Friday, 30 March 2018

Finding that Golden Ticket

I've always believed that all football clubs get at least one crack at "The Big Time".  One moment when your mundane club, bobbling along from mini-crisis to mini-crisis under the staid control of various local worthies, becomes the temporary plaything of an outsider with ambition and a hefty wedge of readies.

At non-league level such an upheaval is more noticeable than at the top of the game.  While a multi-millionaire joining the board at Old Trafford wouldn't even necessarily get a parking spot, at non-league level they would be allowed to rename the town the team played in.

Suddenly your manky little bunch of long-ball merchants become the focus of local, regional, national or even international exposure.  For a fortnight, TV outside broadcast vans litter the streets more than discarded refrigerators.  Local television news carries vox-pop interviews about what is happening with the town's football club with the sort of quality people who loiter within staggering distance of the local Wetherspoons in the town centre at 9.45AM on a Tuesday morning.  

The new owner comes in.  The cash is flashed.  The adventure begins.

With one notable exception*, the story tend to go one of two ways.

Option One - new owner rebuilds ground, encourages more supporters, attracts useful mercenary players and achieves promotions.  Soon, the team of postmen and PE teachers is made up of players who were playing in League One six months earlier.  Within a year or two, even though you've never even come close to winning promotion to the Football League, you are suddenly kicking off your season at home to Coventry or Bradford City.  You have a hard core of 2000 fans who swear they've always followed you, even though records suggest the club was averaging only 156 fans a couple of years earlier.

See - Fleetwood, Crawley, Stevenage, Forest Green etc.

Option Two - new owner splurges on flashy appointments.  Has a million ideas of what to do and not one idea how to achieve any of it.  The expensively assembled team has some success.  Mainly because they are full-time professionals playing against pub teams.

A year in and the new owner isn't quite so chipper.  Attendances haven't gone up particularly.  The owner starts grizzling in the press about the lack of ambition in the town.  Introduces sliding scales of prices so the punters don't know from one week to the next what they should be paying for games against the "glamour" clubs.  Thinks it is a great idea to force people to queue to buy a ticket, and then queue again to get into the ground.  Lets it be known he's open to offers for the club.  Loses interest.  Saddles club with unsustainable wage bill and f*cks off.....Club sinks.

See - too many to mention, including a certain local team who play in red and black.

Our opponents on Easter Monday seen to be heading, big time for option two.  A slick Chairman with, a "colourful" history, including a CV boasting being a UKIP candidate and a ban from being a company director is already moaning about the apathy of the local bumpkins, raising prices, and picking fights online.  Usually a flash new owner at least wins a division or two before they start becoming so desperately defensive.  Not in Kings Lynn it would appear.  Time seems to be of the essence.  Which is odd considering Kings Lynn is a place that time has forgot.

Spot the difference...?

*Our old friends from down the A6 managed the impressive feat of combining both Option 1 AND Option 2

No comments:

Post a Comment