Greg Clarke: “I want to see is empowered supporters. Exeter are a great example”

The current Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke, was commenting on the problems at Coventry City.  A problem that the football League is obviously annoyed with. His thoughts were:

Now I am absolutely savagely angry that the stadium owners and the owners of the football club can’t agree to keep the club in Coventry. We’ve done everything we can behind the scenes to say ‘look guys, you are two grown-up groups of people, one of you owns the ground, the other owns the football club, you both need each other.

Let’s find a compromise, make it work, bury the hatchet in the name of the people of Coventry’. But they’ve just fallen out so it’s nearly impossible to get an agreement. It’s a huge clash, which has built up over a long time Alan-Gow-Trustover the rent of the stadium.

He goes on to say this isn’t good for the Football League:-

Of course, it’s embarrassing for the League. Everyone thinks the League has infinite power and we can tell the clubs what to do.

The problem with the Fit and Proper Person (owners’) Test is it requires people to have done things that are seen as wrong or illegal or unethical. All these people are obeying the law. We can’t arbitrarily decide when we like the law and don’t like it.

He was then asked, “Surely fan trusts are the future?”

I worry about supporters owning clubs,’’ replied Clarke. “Not because they don’t deserve it. St James Park Old Granstand entrance. ThumbnailBut it’s like banks. If a bank doesn’t have enough capital to survive a crisis, bad things happen.

It’s the same with supporters. When they get relegated, or fall out with the manager and have to pay him off and some big cash crisis, supporters can only put their hands in the pockets so often.

What I want to see is empowered supporters. Exeter are a great example: fan-owned club, well run, good directors, good board, good fans, run it within their means, don’t do anything daft. But also you have good owners who do it the right way, you have good owners who put fans on the board.

The full thoughts of Greg Clarke can be found in this Daily Telegraph article, here.

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