“Success can only come from solid foundations, not a big chequebook,” according to Wimborne Town FC co-owner Lee Merrifield.
Since taking over at Wimborne Town in December 2021, the new ownership group have always been keen to stress that success comes through sustainability, not just by buying it.
“Growing the fan base, providing good facilities in which to enjoy the football and improving the match day experience
are the cornerstone of sustainability – that way more fans attend, and sponsors want to be involved,” Merrifield added.
Hamworthy United, have seen unprecedented success, getting promoted from the Wessex League and making the Southern League Division One South play-off final in successive seasons, with a limited budget.
This success has come at a cost for Hamworthy now as, after having a stand condemned at the County Ground and being forced to ground share an hour away in Weymouth, the financial costs have caught up with them and have had to pull out of the Southern League today.
AFC Totton however, whose chairman is Stephen Snow of the Snows Motor Group, have had recent financial backing and got promoted from the Southern League Division One South as champions last season and have started life in the Southern League Premier strongly.
The financial implications have come as no surprise to Wimborne Town co-owner, Lee Merrifield, whose team played in the same league as Hamworthy and AFC Totton last season.
“Despite the huge sums of money within the Premier League, running a sustainable semi-professional non-league club remains tougher than ever.”
“With modest income streams and no tv revenue to fall back on resourcefulness and good contacts in the football and business community are key,” Merrifield continued.
Success through sponsorship backing is something that has been noticed by Wimborne Town club reporter Graham Dunn.
“There has been a noticeable increase in the number of pitch side advertising, as well as player and programme sponsors, and this is all down to the owners,” said Dunn.
Wimborne, who were relegated from the Southern League Premier in the 2021/22 season, failed to bounce straight back up last season after losing to eventual play-off champions Sholing in the semi-final.