I agree with you. The figure I keep coming back to is the one that says attendances in L1/L2 (D3/D4) haven't seen a significant decline in decades - they're more or less what they were in the 70s. Changing demographics may have improved/worsened the situation in certain locations/clubs, but overall attendances are stable. As you say though, money doesn't filter down. The top clubs are running bigger academies, so they're doing less transfers that involve the lower leagues - or they're poaching players earlier and paying less, or they're buying ready to go talents from abroad. The big clubs are also operating with bigger squads, and sometimes with complete shadow squads on loan - again reducing that feeder club, junior club role that the lower leagues had, and increasing the cost of traditional lower League talent. Combine that with rising fixed costs like stadium seating and other improvements, and property development pressures (where the building site is more valuable than the stadium) and it's tough even in a well run club. The PL raises expectations and standards (which is great) but it's an expensive game for the lower leagues - even if their only ambition is for their pitch or their dressing room or the fan toilets not to be an embarrassment in comparison. The ambition now has to be that clubs can't fail because of the whims, the greed, or the corruption of an individual owner. If a club tumbles down the pyramid because the crowds now can only afford class E players instead of class C - then that's sad but natural. What's happening now doesn't look natural or inevitable at all.