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Buy a football club?


MikeMcKenna
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This is not much more than a flight of fancy at the moment so please bear with me.

My business partner and myself are dallying with the idea of buying a football club in the very low leagues - football league but a long way down is all I can say. As we get older we have discussed that there might be something we could do beyond our business which is increasingly managed by our team. We know that there is a possibility the club may become available but as yet we haven't made any approach.

At this stage for obvious reasons I cannot say which club or where they are based. In the big schemes we are not talking about a lot of money and we are under no illusions about the clubs long term prospects nor do we have any big ambitions beyond preserving a little bit of the jigsaw that makes up the history of English football. There is definitely no profit to be made and it is likely, if we proceed,  that we will have to put in relatively small amounts from time to time, but not money that would damage us personally. 

Beyond my support and association with AVFC, Former Villa players and experience with junior football, I have never had any connection with the lower leagues so I would be interested to hear from anyone who has and in fact anyone that has an opinion. My business partner was Chairman of a junior league club for five years that fielded seven teams up to aged 18 but my sense is that a football league club, despite its lowly position is a different proposition. 

As I have said it is only a flight of fancy at the moment and may not go any further. If we do I will share our story later. The first thing we have to decide, before we make an approach is whether it would be ultimately an enjoyable project and more importantly if we can help the club prosper from a very low base.

So I have decided to seek some opinions far and wide.

 

Edited by MikeMcKenna
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Fantastic. I'd absolutely love to do something like that, should I ever win the lottery I will because sadly that is my only chance.

As I become more and more disenchanted with the professional game so I become more and more drawn to the thought of the amateur game. I thought the program about the Man United boys at Salford was brilliant, if you didn't see it you should watch it.

Looking at your location sadly you are the other end of the country otherwise I'd happily offer my assistance should you go for it. But if I could do anything from afar I would.

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If the team is at a very low level, does it have any supporters beyond players girlfriends?

If it has a modest fan base, even just a few dozen, find out if you like them and they like you. If it doesn't click off the pitch it will be a bit of an uphill struggle.

Oh, and as for a small amount of outlay. Be prepared to constantly shell out for £25 fines for offences you didn't even know existed.

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Fantastic. I'd absolutely love to do something like that, should I ever win the lottery I will because sadly that is my only chance.

As I become more and more disenchanted with the professional game so I become more and more drawn to the thought of the amateur game. I thought the program about the Man United boys at Salford was brilliant, if you didn't see it you should watch it.

Looking at your location sadly you are the other end of the country otherwise I'd happily offer my assistance should you go for it. But if I could do anything from afar I would.

Thanks Trent, you never know I might be in touch. However you wouldn't need to win the lottery to buy this lot. It isn't pocket money but I wouldn't want to make it sound like we are talking huge amounts. As always with these things there may be issues we don't yet know of, but it could be a bit of an adventure.

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If the team is at a very low level, does it have any supporters beyond players girlfriends?

If it has a modest fan base, even just a few dozen, find out if you like them and they like you. If it doesn't click off the pitch it will be a bit of an uphill struggle.

Oh, and as for a small amount of outlay. Be prepared to constantly shell out for £25 fines for offences you didn't even know existed.

it has a bit more than players girlfriends but that is good advice about seeing if firstly we like the fans and if we proceed visa versa

Funny you should mention the fines, i asked today how the various league administrators make their money and someone said "player registrations, club registrations etc" and then added sarcastically FINES are a very nice earner for them!!

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I can see even a very lowly club sucking any spare cash like mad if you're not careful Mike.  I'd try and have a look at as many clubs' accounts of a similar stature as you can to see if they're viable, and take it from there.  I've sometimes thought of doing something similar, but I reckon it would end up costing a bomb, even way down in the pyramid.  Mind you, give Villa a few year and you'll probably be able to pick them for a set of corner flags and some training bibs.

