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Up and Down the Pyramid

So County have remained in its League – well that’s some saving grace of stability. I am not one of those fans that claims always to be ‘in the know’ but after several years of loss making we are believed to be getting closer to that holy grail of ‘break even’. The stark reality now and witnessed by my Company for sometime is that the elusive ‘White Knight’ is a prerequisite to sustainability in lower league football with a few exceptions.

Alan Lord had moved upstairs to be DOF. The grapevine suggests interested incumbents might include those from TNS, Halifax and Bermuda (the latter of ‘Feed The Goat fame’. Of course, someone with a track record of promotion at least to Conference Premier would be best fit. Even with re-ignition of school-based and community initiatives, better football and bigger crowds are a necessity. I fear for the long term patience of the phenomenally loyal Stockport County fan-base if improvements and guarantees aren’t forthcoming.

David Thomas, from Western Morning News has reported on the difficulties that Torquay United face as a result of losing league status. Tranmere Rovers will face some home truths now after a similar fate. Hyde United will move to supporter-owned. Just me picking a few examples, there are many more with uncertain futures.

Torquay United lost more than £500,000 after dropping out of the Football League in 2013-2014. The ‘Gulls’ latest balance sheet, shows that the Gulls had a deficit of £542,724 for the year ended June 30th 2014. That‘s double the previous year’s offset by an injection of £570,000 from transfer sales.

At the other end of the pyramid, promotion to the EPL will be worth £120M to both Watford and Bournemouth, according to leading football finance experts.

The novel penned by Author, Charles Dickens, for my interested level of football, as a fan, comes to mind “BLEAK HOUSE”.

Come on Kocaeli

It was great to catch up with my Turkish Team last time in Izmit.  Just like County, in that Country I cannot find it in my blood to adopt a so-called ‘Giant’, favouring, the Club that I first went to see with my Father In Law some 16 years ago.  I guess it’s “the scarf my father wore syndrome”.

The Ground was somewhat sparse apart from one bustling Stand where fans known as Hodri Meydan showed their support.  These inspired by ‘amigos’ sang their hearts out from start to finish but to no avail as the Team went down 1-0.

Everyone was friendly, we made no attempt to hide our British Nationality – and in usual style were permitted to go on the pitch to meet the players; my Son having his picture taken in the dug-out, just as he had with Fatih Terim ex-Galatasaray on last watching ‘Cim Bom’.

Similarities to County continue with the side now stabilizing; and indeed missing out on promotion after a defeat to Tekirdag (known for its’ Raki – Turkish National drink of alcohol!).  Despite a lower league and amateur status, a hard core continue to attend and cheer in hope of a return to the Football League.

Commercialisation was absent – no perimeter board, no programme sellers, no real sponsorship of mention – and this amateurism off field also stretched to an inferior web presence and no e-commerce.

The Day will be remembered for some atmosphere, sunshine, welcoming on the pitch and ‘ticker tape’.  Who’ll return first to headier heights, Kocaeli or County.  I guess the former!