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League 2

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The cost of renting a stadium

Coventry City are not the only lower league club to pay a lot of money to rent their stadium.   Bradford City pay £380,000 a year to a company owned by former chairman Gordon Gibb who paid £2.3m for Valley Parade in 2003 to keep the club alive.

Bradford's troubles started when they secured a second year in the Premiership and then spent big on salaries trying to stay there.   This cost them £36m and then they were one of the clubs hit hard by the ITV Digital collapse.   A stadium redevelopment was financially draining.

Port Vale out of administration

Port Vale have exited administration after the £1.25m takeover by Paul Wildes and his business partner was completed.   The historic club entered administration in March with debts of £2.69m and required help from Stoke City Council to survive.

This article reviews the saga that followed.   As is often the case with football clubs in administration, there were many twists and turns, but probably even more so with Port Vale.

Bristol's lack of success

Bristol is Britain's eight largest city.   Historically, as a major port, it was the largest city outside London. In the referendums held on elected mayors in May it was the only city to choose to have one and later this week voters will make their choice.   All this suggests a certain amount of civic pride and local identity.

Bargain basement football

The recent financial troubles of Hereford United raise questions about just how much it does cost to run a club in the lower divisions, interpreted here to mean League 2 and the Conference.

Consider wages first.   I have been told not that a not untypical wage in the Conference is £500 a week. Interestingly that is equivalent to the median gross (before tax) wage in the UK which was £501 a week in 2011 (and probably hasn't changed much since then).

Sleeping giant or dysfunctional club?

Port Vale fans deserve some luck and they may have got it in the shape of Alchemy Investment Group, named today as the preferred bidder to take the Burslem club out of adminstration

The latest issue of Four Four Two has a feature article on Port Vale headlined 'Britain's most dysfunctional club.'   There are a few others that might deserve that title, but Vale fans have certainly been to hell in a handcart and back.

Port Vale sale in October?

The administrator of Port Vale, Bob Young of Begbies Traynor, is hopeful that a deal that can take the club out of administration will be agreed in October.   Three contenders have emerged to buy the club with others in the wings.

In March Lancashire businessman Keith Ryder was named as preferred bidder with a proposed £1.3m deal.  When it collapsed last month, the administrator said that he had never known this to happen at such an advanced and late stage.

Oxford chairman sets Championship target

Ian Lenagan has owned Oxford United since 2008 but he has now taken over as chairman from Kelvin Thomas.   Also the owner of rugby league side Wigan Warriors, he made his fortune through setting up his own software company Workplace Systems International.

He wants to see promotion this year with the club in the Championship within five years.  He admits that aspiring to the Premiership would be a step too far.

Agents' fees rise

Football League clubs paid £21.7m in agents' fees last season, more than £5m more than in the previous season.   West Ham United were the biggest spenders, paying out £4.3m or nearly a fifth of the total spent.

Npower Championship clubs accounted for £18.7m of the total.   Five clubs spent nothing on agents: Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon, Barnet, Crewe Alexandria and Hartlepool United.

Financial fair play hits smaller clubs

Like many well-devised schemes Uefa's Financial Fair Play has perverse and unintended consequences, particularly as it is rolled out a lower level.  The new Salary Cost Management Protocol rules that come into effect this summer in Leagues 1 and 2 may appear to be a sensible attempt to curb unsustainable spending, but in fact they could hit smaller clubs.

AFC Wimbledon plan return to Plough Lane

The country's best known and most successful phoenix club, AFC Wimbledon, are making plans to return to their spiritual home in Plough Lane, Wimbledon.  They currently play at the Kingsmeadow stadium in Kingston on Thames.

They would use the site of the Greyhound Stadium, just yards from the original ground.   It is believed that the project would take around 10 years to complete and would cost somewhere in the region of £100m. For the past three years the club have been working with The Newridge Group, a property developer based in Wimbledon.