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David Holdsworth: Brave decisions are needed to help cash-strapped clubs

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

Lincoln City manager David Holdsworth

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I want to start this week by saying a big thank-you to the Lincoln City supporters who went more than the extra mile to come down to Forest Green Rovers recently.

Trips like that overnight are not easy and they are certainly not cheap either.

Sadly, the result was not the best, but I'm proud of the determination the players showed and crucially that of the fans as well.

Their support was magnificent on what was a very tough evening for us.

It was a long journey for us all and it left me with plenty of time to mull over the set-up of the leagues in England.

When you are cramped up in a coach or car for a seven-hour round trip, you cannot help but wonder if it is not time for a regional structure?

Money would be the biggest driver. You can make several arguments about how you could save cash and also increase revenue.

Those who were filling up the petrol tank on the way to Gloucestershire last Friday would no doubt be cringing as the pounds spin round at the pump. And they would probably be thinking about the money they may have missed because they have had to take time off work to come and watch us.

We feel it as well at the football club.

The cost to travel to some of the clubs is a big one and if you want to prepare properly with an overnight stay, well, that's out of the question these days.

We are having to cut back on a lot of things at Lincoln. Players have to get their own meals while in the past they would have them provided and I personally drive three of them in to work each day.

Other clubs are having to be savvy as well. Barrow for example do not train in Barrow, they have their sessions in Manchester to ease the travelling costs for the players.

I also know of two clubs in Blue Square Bet North who train in Sheffield for the same reasons.

If we became regional the travelling costs would certainly go down.

There is also the school of thought that leagues with more local importance would create more interest for the fans. If that means better gates then clubs would see more cash coming through the turnstiles. But is this all a bit of a pipe dream?

I think it is a matter of time, but the biggest problem we face is getting people to understand and see the financial constraints we are battling with.

I sometimes wonder about the people in charge.

I do not believe they see the fine detail of costs that myself and other managers have to deal with.

I would like to see a change, but that can only come if the managers get the chance to get their views aired. At present I just do not feel the communication is there.

I think the Conference is a good league, but if it wants to progress it needs to open up the dialogue between all of those involved.

I'm talking about managers, referees and the league's officials all engaging far more than they currently do.

Hopefully change will come, but people need to be aware of the issues we face and must be up for tackling them too.

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  • eatmygoal  |  October 05 2012, 10:30AM

    Very good point. Regionalised leagues are not much benefit to Truro playing against Dover. Lincoln playing Wrexham is a good point from last year. The train from Wrexham to Lincoln pulled off at half five ish, which I missed and was a gruelling event in the first place with changes all over the shop. The next train back was the next day. Lincoln playing a London team is relatively struggle free to get to and there will be plenty of London based fans going along, I am counting the days to the Woking clash. But regionalising means that game would be lost, but we if next season Workington go up we get the pleasure of travelling up to the Lake District. The point about making cuts elsewhere is a great one and more focus should be on that.

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  • Npton_Imp  |  October 05 2012, 8:52AM

    I never understand the regionalised concept for teams in the Midlands like ours? Keep Barrow, Carlisle, Gateshead, Chester, Stockport, Halifax etc etc Lose Cambridge, Northampton, Kettering, Nuneaton, Peterborough etc etc (Depending where the line falls Ok I exaggerate to make my point maybe, and maybe being Northants based I am biased. But what £££ would it save in fuel if you regionalised the leagues, compared to maybe players getting paid sensible wages clubs can afford? Teams training in different places, just seems common sense when your players may work in a major city from 9 to 5

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  • jaguarimp  |  October 05 2012, 8:22AM

    I think that DH has put his point over well, I wonder were the club will be playing wise but I think financially we will survive. The lack of money does impact on the players we can get in but we need players who will fight for our team even when losing I just hope we have enough about us to survive because being relegated could be the death of our club even if we are in the black financially. A regional league would save costs but how would relegation and promotion work ?

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