2014 World Cup Excel Spreadsheet

So, a little later than usual, I’ve finally done an excel spreadsheet to help plot the permutations of the World Cup which, if I’m right, will be the last one of any real note).
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I would do anything for the Guardian…but I won’t do that

Ed Mayo’s done a nice blog following the sad and untimely death of Stephen Lloyd.

Ed writes of an attempt […]

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It’s democracy Jim, but not as we know it

There’s a big vote this weekend for The Co-operative on its new structures, implementing changes proposed by the Board in […]

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FIFA in Checkmate (thanks to mate’s cheques)

I wrote some months back that the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil will be the last in its current form. The revelations in the Sunday Times this weekend do nothing to change it.

Essentially, FIFA are already in checkmate. […]

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Re-forming the Co-op

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]I wrote a piece over at Pioneers’ Post last week ahead of Saturday’s  AGM of the Co-operative Group, which amongst other things voted on the principles put forward to guide reforming the Group’s ridiculous governance system.[/author_info] [/author]
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More Myners Quibbles

One of the things Paul Myners made a point of in the presentation of his plans was that governance in […]

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Myners Defeated

So, then farewell, Lord Myners. You were brought in to reform the Co-op and bring your political skills to bear, […]

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Sutherland’s Clearance

Some random thoughts on Euan Sutherland’s departure…

Too Big to be a Co-op

There’s a review of nearly every aspect of the […]

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A Response to the Myners’ Review of Co-operative Governance

Paul Myners is conducting a review of Governance of the Co-operative Group in the wake of the near-insolvency caused by the problems at the Bank. There’s a great deal of reservation about the thrust of the review amongst democratically elected members, not least in the two-stage process which, by resolving the issue of the board of the group will funnel any discussion about the subsequent tiers of governance, when the real issue is bottom-up, not top-down (though neither are in great shape).

At a recent meeting of the Sussex Area Committee, I suggested that all submissions be published in the interests of transparency, and ensuring that the report reflected the thrust of comments fed in, not reflected those comments which fit a pre-ordained set of conclusions.That can’t be done, apparently, as some submissions have been received on the basis of confidentiality, but since I argued for it I thought I should at least publish my own, for what its worth etc.

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Policy Governance and Co-operatives Presentation

I was due to be in Manchester today to give a talk on the article on Policy Governance I wrote here. Sadly, a combination of dodgy drains at home and ill children meant I’ve not been able to attend, so I’ve recorded what I was going to say and put it here – hopefully they’ll manage to connect the session to this post… […]

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About Me: I help Co-ops & Community Enterprises, do writing, research…

I’ve spent a long time thinking about how to engage people better, using new technologies and new understandings of what engaged people working together can realistically achieve, and how that can broaden the scope and scale of what organisations might once have thought possible when it comes to member engagement in operations and governance.

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Co-operatives need to embrace a new kind of governance

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TED: CSR for the soul

There’s a good piece on TED in the Guardian, based on a talk by Benjamin Bratton at TEDx in San […]

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Paper Tigers

Whenever some egregious act by a Chairman is being perpetrated, fans often look to players or managers for them to support their campaigns. It happened at Wimbledon with the MK move, or with the Glazer takeover of Manchester United, and it always ends the same way. […]

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FC United: A Better Way, Co-operatively

FC United of Manchester cut the first sod at their new ground on Sunday. Being a bunch of antediluvian, backward […]

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 53

Treating the Local Media Patient with Leeches

Just written a quick blog for Media Reform UK on Theresa May’s comments blaming the BBC for the crisis in local media. Reproduced below so as to keep all my stuff in one place. […]

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FIFA: The End is Near

David Conn neatly summarises everything we know about the whole rotten gang of nose-in-the-trough popinjays that is FIFA and their […]

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The Secret Footballer – Reading the Runes

Like many people, I’ve been intrigued by the Secret Footballer’s column in The Guardian since it started a few years’ […]

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Bullshit Rodeo

Posted without comment, in reference to news that Hull City AFC propose to change their name.

This piece of genius and […]

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Storify on Spanish Member-Owned Clubs

The Independent’s Sam Wallace has a story today about a threat against Spanish member-owned clubs from the EU, which might […]

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We need to talk about governance

I’ve just had an article published in the Guardian’s Social Enterprise Hub on Policy Governance (I’ve copied the original prior to subbing below this piece).

It’s something I came across when doing a piece of work for a client who wanted to examine different ways to run their football club democratically. I came to the conclusion that it was the missing system I’d fruitlessly spent 10 years looking for when at Supporters Direct (you can read that report here).

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The Sky Sports News Presenter’s Fear of an Opinion

Matthew Syed from The Times was on Sky Sports News yesterday on the occasion of 10 years of Abramovich’s ownership […]

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When Dyke did DID

I’ve written here about Greg Dyke, who takes up his post this week as new FA Chairman.

