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Community-owned clubs and the rising cost of living

Last week we launched a survey with the Non-League Paper looking at what impact fans expected the cost of living crisis this winter to have on their attendance. If you are a fan of a non-league club, you can fill in that survey here

But it isn’t just fans who are facing a financial crunch this winter, as our Community-owned Club Network manager Richard Irving explains:

Football clubs around the country are beginning to look at ways in which they can alleviate the effects of the current cost of living and energy crises not only on themselves, but on their fans as well.

We’ve spoken to a number of our community-owned clubs, both in the EFL and non-league, about their approaches and have found that, in many cases, clubs are already as prepared as they possibly can be. 

Many are still benefiting from having fixed their energy prices in the past, as well as by using innovations such as already-installed solar panels to keep down costs.

While leagues have offered the option of early kick-off times, many of the clubs we spoke to, particularly those in the men’s game, don’t believe it’s necessarily a money saver. 

They told us they expect that the money they would lose by bringing forward a 3pm kick-off to early afternoon in terms of reduced attendance would not offset the amount they would have needed to pay to keep the floodlights on, and so we expect early kick-offs to receive only limited take-up from clubs. 

Many will have their eyes on Mansfield’s upcoming game against Walsall, which the EFL has allowed to be brought forward to 1pm as a ‘trial’ for the Nottinghamshire club. 

In terms of helping fans during what promises to be a tough winter for many, clubs such as community-owned Exeter City are drawing up plans to offer a “warm place” for those vulnerable as a result of the huge rise in energy prices, with other clubs telling us they are also considering similar community-focused offerings.

There are other potential pitfalls ahead. Those clubs in our Community-owned Club Network who share grounds and pay rent to their landlords expect an increase in rent due to the hike in costs, meaning that further squeezes on club finances are inevitable. 

And while not everyone will take the approach of Caledonian Braves in the Scottish Lowland League who have adopted a “pay what you can” policy to their admission prices, we hope that clubs are aware of the difficulties fans will be facing, and set prices for entry with one eye on that situation.

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball