Cod Almighty | Diary
Social equality is the only basis of human happiness
6 December 2013
Mardy Diary writes: Hang on – why is everyone talking about the prospect of playing Man Utd in the third round of the cup? Is there a pre-determined third round draw now? Has it been declared that if we beat Northampton, then we'll get a nice plum draw away at Man Utd? Hey, you never know – we might draw Stevenage at home. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Some credit is due to Fenty from yesterday, when he stressed the importance of winning across all competitions – even if he did then bizarrely suggest we just get knocked out in the third round by a big club.
I find myself astounded that people want us to exit the FA Trophy early to 'concentrate on winning the league'. Firstly because there is no choice about which competition you win (if any). And also because I've seen no solid statistical evidence to suggest that the number of games you play has a negative impact on how a team performs over the course of a season (your anecdotal evidence will not stand up to scrutiny, I'm afraid).
But what really irks me about that attitude is that only days earlier people were talking about the need to move ground to help generate non-matchday revenue. Yet here we are saying we're not bothered about the opportunity to generate matchday revenue. Well, if that's the case, why bother with a football ground at all? Why not build some conference rooms and a hotel and generate income all year round? Sod the football, eh?
Admittedly, money generated from the FA Trophy in the early rounds isn't going to make much of a difference to the current deficit (as outlined in yesterday's diary). But at the same time we need every penny we can get.
If we want to be sustainable – if we don't want to have to rely on the benefactor model – then we need to maximise our matchday and non-matchday income. And that means winning as much as we possibly can in all competitions.
This attitude to the 'smaller' cups has filtered down from the Premiership, of course. As they treat the League Cup (and increasingly the FA Cup), so we further down the ladder take a similar attitude to the Football League Trophy and FA Trophy. In the Premiership they also talk about too many games – a nonsense given their squad sizes. The reality is that the money these cups generate for the big teams is insignificant compared to the ridiculous sums they get from European competitions and TV deals. They're just not bothered because it really is pennies to them.
However, we're not in that boat. We rely on gate receipts, prize money and merchandise sales and a tiny amount of TV income. We need games, we need prizes and we need success to bring in the supporters. Any and all of it is important.
Also, further down the pyramid than us, the money generated from an FA Trophy run can keep a club running for a year. And it's those clubs who give a break to players like Liam Hearn and Shaun Pearson.
We're all in it together, except for that lot at the top. And the only way we'll survive against the elite is to stick together and support each other. That's what the FA Trophy is about, so get your bloody nose out of the air.