I’ve just listened […]

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The Match Announcer’s Fear of the Crowd

There’s a really good piece here by Thom Gibbs in Telegraph and how the trend for overbearing music kills the […]

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Applescript to amend Mailtags dates

I’ve done a script for managing MailTags’ Tickle dates, enabling you to easily choose whether to clear the date, nudge it on to tomorrow, or set it for a number of days into the future, and do so for each email message individually, or collectively. YMMV etc. […]

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The Strange Rebirth of Co-operative Britain

I was asked to write a piece for Economia magazine (the in-house journal of the Institute for Chartered Accountants of England and Wales) on the growth in recent years of the co-operative and mutual sector. The piece is on their site, and is reproduced below.

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Dyke and the Blazers

The appointment of Greg Dyke as new FA Chairman had me pleasantly surprised, not least given his on the record views about FA Councillors and the organisation as a whole. […]

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10 Things I Know About Football From a Decade at Supporters Direct

I've written a piece for Stand: Against Modern Football for their latest edition, themed around ownership. They asked me to write abut 10 things I'd learnt about fans and football in my time at Supporters Direct; some of them I kind of knew already, and my experience confirmed the suspicion, so it;s more 10 things I know for sure about football and fans.

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Swansea Memories

Swansea City’s presence in the League Cup Final has occasioned lots of pieces on their rebirth as a force in football, and the role of the Trust in that.

It brings back some fond and strong memories. Swansea City was, with Chesterfield, my first proper case when working at Supporters Direct, and it bookends my time there to some extent. […]

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On Premier League Financial Fair Play

There’s lots of comment today about the Premier League clubs passing a version of Financial Fair Play; some positive, some negative.

The first thing to say is that by defining sustainable as losing on average £35m a year, they’ve done us a favour in pointing out just how crazy this environment is. […]

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It’s not my Party (and I should choose what happens to my co-op money if I want to)

The Guardian have published a piece I’ve written on how the Co-operative movement engages in politics, focussing on the link with Labour via the Co-operative Party.

 

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Not in the Wider Interests of Football

This article was first published in Yellow & Blue (incorporating Fanzines United) on 2 December 2012, a fanzine put together by fans on the occasion of AFC Wimbledon’s 2nd round match in the FA Cup against a town in Buckinghamshire which stole a league place some years earlier, to be sold at a gathering at the club’s ground, Kingsmeadow where fans from other clubs had been invited to show solidarity with them.

It was such a weasel phrase in the FA commission report, that fans creating AFC Wimbledon was “not in the wider interests of football”. It sounded all high and mighty and considered, but on closer inspection, all it revealed was what the panelists thought of fans and the notion that fans could run their own clubs. […]

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How to make the BBC democratic

I did a post some months back over at Our Beeb on how the BBC could become accountable to licence payers, and today, Tessa Jowell has said something similar in the Telegraph.

When I wrote the piece, it was all a touch theoretical since the BBC’s governance wasn’t a live issue. (update – The Independent’s Steve Richards suggests there might be a link) […]

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Applescript to use Notification Center to give Time Machine updates

I’ve done a script which places a notification in notification center after every backup, detailing the size of the backup and the number of files backed up, as well as the time. […]

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The Impossible Job

The FA Council voted yesterday to not make an exception to their rule on the Chairman of the FA not serving past the age of seventy (they were always likely to reject the Board’s motion to waive the rule in Bernstein’s case, having had the same executive and Board combo urge them to not waive the rule in the past for some other of the old stagers who fell foul of it). As a result, the FA will begin a search for a new Chairman, who will be their 4th in 5 years.

It was interesting to see that the journalists who cover the FA politics beat mostly take the view that current Chairman David Bernstein’s tenure will be seen as a success. […]

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Dave Boyle, and my part in his downfall

From 2000-2011, I worked for Supporters Direct, the last three as Chief Executive. I’ve not commented about the events around my departure, but some months ago, I was asked to write a contribution to a new book by AFC Wimbledon fan Niall Couper on the last 10 years of the club’s history. As that book has now been published, I’m posting it here as part of a repository of all my writing.

The story begins with AFC Wimbledon striker Danny Kedwell scoring the winning penalty in the Conference Play-Off Final in 2011, sending the club back into the Football League…

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Sweet FA

I’ve just read the FA’s ‘statement’ in response to the Hillsborough Panel’s report.

I’m still trying to work out whether it’s an artless piece of insensitive nonsense, or a litigation-avoiding non-statement. Either way, it stinks. […]

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Touching the net

I’ve just read Andrew Blum’s fantastic Tubes, about the physical infrastructure of the internet. I’ve long been interested in the subject, after reading Neal Stephenson’s seminal Mother Earth, Mother Board in Wired years back. I think it’s the fragility of the internet that they reveal, and whilst the telecoms network of voice calls was no less fragile, we weren’t always on and dependent on it. […]

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Football MAD

I’ve just had a report published by the High Pay Centre on the impact of high pay in football.

It was […]

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Co-operative Cinemas?

