Top flight football has returned once more but without fans as the coronavirus continues to change the way in which in football is watched.

Premier League clubs have managed to survive without matchday income due to  huge payments from TV rights.

But what about lower league teams whose lifeblood is fans coming through the turnstiles?

TUxtra reporter Robert Doe got into contact with Marske United FC, a nonleague team based in the Yorkshire town, to understand how lower league teams have been affected.

David Hitchen, the newly appointed COVID Officer at Marske United FC said the coronavirus has had devastating on the club.

Marske United FC
Marske United FC First Team Credit:

He said: “The club has had to comply with stringent rules to be allowed to continue playing by the Football Association which has affected all aspects of the club.”

“We have seen a drop in revenue from bar takings due to restrictions on numbers allowed in the clubhouse, and also from sponsorship as local businesses are looking to save monies wherever possible.

“The FA have halved the prize money in the early rounds of the FA cup although you can never budget for that, it is frustrating that we are enjoying our best run in the FA cup for years but not receiving the financial reward we would have done last year.

Match Report: Marske United 2 - 0 Bradford Town FC : Bradford Town
Image taken from Marske United vs Bradford Town FC Credit:

“It was a big relief when we were told that we could resume playing, and at our level of the FA pyramid, it was agreed we cannot survive without fans so no fans no match.

“Marske United plays a major part in the lives of all ‘stakeholders’ including the local community and we do not want to see it impacted again. Everybody takes care at the game and uses common sense.

“The whole matchday experience is undoubtedly beneficial to mental health for all concerned especially many of our older followers.

“Leave our football alone”




Many teams in the lower divisions rely heavily on turnstile income as a way of continuing to gain profit meaning without fans being able to spectate, it means that this source of income has left a void in the club.

In a report published by Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance 2020 it was found that Premier League clubs matchday revenue continues to be the lowest form of income at 13% compared to lower leagues such as the Championship , matchday takings account for 21% in England and 47% in Scotland.

This in itself shows the financial wealth Premier League clubs have as the majority of top flight clubs no longer need to rely on gate receipts instead the majority earn their money from TV deals for example.

In February 2019, it was reported that the Premier League was on course to break the £9 billion mark from TV deals alone.

With the massive amount of funding top flight Premier League clubs receive, lower league teams have called for financially wealthier clubs to provide funding to help those out that are on the brink of bankruptcy.

Robbie Cowley, Colchester United Director recently told Sky News: “The Premier League really should step in and do something because they are in danger from the building that’s crumbling below them”.

In a bid to save more money,  clubs are discussing asking players to take pay deferrals. The Daily Telegraph say that could be as much as 50 per cent.

To elite players in the Premier League, it may not seem much, compared to an average lower league player who may be left financially destroyed.

Football fans have even offered to put their own money towards their club in a desperate attempt to keep their beloved clubs afloat.

As we continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, we can only hope that sooner rather than later, fans will be able to return to stadiums and the beautiful game will be restored.



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