Millionaires can't compete these days says AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite

Owner David Haythornthwaite says the economic downturn resulting from the coronavirus crisis can pose particular problems for clubs at AFC Fylde’s level, who are dependent on benefactors such as himself.

Monday, 27th April 2020, 6:00 am
It's a very rich man's world ... even in the National League, says David Haythornthwaite

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The Coasters chairman stated that he contributed around £1m to the National League club last season, though admitted struggling to compete against clubs with “billionaire” backers.

Addressing the issue of his club’s income in a series of videos posted on Fylde’s website, businessman Haythornthwaite explained: “In our case, we get some funding from TV.

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“TV money funds everything. The Premier League teams on average get around £140m. In many cases for them, the gate money and revenues are insignificant.

“When it filters down, I think in League Two – which is our aspiration – it’s about £900,000.

“However, there is then a seismic drop to the National League – we actually get £90,000. By the time everybody at the top has had all their money, that’s all we get in payments at our level.

“That’s a starting point. The rest of the money then comes in the shape of matchday revenue and, as everybody knows, we haven’t got a massive fan base. Our average home gate this season is 1,500 or 1,600.

“It is an important part of the revenue and the associated revenue that comes with that, as is sponsorship, but it is not enough to run the football club in its current form.

“Most football clubs, such as Fylde, rely on benefactors to get them success.

“There are varying levels of benefactors. Last season, for example, in our league we were competing with Salford City, whose benefactor Peter Lim is a billionaire who tried to buy Liverpool.

“We’re competing against billionaires, and when you’re a relatively successful millionaire, like some of us are, then it pales into insignificance.

“Most people who contribute are like me. Last season, I contributed around £1m into AFC Fylde through my company and various sponsorships, which came straight out of my business.

“Some clubs have no benefactors but have a reasonable crowd base they can survive on. Some have been lucky to get both.”