The Guardian have published a piece I’ve written on Co-operative cinemas over on their Social Enterprise Network site. It was fun to write, learning about the world of cinema distribution and exhibiting. […]

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Create folders in Finder to match your projects and lists in The Hit List

Before starting to use The Hit List, I used to use Things, which had a really neat little related app called Things Folders. This mirrored the structure and set of your tasks and created a folder for storing files related to each project you had live, and created a link in the project in Things to the folder. […]

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Integrating MailTags with The Hit List

This applescript integrates between Apple Mail, The Hit List and MailTags. […]

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On David Lampitt

David Lampitt’s appointment as the new Chief Executive of Supporters Direct has attracted some adverse comment, well summarised in a piece over at When Saturday Comes. David has responded to the criticism in a piece on Supporters Direct’s site.

I just want to add my own thoughts, for what they’re worth, on two aspects of the criticism, and one really important reason why people who support the goals of the supporters trust movement should welcome his appointment. […]

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In praise of Kris Stewart

This time 10 years ago, almost to the minute, I was in the Wibbas Down in Wimbledon seeing people with smiling faces. We’d all just voted to form AFC Wimbledon at an amazing meeting at the Wimbledon Community Centre, called by the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association in the wake of the FA tribunal’s shameful decision to allow Wimbledon FC’s owners to move the club to the town of Milton Keynes. […]

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A Tax on Sport

The excellent Matt Slater had a recent story on the BBC about the fact that sport’s events in the UK are taxed differently from other countries.

I was surprised to learn that the HMRC only recently included training days as part of the calculation of working; if you’re in the Uk for 3 days for asports event, and are working – to have done otherwise is clearly unfair (imagine saying actors are only deemed to have been working for the length of the film or TV show, and not the rehearsals, unused footage etc).

But the wider points are both ultimately places I don’t think we should go. […]

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The meaning of Manchester City and Chelsea’s successes

I’ve just done a quick piece over at the Guardian’s Comment is Free on the portents of Chelsea and Manchester […]

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Super duper Euro 2012 retro spreadsheet

Update 13th June: One kind downloader pointed out an error in the way that three calculated the goals […]

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The British Broadcasting Co-operative

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/opendem.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]I’ve just done a piece on how the BBC could become the British Broadcasting Co-operative, and why it should, as part of OpenDemocracy’s Our Beeb series. It draws on the references I make in my pamphlet on media ownership to the BBC.[/author_info] [/author]

Now is absolutely the right moment to be querying the BBC’s governance. Just because people who beat up on the BBC seem to have an ulterior motive, and just because the cultural life of the UK would be much worse without it, that’s no reason for the rest of us to give it a free pass from scrutiny. […]

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A funny kind of democracy

Back in the day when I was at Supporters Direct, I set up a google RSS feed to feature any mention of ‘supporters trust’, and it brought me this article on Monday, about events down at Exeter.

This post isn’t about the League Two salary cost management protocol. It’s about  what is meant by fan democracy. […]

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Would your football club be better run as a co-operative?

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/guardian.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I’ve done a piece for  The Guardian on football clubs and co-operation, making the case for why it’s the best form for them to take, what progress has been made in the last decade, and what challenges they still face to become a successful part of the landscape.[/author_info] [/author] […]

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Media Co-operatives Report Launched

I’ve been working for some months on a pamphlet for Co-operatives UK on the opportunities for co-operation in the media, […]

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Co-operation and Media Regulation

[box type=”info”] Visitors landing here from Roy Greenslade’s piece in the Guardian about my report on media co-operatives should visit this page first![/box]

 

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/demsoc.png[/author_image] [author_info]I was very kindly asked by Anthony Zacharzewski of The Democratic Society to contribute a piece to their series on media regulation. My research on media co-operatives is mainly focussed on the how they meet the challenge of the digital age, but there’s an important dimension in respect of regulating the media for the public interest. [/author_info] [/author]

In his famous mea culpa, Alan Greenspan told the US Congress that there was a flaw at the heart of his vision of capitalism, which was that he hadn’t expected shareholders of companies to be unable to ensure their own interests were protected; in his world, such self-interest would serve to provide the wider interest in true neo-liberal fashion. […]

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Away Days, MLS Style

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/guardian.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I’ve had a piece published in The Guardian on the formation of the Independent Supporters Council for North American soccer fans, which I was privileged enough to attend the formation of in Portland last weekend. I’ll be blogging some more about what I learnt later this week.[/author_info] [/author]

When Tom Dunmore and 300 fellow Chicago Fire fans travelled to see their team play Toronto FC in 2007, they were met with incredulity: “When we got there, the stadium security just didn’t know what to do. They had no concept of how to handle people travelling together in a large group to cheer their team on away from home.” […]

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Turf Wars

It’s great to see that the Football League are investigating whether to allow clubs to consider using next generation pitches, as I’ve long been an advocate of their use.

The issue gets more of an airing in winter, when matches get postponed, but that’s not the major benefit. Though it will reduce postponements from pitches being less prone to waterlogging and so on, many matches are called off because the pitch is playable, but the stadium is too unsafe for fans, with icy walkways and steps etc.

