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League 1

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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.

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.

Norwich May Sell Ground To Deal With Debt

League 1 has four clubs who have descended recently from Premiership glory (Oldham were there much longer ago). Each of them has faced financial problems. After a regime of overspending, Leeds was eventually rescued but paid a penalty on the pitch. Southampton were rescued from administration at the last minute. Charlton have put together enough money to get through the season, but face a real threat of insolvency if they don't get promoted or find a new investor.

Ludo Ride To Rescue of Notts County

Insolvency stories are dominating this week's football finance news. With HM Revenue and Customs cracking down on clubs that don't pay their tax bills, a second winding up petition has been served against League 2 club Notts County. Only two months ago the Magpies paid a bill of about £400,000 in unpaid tax. The new petition, issued against County's parent company Blenheim 1862 Limited, will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on January 27.

Swindon Town FC Exemplifies Lower League Problems

Lower league clubs are increasingly talking of big cuts in the size of their squads in the summer. The problems they face are exemplified by Swindon Town FC, lower mid-table in League 1. The Wiltshire club had one season in the Premiership, but has recently been in administration twice. A consortium bought it in January last year and paid off its £5m debts. The club was just beginning to get back on a sound financial footing when the recession struck. It is now difficult to find match sponsors at £1,250 a game or sponsors of individual players.

Stockport County FC In Trouble

League 1 side Stockport County have hit financial problems. Considerable efforts are being made to prevent the club going into administration. Stockport MP Ann Coffey managed to negotiate a stay of execution over its massive bill owing to the Inland Revenue (no suprise to learn that they, and hence the taxpayer, are the main creditors).

Gap Between Championship And Lower Leagues To Widen

The Championship will get a big boost next season from a new television contract, but the gap between it and the lower divisions of the Football League will widen. This may revive talk of a two division Premiership with no or limited promotion to the lower leagues. A new contract will increase the broadcasting income of the Football League from £32m a year at present to £88m. Under a long-established formula, Championship clubs will receive 80 per cent of the extra money from BSkyB and the BBC, but League One and Two will receive only 12 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.