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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Championship

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Is Villa or Newcastle the bigger club?

I am always a little supsicious of attempts to say which of two clubs is the bigger one, as there are no accepted criteria.  At least this report from Sky on Aston Villa and Newcastle United looks at a range of criteria, whilst avoiding offending fans of both clubs by coming to no clear verdict.

QPR change new stadium plans

Queens Park Rangers have decided to go for a more modest version of their planned new stadium, according to a report in The Times.

Queens Park Rangers hope to draw up plans soon for a new 30,000-seat stadium on the site of the Linford Christie athletics track in west London.

Americans won't give up on Forest

The US-based consortium interested in buying Nottingham Forest have said that they are going to persist with their efforts to acquire the club despite another setback.

They made a renewed effort to buy the club this week after they revealed they had lent the club funds to cover wages in November and December.  John Jay Moores and Charles Noell made an improved offer to buy 100 per cent of Forest from owner Fawaz-al-Hasawi.   However, the offer was rejected by the Kuwaiti businessman who took over in 2012.

The story behind Lincoln's success

Lincoln City defeated a lacklustre Ipswich Town last night to get through to the 4th round of the FA Cup. They are also top of the Vanarama National League with real hopes of a return to the Football League after an absence that will run to six years by the summer.

The prime minister congratulated the Imps on their success in prime minister's questions, responding to a question from the MP for Lincoln.

Forest sack manager after takeover talks fail

Nottingham Forest have sacked their manager Philippe Montanier after takeover talks failed.  Judging from his remarks after the 0-0 away draw with Birmingham City, he was not anticipating his downfall.

The magic of the FA Cup?

As usual, there were some unexpected results in yesterday's FA Cup games.  However, some Premiership clubs put out weakened teams, while attendances were generally low, in some cases because of supporter boycotts.

Leeds deal sealed

After several months of rumour and negotiation, 50 per cent of Leeds United has been sold to Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani.   

Massimo Cellino's stake reduces to 30 per cent.  It may in time reduce further.  Radrizzani is understood to have an option to buy the rest of the club in the summer.

Record attendances

Gate money is less and less important to top clubs compared with broadcasting revenue and income from commercial sponsorship.   That is not to say that it is insgnificant, otherwise clubs would not bother spending large sums of money to expand their stadiums (although there is a prestige element there as well).   Gate money can give clubs a financial edge.

Some of the highest matchday ticket price are now to be found in the Championship.  Rotherham United fans had to pay £42 for the privilege of seeing their side beaten 3-0 by Leeds United yesterday.

Suppose Brighton were deducted points?

Ed Thompson has come up with a new analysis of the financial fair play (now 'profitability and sustainability') rules in the Championship as his original one contained a mistake, not surprising given the complexity of the rules and the uncertainty of their application.

Consider this hypothetical scenario.   It has been known for some time that Brighton and Hove Albion have been close to breaching the rules, although how close is difficult to assess on the available data.

Has Leeds' time come at last?

This site has argued for a long time that Leeds United have been punching below their weight.   The city is a prosperous regional capital and, unlike a number of other northern cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham) it has only one club.    It is the fourth biggest city in England.

Leeds are now in the play off places and looking more stable.   There are persistent rumours that erratic owner Massimo Cellino, who has been banned for football activity for 18 momths, may be on the verge of selling up.