The main benefit is that most clubs use the major part of their physical estate about 2 hours in every 2 weeks. That’s asset utilization of 0.6%. […]

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Coming to America

I’ve been invited to attend the inaugural congress of the Independent Supporters Council in Portland, Oregon, next week. In my four day trip to the Pacific coast and back, I’ll also be hosted by Section 8, the Chicago Fire’s fan group, at a roundtable to talk about fan culture and fan engagement. […]

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Darlington, By George

The news from Darlington FC isn’t good at all. The club could be wound up in the very near future. Two factors make this likelier than not: they’re not in the league, and that they have a monstrously unsuitable stadium which leeches any cash they have. […]

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Man City’s Losses and Financial Fair Play

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]My latest piece in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business looks at manchester City’s record losses, UEFA’s Financial Fair Play initiative and why the system they’ve brought in must be the start of a process, not the end of it.[/author_info] [/author]

What wasn’t said about Manchester City running up English football’s largest ever annual loss was perhaps as instructive as a window into the modern game than what was. It wasn’t said that the £197m would cover the equivalent of the Premier League’s contribution to the Football Foundation for the next 16 years. Nor was it said that it was over £30m more than the combined spending of 5 other teams in the Premier League the year before, nor that it was more than the entire TV deal for the Football League for the next three years. […]

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Co-operative Business Studies

I gave two talks today to on co-operation to AS-level students at BHASVIC in Brighton. Co-ops do feature in the […]

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The Ghost of Bob Lord

Last night, Darren Ambrose apparently scored a screamer for Crystal Palace in their win over Manchester United in the Carling Cup.

I say apparently as I only saw that on twitter, so I went hunting this morning to see it myself.

I was on the Guardian’s youtube roundup, and saw that several uploads of the goal had been pulled due to a copyright claim by the Football League. […]

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Practical Options for Media Co-ops

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/opendem.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published on OpenDemocracy as part of their series examining media policy. The piece also has extra relevance given their own exploration of a membership scheme to their reader community as part of their own attempts to make their site sustainable in the medium and longer-term.[/author_info] [/author]

For 11 years, I worked at Supporters Direct, helping to create mutual structures through which fans could run their football clubs, and in recent years, I’ve been drawn to the similarities between clubs and newspapers.

For starters, people often speak of their choice of national newspaper as a choice that is part of their identity, whilst local newspapers are as important a part of a community’s identity as their local club.

But more importantly, both have a public character, which seems ill-suited to private ownership, and both have gone through financial crises that flow directly from the way in which they are owned gives owners power to make poor decisions about them. […]

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Feature in FC Business Magazine

There’s a feature in the latest edition of FC Business magazine (a business-to-business mag for the football world) by me […]

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Media Reform @ Red Pepper

Red Pepper have posted a debate I took part in a few weeks’ ago under their auspices on reforming the […]

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(War Minus the) Shooting From the Hip

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2001.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published on TwoHundredPercent about the media storm over whether FIFA should permit England’s footballers to wear poppies on their shirts when England played Spain in a friendly the day before Remembrance Sunday.[/author_info] [/author]

And so it ends. 93 years of England’s ignominious and unpatriotic failure to wear poppies on their shirts comes to a deserved end, and a nation can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that now football has fallen into line, people will actually start wearing poppies for the first time ever. Or something like that.

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More Media Co-ops

The issue of ownership has been the absent part of the British media debate but there is growing recognition that the issue has to be on the table as the various strands of inquiry into the media resulting from hackgate start in earnest. […]

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The Case For Media Co-ops

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/nlp.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published on New Left Project  in the wake of the hacking scandal to argue for using co-operative and mutual structures in media ownership, a project I’ve been working on with Co-operatives UK. The piece argues that ownership has always been thought of in terms of ‘who’ rather than ‘how’.[/author_info] [/author]

It’s strange that in the renewed debates about UK media policy in the wake of the hacking scandal, the critical importance of the nature of media ownership hasn’t featured.

We’re familiar with the spats and rivalries between different papers’ editors and proprietors, but beyond the knockabout copy, there was a collective reticence towards investigating what rivals got up to, no doubt in part a media form of mutually-assured destruction; you don’t attack my owner, I don’t attack yours. […]

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Why We Need Media Co-ops

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/libcon.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]First published on Liberal Conspiracy on the need to consider issues of media ownership in the context of how they are owned, not just who owns them, as the debate following the revelations of the hacking scandal focussed on News International and the Murdoch family.[/author_info] [/author]

The plurality debate recognises that who owns newspapers matters, but says little about how> they’re owned; the regulation debate recognises that media need to be held to account but is focussed on external control, with little conception of the potential for greater internal accountability. But what if the media were owned differently, where journalists, executives and boards accountable for their actions to empowered readers and staff? What if media could be co-operative? […]

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Football Cannot Deliver the Reform Needed Without Outside Assistance

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/guardian.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Originally published on The Guardian on the day the Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry into Football Governance was due to issue its final report. I had organised the submission of evidence from supporters’ trusts and given oral evidence to the committee some months earlier.[/author_info] [/author]

The Culture Select Committee’s report on football will not be as eagerly awaited as its forthcoming one on phone hacking, but to football fans involved in trying to make the game more sustainable, it represents the best chance for much-needed reform in a generation. […]

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Football Club Licensing

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in March 2011.
The article was published as the Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry into the finances and governance of English football neared the halfway point, by which time some clear themes were beginning to emerge.[/author_info] [/author]

We’re past the halfway point in the select committee inquiry into football governance, and some clear common points are emerging from the evidence the MPs have had submitted in writing and heard in session.

