Pyramid Sense?

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Pyramid Sense?

Postby Magpie in Exile » Mon Sep 04, 2006 1:41 pm

I'm playing devils advocate here, but Chorley's current plight has crystalised thoughts that I had been formulating for some time. Have we/the FA/ the powers that be created a monster with the national league system that might actually undo the very thing it is supposed to promote: viable non-league football? Some not entirely random thoughts.

I started watching in 1978/79, with Chorley in the Cheshire County League (first game was Darwen at home: 0-0, and I still came back!). I've just looked the table up and done a little bit of homework. Chorley's away trips varied between 5 miles (Horwich) and 86 (Rhyl) with the average being 36 miles: now it is 9 and 140 miles, with the average being 64.

In 1978 we were in step 2: with only the NPL above us, and had crowds of between 3-400, now we are step 4 and don't get 200: The crowd figures compared with the travelling just don't make economic sense.

Add to this an article in NLP last week hailing a new TV deal for the conference. The deal with Setanta is for live matches on a subscription channel, and provides "much needed revenue". So far so good, but it includes a revival of the Bob Lord Trophy so the conference have their own cup. Hang on, half the conference teams are not that interested in the FA trophy, so why is television money being directed at a new cup that holds precious little prestige and keeps the dosh at the top level?

So we have two types of non-league football now apparently: fully professional with TV coverage including an intra-league competition that no one was interested in, and one where survival is difficult because travelling distances have doubled and crowds have halved. Our own version of the rich get richer? In time, if this trend continues then the national conference will be indistinguishable from the professional game and step 4 will have to be abandoned and go back to a county based system, we'll have county football and professional football and nothing in between. OK, perhaps that's a tad cynical but what do you think?

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to go back to a system whereby you could only get promoted if the NPL was in a good mood that season (and they seldom were) and then had to wait hald a century for the football league to finally tire of one of their old lags for the next step, but when the conference started, I'm not sure this was where we all thought things were headed?

What does anyone else think?
Magpie in Exile
 
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Location: Frome, Somerset

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