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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Non-league

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Darlo fans block return of former owner

Darlington fans have blocked the return to the club of controversial former owner Raj Singh.  He was in charge when the club went into administration in 2012.

Darlington have made operating losses of £80,000 this season and Singh announced that he was prepared to invest £40,000 in the club.    Supporters took to social media to protest and, as a result, Singh decided to withdraw,

As a consequence of his withdrawal, and the reasons for it, a second potential investor also decided not to continue discussions.

Tranmere's financial challenges

Tranmere Rovers hope to win promotion to the Football League in today's play off final at Wembley, but the club has required some investment since Mark Palios bought the club in August 2014.

Average attendances of 5,000 bring in £1 million a year in gate receipts but the playing budget is £2 million, running Prenton Park costs £1 million and their academy £400,000.   Victory today would be worth £1.5m.

The club has developed a link up with China that will mean Tranmere recruiting coaches to work with the Little London School in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia.

Why do investors buy non-league clubs?

A correspondent sent me some interesting questions about investors who get involved in non-league football and I thought it would be worth reproducing them and my answers here.

Chelmsford City takeover collapses

The takeover of Chelmsford City by construction company Jade Global Group has collapsed.  The club is now looking for new investment.   Having increased their playing budget after the takeover was announced last summer, the club is now facing short-term financial pressures.

The Clarets looked assured of a place in the National League South play offs.

Blackpool's woes help AFC Fylde's success

David Haythornthwaite grew up as a Blackpool fan.   Having succeeded with his business Tangerine Holdings, which makes farming and veterinary products, he made unsuccessful attempts to buy the club from the Oystons in 1998 and 2005.

One off sponsorship deal upsets Sutton fans

A one off sponsorship deal between FA Cup giant killers Sutton United and Sun Bet for their match against Arsenal has upset some Sutton United fans.  The name of their regular sponsor, Greengo Waste, could still be seen in small lettering on the back of the shirts, but the front had a prominent sticker for Sun Bet.

How the FA Cup boosts a non-league club

Sutton United are mid-table in the Vanarama National League, although not so long ago they were in the third tier of the non-league pyramid in the Ryman League.  On Sunday they face Leeds United in a televised FA Cup tie that will bring them £144,000 in addition to the £300,000 they have already earned from their cup run.  They have already been able to repair a leak in the home dressing room roof.

The story behind Lincoln's success

Lincoln City defeated a lacklustre Ipswich Town last night to get through to the 4th round of the FA Cup. They are also top of the Vanarama National League with real hopes of a return to the Football League after an absence that will run to six years by the summer.

The prime minister congratulated the Imps on their success in prime minister's questions, responding to a question from the MP for Lincoln.

Football stadium to be demolished

Nene Park, formerly the home of Rushden & Diamonds is to be demolished.  The stadium is derelict and judged to be dangerous and a fire risk. The club was formed from a merger of Irthlingborough Diamonds and Rushden Town. in 1992.  They were promoted to the Football League in 2001.  At their height they played in the equivalent of League One.

Football in resorts: the case of Torquay

Ar first sight Torbay might seem to fit into Type 2 of our resorts categorisation.  Type 1 covered small, select up market resorts.   Type 3 were towns highly dependent on tourism that had fallen on hard times like Skegness.    Type 2 were towns which had diverisified economies in which the resort function sat alongside many others such as Bournemouth.