Evidence sessions got of to the punchy start with Sean Hamil of Birkbeck College making a strong case for a much more through-going system of regulation, and following him, Lord Triesman presented the initial evidence he wanted to submit to Andy Burnham when the latter asked 7 questions of the football authorities back in 2008 when speaking at that year’s Supporters Direct Conference. […]

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Time to Blacklist the Blackout

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/SI.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Written for news and analysis site Sporting Intelligence on the potential ramifications of the Karen Murphy case working its way throughout the European Court of Justice, and how the end of the 3pm rule might not be the end of the world as we know it for smart clubs.[/author_info] [/author]

What will be the long-term impact of the Karen Murphy case be? Assuming the European Court agree with the view of the Advocate General which was announced last week, some have predicted the end of Civilisation As We Know It, whilst others say Sky will become even more powerful.

But what if the decision ends up being the renaissance of lower league clubs? It’s all to do with the 3pm blackout, which dates from the time when football chairman – led by Burnley’s Bob Lord – feared that TV exposure would damage already declining gates, and so the 3pm-5pm Saturday time slot is currently prohibited (voluntarily, not legally) for domestic broadcast of matches. […]

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Personal Submission to DCMS Inquiry Into Football Governance

In my professional capacity I am Chief Executive of Supporters Direct, where I have worked for 10 years. This is a personal submission covering issues beyond the immediate purview of the evidence submitted by Supporters Direct.
Discussion about what to do about football must eventually become discussion about how to do it. Identifying things the FA should do presupposes that it has the ability to do that, so matters of policy inevitably become governance issues. […]

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Football in 2011 – Speaker’s Corner Trust Debate

I was asked by the Speaker’s Corner Trust to engage in a debate with Professor Stefan Szymanski of CASS Business […]

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Football Fans Do Not Expect to Pick The Team

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/guardian.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]Published in The Guardian’s Right of Reply page following a piece by Louise Taylor which asserted that the fan-ownership movement was misguided in its aims and not the best way forward for clubs. I was given a chance to respond to her piece several days later.[/author_info] [/author]

Supporters just want clubs to be run democratically, rather than by the dictatorship of chairmen

In her column on the role of fans in the ownership and governance of football clubs, Louise Taylor debates whether it’s better to have “benevolent dictatorship or democracy” (Power to the people is false economy, 13 January). But in siding with the former, she says that “some supporters need reminding that purchasing a season ticket buys the rental of a seat rather than the right to elect a new manager or left-back”. […]

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Too Big to Fail to Notice

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in October 2010 as Liverpool FC ownership under Tom Hicks and George Gillett came to an end following a transatlantic court battle between them and the club’s creditor bankers.[/author_info] [/author]

When clubs like Chesterfield and Exeter became owned by crooks, people who ran football and who wrote about it didn’t seem to care that much, because neither were big clubs, like Liverpool.

When Portsmouth’s owners turned out to have been functionally innumerate, or broke, or maybe to not even exist (or maybe all of those things), people who ran football and who wrote about it didn’t seem to care much because Portsmouth were just a small club which seemed bigger just by dint of the league it played in. It wasn’t a big club like Liverpool. […]

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We’ll Support You Until We Change Our Lifestyle

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in 2010, the article addresses research showing that behind the pervasive idea of supreme fan loyalty lay a high degree of flux in fans’ attendance at matches, and suggests how clubs can use greater engagement to insulate themselves from the impact of this flux.[/author_info] [/author]

One of the things you hear most often about football is that fans’ loyalty to their clubs is what makes the game special. They stick with their clubs through thick and thin, and thinner still. They turn up week in, week out, in all weathers, regardless of results and ever-rising ticket prices, cheering on mercenary players who don’t deserve such adoration and support. There’s only one problem. So far as the club’s coffers are concerned, it’s a myth. […]

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Barca – Co-operation & the Future of Football

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/cuk.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Commissioned by Co-operatives UK for publication during Co-operatives Fortnight in 2010 alongside the first publication in the UK of the English translation of the club’s statutes. You can download a PDF of the pamphlet here, and a PDF of the statutes here.[/author_info] [/author]

What is a football club?
Before you can decide what a club should do, you really need to have a clear picture of what it is for. Such questions are rarely, if ever, asked in English football; such a failure may explain the fact that if we try to reverse engineer a club’s purpose from its activities, we’d get a strange variety of answer. […]

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Public Policy & Football After the Election

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/prospect.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published on Prospect as the 2010 World Cup kicked off, looking beyond the tournament to the public policy prospects for reform of English football, especially in light of the interest of the main parties in the issue during the 2010 General Election.[/author_info] [/author]

