COMMENT: Yannick Bolasie saves Hillingdon Borough: It's time for the Premier League to give something back to the lifeblood of the game

Thursday 19th January 2017

EVERTON star Yannick Bolasie has remembered his roots by coming to Hillingdon Borough’s rescue to save the Middlesex club from going under.

The 27-year-old former Crystal Palace player heard about the Spartan South Midlands League Division One club’s plight and delved into his pocket to save the Step Six club, where he started his career as a teenager and his goal bonus was a burger for each goal that he scored.

“I’m always happy to help out one of my former clubs.  They are in need of support at the moment so I just wanted to chip in,” Bolasie told Everton’s website.

“It’s true they used to pay me in burgers.  There were plenty of stories like that back in the day.”

There are hundreds of non-league football clubs up and down this country that are struggling to make ends meet, while the 20 Premier League clubs, mostly foreign owned, are awash with millions thanks to worldwide television rights.

Now it’s time for these Premier League football clubs to wake up and smell the coffee and support the life blood of the game – non-league football – which gives players like Bolasie a chance to express their talent.

Instead of making agents rich through transfer fees and sell-ons , money from each transfer that involves a Premier League club - and the obscene television money - should filter down to non-league football to prevent clubs like Hillingdon Borough knocking on deaths door.

Thanks to Bolasie’s generosity, for which he should be congratulated, Hillingdon Borough’s home game against Baldock Town goes ahead on Saturday after the club were on the brink of withdrawing from the League, but it’s time for The Premier League to support the lower leagues, the leagues that gives the Bolasi’s, Stuart Pearce’s (Wealdstone), Ian Wright’s (Greenwich Borough) of this world the chance to play before progressing into the top-flight.

This season, we’ve seen Harry Smith and Alfie May leave Folkestone Invicta and Hythe Town respectively to sign for Millwall and Doncaster Rovers respectively. Both Ryman League clubs received undisclosed transfer fees – but what about the other clubs that the pair played for?  They should get a chunk of the transfer fee for their time and effort in developing the player when they were younger, surely?

Every single non-league football club from the National League right down to Division Three of the Kent County League should receive money from the Premier League each season, to spend on pitches, stadiums and paying bills to keep afloat.

Prize money in The FA Cup, The FA Trophy and The FA Vase must increase too. The prize money in The FA Vase hardly covers the match-day expenses! Match officials should be paid directly by The Football Association and not by home clubs.

I’ll never forget the day when Greenwich Borough played a FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie and their manager at the time Gerry Cox was trying to find the money from the gate receipts just to pay the three match officials. It wasn’t there and he had to delve into his own pocket.  These were the days when the club had nothing, while groundsharing at Holmesdale’s Oakley Road ground in Bromley.

It’s time for the Premier League to give something back!

Stephen McCartney