Indestructible brands

Donald McRae on the struggle for survival outside the Premiership. Excellent business journalism by a very good sports writer.

“Eleven clubs have been through the mill of administration this year, staggering and lurching from one catastrophe to another. Four remain locked in either administration or receivership. Isolated from the Premiership millions, and devastated by the collapse of ITV Digital, they face an excruciating struggle to survive. No club has suffered more this year than Luton. For all the farcical elements of their summer-long nightmare, the consequences for their fans and players have been chilling. Luton’s anguish has become an emblematic and salutary insight into football’s troubled world.”

Football clubs, even quite humble ones, are obviously very powerful things (brands? Public goods? Community assets?). None of these troubled clubs will be allowed to close, whatever happens to their ownership, management or even their squads. There can’t be many more robust local institutions.

1 comment

  1. Interesting thoughts. Speaking as a Swindon Town fan (we’ve seen a record-equalling two periods of administration in the last three years) I’d say most of the clubs survive only through the patronage of a wealthy individual. All that allows many lower-division clubs to continue trading, apart from those deep pockets, is a blind eye from banks and the tax authorities. Meanwhile, many local politicians, as well as central government, appear not to have much time for the clubs’ place in their communities – perhaps payback for a decade in which many clubs appeared to care little for those communities themselves…

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