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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

League 2


Plymouth for the Premiership?

I must admit to having a soft spot for Plymouth Argyle. This is in part because of the dedication of the Green Army who travel long distances to support their team. The club also went through a very difficult period when it came close to disappearing from the Football League.

Big variations in payments to agents

There are big variations in the payments that clubs in the Football League make to agents, according to a report on such payments in the 2012-13 season from the league. The overall level of payments was very similar to the previous season: £21.5m against £21.7m, although the decline looks more impressive if one factors in inflation (which reports on football never seem to do).

Football League sponsorship deal

The Football League's long search for a sponsor has culminated in a deal with Sky Bet that will last for the next five years. At the same time it has extended its broadcasting arrangement with Sky Sport.

The dual agreement is worth about £300m. The extension of the Sky Sports deal is worth more than the £195m the League earned from the previous agreement.

Football League still searching for a sponsor

The Football League is still without a sponsor after a proposed three year £10m per season deal with B & Q fell through at the last minute. The Football League has a cumulative attendance larger than that of the Premier League. However, the lack of a global footprint holds it back: that is what top brands are looking for.

Bury FC saved

The future of Bury FC looks secure after a takeover of the club was completed this afternoon. The Shakers have announced paperwork is formally complete and the takeover sees the current chairman Brian Fenton and board of directors resign with immediate effect to make way for new board members to be appointed in the coming days.

The resurgence of Newport County

It's been a good year for Welsh football. Swansea City won the League Cup and established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Premiership where they will be joined next season by Cardiff City.

But in many ways the most remarkable story has been that of Newport County, albeit their promotion out of the Conference was achieved at the expense of another Welsh club, fan-run Wrexham. They are back in the Football League after a quarter of a century away.

Aldershot Town FC enter administration

Aldershot Town FC have entered administration following their relegation from League 2. They have debts totalling £1m, of which £300k is owed to football creditors. Player wages for April were not paid.

Club chairman Shahid Azeem had been in talks with owner and majority shareholder Kris Machala over acquiring his stake in the club, but the talks broke down after Machala demanded proof of funds.

Cheap shirts deal for Pompey fans

Portsmouth fans and staff have signed a £10,000 deal with new replica kit partner Sondico. The cheque – which will be used to purchase 10 community shares – was the first instalment of revenue from the ‘In Pompey We Trust’ commemorative t-shirt campaign which has gone down well with fans.

The cruellest drop

The Football Conference may have become a de facto fifth division, but relegation to it is the cruellest drop of all.   Only two teams come back up each year and many of the clubs playing there were at one time in the Football League.   There is even the risk of falling further, as has happened to Stockport County this year.

The price of relegation from the Premiership

Today's Times publishes an informative survey of the finances of each club in the Barclays Premier League. Net debt figures at many clubs are high in relation to turnover. But one has to remember that many businesses operate on the basis of a platform of debt. Of course, if insecure debts are divided up, re-packaged and sold on, that is when you get the kind of problems that led to the global financial crisis.