The City in general and "bankers," in particular are enjoying an uncommonly bad press these days. Much of it is deserved but the blanket industry wide contempt displayed by it's critics is demonstrative only of their ignorance of the facts relating to the history of who the culprits are, and the political and regulatory culpability for the economic stresses that have resulted. Moreover, a failure to acknowledge the economic primacy of the City makes them fully paid up members of the Stupid Club for without it, like it or not, the British economy will lose it's engine room and the State will have far less money to squander than it presently enjoys.
I've been in the City long enough to have a good idea of the charitable giving that is a historic part of City life. It's not a new thing, it's not giving derived from guilt, it's simply always been an accepted, and expected, part of working in any one of the various strands of the City.
(Indeed, our own holidays4heroes is generously part funded by friends and clients in the Square Mile and one of the Livery Companies).
One such generous soul is my friend Ilyas Khan. In a tale that will resonate with any lover of football traditions, Ilyas has worked hard and donated generously over the years, (over £2m), to keep the football club of his home town out of administration. Step forward one of the 12 founding football league clubs, Accrington Stanley.
The club is now debt free and Ilyas is working hard with his board to fund a new stadium for the club. To that end, the club is offering shares to supporters in affordable parcels to enfranchise and secure the fan base and in doing so, secure long term stability for the club. Other funding will come from sponsors and Ilyas himself. You can read more about the project, and Ilyas, here.
The real point about what is going on in Accrington is that over the past couple of generations the old mill and mining towns of Lancashire have come under real social and economic pressure. As they have lost the traditional industries which created the glue that held the fabric of the communities together, there hasn't been an awful lot to maintain the old cohesion that perhaps is exemplified when we remember the men of the Accrington Pals and their like. Actually, towns like Accrington have been hammered.
Rather than talking about it, Ilyas is doing something about it for nothing more than affection and respect for his home town. I take my hat off to him.
Plucky and hopeless cause or noble and romantic undertaking? Time will tell.
If you're an inveterate supporter of the game, a Lancashire boy with too much pocket money or indeed, someone who actually lives in Accrington and supports the game you might consider buying a £100 worth of shares. You can do so here. I have and I don't even like football and I've never been to Accrington so I'll put myself in the "romantic supporters of plucky and hopeful causes," category. After all, it worked for Kevin............