounds.
Of course it doesn’t stop there as this week we had our 2 yearly ground inspection. The result was a good one as only a number of minor points were raised that needed rectifying to maintain our ground grading. If we had 2 cubicles in our outside men’s toilets we would qualify for the next grade. Toilets which are rarely required for the normal 3men and their dogs which regularly attend at step 4.
And then of course there are the players. The evening standard reported that Dulwich hamlets wage bill before tax is £8,000 per week. This is not I would suggest is excessively high for the level of football. At our level I am sure some are paying nearly half that.
It is clear that gates are not supporting the revenue at any level of football. It also highlights the importance of TV money at the top of the game. So unless something changes dramatically in the way non league football is funded I can see no long term future in the set up we currently have.
And on that bomb