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Vanarama Conference Premiership

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BT close to Conference deal

BT Vision are hungry for content in their battle with BSkyB and it looks as if they are close to a £300,000 deal to show Football Conference game as well as stream them online. It is thought that 25-30 live games will be shown in the first season.

For the last three years the Conference has had a deal with Premier Sports which saw home clubs paid £5,000 and visiting clubs £1,000 for each live broadcast. It's a long way from the riches of the Premiership.

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.

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.

No pay for Hereford players

Hereford United players were sent a group text yesterday telling them that they will not get their wages for April. The players were already owed money as they were not paid in full in March.

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.

Search for new Conference sponsor is on

With the completion of the takeover of loss-making Blue Square by Betfair, the search for a new sponsor for the Football Conference is on. Indeed, the Football League does not have a headline sponsor for next season. Undoubtedly a sponsor will be found in both cases: the real question is how much they are prepared to pay.

The benefits and costs of a cup run

Luton Town have made £600,000 from their FA Cup run, including a £233,200 broadcast fee from ESPN for their home against Millwall.   However, it simply eats into projected losses of £2m this season as they try to return to the Football League.

They have spent big on their squad.   Indeed, the consortium in charge at Kenilworth Road has already ploughed £10m into the club.   But at the moment they are 8th in the Blue Square Premiership, although they have games in hand on the clubs above them.

Fleet ask fans to dig deep

Cash flow at Ebbsfleet United has been hit by the postoponement of two home games due to the winter weather and the club has launched a 'Lose your pounds or Lose your club appeal to fans.'  Fans have been asked to donate £30 each.

Could Rangers join Conference?

Blue Square Conference clubs are discussing whether to invite Rangers to join their league.   Rangers are unhappy about a planned restructuring of the Scottish leagues that would see them languishing in the bottom division even if they won the third division this year.