Letter: Football clubs need fans to survive

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The Independent Online
Sir: To claim in your leading article ("Mellor FC: surely a candidate for relegation", 29 July) that football "is a sport in fine fettle", judged on the basis of only the end of last season's Premiership, is to use far too little evidence.

Football fans are concerned not just because they see the economic and structural changes brought about by the Premier League and Sky TV affecting their own club. The concerns are that the effects are widespread and detrimental to the great majority of clubs.

Football depends on a balance of interests between all the clubs involved. Nowhere in the world is there a successfully sustained top quality league without a pyramid of support below it. Nowhere is there a top level league without the most successful clubs supported by a strong fan base.

The price effects of the Premiership's apparently increasing quest for exclusivity and shareholders' demands in some clubs are together threatening the very basis of support for the long-term existence of the leading clubs.

Whether David Mellor's task force is the vehicle to make progress remains to be seen, but football (and its real fans in particular) is only too aware that there are real and challenging issues to tackle.