It Really Isn’t What Football Fans Want to Hear?

Greg Clarke is a defender of your football club. No really. Stop snorting with derision in Pompey, Plymouth, Leeds, Wrexham, Coventry (supporters of other clubs are also available in snort-mode) … He says so himself. So it must be true. In a telling exchange with MP Damien Collins at the DCMS enquiry (from 12.00 on) he explains how he tries to step in before clubs are liquidated. ‘My job,’ he says with some force  ‘is to swallow my moral scruples about the Football Creditors’ rule and keep football alive in those communities.’ Collins points out that liquidation ‘might be the end of that club as a business, its not the end of football in that town – clubs can come back from financial ruin.’ Clarke’s response gets to the heart of issues illustrated by reaction to the problems of both Rangers and Portsmouth in recent months. With heavy emphasis, throwing his hands up, Clarke declares, ‘I agree with you … but I have to face these clubs, and their fans and the local press … I can’t say don’t worry guys, in ten to twenty years you’ll be back … that isn’t really what they wanna hear.’ Collins, with a certain imperturbability, responds, ‘It may not be what they want to hear, but maybe its what they need to hear.’ It is a position that I have come to agree with very...

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