Are Football Clubs in England Being Ruined by their Owners?

Chairmen and owners around England are starting to dominate the back pages of newspapers but for all the wrong reasons.

With the recent news that Leyton Orient survived a winding up order, the club’s owner, Francesco Becchetti has been told to pay up all the debts by the 12th of June.

Leyton has been dragged through a horrific situation like so many teams before them. So why are owners attracting so much attention?

Several clubs around England have struggled with their chairpersons either because of money or personal issues.

Clubs such as Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool, Charlton Athletic, and Nottingham Forest are currently embroiled in disputes regarding the running of their club.

One of the reasons for clubs having administration problems is the fact that the owners are taking the fans for granted.

If you take, for example, a club like Blackpool – fans are starting to vote with their feet and have established the “NAPM” (Not A Penny More) movement in protest of the club’s unnecessary demise.

Even at a higher level, fans of Arsenal and visitors to the Emirates are fed up with being taken as just another number. It was evident with the protest of Bayern Munich fans when they visited London in the Champions League.

Incidents such as Cardiff owner Vincent Tan deciding that The Bluebirds were to change their home colours to red rather than the traditional blue that they had been wearing since 1908 highlights some of the problems that plague a lot of English clubs. Tan eventually listened to the club’s fans and reverted to Cardiff’s iconic blue.

Elsewhere, Hull City owner Assem Allam decided to change the club’s 109-year-old name of Hull City AFC to Hull Tigers, to create a global appeal to an international market. Their attempt to rebrand on that front was unsuccessful, though, as it was met with mass protests from fans and a ruling from the FA preventing them from changing their name.

In both of the instances mentioned above, the clubs faced massive backlashes from fans who thought their beloved sides were not being run correctly.

Many clubs have faced liquidation and winding up orders in their lifetime. Portsmouth, Southampton and Wimbledon are famous examples of clubs not handling their finances properly. These three teams plummeted down the English football league structure, suffered point deductions and in Wimbledon’s case the one time F.A Cup winners were no longer a football club.

The lack of F.A intervention into how clubs are being run is quite shocking. Owners are allowed to act irresponsibly without any real ramifications. Fans have called on the F.A to create bigger avenues for them to have their voices heard by the hierarchy of their respective clubs.

A lot of football fans are aggrieved by the fact that they’re seen as ‘numbers’ and not supporters. Teams continue to shun the will of the people thus resulting in protests and whatnot.

In an ideal world, English football would be like German football in the sense that clubs would be run with a 51:49 ownership in favour of the fans to ensure they have the final say.

Clubs around England are protesting against their owners, and there will be no end to the conflict unless the F.A step in and help the situation. Do not be surprised if fans say goodbye to the top flight’s greed or the owners’ dictator-style leadership and support their local non-league side in an attempt to connect with football once again.


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