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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Premiership

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Power grab by top European clubs

Uefa will guarantee more places for clubs from Europe's top football leagues in the Champions League, in a power shift towards the wealthiest teams.  The move, which follows threats from rich clubs to create a breakaway competition, will ensure more places for teams from Europe's largest television markets, but to the detriment of smaller nations.

Liverpool bid confirms interest of reds

We have been focusing a great deal in the last month or two on the state-led long march of Chinese investors into English football.   This has been confirmed by the interest of China Everbright, a state-backed investment company, in making a bid for Liverpool.

Debunking football finance myths

The Guardian has published an interesting blog that seeks to debunk a number of football finance myths in the context of the transfer window.  The article contrasts the lack of transparency in terms of transfer fees in English football with the NBA and the NFL but, as is pointed out, they operate salary caps so full financial disclosure is essential.

Football tv revenues will continue to rise

Tonight sees the first of a regular series of televised Friday night Premier League games between Manchester United and Southampton.   The innovation has not pleased Saints fans, many of whom have had to take time or a day off work to get there.   Those going by coach won't get home until 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. It demonstrates the power of television companies over the game.

Competition between Sky and BT is likely to continue, pushing prices in an upwards direction.    Down the road, Google, Netflix and Apple might decide to get involved.

The north-south divide in football

When the Football League was originally launched in 1888, half of teams came from the Midlands and half from the North of England.   There were no teams from south of Birmingham.   The sport was essentially a game for industrial England.

As The Economist points out in its latest issue, outside of Manchester (once designated as the 'northern powerhouse') and Liverpool, northern clubs are in decline.   The most successful last season, Sunderland, finished 17th.  

Hull next in line for Chinese ownership

Despite their surprise victory over Leicester City on Saturday, Hull City are in deep trouble.  There is no permanent manager, the squad lacks depth and the Allam family want out.   Their relationship with Hull City fans has been poisonous since they tried to change the name of the club to Hull Tigers.   Demonstrations by fans against the owners have continued.

Are managers irrelevant?

Yesterday's dramatic 4-3 victory by Liverpool over Arsenal at the Emirates will be seen as a great triumph for Jurgen Klopp and another nail in the coffin of the reputation of Arsene Wenger.   The booing at the end of the match gave a clear indication of what many Arsenal fans felt and the 'Wenger out' crowd will have been strengthened.    The Arsenal board will pay no attention.

Virgin caps away ticket prices

Football fans travelling to watch their team play Southampton this season will have their match day tickets subsidised by the club's shirt sponsor Virgin Media.   The agreement will cap prices at £20 for away fans, with the media company meeting the additional costs.   If there were, say, 3,000 away fans, the additional cost would be £30,000, which is a cheap way of boosting Virgin's image.

Baggies are third Midlands club to go Chinese

West Bromwich Albion are the third Midlands club to go into Chinese ownership in the last few months, following Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Yunki Golao Sports Development are the new owners in which Guochan Lai is the majority shareholder. He has been associated with the development of 'eco towns' in the past.

Can money buy success?

Can money buy success in football?   The simple answer would seem to be yes, but it's actually a lot more complicated than that, particularly in the year of the underdog.  Money is not always spent well and, if you have a lot of it, you may find yourself paying over the odds for players that under perform.