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One out, One in! Part Two

By: Todd Bontoft
Date: 26/08/2000

According to Robert Elstone, a Sports Business Consultant, there is a direct correlation between a club's fan base and its success: "the bigger the fan base, the better the on and off field performance of the club".

But this is not Alan Buckley's fault, it's simply a fact that unless there are more bums on seats the club will struggle in the current football world. Despite TV money it is gate receipts that remain the most crucial source of income.

Except, of course, the premiership's top clubs - Moanchester United's 1999 gate receipts accounted for only 38% of their turnover!

The rest of us 'normal' clubs still need people though the turnstiles. Deloitte & Touche confirmed this in its Annual Review of Football Finance, published in August 2000, in which it stated "Matchday income is as important as ever to football clubs' finances. There may be a widening gap in terms of revenues, but there certainly is not - at the League level - when it comes to fans clicking through the turnstiles. It is still a more important source of income than TV revenue".

The euphoria and optimism of a newly promoted side carried us through the first season back in Division One, but since then it's been a struggle. Last season was a battle royal to stop up! I thought those last few points were never going to materialise.

Everyone expected nothing more this season than a long and laborious slog. The season's singular mind numbing aim is to obtain those 'magical' 50 points and survival.

Okay I know you're out there and you expected the championship and disaster was a playoff place. But I only took advice from the then incumbent manager who set his sights so high!

It may be churlish to underestimate achieving survival at this level but football is about passion, its about opinions, it's about romantic dreams of 'onwards and upwards'.

I'm pleased he's gone I'm grateful for what he's done but I was very bored and losing enthusiasm fast.

I can't put my finger on it, but there has been something missing. Most of life is perception and the fans, players and management all need to be standing shoulder to shoulder, men at arms ready to fight the foe! I didn't get the impression this was the case. During his second reign there hasn't been the same enthusiasm for chants of AB's B&W army.

I wouldn't insult Alan Buckley by suggesting "we've got to find a manager that's got credibility, is well founded and has got the ability to run a very tight ship on a very tight budget. Similar to what Alan's done". Let those that have made the decision be honest enough and say "we wanted a change; we want our own man; we fell out; just had enough; didn't like his socks…. (Delete as applicable).

It sounds almost like the board are not so much sacking and appointing managers more like changing the club's minibus for the same colour and model because it's a year old and they want a brand new one. Why bother you just loose money?

I doubt if anyone can do any better, times are tough, but some fresh ideas and some optimistic - but realistic - noises would be welcome.

Life is just too short. The head says he should not have been sacked but the heart says the opposite.

Let's hope Mr Lawrence can generate some passion at Blundell Park, on and off the field and get those turnstiles clicking.

Give the new king a chance, get your aunts, nephews, grannies and next door neighbours down to Blundell Park.

It's people and passion as well as a manager and his players that make a club.

And it's not just the board that needs to open their wallets.

Lennie, Lennie give us a wave,
Lennie give us a wave.

Come on everyone, I can't make much of a noise alone!

Todd Bontoft

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