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Football Finance

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The north-south divide in football

When the Football League was originally launched in 1888, half of teams came from the Midlands and half from the North of England.   There were no teams from south of Birmingham.   The sport was essentially a game for industrial England.

As The Economist points out in its latest issue, outside of Manchester (once designated as the 'northern powerhouse') and Liverpool, northern clubs are in decline.   The most successful last season, Sunderland, finished 17th.  

Is Carlisle bid for real?

One of the difficulties with reports about takeover bids is sorting out those which are substantive and those which are flights of the imagination.   There have been cases in the past of bidders for football clubs not having the funds they claimed to possess or promised to invest.   In one or two cases they actually proceeded to acquistion with disastrous results for the club concerned.

Hull next in line for Chinese ownership

Despite their surprise victory over Leicester City on Saturday, Hull City are in deep trouble.  There is no permanent manager, the squad lacks depth and the Allam family want out.   Their relationship with Hull City fans has been poisonous since they tried to change the name of the club to Hull Tigers.   Demonstrations by fans against the owners have continued.

Are managers irrelevant?

Yesterday's dramatic 4-3 victory by Liverpool over Arsenal at the Emirates will be seen as a great triumph for Jurgen Klopp and another nail in the coffin of the reputation of Arsene Wenger.   The booing at the end of the match gave a clear indication of what many Arsenal fans felt and the 'Wenger out' crowd will have been strengthened.    The Arsenal board will pay no attention.

SPL clubs in financial trouble

Clubs in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League are facing increasing financial difficuilties according to the latest annual survey of finance directors by accountants BDO.   There is a stark contrast with the situation of English Premier League clubs, three-quarters of whom state they are in a very healthy financial position.

Investors focus on lower leagues

Global investors are increasingly focusing on Leagues 1 and 2 as they seek investment opportunities in football, according to the latest annual survey of football finance directors by accountants BDO.

No less than 73 per cent of League Two clubs have received an approach from potential investors in the last year.   Investors are interested in the potential for growth in clubs with stable business models.

Chinese group buys AC Milan

The Chinese long march into European football continues with the acqusition of AC Milan from Silvio Berlusconi by a state-backed Chinese group.   Finnvest, the holding company controlled by Mr Berlusconi, has stated that it has signed a preliminary contract with a group of Chinese investors for a 99.93 per cent stake in AC Milan that valued the club at €740m including debts of €220m.

Accrington's high hopes

With the smallest playing budget in League Two at about £450,000, Accrington Stanley missed out on automatic promotion last season on goal difference.  They then lost in the play off semi-finals to AFC Wimbledon.

Since then a number of star players have left, two to Rangers for just £125,000.   The club reckons that domestic transfers in England would have yielded around £2 million.  It just shows how the odds are stacked against small clubs.

Baggies are third Midlands club to go Chinese

West Bromwich Albion are the third Midlands club to go into Chinese ownership in the last few months, following Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Yunki Golao Sports Development are the new owners in which Guochan Lai is the majority shareholder. He has been associated with the development of 'eco towns' in the past.

Can money buy success?

Can money buy success in football?   The simple answer would seem to be yes, but it's actually a lot more complicated than that, particularly in the year of the underdog.  Money is not always spent well and, if you have a lot of it, you may find yourself paying over the odds for players that under perform.