24 December 2008


From The Political Economy of Football,


The credit crunch is making itself felt at Championship club Plymouth Argyle in terms of falling attendances - although some locals blame the standard of football on offer at Home Park. Chairman Paul Stapleton has revealed that cost-cutting measures are being considered, but he also believes that Argyle are better positoned than many Football League clubs to cope with the economic crisis. And Stapleton admitted that the money-spinning FA Cup third round tie at Arsenal on January 3 was coming at a very opportune time. He commented, 'The board of directors have had to support the club personally with funds but that's obvious when the gates are dropping to around the 10,000 mark. It was disappointing to see Barnsley [Argyle's opponents on Saturday] with a higher gate than we have had the last two home games [against Birmingham City and QPR]. This disappoints me because they haven't got any more money in Barnsley than in Plymouth - perhaps even less.' However, he added, 'But we are not the only ones. We had a Football League meeting last week, and a lot of clubs are feeling the pinch on attendances.'

Plymouth have the advantage of being a 'stand alone' club serving a large city with a substantial hinterland in West Devon and Cornwall without league competition. Against that, it is a relatively low wage, low skill economy and the club does not have a great heritage. They may even be punching above their weight and will need careful husbandry of their finances to stay that way.

Brad Evans