Life in the Lower Leagues: Bad weather leads to cashflow problemsBy Tom Canning
February 04, 2013
Tom Canning is a director of Bracknell Town Football Club, in a new feature he tells all about the trials and tribulations of life running a non-league football club.
The weather has obviously been big news of late, and whilst it is tough to get around, it also difficult for local football clubs who rely on home matches, particularly over the festive period to generate income.
I imagine it's very similar at Bracknell Rugby Club.
I remember a few seasons ago Henley Town were threatened with closure because they hadn't had a home game in several months.
Of course the snow is one thing, the ground freezes and isn't safe to play on, but then when that melts, the ground remains waterlogged and unfortunately our pitch is particularly good at holding water!
It means that we've only played a couple of home ties since the start of December, but thanks to some fantastic support from you all this season we should be ok.
As a non-league club, there was the news that Witney Town in the league above us have had the locks changed on their ground by the landowners, and will now be sharing at Carterton.
I haven't got a clue about the ins and outs of the situation, but I have heard the usual 'why aren't the people of the town supporting the club?' and 'we'll soon find out whether the town wants a senior club' (not from anyone connected directly I hasten to add).
What I mean by bringing this up is why should the town? Why should anyone in Bracknell support Bracknell Town for example, or Binfield? Or anyone else?
Non-league clubs have to be relevant, they have to reach out to their communities, whether that is through social media, the local papers or junior football schemes for example.
Thanks to the many volunteer hours put in by everyone at this club, and the clubs around us, I really think we are relevant to the community.
The communities themselves have so much to choose from, and so many other issues to worry about like recession, and mortgage payments and the x-factor.
We put on several events a year that help us, with Junior and Senior five aside tournaments, our beer festival (www.bracknellalefestival.co.uk ) and a number of other events that we hope appeal to the community and encourage you to get involved.
We're competing for attention, and I feel very privileged to be involved in a club that has fought back in recent years and become a draw on a Saturday afternoon.
It's a credit to the Nugents and Darrell Freeland and many others that the club is open and welcoming.
We're also very lucky in East Berks to have four great clubs in the local vicinity in an upward trajectory in Binfield, Wokingham & Emmbrook and Ascot.
Most of these clubs, as we've discovered to our benefit have a great nucleus of local lads, and for us Steve Nebbett and Danny Oliphant have forged a team spirit the likes of which we haven't seen in 10 years.
It's that nucleus and spirit that sees Binfield flying so high, and obviously the level we very quickly want to return to.
Which brings me full circle to my original point, that thanks to your support this season we have one of the leagues highest attendances, but we'll need you all with a whopping minimum of 18 games remaining, and fingers crossed we make it, a cup final appearance.
See you at the Lane!
* Find out more about 'the Robins' at www.bracknelltownfc.com
* Bracknell Ale & Wine Festival 2013 tickets are now on sale from £3 adults and £1.50 concessions at www.bracknellalefestival.co.uk