The Future of Lower-league Football ?
Most non-league clubs are struggling - with modest gates, rising costs and a high average age & ageing fanbase and having to compete with on-tap TV football.
Most teams at the top of the Premier Leagues, whether in England, Spain or France etc. didn't become rich by being successful and thus attracting big crowds - they mostly reached the top through being rich with Arab money, Russian money, American money, Anyone's money, to buy the best players and then built winning teams.
The same is happening in a small way right down through the lower leagues.
In the end, I wonder if we'll see a semi-amateur set up developing for those clubs without external financial backing (sugar daddies etc) - and those which do have money, however sourced, gradually moving into the paid game in higher leagues.
It's already happening through the promotion system anyway. Then many clubs struggle when they reach just one division higher.
Unfortunately the fans don't like to see their club relegated through living within their means so clubs will continue to go bust and have to accept multi-division relegation. Farnborough, Hereford & Salisbury being the latest, following Hinckley, Rushden & Diamonds, Darlington etc. etc.
I personally like the idea of summer football for non-league clubs which has been suggested elsewhere,, perhaps running from March to the end of November.but I have no confidence that the management committees of lower leagues would have the imagination or energy to bring about such a change.
Even if they backed it, the FA would take decades to sanction a change - most of us will be long gone !!!!
Has anybody got any answers, beyond hoping for handouts from premier league TV money ?