In the days leading up to the start of the World Cup, it might seem an exercise in futility to write about the domestic club scene as all eyes look to South Africa and for four weeks but international football shows us a truth about football that the club game shows an increasing inability to recognise. […]

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Foreword to Christian Aid Report on Football & Offshore Ownership

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ca.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]Jointly authored foreword (with Malcolm Clarke, Chair of The FSF) to a report by Christian Aid published at the start of the World Cup. The report pointed to the use of tax and secrecy havens by English football clubs, as part of their wider campaign work to publicise the damage done by such havens to developing countries.[/author_info] [/author]

At first, supporters of football clubs in the world’s wealthiest football nation in one of the world’s most affluent countries might not seem to have much in common with some of the poorest people on our planet, but as this report demonstrates, both are ill-served by the use of the financial block-holes dotted around the world. […]

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Political Football

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/SI.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Written for news and analysis site Sporting Intelligence following the publication of Labour’s 2010 election manifesto, which contained pledges on giving fans the right to buy stakes in their clubs should they be re-elected.[/author_info] [/author]

With the publication yesterday of Labour’s election manifesto, football fans have before them the first serious attempt by a UK political party to target them as a potential electoral demographic.When first floated a few weeks ago in The Guardian, the initial response – a quite literally ridiculous Martin Samuel piece aside – was broadly positive about content if suspicious of the motives. The notion that this was all a cynical election stunt was added to by the accusation dogging much of Labour’s manifesto: if these were truly genuine proposals, then why had they waited 13 years to make them? […]

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Grasping the Nettle of Football Reform

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in January 2011.
The article was published as the Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry into the finances and governance of English football began.[/author_info] [/author]

There’s already been several reactions to the news that a parliamentary select committee will be conducting an inquiry into football governance, taking into double figures the number of reports commissioned about the game since England won the World Cup, all of which focussed on the problems English football has in spending its money wisely and making its decisions soundly. […]

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Chickens Come Home to Roost at Pompey

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in November 2009 as Portsmouth FC were imploding following a series of changes of ownership, and looked likely to become the first Premier league club to enter formal administration in the league’s 20 year history.[/author_info] [/author]

By the time you’re reading Portsmouth could be alternatively bankrupt, in administration, under their fifth owners of the season, have spent next year’s parachute money from their inevitable relegation, and quite probably a combination of several of these. It’s both a tragedy and farce as history repeats itself for a club in administration 10 years previously.

Reading some of the commentary on the events at Fratton Park, you would get the impression that these unfolding events are an unpredictable development. That would be wrong for several reasons. […]

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Judge Dread Shows Need for Sports Law

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in 2009, making the case for a sports law to empower sports’ governing bodies to regulate without fear of being sued, a significant factor in the general drift to regulatory timidity in recent years.[/author_info] [/author]

It might seem strange to say that what game really needs is a sports law. After all, aren’t there sports lawyers already at work and featured in this magazine?

Those lawyers specialise in doing law within sport, helping clubs, players and governing bodies navigate their way through a framework of laws crafted for different reasons and different sectors of activity. There’s no real sports law though, made for sport and only applying to sport, helping it manage its affairs.
We have some, for sure – the Football Spectators Act, passed after Hillsborough, or the Safety of Sports Grounds Act passed in response to the Ibrox disaster of 1971. It is telling that these are responses to major problems, reacting to failures in sport. What about law to enable sport to, to set it up to face the challenges specific to it? […]

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Unfit and Improper

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in October 2009 as Portsmouth’s meltdown continued apace, touching on the ‘fit and proper persons’ which several of Portsmouth’s owners had passed.[/author_info] [/author]

The Premier League’s version of the fit and proper person test was beefed up in the summer, to the extent that it’s probably the toughest and best of the three varieties in operation. Even so, the fact that Sulaiman Al-Fahim passed it suggests there’s more work to be done. […]

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Managing Volunteers

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/LeadershipLabyrinth.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Commissioned by the Third Sector Leadership Centre for Leadership Labyrinth, on managing in the third sector. I focussed on managing volunteers, where there isn’t an economic relationship to underpin managerial authority, nor a strictly defined role which enables self-starting.[/author_info] [/author]

On the set of the film Chinatown, lead actor Faye Dunaway was struggling to get into character for a scene. She asked director Roman Polanski what her character’s motivation was, to which he replied ‘your salary is your motivation’.

