Wrexham’s decline and potential capitulation into the hands of developers shows how the modern game has become a battle for survival…
Common thought would dictate that we are to feel sorry for the underdog. Minnows in the world of football. Some would say that the game should be preserved and clubs in Wrexham’s situation should be rescued.
Debts at its grounds are believed to be up to £5m, including a tax bill of £800,000.
The irony of the matter lies in the game that is played off the pitch everyday by every professional football club within these shores.
The game that is played out across the duration of 90 minutes is only one side of the equation. Behind the scenes, responsibility for the fate of a club sits more squarely with unfamiliar faces that run the club on a day-to-day basis; the faceless board and financial directors.
If they are unable or unwilling to act in the best interests of the club. If they are using the club for selfish gains and return then the club itself will ultimately fail.
Leeds United fans could offer testament to poor financial planning and insight.
Perhaps Wrexham’s current situation will serve as a timely warning to the fans of Manchester United.
Survival is the name of the game.
Certain circumstances are unavoidable and many clubs are posting losses now but these clubs consist of individuals who have the collective will to survive.
Clubs such as Notts County, Hereford United, and Cambridge United have this will in infinite quantities. The balance is tentatively maintained but the will and collective efforts never waiver.
The truth of Wrexham’s situation lies in mismanagement, miscalculation and mishap.
Every club needs a team both on and off the pitch. The financial management team has to perform. They have to know something about football. They have to be supporters of the game.
The business aspects are the most unforgiving part of the game. There are no second chances. Failure results in the club paying the ultimate price. The death of a football club should be a part of the game.
Many aspects of the modern game draw analogies from war. The battle between Arsenal and Manchester United a recent example.
Irony dictates however that it is the club and the supporters who pay this price, not the board of directors.
Unfortunately sympathy is not a luxury other clubs can afford. Lessons learnt and regret do not offer the life preserving hands of reprieve at such late stages.
Clubs that cannot compete and survive in this area of the game ultimately become extinct.
Without a Russian fairy godfather, the majority of clubs have to ply their trade in this reality. The task is easy for brand names at the top of the league. A loss on the sheet here and there is offset against TV money and a million other sources of revenue.
Clubs in the lower leagues do not have such margins to play with.
For better or worse, that is the relationship that clubs have to manage. One between business and football. If one fails, the relationship fails.
Now fans sincerely hope that the Racecourse ground and Wrexham football club do not disappear under a block of flats.
If they do however, the true irony and pain will reside in the reality that it will not have been because of a poor performance on the pitch.