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Posts from the ‘Football Finance’ Category

Furloughed brow

It’s become a topical issue, so thought I’d add my pennies worth. I refer to the ‘should they-shouldn’t they’ debate, surrounding whether professional football should furlough employees, thus taking advantage of the up to £2,500 incentives per person.

I have just listened to former club-owner, Simon Jordan, on TalkSport, slatting the sport for taking the the Government handout, arguing such a stance was almost unethical or immoral given their traditionally cash rich industry. I personally look at it from a business perspective and say that running a business is running a business, so decisions are taken around what has most beneficial commercial returns for any enterprise including survival. That is not to say that it would be unappreciated if these same EPL clubs might make donations or CSR payments to help fight this covid 19 pandemic. I say EPL, in that apparently some clubs, lower down the pyramid, now find themselves in so-called intensive care with matches and cashflow having dried-up.

This debating stance is separate from discussions around whether footballers should take paycuts. I’m with Gary Lineker on this. Footballers are an easy target due to the profile and popularity of the sector. There are other industrial sectors and leaders that perhaps should be targeted before this game, in order of priority. Pay reduction is a matter for individual clubs and players. Of course, those that can afford to lead by example will be recognised by their actions at this time of crisis. I understand Manchester United have agreed to 30% reductions under squad stewardship of Captain, Harry Maguire.

A political hot potato and people will have differing viewpoints. These are financial debating points, yet I seek to end with repetition of actions that apply to everyone. #staysafe #stayathome #protectourNHS 💙💙💙


Adrian Stores is CEO of ACROBAT FCSM, a sub-contract commercial resource available to sports clubs nationwide and globally; and FA Registered Intermediary at Ballon Sports Agency.


You could be missing this funding?

It’s our job to keep abreast of funding regimes – especially in those sectors that dominate our business, namely: sports, leisure and services. For a good few years, I have been preaching about Research and Development Tax Credit (R&D Tax). I confess in the early stages, I thought how can this be relevant, my clients don’t wear lab coats and show off large foreheads – but oh so wrong. Forget sterotyping or misconeptions, I have clients that have received significant financial gain in sports just by knowing the criteria for eligibility and approaching communication with the authorities in that informed, professional way. I make no apology for sharing the contents of one such Adviser that I work with for the benefits of my clients, @Sedulo (Manchester, Leeds, London and soon Liverpool).

“Essentially the Medical and Performance department is the one area of a sports club where much of the Research & Development naturally occurs. Sports Research & Development can include health and nutritional plans, dedicated exercises to aid in rest and recovery of athletes, warm-up designs, post-activation potentiation strategies and recovery techniques for example.

The Professional Sports sector is one of the many industries that does not take full advantage of the generous Research and Development Tax Relief that could be available. Qualifying Research and Development activities may be being carried out by professional sports clubs without them realising that a claim can be made. Therefore, due to the lack of advertising and information provided by the HMRC, this is still considered quite a niche sector and hasn’t yet been picked up in the Innovation and Research & Development storm.


1) Nutrition

2) Exercise

3) Recovery and Rehab

4) Equipment

5) Audiovisuals

6) CRM/Sales – Retail

7) Security

8) RFID/NFC – Sensors

9) Biofeedback

10) Uniforms

11) Pitch

12) Paint

13) Maintenance Systems

14) Civil Works


Areas of Possible R&D?

i) Most physiological, biomechanical, motor control and strength and conditioning factors, that are able to predict human movement and sports performance. Also, there is an emphasis on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applied to water sports and to special populations.

ii) The physical fitness levels of different populations and their relationships with health benefits and wellness. Corresponding projects in strength and conditioning, aiming at the development of reasonable and reproducible exercise prescriptions.

iii) “Marginal Gains Initiatives”

iv) Non-invasive recovery and rehab – holistic treatments, massage techniques, etc

v) Mental Health treatments/ hypnotherapy

vi) Some qualifying activities include rehabilitation development methods where public information is limited, head injury research and performance analysis tools.”

More information, you know where to find me:

Dead and Bury-ed: I think not

Heart breaking that the hub of a community, Bury FC, can be tossed aside when owners rather than other stakeholders are alleged culprits and responsible for the downfall. Sad day for football. But they will return – better and stronger. #footballfinance

Not the same as my beloved Stockport County, whose fall from the EFL, was its being undermined by financial malaise. But the increasingly common insolvent nature of businesses and unviable commercial ventures illustrate the very reasons why more and more football league clubs are in intensive care.

Sound management practices and financial astuteness are not ubiquitious in professional football clubs. I would even say that there is an epidemic of financial frailties, not only in EFL, and mirrored in non-league, but in other sports from what I have seen recently including rugby league and some NGBs. Of course, there is no need to tar everyone with the same brush. There are some great operations at home in the UK and overseas. Tranmere Rovers’ Mark Palios talks some real sense on the need for EFL and financial practices to reform. Daniel Geey in his thorough book “Done Deal” highlights ailments in ownership and trading models. He also dissects ownership statuses of EPL clubs – and personally that may create another financial disaster as international stakeholders, whatever an enterprise, have a track record of retreat, in the face of adversity or economic downturn.

I hope Bolton Wanderers doesn’t go the same way. North West brands and household names up here!

My Company, assisted Bury FC 15 years earlier. I state hope for the future as the Club has limped from administration to administration whilst pro. A phoenix club whilst painful allows a rethink.

Financial plight is not a new phenomenon to the Shakers, who have had a shakey existence. Working with its supporters’ trust, Forever Bury, we delivered additional income from community initiatives like Dream TV (Sky TV) playing in Town, beer festivals, inter-faith projects, duck races etc (still can’t believe the Wife’s duck named Galatasaray came first across the line across the River Irwell in ‘footy ducks’!) This appointment for ACROBAT FCSM came on the back of our award winning consultancy and role in saving Oldham Athletic in 2004.

The future looks nervous in football – and change is required. At least our businesses are likely to remain in demand as clubs and NGBs seek supplementary or substitute revenue to remain sustainable.

Adrian Stores is CEO at ACROBAT FCSM and Ballon Sports Agency.

#strategicmarketing #commercialization #sponsorship #funding #partnering


“Back of the net” one might shout, if either a Chelsea or Arsenal supporter, with delight on securing an Europa League Final ticket. Well, there’s little surprise that this is no mean feat.
The wisdom of UEFA sending our fans ‘off the beaten track’ to Baku shows once again the interests of loyal supporters are right at the back of the queue. Each of these English Clubs get a mere 6,000 allocation.
Well atleast due diligence must have been done on the suitability of Azerbaijan to host such a flagship event? Think again! The BBC website announces: “The most direct route to drive from London to the Baku Olympic Stadium passes through a closed border crossing and an area of eastern Ukraine in which Russian-backed rebels are confronting Ukrainian troops along a mainly static frontline. To avoid those issues, one option is to travel via Istanbul, as with this route, a journey estimated to take 59 hours of driving time”. Appealing, eh?
There is a 68,700 capacity in the Olympic Stadium in Baku. Surely the excessive UEFA/FIFA entourage could have taken less to allow the hard pressed fans of each team to follow their respective clubs. 6,000 each is pitiful – especiaslly having gone through war trodden zones in the name of loyal support.
To all: “Arsenal and Chelsea fans face an arduous 2,500 mile journey to watch the two London teams battle it out for the Europa League title in Baku.” Estimated costs per person for a two-day trip are £1,400.
Whoever said the fans come first?