I was reading the Wealdstone Forum after their game against bath. Amidst all the moans and groans about the team’s disappointing start in the Conference South, there were some interesting points about attracting outside investment.
The suggestion was that even a well-supported club like Wealdstone with good commercial income streams could not survive/prosper in the Conference South without outside investment, in order to attract players of sufficient quality to dispel relegation fears/push for promotion.
This set me to thinking about Hendon’s situation if the move to Silver Jubilee Park does go ahead. Putting to one side any question of promotion to the Conference South do people think that having a permanent/semi-permanent base will attract outside investment into the Club?
The Hendon and Harrow areas must house one of the largest collections of accumulated wealth in London not to say the whole country, yet neither Hendon nor Wealdstone have a queue of wealthy punters beating a path to their doors wanting to invest in the clubs. Witness the barren years at Claremont road following the glory days of the early to mid-1970s and no I won’t be mischievous enough to ask what happened to the Newcastle money!
Again, I read on the Wealdstone Forum at the time of their game against Ebbsfleet that the Kuwait business man(men?) that have invested heavily in the club are associated with some massive housing building project in the area. The theory being that acquiring a local identity via the football club will help promote commerce. Given the amount of building going on along and behind the Edgware Road and forthcoming redevelopment of Brent Cross does this hold similar potential for Hendon?
See my lengthy rant on foul language, specifically the "Investment" bit and the attitude of civilised people/communities to the game of Association Football, on here at the start of the season - a rant that generated five pages of replies on the Wealdstone Forum.
There are only two reasons to "Invest" in any football club:
1 - The chance of doing a Ken Bates / Sam Hammam and flogging the club to an egomaniac who wants a new toy - not likely, though it does happen... or doing a Ron Noades and flogging it to a schmoe like Mr. Goldberg. That's basically selling a commodity in a "Bubble" market.
2 - The chance of profiting from redeveloping the club's ground for commercial/residential use... minus football team, natch. Well played to Andrew Landesberg if he's managed to do that in NW2. A cheque is likely to be in the post, should he pull it off.
There can be no "Investment" in an industry where the strangely prevalent market forces dictate that expenditure must exceed income in order for any business in that industry to be "competitive" - i.e. for the team on the field to win more games than it loses.
In football terms, the word "Investment" is Blairite Newspeak - meaning almost exactly the opposite of what the word means in normal use.
The correct terms are "Donation" and "Gratuity".
In "proper" football, I support Hibs, ffs, and their refusal to trade insolvently is one reason they've been relegated, while clubs with a fifth of their traditional revenue streams and less than one-third of their support remain in the top flight.
Boreham Wood, the model Wealdstone fans seem to aspire to, appears to be a unique set-up for a London (ish) based club. A bar/leisure/entertainment business subsides a football team.
Why does it work up there?
I have no idea.
Why did use of the Banqueting Suites at Claremont Road drop to almost nothing?
How many residents of NW2 were closer to the clubhouse than any other licensed premises?
Why did they hardly ever use the clubhouse. (I doubt I ever saw more than a dozen people in there in the last few years on the odd evening I popped in.)
I have theories.. but I'm not writing another 15,000-word post, even though I have time to do so.
I don't see a Boreham Wood model developing at Silver Jubilee Park.
Wealdstone have more of a chance - if they stay at Grosvenor Vale.
Re: re: Investment
Alan, when I first started going to pubs the difference between the price of a pint and the equivalent from a supermarket wasn't that much. More lately it's a ratio of about 3 to 1. That's one reason why you won't have seen many people in the clubhouse. The other, of course, was that it was a s**hole.
"Alan, when I first started going to pubs the difference between the
price of a pint and the equivalent from a supermarket wasn't that
much. More lately it's a ratio of about 3 to 1. That's one reason
why you won't have seen many people in the clubhouse. The other, of
course, was that it was a s**hole."
Yeah, I suppose there is that.
It's not a concept I've ever gotten used to. I have a couple of acquaintances whom I occasionally pop around to see and who tend to respond to "We can nip down the Ferret & Firkin for a pint" with, "B******* to that! Let's just get some cans in." I do not "Get cans in." Ever. Never have done, never will do.
I don't think the clubhouse was that bad, even towards the end.
Then again, my upbringing alternated between Kilburn High Road & the Carnival section of Arra Road. I suppose the sole difference between The Cock Tavern & The Frankfort was that only half the fighting drunks in the latter were Irish - the other half being West Indian. Neither were aimed at today's Gastro Pub Class.
This again runs onto the question of what off-field activities might raise revenue to bolster a soccer club's finances.
I don't know Boreham Wood all that well.
When I've made deliveries there or been to matches at the football ground, it never seems nearly as close to the top of the White Trash Scum index as the occasional posse of irregulars who appear at high profile games would indicate.
The grapevine suggests BWFC has a budget more or less double Wealdstone's.
Where does that money come from?
