A project undertaken as part of my NCTJ portfolio, looking at the struggles faced by non-league and grassroots football clubs.
I went to a Ryman Premier League club’s home ground and spoke to the Senior Vice President of the London FA and a non-league football superfan about the issues facing non-league football and what can be done about them.
The revelation of multi-million pound payments made by Premier League clubs to football super-agents has caused backlash from people associated with the lower leagues of the game.
The most high-profile payment was to the agent of Paul Pogba, Mino Raiola, who could make £41m off the transfer of the midfielder from Juventus to Manchester United for £89m in 2016.
This money represents almost a third of the £125m given by the FA to grassroots football last season, and League Two’s Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt spoke of his anger at the disparity.
“[The Premier League’s] attitude is: ‘You’re lucky to get anything from the Premier League, we’re a private business and off you pop,’” he told The Times.
“But if all the cash goes into that private business, the English game is finished. I understand their position, but while they’ve got their position the rest of football is dying.”
For David Wolff, London FA Senior Vice President, the biggest issue facing grassroots is attendance.
“As far as grassroots is concerned, participation in the leagues are getting less and less and therefore the leagues are diminishing,” he said.
“The FA is currently sorting out ways to encourage new people to come.”