Skip to main content

"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Why do investors buy non-league clubs?


A correspondent sent me some interesting questions about investors who get involved in non-league football and I thought it would be worth reproducing them and my answers here.

The first question was, why do you think wealthy investors get involved in non-league clubs as opposed to sides in the Football League?   My reply was, 'I would say that investors get involved because they think can get a quick return for relatively little investment.   Sometimes they have failed in attempts to buy Football League clubs (AFC Fylde and Fleetwood when they were non-league).
'The second question was 'How difficult is it to make non-league clubs sustainable when you're pumping in large amounts of money, such as Billericay and Forest Green Rovers?   I replied, 'I think it is a lot more difficult than a lot of these investors realise to make the clubs sustainable.   A lot depends on whether you have a good population density in the area and a lack of competition.   The lack of the first eventually did for Rushden & Diamonds when they lost their benefactor.   Forest Green Rovers scores well on the second criterion, but not the first.   Billericay does well on both criteria.'
The third question was, 'Is financial fair play something that should be considered in the higher reaches of the non-league?'   I replied, 'I don't think financial fair play would be that beneficial.   It hasn't worked well in the Football League.'