Fan View: Why the EFL are in for the good of fans…

VIEWS PORTRAYED IN THIS ARTICLE OF THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE AND DO NOT DIRECTLY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF NOTTS COUNTY FOOTBALL CLUB OR NCFCOSA. 

Many fans feel that the EFL work against them and the truth is they do not. The EFL are business and have contractual and business obligations to meet as well as, us, the customer – further down the chain. There are still currently, many controversial topics surrounding the EFL; but they wouldn’t do things to just annoy fans – as some seem to think!

We’ve got to look at the bigger picture here and understand that the EFL is a business, that has to meet its main customers requirements; (Sky, Notts County FC, other business partners). Hence why we are seeing so many decisions, which seem to be “against” the fans. They aren’t and never will be. Shaun Harvey, the CEO has many critical decisions to make, maybe some, he doesn’t like but he has to live with; that’s life. Our football club is the main customer of the EFL, with regards to Notts and our club dictates their views to the EFL. In which, the EFL does take on board our views, which the club passes to themselves.

The main reason, behind our decisions are because the football club do it for both the best interests of our fans and our clubs monetary position. We all want Notts to pull together, forwards instead of like the previous seasons in which, things did not go to plan at all. With the right guidance and positivity, we have already performed considerably better than we have before in our past seasons, since, the 2010-11 season in League One. Positivity pays off! We are fortunate to have a owner and manager who aren’t the richest in the world BUT are the finest we’ve had for a long while, in terms of satisfying fans; so far!

Our football club make crucial decisions based on what our fans want and what the F.C. requires, (with regards to finances). One of the most controversial decisions made this season alone, already, was the EFL Trophy. This is a touchy subject for all fans and clubs, alike, as it has clearly not been taken well, at all. The EFL are themselves, in a delicate position here, with the Premier League threatening to pull out of their funding for EFL Clubs if we did not accept to their B teams development sides. That is a separate issue itself, in which the Premier League is in its own cash bubble which will eventually burst in due course. The football club, (not NCFCOSA) chose very carefully, to vote in favour of retaining the EFL Trophy in its new format for another season, mainly due to the financial gains of winning per game. This money can be very beneficial for the transfer window as this money does build up! Hence, why our team needs all the support it can get. Now boycotting the trophy is completely different, people have the right to make decisions for themselves and we must respect that decision completely; people vote with their feet and voice, which the OSA has listened to and let the Football Club know of how fans felt towards this. Everyone who supports Notts is a fan whether you go to the games or not. If you boycott the EFL Trophy games, that’s your own choice and nobody can influence that. We just need positivity around Notts! Who knows, we could get the League Two title this season!

Another controversial topic, which is banded about time and time again is midweek matches, with talk to completely scrapping them in the Whole Game Solution, (subsequently scrapped). These games on a Tuesday night, (usually known for the controversial issues surrounding these games), are vital for them to played on the said night instead of, for example Notts vs Exeter on the Saturday where revenue would be low as Exeter is such a far distance it would be daft to have such a game on when we could possibly double or even quadruple the income on that same Saturday with a team closer to us.
At the FSF AGM,  in July I found out, a large number of football clubs request for long trips on nights in order to maximise profits over the season. However, Notts County themselves do not request for this and Alan Hardy, himself has stated already he dislikes this prospect. Whilst this is not the best thing for fans, surely the survival and performance of their football club is their first priority? Fans do not have to go to these long trips if they do not want to. Although, it does interfere with college/work timings for most people as you can sometimes only just get back at around 2/3am in the morning. The EFL does not force clubs into having long trips in the fixture calendar; it is the football clubs who request this.

Hats off to the EFL for converting PlayerHD to this new, wonderful service. Also hats off to to restrict it to international customers only, even if this were because of rights restrictions from Sky Sports. It keeps fans in the stands rather than glued to the screen. This is so beneficial to our beloved football clubs in every single way. Hopefully, it stays this way too – less fans equals less atmosphere and less match day income which even a iFollow subscription doesn’t and will never cover. The local economy too, will be affected.

iFollow should be possibly opened up to fans in Scotland, North Ireland and the Channel Islands too, since it only makes sense for us to be gaining more EFL fans from the rest of the U.K!

Sky Sports is a different matter and fans are very much against it. I am too really. Even for the £18/month on the new football channels, its worth is nothing to me. There will be Championship games, but what about the leagues below? Surely they should get airtime? Currently, in Sky’s setup this rarely occurs – seemingly like only football in the championship exists. It makes sense really, to keep the crowds up at lower league games. Sky should have some praise on this, for keeping fans at their stands. Although for most Notts fans, they’d turn up regardless of Sky cameras!

Honestly the only thing which the EFL, should do is, to ensure fit ‘n’ proper tests are thorough and ensuring of stable ownership. It’s no good taking on someone wealthy, maybe owners should purchase non-league clubs first, before they are allowed to own the club – sort of like working themselves up the levels; much like managers and players, alike. It was so disappointing to see Leyton Orient in the state they were in. But what could the EFL do, realistically? They aren’t a money pit and they don’t run the football club… The EFL is only a manger/owner of three leagues, not the football club.

Joshua Collishaw

 

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