Football Clubs and Their Grounds by the-gorilla

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· @the-gorilla ·
$57.86
Football Clubs and Their Grounds
For as long as I can remember, I've believed that the football team I support (Reading if I haven't mentioned it enough yet) owns the football ground that we play at.  After all, we completed building the ground back in 1998 on top of the old rubbish tip in Whitley (which is a shit hole so if you're ever in Reading, it's to be avoided) and it's been our home ever since.

![IMG_1159.JPG](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmXigV5TVmZpYtctcYgXHJFazWieffiSE9ocwbEhzM9Xf3/IMG_1159.JPG)
☝ Where I'd often sit.

![IMG_2325.JPG](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmYvVKZKDfMBtzhNxjRxS5DH1su6BXLsP8R5h6JXHBHbsK/IMG_2325.JPG)
☝ I sat down here once, I didn't like it.

But as we know, football is changing.  To be precise, money is changing football.  And in the interests of adhering to "Financial Fair Play" (which stipulates that clubs must not exceed a loss of £39m over a 3 year period), football club owners are finding new and creative ways to "balance the books".  In the 2017/2018 season, this meant that we sold The Madejski Stadium for £26.5m to Renhe Sports Management Company - the company owned by club owners Dai Xiu Li and Dai Yongge at that time [source](https://www.getreading.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/reading-fc-reportedly-set-efl-16868897).  The stadium is then leased back to the club at "mates rates".

Or so the theory goes.

For Coventry City, it hasn't gone well.  They completed their ground in 2005, an exciting move from their old ground (Highfield Road) and with high expectations that this was the beginning of a new era, able to compete with the bigger clubs.  

👇 A thing of beauty
![image.png](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmQfVdFjuBR2HUDAMh8eNCVn8kNcvDQNPuwBUSozb6dfAY/image.png)
[Source](https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/901396)

The ground was initially owned by Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), which was jointly owned by Coventry City Council and the Higgs Charity [source](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricoh_Arena), which all sounds rather sensible.  Until in 2013, they couldn't agree on how much rent to pay, which saw Coventry leave the stadium that had *been built for them*, away from their community and play down the road in Northampton.  This situation only lasted 1 season before all parties saw sense and Coventry returned.

Then in 2014, London Wasps bought the ground and once again in 2019, rent became a problem - Coventry being forced to play at St Andrews (Birmingham) for the past 2 seasons. Apparently, Coventry are returning "home" next season but it's clear that this situation is an utter mess.  And one which many other clubs could easily follow.

Football clubs really should own their grounds.

So it got me thinking and investigating, how many clubs actually own their own grounds? 

A clear answer is incredibly hard to come by.

The best I can find is this [article by Property Week](https://www.propertyweek.com/news-analysis/who-owns-premier-league-stadiums/5090883.article) which suggests that most grounds are owned by a holding company (owned at least partially by the owner of the football club) and/or their local council.  Many grounds are then rented/leased back to their clubs.

![IMG_0537.JPG](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmSjZUosYnNLXbLkMTnuYmtguv79w798sM4zcbSPi5x8AB/IMG_0537.JPG)
☝ My view at Anfield - I should've added this photo to [My Away Days Tale](https://steemit.com/hive-130734/@the-gorilla/away-day-tales-episode-1-anfield-20th-october-2012) but it turns out I'd saved it in a really stupid place.

I can't help but feel that anybody owning your club's stadium, other than the club itself is utter madness.  You'd think that the local council having an interest would make sense but as demonstrated with Coventry City, that's not always the case.  And the primary reason clubs are selling their grounds is so that they can spend shit loads of money on short term players that are slowly bankrupting our clubs.

![image.png](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmSoEv1v23agtn5ZUVTPMxT2HAGRW7sQW5ctbdxZ6AzfAP/image.png)
[Source](https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/manchester-city-transfers-jack-rodwell-7566446) - That's Jack Rodwell if you didn't know - [why him?](https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/jack-rodwell-sunderland-contract-opinion-14156656)

Once again, I started writing this article merely as curious.  I was already aware of Coventry's situation but I'm utterly amazed by how many clubs have lined themselves up for the same fate since.  Including my beloved Reading.  Every post I seem to write in this community makes it appear as though it's just a matter of time before English football implodes upon itself.  Which it probably will.

![image.png](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmdVRZ4vi611D4Q3yDU6ivR4T2iU1PKw7MjxPr6SfboXNz/image.png)
[Source](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIWdRYKsxM0)
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vote details (19)
@njaywan ·
Great piece from you @the-gorilla. I'd prefer an upper seat in the stands as well for a much better view of the game. Would hate to not enjoy a match of my beloved team, as I'm sure you would for a Reading game 😎.

It really makes no sense how these grounds seemed to be owned by other agencies and companies. But I think it's mainly because football is becoming all about the money for the club owners and managers. 

That's probably why even this statement seems pointless. 

> Many grounds are then rented/leased back to their clubs.
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@the-gorilla ·
There's an interesting contrast between being at the front and at the back.  At the front, you really get to appreciate quite how incredible a player's touch is and how quick they move.  At the back, you see the bigger picture, in particular some of the amazing runs off the ball.  I probably spend more time watching the runs than I do watching the ball.  

I'm concerned that Reading's gone down this route.  There's an opinion that the ground will get sold back to the club for a cheaper price in the future bu there's no guarantee that this will happen.
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@ablaze ·
I think holy man and apostle Paul had it bang on when he coined the phrase:

> "money is the root of all evil"

It certainly looks that way in football. The veil hiding this greed has always been see through to most modern football fans who have a healthy dose of cynicism. That veil was completely removed by Perez and co in the recent Super League rumblings and exposed football for the money hungry greedy sport it has become. I think the big 6 should face punishments of some sort for signing up to it, short lived as it was. A nice 15 point deduction for each of them!! Can you imagine!! It would make for an intriguing season for the Evertons, West Hams and Leicesters of this world.
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@the-gorilla ·
It would make it interesting but I fear it would be punishing the manager, players, staff and fans who in the main weren't responsible.  That's the big difficulty with what's happened, there isn't really a punishment that only affects the greedy people behind it.  Other than banning them from football which would create a legal battle like no other.  

I do wonder though if in time, English people will decide to move on and watch a smaller local club (in Eastbourne in my case) and just let the world have what football's become.  We've seen it with FC United of Manchester and AFC Wimbledon in particular, both of which have seen what a passionate fan base can achieve.
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@ismocan ·
beautiful stadium. you also see the vodafone park. you fall in love my friend
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