Volunteer-run organisations have no such response. Many voluntary sector bodies have full-time officers who can co-ordinate, cajole and complement the activities of the volunteers, but volunteer-run bodies have to do it all themselves. There’s no-one to drive things forward, no one in the office at 9am to keep the wheels turning. Everyone does everything in time carved out of the rest of their increasingly busy lives. […]

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Resolutions & Votes Don’t Float My Boat & Meetings Totally Bore Me

Democracy – if there is a single thing that encapsulates what the supporters trust movement is about, it’s probably that. Trusts are open to all to join, and anyone can stand for the board of the trust. Those elections mean that there’s a ready way to bring new blood into the running of the trust, and deal with people who have taken decisions that the members disagree with. […]

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That Sinking Feeling, or How Not To Waste a Crisis

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in May 2009 as the UK entered recession and, for the first time since the creation of the Premier League, English football would not be buoyed by the wider economic climate.[/author_info] [/author]

In the last two months of the season, four Football League clubs entered administration, and in the space of one week, three non-league clubs were wound-up. Nobody believes that’s anything but the start. Football Conference Chairman Brian Lee says he can’t remember a more challenging time for clubs at that level, and he’s right to be worried. The issue is not whether clubs will be insolvent, but how many, how far up the leagues the problems will go. […]

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Another Year, Another Inquiry

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in April 2009 as the All-Party Parliamentary Football Group commenced an Inquiry into Football, following an earlier Inquiry it had undertaken in 2004.[/author_info] [/author]

Another day, another report calling for football to examine the way it runs itself. This time it’s the All-Party Football Group (APFG) whose latest investigation into the governance of the game has just been released.

It’s the latest in a series of reports that have been written over the past 40 years all grappling with a concern that things haven’t been what they should be with the game. […]

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There May Be Trouble Ahead

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fcb.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in January 2009, focussing on how the likely recession might impact on the football sector, given the game’s poor record at managing its finances in good times.[/author_info] [/author]

Every day brings more depressing economic news, and it’s clear that no-one has any idea of when or how this will play out; people who failed to spot the greatest economic collapse since the 1930s now confidently predict it will all be over by next Christmas. Sounds familiar. […]

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The Trouble With (Some) Non-League Clubs

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/cherryred.png[/author_image]
[author_info]I was asked to provide a foreword to the 2008 edition of the annual The Cherry Red Records Non-League Handbook. Having seen a lot of the non-league world watching AFC Wimbledon and working with fans at lots of non-league clubs, I decided to give a more challenging view of the scene’s strengths and weaknesses.[/author_info] [/author]

Having a problem with Non-League football would seem to be like not liking baby seals or rabbits. Non-league is the honest part of the game, the last vestige of amateur values, unsullied by the taint of filthy lucre. It’s the village in the rural idyll, wholesome with a sense of community as opposed the dirt, danger and anonymity of the city. […]

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Should Football Allow Leveraged Buyouts?

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/guardian.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]Published in The Guardian’s Sporting debate column where I went head-to-head with Joe McLean of Grant Thornton’s football unit. Joe was in favour of a relaxed attitude to the leveraged takeovers of football clubs, whilst I took the contrary view.[/author_info] [/author]

The idea of a leveraged takeover is that an asset is undervalued and somebody thinks they can make more money out of it so they use debt to acquire the club and then try to make the money back. It’s based on speculation, so the only sure-fire winners tend to be the people who sell up and leave the clubs behind.

Once the debt has been taken on you are at the whim of capital markets and that means the size of the liability can be beyond the club’s control. At least at Arsenal – though they are hardly without debt – they are on a long-term fixed rate deal. Debt can help achieve new goals but if the only reason is to transfer ownership from one party to another, then the question of most fans would be ” Why are we doing this?” It seems like if you have this kind of debt you have to make more money just to stand still. […]

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The Damned United

To call David Peace’s The Damned United the best football novel ever written could be seen as damning with faint praise, in a field usually packed with children’s Roy of the Rovers fantasies and the tiresome tales of top boys steaming found in hoolie porn. The less said about Terry Venables’ They Used to Play on Grass the better, and Jimmy Greaves brief career as a novelist was still too long for some. […]

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The Ball is Round

A history of the 20th century which doesn’t focus on the USA is the novel premise that underpins David Goldblatt’s magnificent history of football from the earliest appearance of the game to the eve of the 2006 World Cup. […]

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The Case for Salary Caps

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/sd.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Written for Supporters Direct’s quarterly magazine in 2006, making the case for cost-control in football to bring an end to seemingly continual inflationary pressures; the policy ideas behind this were part of a wider debate which influenced UEFA’s Financial Fair Play initiative.[/author_info] [/author]

In a recent article in the magazine, I mentioned the idea of wage constraints on clubs. It’s an issue that’s increased in profile recently, a sure sign that the debate is shifting. The issue is particularly relevant within the Trust movement, as it addresses a major problem they all Trust-run and Trust-influenced clubs face. […]

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Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/sd.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Written for the match day programme for the Supporters Direct Cup, played between AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester in 2006. The Cup is an annual match played between two fan-owned clubs, for a trophy purchased by donations by members of the Supporters Direct mailing list.[/author_info][/author]

We’re delighted to be involved in the fourth hosting of the Supporters Direct Cup. On a personal level, I’m especially delighted that for the first time, the match is taking place outside the M25, at the ground where my Granddad watched his football and where there is a seat named after him as part of the Save our Shakers appeal a few years back. […]

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Oh, FC United!

