THE VIEW FROM THE BOARDROOM – Paul Armitage’s Notes (17/12/22)

We have some big games this month, mainly for getting points on the board but also for making money. Each month we are getting a bit closer to the stadium company breaking even, which would be a major milestone and would allow us to consider first team improvements if and when any are required.

As the World Cup draws to a close we can be grateful we have no VAR technology spoiling our games. I’d be fine with goal-line technology but for the rest we are happily too far away to qualify
for all that. I’d rather talk about the refs and liners than wait for ever for marginal offside decisions.

Like the players on the pitch the officials are trying to do their best (with at least eleven blokes having a pop at them). They need all the support we can give them!

For us it’s a rare pleasure to be moving up the table and wondering if we might make the playoffs again and it shows the value of sticking with the management team. Their weeks of hard work and vision is starting to bear fruit and confounding the handful of critics we have.

The NL have given us a long, detailed diatribe on their deal with BT on streaming games. They seem destined to create a similar hierarchy of wealth that exists with the PL and EFL, where the top division gets the bulk of the financial benefits and the rest feed off scraps. No ‘levelling up’ troubling them and no democratic voting system across the three divisions either!

The NL Board have recently been taken to task on their ‘broken promises’ to distribute lottery cash based partly on attendances, which never happened. We benefitted from that decision to share the money more broadly and we are keen to see greater equality of any cash-sharing dividends.

Clubs with bigger gates already get bigger income but the NL should look after all its clubs, not the few richer ones. However it makes no sense having governance rules or making statements and not applying them.

That goes for the planned streaming income share too, but the desire to give the premier division more is likely to prevail.

The NL Board risk exacerbating the accusation that vested interest is at play in their considerations. We were fined £6k when we cancelled matches just before the league closedown and must have been one of the few businesses in the country to have been fined for preventing the spread of Covid.

The NL fined other clubs too, to the tune of about £100k, rigidly using their rules when others were applying common sense. It might help the NL Board if they added some independent directors with commercial backgrounds to help them reach decisions and avoid the ‘vested interest’ charge.

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