It has been four weeks since our last home game, so it will be great to be back at The Walks today, but the precarious nature of football finances at the wrong end of the football pyramid, are in the spotlight again.
Torquay United announced on Thursday that they were intending to go into administration. They plied their trade in the Football League until the end of the 2013/14 season. Their owner, Clarke Osborne, purchased the club from a fan-led consortium in 2016 and since then he has ploughed at least £4.3 million into the club with that figure likely to rise once this season’s costs are taken into the equation.
Torquay have the second highest attendance in the National league South, averaging 2,262 fans per home game. A couple of days earlier, Rochdale announced that they were in danger of liquidation without a £2m immediate injection of capital. Their chairman, Simon Gauge, has put in £566,000 since June 2021 and can no longer afford it. Rochdale play their football in the National League, have the sixth highest attendance in that division averaging 2,988 fans. Rochdale were in the Football League just two seasons ago so have been benefiting from parachute payments and still cannot get the finances to work.
There are many that think a regulator will make all the difference, but whilst I am genuinely on the fence about this issue, I cannot see how it will make a difference unless they have the power to insist that clubs at our level are given a lot more money.  
The numbers show that Chester, Darlington and others in our league have larger gate receipts than King’s Lynn, but only survive as fans donate six-figure sums every season.
Whilst there are many who like to knock our club, the facts are that we are 14th in the attendance tables this season, with an average of 908 fans per game, and if we had the same average attendance as Torquay or Rochdale we would be profitable. As I have mentioned before, football fans need to support their local non-league clubs or one day they may not be there to support anymore.
Given our attendances I think we do very well and certainly punch above our weight. King’s Lynn Town generates a lot of media coverage and with our game against Tamworth now live on TNT Sports in March we give our sponsors fantastic exposure and value for money. We have probably had live games featured on TV for the last five years.  
Something needs to be done though. There are 72 clubs in the National League and my guess is that not one of them makes a profit. These 72 clubs probably have people running them who have personal businesses that all make money, but not one of them can turn a profit in football. That tells me that it is the football template that is broken rather than the people who run the clubs. My problem with the concept of regulation is that we do not need a punishing god but a loving one, we need someone who understands that the current financial model is broken, not the guys who do their best week in and week out keeping their respective clubs afloat. We need help not more paperwork. If the regulator brings solutions and cash, then I will be right behind them.
With some investment coming into King’s Lynn from Joseph Phua’s Turn Capital in Asia we have been dealing with Sport England and the DCMS. They lent over 60pc of the clubs playing in the three divisions of the National League money during Covid, but made themselves preferred creditors in the process and insist on rubber stamping every deal. I do understand this stance from their perspective. Their lawyers, though, are more expensive than either of the firms that Joe and King’s Lynn use, but the clubs are responsible for the bills created by the DCMS and we have to wait far longer than we are used to for their reviews to complete.
Sport England have been great, answering my queries late at night and doing what they can, but I cannot understand why the Conservative government are handing the next Labour government an easy win on a silver platter. Once clubs disappear, the government’s debt goes down with them - it is the same for rugby union teams as well. Surely the time has come to think outside the box a little and find a positive outcome. King’s Lynn’s local MP, James Wild, is trying to set up a meeting for me with the Sports Minister and hopefully he will like to hear what it is like working at the coal face in non-league football every day and I can give him some positive ideas to consider.
On the pitch, Adam Lakeland’s charges have managed back-to-back wins which has been a tremendous team effort. Kyle Callan-McFadden scored his first ever league goal at Brackley on Tuesday night as King’s Lynn ran out 3-1 winners. Kyle is a great guy and always gives you 100pc on the pitch and I am delighted for him that his efforts were at last rewarded, but I will be asking him today why it has taken him so long to find the back of the net!
It is a 3pm kick-off today against Farsley Celtic - we need the support both on and off the pitch and where else can you take the kids out for the day for just £5 (less than £2 if you buy a season ticket)?  I hope to see some of you at today’s game as the lads try to make it a hat-trick of wins.