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/sd.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Written for Supporters Direct’s quarterly magazine in 2006, reviewing life at fan-owned football co-operative FC United of Manchester, one year after their formation in May 2005 soon after the Glazer family’s takeover at Manchester United.[/author_info] [/author]

When it was first reported that disgruntled fans of Manchester United were thinking of starting their own team, many in the football world scoffed. Some couldn’t see the point, whilst others couldn’t see that it would work.

There was certainly scepticism amongst many football administrators and club officials in the leagues where the new club was being touted to play. More than one thought that such a club would be little more than a three-game protest. They couldn’t have been more wrong. […]

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Independent European Sports Review

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/sd.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Written for Supporters Direct’s quarterly magazine in 2006, on the publication of the Independent European Sports’ Review, a report examining the issues affecting European football (sport was added to the title at the last moment as it recognised that most of the recommendations affecting football would need to be applied sport-wide).[/author_info] [/author]

The reaction of the majority of the British press to the Independent European Football Review published in late May might not have surprised anyone for its virulent euro-scepticism, but it would have surprised anyone who had actually read the report. It was, The Sun assured us, part of a Brussels land grab, which would penalise success, and generally bring about the end of western civilisation. Or maybe just threaten Sky’s profits, which may be the same thing for them. […]

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A Tax on Bad Management

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/sd.png[/author_image]
[author_info]Written for Supporters Direct’s quarterly magazine in 2005, advocating the linking of late payment of taxes to HMRC to on field penalties, in this case, points-deductions. The idea was later adopted, preventing clubs in arrears from signing players.[/author_info] [/author]

Wrexham recently became the first club to be deducted 10 points for entering administration under the League’s new policy designed to combat reckless spending by clubs. The aim is laudable; clubs overspending is bad for those clubs, and cheats those clubs who try and do things properly. But there are two problems with it, and the Wrexham cases shows why. […]

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The Beautiful Game – Searching for the Soul of Football

David Conn is a writer many in the Trust movement will be familiar with through his columns in The Independent, covering the stories most papers and most writers deem to be irrelevant; the epic struggles against neglect, indifference, crippling debt and in some cases, outright criminality. […]

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The Cost of Football

A recent series of articles in The Observer have suggested the Premiership is paying the price for its policies, with exorbitant prices and uncompetitive football. But it’s not just the Premiership who are paying that price – it’s one we all pay whenever we watch football pretty much all the way down the pyramid. […]

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Trust in Football

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ippr.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]A chapter of a pamphlet published by the IPPR at the time of the 2004 European Championships, surveying the development of the supporters’ trust movement over the previous four years. Other chapter authors included David Conn and Andy Burnham MP.[/author_info] [/author]
Since Supporters Direct was launched four years ago, the response has been phenomenal, with 102 supporters’ trusts formed at every level of the game, forty-five of these have a shareholding in their clubs and 30 have a supporter-director.

The language of the game has changed to recognise this. Three years ago, reports would talk about the supporters club rescuing a club, but now supporters’ trusts are sufficiently widespread and their achievements sufficiently well-known to make them a part of the lingo. […]

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Count Me Out

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/wsc.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]An article written for When Saturday Comes in 2004 on the growth of non-traditional shirt numbers worn by players. The piece is part traditionalist lament but it also suggests there’s something substantial reflected in the trend, about the changing relationship between players and clubs.[/author_info] [/author]

The first leg defeat of Manchester United by Porto was the moment when I realised that football had, beyond all reasonable doubt, gone mad.

Like many, I’d had a feeling that the game had been pushing at the boundaries of sanity in many ways for a good few years, with no idea too tawdry, too cheap or just plain laughable to be ruled out of consideration. I had still not had my own personal moment of epiphany, though. In the form of Benni McCarthy, I got it. Unlike the United defence, I couldn’t take my eyes off him, or more accurately his back, which showed he was No 77. […]

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Wimbledon Football Club is Dead; Long Live Wimbledon

[author][author_image timthumb=’on’]http://daveboyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/442.png[/author_image] [author_info]Originally published in FourFourTwo at the start of the season in which AFC Wimbledon played their first game in the Combined Counties Leagues, two months after the FA Tribunal gave permission for the Milton Keynes move which the old Wimbledon FC’s owners had been agitating for in the face of fierce opposition from fans.[/author_info] [/author]

It’s agony for the 30 Wimbledon fans gathered outside the FA headquarters as part of a vigil whilst an FA’s Commission meets to decide whether the club can move to Milton Keynes. FA Chief Executive Adam Crozier has been out to see them and given them coffee and cakes, even though the Commission is not meeting’s inside the building – it’s being held down the road in the offices of the Commission Chair, Raj Parker from the FA’s lawyers. […]

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All Just a Little Bit of History Repeating…

The first division are getting ready to blackmail their smaller brethren for a greater share of the cash and the power. The rest are fearful of the consequences of caving in, and of standing up. This was 1985, and the Premiership was just around the corner. They caved in and got rid of gate sharing, so ending the historic revenue redistributing mechanism and it was a hop, skip and a jump to the Premiership in 1992.

Fast forward to 2002 and the same events are being played out. Like Marx said, history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. And what a farce it is. […]

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