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League 2


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.

Notts County Rescued

Notts County chairman Peter Trembling has completed his takeover of the League 2 club, meaning director of football Sven-Goran Eriksson will stay. Trembling bought the club from Munto Finance for a nominal fee, only five months after the mysterious Middle Eastern consortium took over at Meadow Lane. There had been concerns that the owners, registered offshore in the British Virgin Islands, would demand a price of £3m despite having acquired the club for almost nothing.

Phoenix Club Plan in Place for Darlington FC

Darlington fans are putting in place contingency plans to create a Phoenix club in the non-league pyramid should the League 2 club fold in the next few weeks as looks increasingly likely. The Quakers' future has been described as 'dire' by the administrators who have been searching for a buyer. Former vice-chairman Raj Singh made a last rescue bid, but it was rejected by the administrators as unworkable. The club will be liquidated if a credible buyer does not come forward and the club's insolvency specialists have admitted they have no plans to secure a League place for next season.

Morecambe FC Transfer Embargo Enforced

A transfer embargo has been placed on Morecambe. Rules in League 2 state that no more than 60 per cent of a club's income can be spent on wages. The salary cap was introduced in 2006. Hartlepool and Swindon were the first two clubs to be hit by the regulations. Morecambe have seen their average attendance cut by a quarter compared with last season. 'From an average of 2,800 to around 2,100 this season, that amounts to an awful lot of money,' said Morecambe vice-chairman Graham Hodgson.

Mawhinney's Salary Cap Plan

Lord Mawhinney, chairman of the Football League, is proposing to extend the salary cap that already operates in Coca-Cola League Two. It is linked to the percentage of turnover. Thus, a club arriving from the Premiership with parachute payments, would have the best part of £12.5m to spend on wages, while the likes of Doncaster Rovers would have roughly £3.5m. So the three relegated clubs would very likely to be returned to the Premiership each season because the others are effectively handicapped.

Controversial Chester City FC Bid Rejected

A controversial bid for League 2 outfit Chester City has been rejected by owner Stephen Vaughan. Maverick businessman John Batchelor had the funds in place to purchase the club for a figure believed to be in the region of £2m. The major stumbling block was over Batchelor's plans to completely re-brand the club, including, according to Sky Sports News, re-naming after fictitious television team Harchester Rovers.

The M Word | Football Club Mergers

Ground sharing between clubs is always unpopular with fans, but mergers of clubs attract even more opposition as they destroy a cherished identity. In most sectors of business a merger is a normal rationalisation procedure when businesses are failing, but in football it happens rarely and generally at the lower levels of the game. Dagenham and Redbridge, now in League 2, can trace back its lineage to three clubs. Moor Green, hit by a series of devastating arson attacks, merged with Solihull Borough to form Solihull Moors. However, it's not a costless process.

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.