I spent most of August doing stuff at Grosvenor Vale. I was up there five or six days on the spin a couple of times.
The bar is used much more than it was a couple of years ago - mainly as a result of a concerted effort by fans to drink there, even if they still live in HA3. Some locals without much interest in football pop in regularly.
There's a gig in the main hall almost every Friday night, often on Saturday night as well, and 250 punters pitching-up isn't unusual.
There's a reasonable frequency of anniversary/birthday p***ups, as well as less inebriated social functions in the main hall and the Aquarium Bar.
Admittedly the Jazzercise, Zumba, Tapdancing, etc. attendees aren't likely to spend £20 on Real Ale and ham & cheese rolls, but the firm/instructor still hires the hall and the punters have a Diet Pepsi.
The field out the back is hired out for community fetes and stuff in summer.
WFC was unlucky with the lack of Wembley-bound clubs coming in down the A4/M40 last season, but was very lucky with Wales/Lancashire clubs in 2012/13. A typical Man Citeh party for a 3pm or 4pm kick-off can consume nigh-on 30 barrels of lager, a few of cider and some shots - plus 500 burgers/hotdogs. You do the maths.
Yet it's not enough.
It's nowhere near enough.
Even though Wealdstone get gates triple those that pitch-up at Boreham Wood and are second in the embryonic attendance league, the grapevine says Wealdstone have the lowest budget in Connie South.
To answer the original questions at the top of this thread: "Yes, the move to a permanent base, giving the Club control over more of its affairs, and the forthcoming construction work in the Staples Corner area is likely to increase the possibility of someone putting some money - a "donation" or "gratuity"; not an "investment" - Hendon FC's way."
It's not going to increase it very much, though.
The "communities" likely to make "investments" in football clubs aren't likely to "invest" in Association Football. I would be fairly surprised to learn that any of the construction companies involved in current large-scale building projects in NW London have failed to chip-in for construction of a football stadium that's about to spring up. But neither Hendon FC nor any other FC will be playing at the new Emerald Park GAA stadium that's about to go up in Ruislip. I doubt if Clancy Docwra or Murphy's will be chipping-in at Silver Jubilee Park... unless a 150yd pitch is planned, along with a groundshare involving St.Gabriel's or Kilburn Gaels.
As for other prospective investors, well, yes, there's plenty of money in Hendon & Harrow... though I hardly think they compare with Kensington, Hampstead, Chelsea, St.John's Wood, Henley-on-Thames, Marlow, Virginia Water, etc. as locations containing "large collections of accumulated wealth."
With those f***in' eejits north of Hadrian's Wall about to vote for "Independence" - & join the whole of Africa & every Mohammedan nation on the planet as a country I boycott as totally as possible - it may help to recall the words of Robert Burns:
"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
Tae see oursels as ithers see us."
In my view, it's the greatest gift an individual can possess in human interaction: the power to see himself as others see him. It confers a position of almost impregnable advantage on those rare birds who manage to acquire it.
Of course, in this Pathetic Excuse for a Nation, it's an especially difficult gift to acquire, as voicing an "offensive" opinion of anyone or anything is regarded as criminal conduct. Given the social status of those who've implemented this legislation, I always think it's supremely poetic that the Burns quote comes from a poem entitled, "To a Louse."
Fact: Virtually nobody moving in influential social or business circles in this country regards the game of Association Football and everyone in it as anything other than a cesspit infested with vermin.
Footballers are seen as semi-literate, emotionally-retarded, morality-free scum.
That's also how I see them.
Football clubs are seen as being the exclusive preserve of thieves, charlatans, morons, criminals, megalomaniacs, bigots, racists, callous exploiters of children, money-launderers, tax-evaders & basketcases.
That's also how I see them.
The business of football is seen as being controlled entirely by cretins, egomaniacs, incompetents, unrealistic muthafukkas, fantasists, larcenists, embezzlers, parasites and idiots with the financial acumen of Stan Bowles at White City dogs or Gazza on a bender. The spastics - apologies to Mr.Gervais for infringing his copyright - can't even agree a financial model that turns a profit.
That's also how I see it.
Respectable people want nothing to do with the game.
Why can't clubs at this level understand that?
It's not as if mafiosi, tyrants, state-owned firms from despotic regimes, "Fleece the Schmoe" internet sites and drug-pushers are queuing up to back clubs at this level, is it?... Unlike in the Premier League.
On Saturday, Hendon face the supreme example of what "Investment" in Non-League football can bring.
How much did Max Griggs put into Rushden & Diamonds?
Unlike other chairmen, who took their clubs down with them when they went bust, Mr.Griggs had the enormous decency to warn the club & its fans that the recession was biting him to the point where he could no longer fund them and give reasonable notice of his decision to pull out. He handed them a £750,000 gratuity, gave them the club (debt-free), the Nene Park ground and a lot of surrounding land for £1.
