Football governance: Why fans deserve a place on the board


Tom Reed of The Guardian wrote an article back in 2015 regarding then Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino and his proposed plans to sell the Club to a supporters’ organisation. Such a notion wasn’t well received in some quarters especially by the pompous old farts at the FA.

Yet in this day and age, would it be such a terrible idea to have at least some fan representation on every single board to vent the feelings of the masses? Perhaps it’s needed, perhaps eventually, without realising it, the game will head that way in any case.

Arsenal fans are certainly resentful that they, like many others, are at the mercy of a clutch of faceless suits, accountants, absentee landlords and pampered playing staff, and would probably jump at the chance of any opportunity that resembled inclusion.

Reed article looked forward to a future “without the false hope of mega-rich saviours accompanied by a realisation of the shallowness of conventional football ambition. Competing for meaningful silverware in the Premier League means going up against a powerful minority of super-wealthy clubs, bankrolled by multi-billionaires. Sustainability is now the watch-word.”

Sounds like Stan Kroenke doesn’t it! Yet, there are others such as the Glazers at Manchester United who cream off the top as and when it suits.

So, are we about to see fans exert more tangible pressure on their clubs? Don’t hold your breath but it would be an interesting dynamic from the point of view that supporters bring passion and although not entirely business savvy, that appears to be lacking in some boardrooms up and down the land.

Not in the case of Deliah Smith of Norwich, who famously took to the microphone to call for more support with her infamous “let’s be ‘acing’ you” battle cry back in 2011.

The Sanchez situation left a bad taste in the mouths of the North London faithful and both myself and Martin Keown have described the player as a mercenary. Many of the Emirates faithful would have indicated their displeasure and probably bounced him through the exit door far earlier, sensing that he had no desire to stay on despite the offer of a whacking increase in wages.

Moving on from the tiring Sanchez saga, it’s now it’s the turn of Ronaldo who seems to be at constant odds with the mighty Real Madrid and is threatening to leave. The fans reaction? Go on then!  It appears that the humble fan has had enough of being held hostage to superstars in fast cars.

Even the 5 time winning of the Ballon d’Or can’t avoid the wrath of the paying fans because of his needy, greedy and petulant behaviour. Both Sanchez and Ronaldo get handsomely paid in comparison to the fans that slog their guts out to keep them in caviar, pedigree miniature dogs and £800 a bottles champagne, so it’s no surprise that supporters are becoming militant.

Ronaldo, like Sanchez, is probably looking for one last big payday before they go on to sell spinach and hair cream but it sickens the majority of us to the stomach. I for one, remember a time when clubs weren’t run by players and the chairman cared about football.
The only thing that hasn’t changed is that the supporters still pay for everything, either as season ticket holders or Sky subscribers.

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