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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Championship


We've only got two administrators

Taking Crystal Palace out of administration is being complicated by the fact that two administrators are involved.  The company that owns the ground is under the control of a separate administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers, who are acting on behalf of Lloyds Bank which owns the £12 mortgage on the ground.  The ground is worth much more without the club on it given its real estate potential.  However, Croydon Council is insisting that it remains a sports facility to put off any property developers.

Three clubs get reprieves

Three clubs got temporary reprieves from winding up orders today - Portsmouth in the Premiership, Cardiff City in the Championship and Southend United in League 1.   Of the three the club in greatest peril remains Portsmouth who are on their fourth owner this season.

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.

State Bank Backs Newcastle

State owned Northern Rock have renewed their sponsorship agreement with Newcastle United in a four year deal worth a potential £10m to the promotion chasing Championship club. The bank was nationalised during the 2008 financial crisis, but government tries to have a 'hand offs' relationship with its financial sector acquisitions using small supervision vehicles such as UK Financial Investments.

Subdued Transfer Market Hits Clubs

An interesting report in The Times suggests that this could be a particularly subdued transfer window. For many years Premiership clubs have been turning increasingly to foreign players so that the 'trickle down' effect to clubs in the Football League has diminished. In the past there were even cases where clubs were able to build a new stand from the transfer of a player to the top flight. Leaving aside the plight of Portsmouth, it is Football League clubs which are in real danger.

The Credit Crunch and Football

How will the credit crunch hit football? The financial storm is not over yet, but at the moment, within the Premiership at least, the top clubs are sitting pretty, while smaller clubs in less prosperous areas are having to be more innovative in their response. Watching football at the top level either live or on television isn't cheap at a time when incomes are being squeezed. A Sky package costs around £400 a year and season tickets have gone up by almost 800 per cent since the Premiership was set up.

Wages and Transfer Spending Up

Total wages in the Premier League have exceeded £1bn for the first time as England's elite football clubs take advantage of extra television rights revenue in a scramble for talent. The Premiership wage bill rose 23 per cent to £1.2bn in the 2007-08 season according to Deloitte's annual review of football finance. Chelsea comfortably topped the wages league, with Roman Abramovich's club spending £172m on salaries, compared with £121m spent by Manchester United, £101m by Arsenal and £90m by Liverpool.

Championship Revenues Show Steady Growth

The Championship has resumed its path of steady growth, according to Deloitte's Football Finance report. It has achieved annual revenue growth of almost 12 per cent, while Leagues 1 and 2 have grown at around 10 per cent. 'In almost any other industry this would be lauded as outstanding,' the report notes. Championship revenues increased by about 2 per cent to £336m in 2007/08. Total revenues of the Football League clubs exceeded £500m for the first time.

The Costs of Relegation from the Championship

Considerable attention is given to the costs of relegation from the Premiership to the Championship, but relegation from the Championship to League 1 can be equally traumatic. This is particularly the case if you have recently been in the Premiership and it is possible that all three clubs relegated tomorrow (Charlton, Norwich, Southampton) could be in that category. Relegation could cost Norwich City between £5 and £7m. There will be big reductions in television income and probably in gate receipts, although Norwich fans are known for their loyalty.

New Investment Fund For Clubs

At least six Football League clubs have begun negotiating with a City-based investment fund in the hope of borrowing money for the close season. The majority are believed to be Coca-Cola Championship clubs. Hero Global Football Fund has been set up to invest in football without taking equity in clubs. Backed by Emirates Bank, Hero plans to raise up to £100m based on minimum subscriptions of £100,000. The money will be made available for buying players and will be secured across the squad rather than against individual players.