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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Championship

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Wolves sold to Chinese conglomerate

The growing Chinese presence in English football has been strengthened by the acquistion of Wolves by Chinese conglomerate Fosun heded by Guo Guangchang.   The group has leisure and entertainment interests around the world.

Villa's Chinese charm offensive

Earlier this year I was on a panel with someone in the marketing department at Aston Villa whose job was to promote the club in China.   Given the way in which the club have been dragged down under the ownership of Randy Lerner, he had a bit of an uphill struggle.

Aston Villa Toryism

What is it about Aston Villa and celebrity supporters?   The Duke of Cambridge is one and David Cameron claimed to be one.  The economist John Maynard Keynes went to see a match against Blackburn Rovers there in 1913, although he seemed most interested in the drinks in the bar afterwards.

Huddersfield's dilemma

There was a time when Huddersfield Town were one of the giants of English football, but then manager Herbert Chapman left fot Arsenal.   Recently they have been in the lower reaches of the Championshop and the author of the Swiss Ramble blog has taken his usual forensic look at their situation.

In 2014/15 they made a pre-tax loss of £7m.  Chairman Dean Hoyle has pumped in £45m in loans and share capital.   They need to become financially self-sufficient, but there is no easy route to achieving that.

The plight of Reading

In 2012 Reading were promoted to the Premier League, but within three years they came very close to going into administration.    This very interesting account provides an in depth analysis of what went wrong.

Forest takeover may hit snags

Greek shipping magnate Evangelos Mariankis has been linked with taking a majority stake in Nottingham Forest for some time now.    Some reports suggest that a deal to acquire a 80 per cent holding may be imminent.

Mariankis is the owner of the Piraeus based team Olympiakos.   They have been crowned champions for six consecutive years, this year by a record 28 points.

Hong Kong buyer for Birmingham City

A Hong Kong-based businessman, Paul Suen, is poised to buy a majority stake in Birmingham City.  He intends to buy at least 60 per cent of the club through his company, Trillion Trophy Asia.  This appears to be an investment vehicle set up for the occasion.

Mr Suen is an active investor in small listed companies in Hong Kong.

The sale, expected to be completed before the end of September, values the Blues at £37m.  It would end the seven year tenure of Carson Yeung, the Hong Kong businessman and convicted money launderer.

Villa top Midlands finance table

They may have been relegated, but Aston Villa top a new football finance table of Midland Premiership and Championship clubs.  The table was compiled by Deloitte and is based on revenues earned.  If nothing else, it shows the potential of Villa to bounce back.

Championship clubs have strained finances

The finances of Championship clubs continue to be strained, even perilous, according to the latest report from Deloitte Sports Business.

Championship clubs generated combined revenues
of £548m in 2014/15, 12% up on the previous year
and a new record.  The division’s revenue continues
to be heavily influenced by parachute payments and
solidarity distributions from the Premier League.

The £180m game

Even if they are relegated straight back to the Championship, the winner of the play off final between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday is likely to be £180m better off explains sports lawyer Daniel Geey.

The rewards from promotion set up serious tensions in the Championship.   In the last published set of figures for 2014-15, half the clubs in the division had wage bills more than 100 per cent of turnover.