Kenya: Gor Should Emulate Barcelona Model of Generating Income

One of the most interesting stories I read in recent times was an article in the local media which had the Chairman of Gor Mahia Football Club Ambrose Rachier saying that he was studying the Barcelona's model of generating income to ensure the club doesn't necessarily have to rely on corporate sponsorship to keep their revenue streams alive.

From what I read, it seems the chairman is tired of the annual ritual of our football clubs, begging cup in hand, knock on doors looking for a benefactor or two who can prize them from the firm grip of financial dire straits.

Rachier says it's a high time Kenyan clubs envisioned novel ways of addressing the perennial dearth of funds, a dire situation that has left most of them sinking to their knees.

Now, this is one thing I have continued to state on this column over the years.

Granted, we have had good sponsors who have come in to financially aid the club, but we have failed to come up with other ways of generating income.

I do remember very well one day at the City Stadium when we had to do an impromptu harambee to help purchase shin guards for players.

As you read this, we are not sure if we will be having a shirt sponsor next season after the government placed a 20 percent tax on betting companies including Betsafe who are our current sponsors.

So, I welcome Rachier's views. Gor Mahia needs other sources of income.

But one thing we need to encompass as a club is to bring in the members to feel they are part of the club.

One thing Barcelona has done successfully is to build on its membership. I once had a colleague called Xavi. The good man told me he was born into a Barcelona supporting family and that they have a family seat at the club's main stadium. It is usually passed on as a heirloom to the next generation.

Gor Mahia boasts of the biggest following in the East Africa region. That following is in itself a resource that Rachier needs to bring on board.

If we can marshal half a million members to be paying an annual membership fee of just Sh1,000 then we will have an annual income of Sh500 million against an annual expenditure of Sh100 million.

It is why I have said many times over, we do not need to go begging for shirt sponsors if we can take advantage of the club following and institute a membership recruitment programme.

With that kind of income, Gor Mahia not only be able to pay players well or recruit the best players from the continent, we will also have a strong financial backing to build our of stadium and training grounds.

It is unfortunate that today, the club spends roughly Sh10,000 daily to pay for our training base at Camp Toyoyo-an amount at times we fail to raise. Quite a shame.

So, Rachier should now walk the talk. Gor must build its own financial base.

Finally this column wished to bid goodbye to a man I have known all my life and whose love for Gor Mahia was legendary.

Although living his life in Nyakach, Kisumu County, Dan Osanjo always made sure he checked with me on the team's performance, rejoicing in the team's glad tidings and feeling low with diminished performance. He was a silent member of the Green Army.

Go well Mr. Dan.

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