Otters chairman: Football needs restructuring

Ottery at home to Buckland Athletic. Ref shsp 06 20TI 7550. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery at home to Buckland Athletic. Ref shsp 06 20TI 7550. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary Football Club chairman Mikey Ringer fears any return to greater restrictions, particularly on the hospitality side of things.

He explains saying: “My worry levels are massive right now and I do sincerely dread any forthcoming announcement that sends us back into a lockdown with regard to hospitality.

“If that happens then I truly worry if we will survive.

“The 10pm closing has cost us heavily. Indeed, it has halved our income whilst also doubled our outgoings – operating with table service and observing all the required social distancing – really does not come cheap, believe me!”

He continues: “Right now, at the very top of our game, all the ‘heavy chat’ is about finance and a so called ‘Project Big Picture’, and finance really is the key issue right down here at grass roots level of the game.

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“People seem to think that, as a chairman, primary concern is to raise money to ‘throw it’ at the playing side, but that’s all FIFA PlayStation talk. It really is! Simply opening doors as a community facility for all to enjoy the benefits of playing and being involved in the sport of football has a cost element to it.”

He continued: “This ‘money is everything;’ attitude at the top of the game has, sadly, in my humble opinion, spiralled down to our levels.

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“A player asking for a fiver more from this club or that club! It’s barking mad, and has created plenty of issues at clubs at our level and below us.

“Listening to player ‘chit-chat’ about this player getting this much and another getting that much, it has all got so out of hand!

“Long gone, are the days of my own experience as a £26-a-week YTS player at Portsmouth Football Club. Many moons ago a football icon by the name of Jimmy Hill campaigned to get the wages ceiling removed.

“This past year has given us all a time to look at football overall, many of us that have been involved in football at many levels have heard and seen so much more than most, how can it be that clubs are allowed to go to the wall owing what is seen as a single week’s wages to a player at the top level of the game.

“But wait, let’s put that into context, a business owner may be able to save one job of say a packer in his company by missing one of his mortgage payments, but it is still a missed payment.

“We have all lived to our maximum no matter what our income has been, in football, this last six months has seen so much more support from the top level of the game down to us at the grassroots stage with grants supported by the Premier League.

“Yes, more could be done, and yes, it is so sad to see the likes of Bury and Macclesfield go to the wall, but what does come through loud and clear is that football does need restructuring in some degree.”

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