Editorial Comment: Glamour Boys must lead the way Lincoln Mutasa

SIX years ago, the then chief executive of the English Premier League, Richard Scudamore, raised an important point about how the biggest clubs in every league tend to influence its fortunes.

It was in March 2014, just two months before the end of the Premiership campaign, and Manchester United were languishing in seventh place on the table.

Sir Alex Ferguson had retired, at the end of the previous season, after leading the Red Devils to another league title, but his successor, David Moyes, was struggling to fill the shoes of the great Scotsman.

United were 18 points adrift of leaders Chelsea, had lost 10 of their 31 league matches and had also been knocked out of the FA Cup at the very first hurdle in the third round of the tournament where the Premiership clubs join the party.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Scudamore said. “When your most popular club isn’t doing as well, that costs you interest and audience in some places.

“There are lots of fans around the world who wish Manchester United were winning it (the league) again.

“But, you have to balance that off against, generally, we are in the business of putting on a competition and a competition means people can compete.”

While Scudamore might have ruffled some feathers at United’s rivals like Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City because his tone appeared to suggest he wasn’t impartial, the reality was that this was the truth.

And, he should know because he had been crucial in building the English Premiership into this huge industry which was now generating billions from around the world for its clubs.

Scudamore’s words might have been controversial, but they captured the challenges which football league bosses around the world have to deal with on a yearly basis.

In South Africa, when Kaizer Chiefs are not doing well and competing for honours, attendance figures fell sharply when compared to the seasons when they were challenging for the league title.

It’s natural that when you have huge clubs, like Dynamos and Highlanders, who between them probably have more than 75 percent of the support base in the country, their fortunes have a huge bearing in the health of the league.

When Dynamos and Highlanders were going toe-to-toe in the battle for the league title between 2012 and 2014, we saw attendance figures in the domestic Premiership explode.

When the two giants are having miserable seasons, we have seen the attendance figures in the same league fall dramatically because their fans, who form the majority of the spectator base, simply lose interest and stay at home.

That is why it is important that these two giants punch according to their weight, year in and year out, because without them doing so, interest in the league vanishes and we see a lot of empty stadiums.

This also means that sponsor interest in the PSL, as a product, also vanishes because sponsors want to follow where the huge crowds are and where they can generate mileage.

We are encouraged by what we have seen happening at Dynamos, in the past few weeks, as the club leadership battles to get this giant back on its feet so that it can compete as well as it did in the past.

No one can question that DeMbare are the biggest and most successful football club in this country and, with that, comes a certain level of responsibility, on their part, to always try and lead the way.

They cannot win the league every season, no team does that, but they should compete and, more than that, they should have structures befitting their status so that other smaller teams can use that as a template in their quest to be great one day.

That Dynamos still do not have a stadium, let alone training ground, is an insult to their reputation, especially given that an individual, the late Eric Rosen, came and acquired a sports club, showing them this can be done.

This meant that Motor Action, who were formed at the turn of the millennium, had a sports club, which they used as a base, training ground and home ground and also to generate income for their club.

It’s the path Dynamos should have taken a long time ago, but it appears that successive leaders at the club have just been content with lining their pockets, by fleecing the club, rather than putting it into the right path and use its popularity to generate a commercial dividend.

The last real great leader at Dynamos was Lincoln Mutasa, whose leadership acquired the land in Waterfalls, where the Glamour Boys were supposed to build their stadium back in the ‘80s.

Somehow, along the way, some people lost focus and the land ended up being parcelled out to some individuals while a huge chunk of it was taken by banks after it was used as security to secure loans to fund some Champions League campaigns.

However, we are comforted by the developments we are seeing coming out of the Glamour Boys, with their leader, banker Isaiah Mupfurutsa desperate to turn things around at the club and coming up with a business model that will help them tap into their potential.

Their partnership with Golden leaf Tobacco has brought the stability the club badly needed and the challenge is now on the executive to come up with strategies to unlock their commercial value, and the technical side, to come up with a team that can compete for honours again.

The domestic Premiership badly need a healthy Dynamos, but the Glamour Boys are the only ones who can transform themselves into the strong, and competitive club, many believe they can become, not only for their sake, but for the good of the domestic Premiership.

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