LIFE is currently not easy in the lower leagues of English football as the sad experiences of Bury FC and the ‘near miss’ of Bolton Wanderers shows.

Dire financial straits are common at the bottom of the football pyramid where crowds are smaller and there is less money to be made from sponsorship and media rights.

In the Championship wages swallow 106 per cent of turnover and in Division One it’s 94%. Compare this to Rugby League with its salary cap solidly in place where players wages are approximately 45 per cent of turnover as each club has a ‘real time’, frequently audited salary cap of £2m.

I’ve often mused as to why a formal salary cap system hasn’t been brought in to the Football League as it would bring significant sustainable benefits.

In rugby league it has made the game more competitive and has stopped clubs with financial clout from buying success and has also stopped clubs trading above their means. It has also meant there is more emphasis on developing younger players and has been good for overall player welfare.

Wolves have embraced this with state of the art training facilities at the Padgate Campus and a reinvigorated youth development and talent management programme. Perhaps football needs to follow suit?

Strange people are common in football, mainly because, as a rule buying a lower level club is a bad business idea if you plan to make money.

In rugby league people are more grounded and seem not to leave their business brains and experience behind when they enter the Board room to make decisions. My experience of the Wolves is exactly this as decisions are made on evidence and rationality.

The passion is always there but it is tempered by the need to ensure the club is financially secure, is sustainable and is one that this is strongly customer and community orientated. There is recognition that increasingly sport is also entertainment.

Media deals and sponsorship will continue to play a major part in all UK sports.

The new media deal in 2021 at the end of the current Sky contract for Super League will be vital for the game as the current deal produces virtually the same amount of income per year as the costs of the players/coaches wages. Media platforms show our consumer consumption habits are changing – so good negotiating skills and customer awareness will be vital for gaining the optimum deal.

In the meantime we should all support the grass roots of our favourite game, be it football, rugby union or league – after all that is where it all begins.