Football has it “arse about face” when it comes to the concept of gate receipts. Today, gate receipts are kept by the home club and the away club gets nought. So, if your home ground holds 70,000 you have a huge advantage over a club that can house 25,000. That’s not a level playing field, is it?
It hasn’t always been that way, gate receipts were shared up until the early 1980s when the top clubs threatened to launch a breakaway. The scrapping of shared gates was an appeasement tactic and all it did was ensure that clubs with huge attendance potential could prosper even more. But in 1992, the clubs still broke away.
Throughout British football, gate receipts for league games are shared. Cup competitions are different. But should it not be the other way round? It’s in everyone’s interest that the entire composition of the league gets the chance to be successful. If gate receipts are shared out on a more equitable basis, the gap between the big clubs and the also-rans will close. The bigger outfits will not like it, but it will undoubtedly make for a more interesting product.
There will be winners and losers. Those clubs with attendances lower than the average will gain, while those with attendances higher than the average will not have such a great advantage over the rest.
Gate receipts could be determined by a neutral body to ensure fair play. They could be paid immediately or pooled and shared out at a later date. Transparency should be the order of the day.
A fairer distribution of TV cash would also help to make football a more open game. There was a time when TV money, albeit in a more innocent and austere age, was shared out among the 92 clubs. Now, of course, it’s different.
They say Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas and there’s little chance that the influential clubs will ever vote for such a move. But at non-league level it could work. With a fairer financial basis – and it does take two teams to tango – it will really show who the talented managers and coaches are….