Saturday, 17 March 2012

Football for the many

When Downing Street briefed its intention to include a plan to give football fans more powers in the running of their clubs in Labour’s 2010 general election manifesto, the critics carped that this was another pie-in-the-sky proposal from a government that was gasping for breath. While the cynics suggested it was a craven attempt to curry favour with a section of the electorate who rarely makes it to the polling station, Gordon Brown’s commitment to football governance had far-reaching consequences.

Eager to nullify Labour’s unexpected lurch into the beautiful game, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats rushed out pledges of their own. After the formation of the coalition, there was even a commitment in the coalition agreement ‘to support the cooperative ownership of football clubs by their supporters’. For much of this parliament, there has been a strong cross-party consensus on the need for reform of a game that has slowly been eating itself.