Delia's recipe for healthy football

John Wilkinson, NCISA Earlier this month Delia returned to a subject close to her heart that of the distorted distribution of money in English football. Delia has wished for pre Premier League days where skills came before money in bringing success to a football club.

John Wilkinson, NCISA

Earlier this month Delia returned to a subject close to her heart that of the distorted distribution of money in English football. Delia has wished for pre Premier League days where skills came before money in bringing success to a football club.

Certainly the structure of football at the top level has changed beyond recognition since the old Division One days. The first four Premier League Champions spent in total �13.6 million in the transfer market whilst from the 2006/07 season to 2009/10 the four winners spent close to �207.25 million.

Money certainly increases the chance of success. In the last eight seasons the Premier league winners have been the biggest spenders five times.

Between 98/99 and 02/03 Manchester United won the Premier league four times out of five with transfer spending of �135.55 million. In the three seasons from 03/04 to 05/06 Chelsea spent �273.4 million to gain two first places and a second place.

This enormous spending takes no account of massive wage bills which accompany these transfers and leaves some fans with an uncomfortable feeling about the morality of such payments.

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Delia spoke of football clubs going out of business and the importance of the social side of the game. Life time support can be crushed as clubs go to the wall. Just ask Chester fans what this means.

It is little wonder that supporters take an increasing interest in who actually owns and runs their club.

The football authorities put in place the Fit and Proper Person Test in 2004 because of fans concerns about directors and owners of 30% or more of a club's shares. Information is now required about the ownership of 10% or more of club shares. However only the Premier League makes these names public and even then this does not tell the whole story.

Despite the huge amounts of money and increasing debt involved in English football, there is a lack of legislation in this country to make information fully available to League authorities and supporters relating to the ownership of clubs, the source of their finances and in which country financial control is held.

Running a football club as a business cannot deny the paramount social responsibility owners have to serve their local community. Sadly this was totally ignored by the football authorities when they allowed Wimbledon to be 'moved' to Milton Keynes.

Can we have faith in the same football authorities and those holding the power in the Premier League to protect the best interests of football in this country? Are they willing and capable of making the necessary changes to the structure of football?

These questions give fans much food for thought.