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Out of interest, how do you find out a club is for sale or which clubs are for sale?

it's corny but it's true, almost every club is for sale - they just might not know it, they might be expensive, but they are for sale

 

I've had a dabble in helping out at a small footy club. I've seen the books over the course of a few years. Unless you have a licensed bar and / or a lottery license, you'll be losing money. But it should be said, when things are going well, when you win 'that' game on a drizzly Tuesday night, it's **** brilliant.

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Out of interest, how do you find out a club is for sale or which clubs are for sale?

I have no idea, this came about because someone who has a very long term and close connection with the club asked if we would ever consider such an idea. He said it may become available for a number of reasons. It has a bit of history and subject to its financial situation/debts etc it might be worth saving. 

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I can see even a very lowly club sucking any spare cash like mad if you're not careful Mike.  I'd try and have a look at as many clubs' accounts of a similar stature as you can to see if they're viable, and take it from there.  I've sometimes thought of doing something similar, but I reckon it would end up costing a bomb, even way down in the pyramid.  Mind you, give Villa a few year and you'll probably be able to pick them for a set of corner flags and some training bibs.

Definitely Risso but we have been around the block a bit and would only do it, if we could afford to lose it! That said, good advice. If we take it any further we will want to look also at the numbers of clubs at similar level with a similar profile. As you will appreciate the viability of a very small club depends significantly on whether it is possible to generate off field money, local sponsorship and the small band of long term supporters.  

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Mike, you may remember some years ago Bashley made there way up through the leagues and i think nearly made it to the Conference.

But i know there was quite a lot of money thrown at it to achieve what they did.

(Its not a certain team that is about a mile up the road from me is it) :)

Hi mate, I didn't know that. I have only ever been interested in AVFC up till now :-) 

I will have a look at Bashley's story, sound like they had a great ride - thanks. FWIW the club we are looking at isn't in Dorset. 

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I've never done it, but I'd imagine you could spend a lot of money very fast. My local club Halesowen Town, had an owner come in who somehow brought Big Ron in, they then plunged the club into insolvency (not saying that you'll do that). But I'd imagine there are a lot of hidden costs.

Good luck if you go through it. I'd recommend getting a club with a licensed bar that shows local league/prem matches as well so that you can generate more income on non match days. 

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My club down here (Newport IW) could do with some investment... if you want to talk, I am good friends with the chairman?

Hi Den

i get seasick easily :-) and in fairness the only way we would get involved in anything is if we could run the business/money side.

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I've never done it, but I'd imagine you could spend a lot of money very fast. My local club Halesowen Town, had an owner come in who somehow brought Big Ron in, they then plunged the club into insolvency (not saying that you'll do that). But I'd imagine there are a lot of hidden costs.

Good luck if you go through it. I'd recommend getting a club with a licensed bar that shows local league/prem matches as well so that you can generate more income on non match days. 

Mike, it is nowhere near the level of Halesowen - as we are interested in maintaining its future at its current level there would be no gambling or ****** about with the core finances. It has a licensed bar and previously this reputedly did quite well but I don't yet know what this represented in monetary terms. 

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Buy Halesowen Town, we had Stefan Moore score 40 for us in a season before he buggered off the St.Neots. i think we're 3 divs off the conference north.

Hi, Too big, expensive and far away for us . But I like the Halesowen area and heard good things about their fans when we lived nearer to  Brum. Never realised till I just looked now on Wikipedia that they were founded in 1873, so they are older than Aston Villa by one year! It's fantastic that a small club has such a heritage. 

If we were minted, had very deep pockets and lived closer it would be a great idea but we don't on every count :-)

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My club down here (Newport IW) could do with some investment... if you want to talk, I am good friends with the chairman?

Hi Den

i get seasick easily :-) and in fairness the only way we would get involved in anything is if we could run the business/money side.

No worries mate, to be fair you'd be spending a lot more on those damned ferry costs! :D

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