Long-term future is better than short-term gain according to one football chairman

Matt Frew and Barkingside chairman Jimmy Flanagan in 2013

Barkingside manager Matt Frew (left) and chairman Jimmy Flanagan (right) with the Essex Senior League Cup and League runners-up shield in 2013. - Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Essex Senior League football clubs and the non-league community as a whole need to take heed of the lessons brought about by the pandemic according to one chairman.

Barkingside's Jimmy Flanagan, who also sits on the league committee and undertakes ground-grading assessments across the county, says the priority of success first and foremost needs to be tempered with the long-term sustainability of each club.

In a regular column on the league's website he said: "As we finally conclude 2020, we have entered yet another tier level with all the increased restrictions that come with that.

"The one thing I hope throughout football is that the death of so many people really makes the games' priorities pale into insignificance and that above all else it should try once and for all to sort itself out financially.

"We all want our clubs to be successful but it cannot carry on being gung-ho and all or bust. The professional game and the FA need to work together to assist non-league football.

"All the hard work and effort should not be put at risk for the sake of a couple of successful seasons and even worse if the owners throw caution to the wind and spend small fortunes trying to recreate past successes.

In my 13 seasons as Chairman of Barkingside, we have had a couple of cup wins and even enjoyed three seasons at step four, when we really over achieved.

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"But we went up as the same club and we came down as the same club and at the moment following another relegation we are striving to rebuild the club from the ground up again.

"The main thing is the club survives to its 125th anniversary in 2023 and beyond.

"In no way am I saying what we are doing is correct but I hold my head high in that we are putting the footballing interests of the club first and not short-term successes.

"Football is our national game and plays such an important role in so many lives. Clubs at all levels, whether they have 10 spectators or thousands, are all equally important to each follower.

"The game at all levels needs to rediscover itself, remember what the pyramid and the football family is there for and install those qualities across the entire game."