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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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Challenges facing Brentford

The latest club to receive the forensic financial analysis of the Swiss Ramble blog is Brentford.  As usual. there is a wealth of comparative data on other clubs in the Championship.   One general point to emerge is the extent to which ever growing parachute payments distort competition in the Championship to the disadvantage of clubs like Brentford.

Villa deal completed

Aston Villa has been sold to Chinese businessman Tony Zia for £60m.   Xia has a strong track record as a businessman in China.   His Recon Group is a holding company which controls five companies.

The new owner says that he is prepared to spend £50m on new players and wants to make Villa the most popular club in China.

Outgoing owner Randy Lerner sank tens of millions of pounds into the club during his period of ownership.  He said farewell in a rambling statement on the club website.

Villa sale near

The sale of Aston Villa to a Chinese businessman could be completed by the end of the week.   It is thought that the asking price will be around £60m.

That would represent a loss on the £62m Randy Lerner paid for the club ten years ago before taking account of inflation, although some sources are quoting a sale price of £75m.  Lerner at one time wanted £200m for the club and then cut the price to £100m.

What is the state of Norwich City's finances?

Well-informed local sources have denied claims that Norwich City are in a financial crisis.   Of course, any relegation is going to be accompanied by some players being released and I would expect the Canaries to have clauses in players' contracts that reduce their salaries in the event of relegation.

Cellino: I'm ready to quit

Massino Cellino has said that he is ready to quit Leeds United: 'I've had enough.'   The owner told The Times, 'It's better to walk out, not because I'm dishonest but because I'm tired and hurt and lonely,' as violin music welled up in the background.

He continued, 'I have no happiness any more and don't know if I have the enthusiasm for next season.  If I could turn back time and you ask whether I would come to this club, I would say never.  I've never been so confused.  I am nearly 60 and I would never have expected that from Leeds.'

Chinese owners for Villa?

Aston Villa are reported to be in talks with a Chinese consortium about a takeover.  The Rui Kang group is said to be involved and Chinese sources are claiming that a preliminary non-binding agreement is already in place.

Rui Kang is a pharmaceutical company with foreign investment and a strong presence in Hong Kong. However, other reports refer to venture capitalists.

A sale price of £100m is being quoted.

Big losses at Brentford

Brentford made losses of £16.7m in 2014-15, an increase of 91 per cent on the previous year, reports Beesotted Brentford.   Turnover at £9.9m was up 124 per cent.   Wages at £17.7m were over 175 per cent of turnover, the highest figure I have seen for a long time.   However, apparently there was a substantial element of bonuses for finishing 5th.

Wolves sponsorship deal criticised

A sponsorship deal concluded by Wolverhampton Wanderers with US-based pay day lender Money Shop has attracted widespread criticism.  It featured on the West Midlands edition of Sunday Politics with one panelist describing Money Shop as akin to 'modern day loan sharks.'

Bolton's wage bill challenge

Bolton Wanderers face a major financial challenge as they seek to adjust their wage bill to life in League One.   The average salary for a League One footballer in 2015 was £90,000 a year.  Several Bolton players are well in excess of that.   The wage bill was the main reason Bolton were losing £1m a month when the Sports Shield consortium took over in February.

Two disastrous owners

This article compares two disastrous owners who have been 'bad in new and innovative ways', Randy Lerner at Aston Villa and Roland Duchatelet at Charlton.   Duchatelet was the target of renewed protests at The Valley yesterday in which visiting Brighton and Hove Albion fans joined,