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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Football Finance

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Is there hope for Liverpool fans?

A Liverpool fan came to see me the other day and reasonably asked why Hicks and Gillett had sold their stakes in North American sports businesses ahead of selling Liverpool.  It seems that the American duo are determined to get the best possible price for Liverpool, although they are under some pressure from the Royal Bank of Scotland to sell up.   There are a number of potenial buyers in the offing, but one could person who could certainly afford to conclude a deal is the richest man in India and the seventh richest person in the world: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport

City move out of town

Both of England's two leading university towns, Oxford and Cambridge, each have two non-league clubs. In the case of Oxford, Oxford United (formerly Headington United reflecting the location of their old ground) were at one time in the top flight of English football. They are now playing in the Conference and are top on goal difference with hopes of returning to the Football League next season.

Bond Market Gives Thumbs Down To United

Things may be looking up on the pitch for Manchester United, but the market doesn't like their bonds very much. Of course, the club has already trousered the money, but they may find it more challenging if they come back to the market in the future. The bonds have become one of the worst performers this year. Of course, they were mainly bought for the interest 'coupon' rather than capital gain. However, the sterling bonds have fallen to just 93 per cent of the value. If the investor had splashed out around £100,000, they would have already made a paper loss of £5,000.

Canaries Spell Out Reasons Behind Debt

The EDP has reported on the delayed AGM at Norwich City Football Club. In what appeared to be very frank and open meeting with the club's shareholders, the NCFC hierarchy outlined "the financial fall from grace which has run parallel with the rise and fall of the club's fortunes on the football field."

Don't Be Ridiculous Says United Supremo

Manchester United chief executive David Gill has criticised fans planning a protest at the Champions League match against AC Milan on 10 March. Concerned by the debt the club has built up under the Glazers, a number of fans plan to enter the ground 10 minutes after kick off to expose empty seats at the ground with millions of people watching around the world. Gill told Radio 5, '[The protest] serves no purpose and it won't change a thing.

Tax Crackdown on Football Clubs

We have been talking for a few weeks on this page about a tougher stance by Revenue and Customs towards football clubs who do not pay their tax debts (which is at the expense of taxpayers in general). It's pleasing to see that the Financial Times has now picked up on the story and has produced a report that exhibits the thoroughness and balance that is characteristic of the Pink 'Un.

Liverpool Stay In The Red

The imminent sale of the Texas Rangers baseball team by Tom Hicks Jr, the Liverpool co-owner, may boost his bank balance, but will do little to help Liverpool Football Club. Hicks is expected to raise over $500m (around £310m) from the sale, but none of the money will be plouged back into the club. Liverpool continues its quest for investment in an effort to reduce the £237m of debt built up by Hicks and co-owner George Gillett since their 2007 takeover.

The Risk Factors At Old Trafford

The 322-page document released by Manchester United to accompany their successful bond issue lays bare some of the most fundamental risks that the club faces as a business. It therefore provides a level of transparency that is not usually possible. Journalists and analysts like ourselves can provide our assessment of what we think is happening, but this document tells us how the club sees things. And there are some real concerns. Here a few highlights about some of the main ones:

Eagles Go Bust

Championship side Crystal Palace are the latest club to enter administration. The South London side have not always been able to pay their players on time in recent months and face a winding up order in the High Court tomorrow over a £1.2m tax bill. A Cayman Islands company from whom they had borrowed five million pounds pulled the plug. Attendances have been falling at Selhurst Park recently, despite the club looking as if it could challenge for promotion.