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Fans can make long-term investment by simply paying to watch

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 26, 2013

Exeter City

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"When an Exeter City supporter pays to come and watch their team, they are investing in their club."

It may seem an obvious thing for Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale to say, but it is a statement which deserves commenting upon, especially with the Grecians where they are at the moment.

By "where they are", that does not necessarily mean fourth place in npower League Two, but where they stand as a club on and off the field.

Money has never been in great supply at St James' Park and I always remember Alex Inglethorpe's words after the Manchester United FA Cup games in 2005. "We have gone from a club that owes money to a club with no money." Things haven't really changed much since then, have they?

Tisdale's "investment" comments came on Thursday when he addressed the local media. During January, he is asked every week whether there will be any moves in the transfer market and those in attendance are met with pretty much the same answer.

It's often dressed up differently, but the basic message is: No, but if the right player comes along and we can find the money, we'll see what we can do.

Of course, we all know that Tis has no money to spend and the budget has been vastly reduced this season from last.

Myles Anderson and Mark Molesley have already arrived this month and if history dictates, then it is unlikely others will follow with the City boss a true believer that more bad deals than good are done in January.

But you can never say never. If someone came in and offered £300,000 for Alan Gow, for instance, it may be too tempting for Tis to turn down.

Then the search begins for a replacement, so it does seem that any further involvement during this window depends on whether anyone leaves and frees up some space in Tisdale's already tight budget.

However, as a fan-owned club, there are things that the supporters can do to help – back the team in numbers. Away from home, support for the Grecians has been outstanding with vast numbers travelling all over the country to see their side in action. The problem with that is that City don't see any of the money supporters spend.

At home, though, it is a different story. Attendances are down and while that may have a small part to do with the team's recent home form and the economic climate, it is the one area where City can make some money.

The more fans that come through the turnstiles, the more money comes into the club and the chain of events mean that more money ultimately goes towards Tisdale's playing budget.

In a commercial sense, the harsh reality is that City are also scrapping it out with the city's rugby club to attract new supporters and sponsors.

Monday's game against Torquay is being screened live on Sky Sports and it offers an easy excuse for supporters to stay at home, or go to the pub, to watch their team in action. If the thought is crossing your mind, then think again because the club need your money to survive and prosper.

Maybe then, with the few extra quid, Tisdale can get that extra player he may so desperately want.

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