Non-League Restructure…..The Counter Argument

After the article I published yesterday regarding restructuring the non-league system proved a debatable talking point, I received 2 counter arguments with the promise of more to come.

Again all thoughts and views are welcome.

The first one is from Richard Lowe.

After reading the article suggesting non-league restructuring – – and the debate that surrounds it, I thought I’d add to it with a few thoughts/ideas of my own.

I’ll accept now, several of these ideas are probably unworkable/unpopular; that said, they are suggested with the idea of preserving non-league football, and doing away with the apparent annual stream of clubs going under/withdrawing.

1. Link every full-time club to a part-time one. The idea here is to share resources, particularly for things such as training grounds, sports scientists, physiotherapists etc. This would then hopefully save money, whilst also allowing extra expertise to make its way down the pyramid.
2. Copy Germany’s ownership method and restrict individuals/consortiums to 49.9% of the ownership.
3. If a player suffers a head injury they have to be removed and checked out by a medical professional – but allow a temporary substitute, who becomes the permanent one if the player is off the field for 10 minutes.
4. Sin bins; either for a few minutes for a yellow card, or 15 minutes if an ‘orange card’ is introduced.
5. Kick-off at 12-1pm every Saturday. (Awaits complaints…) This would save money on floodlights in the winter, and allows people to watch football on TV – which could be done in the clubhouse, meaning more money taken.
6. A salary cap (throughout the pyramid, which would include bonuses/signing on fees). The cap would be the average salary spend of clubs from the previous season.
7. In all cup ties the lower league team chooses where they play
8. Have an automatic 50% sell on fee (based on profits made) added to all transfers to a club in a higher division.
9. The following five are ideas from the European Union, with my ideas in brackets (
1) Increase solidarity payments to 8% (or 10%) of total transfer (goes to all clubs that player played for in leagues below where he transfers to, unless from club in same division)
2) Establish a fair-play levy/transfer tax on transfer fees (over a certain amount – £1m? This which would be collected by the FA: at the end of each season this is then either distributed towards all clubs/used as a bailout scheme. If a bailout, then it would be with certain conditions: a club couldn’t just spend money and then rely on the FA)
3) Limit the number of players to 25 per squad (including players loaned out);
4) Limit the number of loans by the lending/to beneficiary clubs
5) Cap transfer fees at 70% of the gross salary owed to the player for the entire contract, or 100% of the gross salary still due. (For example, the most Luis Suarez could be sold for now would be around £42m. To make this workable, you may have to begin it after each player’s next transfer)
10. Before I saw the launch of the NPL Football Academy I came up with the following:
Rather than all the academies we have now, have regional/area based ones. All youth players (by age) train together, and play other regions. It’s fully funded by the FA, so a full time educational experience for children. Then, adapting the American draft model, clubs in that region get their choice of players from only that academy. Spurs want a Yorkshireman? Tough. Man City wants a hot prospect from London? Not happening. The idea here is, other than saving money and hopefully improving development, that it keeps young children nearer their family and friends to stay grounded. Any club can select a player from their region whenever, but each player must start a set number/percentage of first-team matches. This would stop poaching by the top teams, and would mean lower league clubs are most likely to benefit. The initial salary is set and paid for through the FA (all clubs pay a contribution based on turnover: Man City would pay millions. Your local club? Maybe a couple of hundred?) If the games aren’t met, they go back into the ‘pot’. After 2 years of making the required appearances the club then takes over the contract, and can sell or keep the player. All of this would hopefully result in saving clubs money, benefiting the national team (players would develop together), ensures competitive football at the right level.

So there are 10 ideas on trying to improve football in the UK. Some are drastic, some may be hated – but there’s positive reasoning behind all of them.

The second one comes from Mick Cotter.

What I believe it needs is leagues one and two restructuring into league one north and south using the conference to top up both leagues, then below that the conference north and south feeding into league 1 then below that more regionalised leagues . This will help out the lower professional league less travel more local derby games etc and then the same for the conference and below

And promotion two up two down and then a play off teams finishing 4th and 5th the winer playing the team that finished third then a final at a neutral ground against the team that finished 3rd bottom of the above league

But would prefer the play offs scrapped or just a straight two up and a play off between 3rd from the top against the team finishing 3rd from the bottom in the higher league


And another from Dave Smith

The NPL should be divided into 4 areas in the north & 4 areas in the south incorporating ncel, nwcfl, nl, cm, hp etc with 1 team from each area being promoted into prem division north & prem division south.
Promote 2 from each of those divisions into conference north & conference south & get rid of playoffs.
Promote 2 each from there into conference prem & relegate 4.
Personally, i would move anything below conference step to a summer game, you would cut electric bills, more supporters would come through the gate coz the weather is better & you’ll get less postponements & no fixture pile up.
                   Thanks for reading
                           Dave Smith.

2 thoughts on “Non-League Restructure…..The Counter Argument

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