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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Premiership

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Was it the pitch guv?

Many football managers have a great big book of excuses which they resort to in order to explain defeats. A favourite is to blame the officials: their goal was offside, but was given; ours wasn't, but was checked off. Don't get me started on penalty calls.

Chairman Gao has no readies

Southampton fans have contacted me to express their concerns that their new Chinese owner, Chairman Gao, has no money to invest in the club having borrowed large sums to acquire it.   Given that from the perspective of now minority 'partner', Katharina Liebherr, the whole point of the takeover was to provide much needed investment, this has to be a concern.   Instead of going to the next level, the Saints may find it harder to stay at the present one.

Empty seats at Wembley for Spurs

There will be almost 20,000 empty seats at Tottenham Hotspur's first Premier League match at Wembley because of restrictions imposed by Brent council and the Metropolitan Police.   Spurs have sold about 70,000 tickets for one of their biggest matches of the season against Chelsea, including 3,000 to away fans.

Stoke chairman hits back at critics

A number of pundits this year have forecast a difficult season for Stoke City with Tony Cascarino of The Times forecasting that they will finish bottom of the Premier League.   These forecasts need a health warning as they are generally wide of the mark.

Premier League have another super club to contend with

Premier League clubs have long been frustrated at their lack of success in the Champions League, falling foul of the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Bayern Munich etc.  Now they have another super club to contend with in the shape of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).   Up to now there has been a tendency to dismiss what has been happening in France and it has to be admitted that the league as a whole is not that strong.

Transfer window likely to close earlier

It looks likely that Premier League clubs will vote by the necessary two-thirds majority to bring the transfer window forward by two to three weeks to the start of the season.  They meet on September 7th when 14 clubs have to vote in favour of the move.  

The change would come into effect before the start of the 2018-19 season.  The transfer window in January would be unaffected.

Southampton is latest Chinese owned club

Southampton has become the third Premier League club to receive Chinese investment.   Property magnate Jisheng Gao paid £200m (some reports say £210m) for what is believed to be a 80 per cent stake in the club, about the same amount as Paris Saint-Germain paid for Neymar.   However, it is a decent profit for the Liebherr family who bought the club for £13m in 2009.  It is a reminder that one way of making money out of a football club is through capital appreciation.

Chelsea would be relegated in credit league

Today we celebrate (or not) 25 years of the Premier League.  Judging from feedback on Radio 5, fans are pretty divided about the merits or otherwise of the top flight.   Mind you, fans often change their mind when their club gets into it.

Dramatic start to Premier League

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain etc. may well be stronger than any clubs in the Premier League.  However, what the Premier League does offer is drama and it has provided that in the opening weekend with champions Chelsea going down at home to Burnley; Arsenal's narrow 4-3 victory over Leicester City; unfancied debutantes Huddersfield Town winning 3-0 at Selhurst Park; and a rejuvenated Manchester United beating West Ham United 4-0.  Not to mention Wayne Rooney's winning goal at Everton.

Brighton owner provides more readies

Brighton chairman, poker player and chartered accountant Tony Bloom has increased his loan to the club to £170m.  Getting a club into the Premier League and keeping them there is not a cheap hobby.   The Bloom family has been involved with the club for about 50 years.

The Seagulls made a loss of £25.9m in the 2015-16 season.  Similar figures are expected this season and covering those losses will push his investment towards £200m.