Where were they five years after he pulled the plug?
In the second tier of the United Counties League, as a newly formed AFC, having gone tits-up.
Had to cut that "lunchtime break" rant short to hobble back from Internet Cafe to hospital.
Re: Boreham Wood FC and their funding model.
Main point being, considering how often the facilities at Wealdstone FC are used, how does what I seem to remember being a slightly smaller facility at BWFC - admittedly in conjunction with a £250 per game 3G pitch - seemingly pull so much more money? I doubt the Women's Institute, religious communities or political organisations hire it regularly.
BWFC's clubhouse isn't on the High Street, any more than Wealdstone's is.
Maybe BWFC supremo Danny Hunter has a private rainbow terminating at his abode, with a tribe of leprechauns in his back garden.
The Earlsmead hall is very nice these days and the back bar's not a dump. Harrow Borough FC ain't raking in the shekels from hiring them out.
I'd assume the Hendon FC archive of accounting & bureaucracy, retrieved from the eaves of the Claremont Road clubhouse, may well contain files on use of the Banqueting Suites. It certainly contains files of hugely impressive lists of previous sponsors & advertisers.
The main problem with getting some of them back, or promoting any new community facility, is the man hours required to do the marketing... something Hendon FC, along with most other Non-League clubs, doesn't have access to.
Let's stop the deluded BS about "Investment."
Say what you mean; mean what you say.
Financial contributions to Hendon FC are largely donations to the pockets of sub-standard footballers, who'd be playing as nothing more than a hobby at this level in any other country - just as hockey and rugby players do here.
There's far too much self-delusion in modern UK society and football contains more than almost any other
area. (I see the "Safe Standing" BS is surfacing again. Until the imbeciles drop the comforting, self-deluding and inappropriate word "safe" from any petition, I will not support it.)
The one recent scheme that appears to constitute "Investment" is the Lewes plan.
I'd like to think some of you have had a look at it:
Please try to accept the unpalatable situation that, when it comes to attracting funding from what might be termed "City" businesses and the traditional Patrician elements of society, you have three things to remember:
1 - You're in Mississippi.
2 - It's 1952.
3 - You're black.
You have as much chance as you'd have knocking in my door with a Noo Layba rosette or thrusting a collection tin for "Palestinians" in Gaza under my hooter.
As I'm surprised to find this morning that I can almost sort of walk, I might even turn up at Earlsmead tomorrow.
Re: re: Rant
Clubs with a sugar-daddy tend to succeed these days - those with just a band of supporters who do their best to chip in or raise funds stay afloat, get relegated or fail.The odd cup run windfall will help some.
I'd love to see a comparison of income & expenditure accounts between the super Hendon side of the 1960's and today. It would be interesting. It may show what fundamental changes need to happen.
My guess is that non-league football in general is over-paying the players (and probably asking too much of them in terms of time spent training, travelling & playing).
Most in football administration are 65-plus, being the only people with time on their hands and, generally, clubs don't have enough volunteers to do all the things that could or need to be done to make things work financially or operationally.
What's the future for non-league football ?
Limited I'm afraid, if things don't change on a number of fronts.
Mr Ainsworths Rant
Are you for real who gives a toss about borehamwood fc, wealdstone fc and Harrow fc, We are talking about the future of Hendon fc and with the history of the club we deserve our own ground. A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to get to this stage with Rob Morris doing wonders. The 3G pitch will generate money for the club no problem, and will help with postponements due to bad weather so the club can still earn revenue from increased crowds, We are also forgetting the youth set up that's now in place if we can't take advantage of that then there's something's wrong, with all that in place it will be a lot better than what we've got in to attract investment don't you think? As with your comment regarding donations to sub standard players Gary,Scotty and the team work very hard and always give 100% and that's after a 40 hour plus day at work. who pays for their travelling to away games, training? they do so don't begrudge them a so called donation, and calling the players sub standard is an insult to all the lads who derserve a bit more respect we are 3rd in the league!!!! anyway my Rant over
Alan is not a Hendon fan and I doubt very much that his rant was directed at Hendon players specifically. It was far more likely to be directed at non-League football and footballers in general.
I doubt that there is a single Hendon fan who regards Gary, Scott, Freddie, Mark and the entire playing staff as anything other than heroes for the way that they have started the season and for the hard work and dedication that they bring to the club.
Re: re: Rant
I'm slightly concerned Alan... even by your own standards, 2000 words is pretty excessive where one would probably have sufficed.
For the record, although I'm inclined to agree with the gist being "no", it's a "no, but" in that there are probably going to be more opportunities to increase the club's influence/income/support base at SJP than there are groundsharing at Vale Farm/Earlsmead.
That doesn't mean anything's going to fall in our lap (it won't), or we're set up to take advantage of those opportunities, but it does at least open up some possibilities that aren't currently open to us and I suspect in particular a chance of moving back towards stability.
Hendon FC Supporters Trust