What can be done to change unrealistic club expectations?


Just as public perception of a professional footballer is wildly different from the reality of what non-league players contend with each week, so it can be true of the directors and major shareholders that help keep non-league clubs ticking. Although I confess I’ve never watched a game from the directors’ box at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge, I’m going to put my money on Roman not making the teas, or the Glazer brothers not handing out the teamsheets.

At every level of the football pyramid there will be supporters whose level of expectancy for the people at the top table will always be out of kilter with the reality of what can realistically be achieved. A couple of questions worth considering are; “Do club directors encourage this belief?” And “What can be done to change unrealistic expectations?”

In SD Club Development’s new guidance booklet for club board directors we delve into a range of important areas from legal and fiduciary responsibilities, to best practice in monitoring and reporting, and everywhere in between. Whilst we recognise that many perform the role of club director voluntarily, juggling other things, as well as day-to-day operational club issues often dominating the agenda, we think it gives a good overview of what to aim for.

The guidance has been put together with the help of a few non-league clubs that are democratically owned on a 1 member 1 vote basis. Whilst some of the guidance applies to all, there are definitely elements where if you are a director at community owned club you have a distinct advantage. Going back to those questions, with a constitution that provides a clear framework of how the club should run, it helps both directors and supporters know exactly where they stand; and crucially for everyone to be equally responsible for the progress of the club.

Great expectations maybe, shared expectations absolutely.

You can download the ‘Club board director’ guidance here.


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