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The best and worst run Premier League and EFL clubs revealed by Fair Game for 2023

We take a look at the best and worst run Premier League and EFL clubs revealed by Fair Game for 2023. In this section, it’s fourth tier teams of the 2022/23 season. Check them out below…

A summary of findings sees the division has the second lowest overall score (40.2), recording the lowest financial sustainability score of 15.6 and the lowest equality standards score of 2.6.

However, the fan engagement score of 7.8 was the second highest overall. The division is also home to the highest scoring club overall: AFC Wimbledon.

The clubs
Top overall: AFC Wimbledon 73.58
Best for financial sustainability: AFC Wimbledon 35.00
Best for good governance: Carlisle United 20.54
Best for fan engagement: AFC Wimbledon 15.50
Best for equality standards: Rochdale 4.50

ClubsFinancial SustainabilityGovernance ScoreFan EngagementEquality StandardsFair Game Index
AFC Wimbledon3520.2515.52.8373.58
Carlisle United33.520.5415.052.8371.92
Tranmere Rovers31.518.7510.582.8363.66
Doncaster Rovers16.517.9313.583.5551.55
Bradford City16.512.8813.252.8345.46
Grimsby Town18.520.431.63.6744.19
Leyton Orient13.517.138.70.8340.16
Swindon Town14149.85239.85
Sutton United17.512.256.482.8339.06
Northampton Town1013.139.483.8436.44
Salford City1313.054.952.533.5
Newport County015.8913.583.6733.13
Colchester United1313.253.8030.05
Port Vale9.512.633.83.6729.59
Harrogate Town1110.631.22.8325.66
Crawley Town211.687.552.8324.06
Stockport County10111.6022.6
Mansfield Town412.041.22.8320.07
Hartlepool United2111.6014.6
Out of 40Out of 30Out of 20Out of 10Out of 100


Our Managing Director Danny Macklin has welcomed the news that AFC Wimbledon has achieved the highest overall score in the Fair Game Index for professional clubs in this country.

The Fair Game Index rates each club for financial sustainability, good governance, equality standards and fan engagement – all measures set to come under the remit of football’s new Independent Regulator in 2025.

Danny said: “As a fan owned club, we are naturally delighted to come out top of The Fair Game Index. This recognition is testament to the ongoing dedication, hard work and culture of all of our owners, fans, the Dons Trust Board, The PLC Board, our staff, players, commercial partners, and the community that we proudly serve across South-West London.

“To achieve financial sustainability, the game has to strike now and ensure a fairer distribution of wealth across the football pyramid. The continued trend of expenditure outgrowing revenue at all too many clubs cannot continue – football as our national game is very much at stake like never before. Like every football club, we are a key part of the community – we provide purpose, belonging and pride for thousands.”

AFC Wimbledon achieved an overall score of 73.58, one of only two clubs to achieve the prestigious gold standard in the index. The Club scored particularly highly for Fan Engagement – placed second in this category.

Danny added that club staff will be striving to build upon the impressive results by maximising the appeal of matchdays at the Cherry Red Records Stadium for new and existing fans.

“On behalf of the Club and everyone involved, I would like to thank above all else our fans for their continued passion, loyalty and support. As a club, we’ve been through every emotion possible over the past two decades, but in equal measure is a determination to be a successful, sustainable football club etched in the heart of our community.

“We have a number of new initiatives being launched in the coming weeks and months to further strengthen our offering to current and new generations of AFC Wimbledon fans – we want, among many other objectives, to create the best matchday and fan experience within the EFL.”

Crucially, Fair Game wants the new Independent Regulator to use the Index to put an end to football’s unfair financial flow. Clubs would receive a greater portion of the vast pie of television revenue the better they performed in the Index. Well-run clubs would be rewarded for upholding the values fans demand of their clubs – values which, as a Fair Game club, we hold close to our hearts.

Niall Couper, CEO of Fair Game, said: “There will be a new regulator. There will be a new state of play survey for football. There will be new financial flow.

“The Fair Game Index paints a realistic picture of what our game could look like, a future where football chooses to reward well-run clubs.

“Fair Game are working hard with communities, experts, football interest groups, fans, clubs and politicians to transform this picture into reality.

“For the first time, the building blocks are in place.”


Tranmere would be £10 million better off under new model for football’s financial flow.

Tranmere are delighted to be among England’s best-run clubs, according to the Fair Game Index, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive survey of football governance. The Fair Game Index rates each club for financial sustainability, good governance, equality standards and fan engagement – all measures set to come under the remit of football’s new Independent Regulator in 2025.

Tranmere achieved an overall score of 63.66, which was good enough for ninth among the 92 clubs and placed third within League Two. We were one of only 10 clubs to be awarded the prestigious silver standard in the Index. We scored particularly highly for Good Governance where we placed sixth. It’s a great result which shows we’re ready for the introduction of the independent regulator, which could transform football for the better.

Based on our placement in the Index, Tranmere would receive £10 million more annually which would be transformative for our club. Not only that, but 92% of clubs throughout the Football League would be better off under the Fair Game model.

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