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Vanarama Conference Premiership

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The worst drop of all

In some ways the drop that clubs fear most is that from League 2 to the Blue Square Premiership.  Half of the clubs in the Conference this season had been Football League clubs at some point in their history. Luton were once in the top flight and Grimsby Town and Stockport County were in the second tier.   There are only two promotion places out of the division, as distinct from four from League 2, and one of those is decided by play offs.

The cost of not getting promoted

Wrexham, who are in the play off places in the Conference, calculate that failure to get promoted will cost them heavily.   This year's losses are forecast at £157,000 which is a great improvement on the £700,000 talked of earlier in the year and shows that the Supporters' Trust have made substantial progress towards balancing the books.

What's in a name?

The winner of a raffle competition to re-name Bath City's Twerton Park ground will be announced at half time in their Easter Bank Holiday match.   167 entries for the competition at £50 a go raised £8,350 for the club who have already been relegated to the Blue Square South.

No fewer of the 22 entries came from Norway with the most unusual one being 'Hot Dog in a Waffle Park'. However, 16 entrants were happy to stay with the current name.

The cost of relegation to League 2

Any relegation is difficult for a club.   It's a blow to morale and a big financial setback as well.  But the costs of relegation from League 2 to the Conference are particularly heavy.   Just look at the clubs who have found it difficult to return to the Football League: among them Grimsby, Lincoln, Luton, Mansfield and York (who have had the longest stay at the lower level).

Unusual kit sponsorship deal

Kettering Town are in a financially precarious position and Betfair have come up with an unusual sponsorship deal to help them out.   They are sponsoring this Saturday's match against Stockport County, but players must take to the field in complete 1970s replica kit, including vintage-style shirts and the 'short shorts' which were typical of the era.


The sponsorship commemorates the fact that the Poppies were the first English side to have a sponsor's name on their shirts.

'Grim situation' at Darlo

Mark Meynell from DFC 1883 has admitted that Darlington is facing an 'emergency'.  He commented, 'It's a grim picture and we're in a very difficult place.'

Wrexham head for surplus

Wrexham was only taken over by the Supporters Trust in November but now it looks as if they could be heading for a surplus of around £200k at the end of the season rather than a projected deficit of £700k.  A great cup run helped, of course, while average attendances have been 700 above a projected figure of 3,100.

Some caution is necessary as the club is still spending £1.27 for every £1 it brings in.

Poppies in jeopardy

Fears are growing for the future of Kettering Town with a takeover announced last week by Cambridge-based Weymouth owner George Rolls yet to go through.  Rolls is reported to be running out of patience with Kettering chairman Imran Ladak.

County secure loan

Stockport County FC have secured a £180,000 loan from the local council against an outstanding tranche of a transfer payment.

Whilst this will deal with any immediate cash flow problems, questions remain surrounding the football club's finances.  The wage bill has been slashed following the departure of a number of players and recent average attendances have increased to 3,700, well above a supposed 2,500 break even point in the club's business plan.

Does moving stadium make sense?

A new research-based sports blog makes a careful assessment of the pros and cons of moving to a new stadium with particular reference to the cases of Southampton and Lincoln City.   Both push and pull factors may be involved.