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The Premiership


One Billion Pounds For United

Reports are claiming that six Asian billionaires are poised to make a £1 billion pound bid for Manchester United. Variously described as being based in Bangkog or Beijing, they have been working on the project for three months. They think that financial problems at Old Trafford mean that this is a good time to make a bid. United has debts of £699m, the biggest in football's history, and an annual interest bill of £60m a year. There are fewer season ticket holders at Old Trafford this year with just 55,000 taking up a renewal option after an agreement with the Office of Fair Trading.

Financial Crisis at Pompey

Portsmouth FC have emphatically denied reports on supporter websites that they could be the first Premiership club to go into administration. However, the financial crisis at the club is so serious that they could be forced to sell at least two players in the January transfer window. New owner Ali Al-Faraj is urgently seeking to refinance the club's £60m debts which include around £16m due to football creditors and former owner Sacha Gaydamak by the end of January. The Premier League may divert the Sky television money due to them to pay off football creditors.

Glazers Hit Problems With Debts

The Glazers, owners of Manchester United, are finding it difficult to refinance their huge debts against the background of the recession. There are increasing concerns about the possible impact on the club. They have been trying for some time to secure a refinancing package for part of the club's £699m debt. There are doubts whether the £80m obtained from the sale of Ronaldo to Real Madrid will ever be reinvested in the club. The main concern is thought to be about the £175.5m worth of debt that the Glazers are personally responsible for, not the £518.7m of loans secured against the club.

Pompey Overcome Wages Crisis

Portsmouth Football Club have secured a loan which means they can finally pay their players' wages for November. Portsmouth also paid their players late in September. Portsmouth were placed under a transfer embargo in late October until they settle debts owed to other English clubs, although they hope to have this sorted out by the time the transfer window opens. PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor expressed his concern at the latest developments at the club.

Arsenal Football Club plc

Traditional Arsenal football shirt

The club was founded in 1886 and joined the Football League proper in 1893. Honours include 13 league titles, 12 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and a European Cup Winner's Cup. The club's new stadium at Ashburton Grove (opened for season 2006/07 and called the Emirates Stadium) doubled previous attendance capacity to 60,432 so there was a significant match-day revenue boost from this point forward.


It All Kicks Off Over Sale of Rights to China

The sale of rights to broadcast Premiership football in China, potentially the largest market for the world's most successful football league, is forcing league bosses to paper over widening splits between its big and small clubs. The divide pits clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea, household names and successful brands in much of Asia, but not yet in China, against the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.

Buyers Wait For Fire Sale at Liverpool FC

Co-owners of Liverpool Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who were the subject of a fans' demonstration yesterday, have hit a brick wall in their attempts to sell the club. Several potential investors think that it makes better sense to wait for the club to be sold at a knockdown price rather than inject money now. There is a strong feeling that Liverpool are heading towards a financial crisis of their own making that will force the owners to sell.

Premiership Gets Sponsorship Boost

The Premiership has secured a three year sponsorship renewal from Barclays worth £82.25m. The deal represents a 25 per cent premium on the £65.6m agreed with Barclays in 2007 and follows the rejection of an initial £70m offer from the bank. Barclays has sponsored the Premier League since 2001, initially in support of Barclaycard. The Premiership's success in securing such a sizeable increase from Barclays provides further evidence that the recession has done little to diminish the marketing appeal of what is regarded as the world's best and most entertaining domestic league.

Extending the Premiership Model to Other Sports

The Premiership model is a highly successful one, but can it be readily extended to other sports? Premiership clubs could set up professional basketball teams to play in a new British league under their football brand names as part of a US-led $25m plan launched next week. US owners of clubs at Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester United are investor targets of the new British Basketball Association, led by a group of former US National Basketball Association executives and US businessmen.

Top Clubs Fend Off Recession

Premiership clubs have kept their fans and in some cases increased attendances since the start of the season, providing further evidence of football's ability to withstand recession, according to Deloitte. The first six weeks of the season have seen clubs using 91 per cent of their stadium capacity, in line with previous seasons. Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City have increased attendances by 10 per cent.