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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Championship

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Financial stringency at Sunderland

Sunderland fans are understandably disappointed at an indifferent start to the season.  Some of them think that owner Ellis Short is 'asset stripping' the club in preparation for a sale.  They are particularly aggrieved that so little of the £30m transfer fee for Jordan Pickford has been spent on new players.

New EFL television deal

The English Football League has agreed a new five year television deal with Sky worth £600m, 36 per cent more than the current deal.   Outside of the 3pm Saturday blackout, clubs will be able to stream their own matches online.  All midweek Championship matches will be available for selection by television viewers.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the deal on attendances and how the money will be distributed between clubs.

Barnsley takeover has great potential

Outgoing Barnsley owner Patrick Cryne is terminally ill with bowel cancer and does not expect to see the end of the season.  His poignant programme notes for Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie (actually written by his wife Jean) justifiably attracted widespread and sympathetic attention on the internet and my thoughts go out to him and his family at this time.

At the match against Aston Villa in the 66th minute supporters in all four stands stood with their mobile phones illuminated and sang the name of their 66-year old owner.

Royals confident of Premiership green light

Reading FC's chief executive Ron Gourlay is confident that the club's majority Chinese owners will be approved by the Premier League as fit and proper persons should the Royals be promoted.

Transfer window records are broken once again

The fact that transfer window records have been broken once again is hardly a surprise.  Spending by Premiership clubs on the closing day was £210m compared with £155m last year as they scrambled to close last minute deals.  Overall spending was a record £1.4bn.

Some widely predicted transfers did not go ahead and some players are stuck in clubs where they are clearly unhappy, leading one commentator to describe the final day as 'anti-climatic'.

EFL wants a slice of the action in China

The draw for the much derided Carabao (i.e. League) cup took place at 4.15 am UK time.  Mouthy Charlton manager Karl Robinson will sound off at any opportunity to get a quote, but this time I agreed with him when he said that he could not respect a competition which held its draw in the small hours of the morning (not to mention the mistakes in earlier draws with Charlton drawn twice in the first round).

Bolton should escape points deduction

Bolton Wanderers should escape a points deduction after Sports Shield, the company that owned 37.5 per cent of the club, entered voluntary liquidation.

The EFL have announced that they will 'review' the situation with an announcement expected in September. However, it would be a great shock if they took any action against Bolton.  If a club appoints receivers, a ten point deduction is automatic.  If the parent company (in this case not even a majority one) appoints receivers, it becomes a matter for discretion.

Watford receive record fine for forgery

Watford have received a record fine of over £4m from the Football League for forgery.  The actual fine was £3.95m, but they also had to pay £350,000 in costs.   The fine would have been £5.75m if the club had not pleaded guilty and cooperated fully with the investigation.

Barnsley targeted by Chinese billionaire

The long march of China into English football has been going for some time now, but I have to admit that Barnsley was not on my short list of possible targets.   However, it is being reported that they are in advanced talks with Chien Lee, the billionaire who is a majority shareholder in Nice and has been seeking an English club.  He made his money with a hotel chain and an investment group.  

Bolton Wanderers looking for Sports Shield solution

Bolton Wanderers are hoping a solution can be found between Dean Holdsworth's Sports Shield company and its creditors.  Sports Shield have a 37.5 per cent stake in the club.  The hearing of a winding up order against Sports Shield has been deferred until August 21st.

The whole matter is complicated and the English Football League has become involved.  Their agreement is required to a proposed solution.  However, there is no impact on the club's day-to-day operations.