What Club 1867 Really Means
So, are you getting a plaque on a seat and a three year season ticket to be potentially used at some point in the future? Can you contain your excitement?
I kind of think that as well as your name, plaques should proudly display the words 'I had 1500 quid spare in 2017 and all I got was this lousy plaque.'
Before I really get going I have to say I'm not massively down on the whole Club 1867 thing: the club needs as much income as possible to help plug the gap between its spending and income and this is one way of doing it. Fair enough. And it's probably not the worst attempt at doing this kind of thing that a football club has ever done. It's probably not the best either.
For me however it's shone a light less on the need to meet Financial Fair Play and more on how the club more broadly is being run behind the scenes.
Twitter comments to journalist Don Howson instantly highlighted this, and how the money being generated by C1867 could surely have been made elsewhere - and more sustainably - with better behind the scene operations.
I'll never stop being grateful for the money poured in by Dejphon Chansiri to stabilise the club and push us up the league, but the fact of the matter is that at the same time as we spend the thick end of £10m on a single player we have just some of the following.
We have a club shop that seems badly stocked with often a limited range of items. The same club shop where in late April this year you might struggle to find a decent mouse mat but could still pay £55 for a home shirt (when every other club were selling off their current season shirts at knockdown prices). Do we really think that the club couldn't do much better income-wise by uplifting club shop sales rather than the whole 'plaque and jam tomorrow' package? I know, I know, improvements are coming but I just can't believe this couldn't have been solved before now.
I walked round that shop before the Cardiff game for literally 15 minutes and couldn't find a thing to separate me from the money that was burning a hole in my pocket.
And what of the in-stadium experience? My only desire at Hillsborough is to spend as little time (and money) as possible away from my seat. Though there have been improvements, the dingy insides of our stands, and craptastic food and drink offering show ample room for improvement. I would happily spend more money inside Hillsborough if it felt like the kind of place I wanted to spend money. But I won't right now, no more than I'd spend a relaxing evening with a warm can of Fosters in a bus shelter.
Finally, and more fundamentally for our future is this. The club need those funds because of the money it has spent on recruitment and continues to spend on wages.
We need that money because £10m was thrown at a striker who so far, the boss seems to not know how to extract decent form from. Or c£1.5m on a striker we arguably didn't need, or throwing wages at Callum McManaman and Aiden McGeady to be grumpy on the bench.
Look, I know there's never a guarantee that signings will work but over the last year when most of that investment has taken place it's at least arguable that a lot of it hasn't been truly worth it. Who are the bonafide successes of Abdi, Reach, Winnall, Rhodes, Jones? Especially when you look at clubs investing less and smartly playing the loan market.
It's a bigger question than C1867, but it's relevant to how the club as a whole is operating. Poor decisions? A coach producing a bunch of players that can do 'stuff' sometimes, but not a coherent team? Questionable signings that don't solve the clear areas of weakness on the pitch (need pace or a centre back? No problem! Here's your 31yr old midfielder!)?
So, there appears to be opportunities to increase income streams, and maybe some of the signings we need won't go anywhere near the pitch. And until those more obvious changes take place I might go to my local market and ask the guy who 'does trophies' to make me a little name plaque, tape it to my seat whenever I go to Hillsborough, and save the other £1495.