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No Shortage of Bidders for Newcastle United

There will be no shortage of bidders for troubled Newcastle United after owner Mike Ashley put the troubled club up for sale. A Chinese businessman is said to be interested, a North-East consortium is waiting in the wings and, as we discussed in an earlier story, there is also a possible Indian bidder. Ashley himself would like to involve Dubai Investment Corporation, although their first target is likely to remain Liverpool. Ashley explained his reasons for selling the club in a lengthy and emotional statement.

Bidders Line Up for Premiership TV Auction

Negotiations on the next Premiership television package are due to start in the first three months of 2009 and already potential bidders are lining up. The last three year deal covering the seasons to 2009-10 raised £1.7bn, 66 per cent more than in 2003. Packages are now sold separately to prevent any one company having a monopoly position and the last deal saw a 2:1 split of live matches between BSkyB and Setanta Sports.

Record Profits At Arsenal

Arsenal are expected to announce record turnover figures later this month, making the club the world's third richest behind Real Madrid and Manchester United. Turnover from the whole business has increased to about £225m. The figures for the year to May 31, 2008 will reveal record pre-tax profits of nearly £40m, while operating profit is expected to be above £50m. Arsenal is not a benefactor club and the results demonstrate the success of the Emirates stadium and the board's policy of living within its means.

England TV Highlights Mix-up

Pay television company Setanta took the unusual step last week of suspending its encryption technology so that fans could watch highlights of England's World Cup qualifying match against Croatia. The move meant that anyone with access to the channel on satellite, Freeview or cable television could watch the highlights at 11.30 p.m. (after the highlights from Scotland's game against Iceland). There had been criticism of the BBC and ITV for failing to reach a deal on the highlights with Setanta which had paid £5m for exclusive rights to broadcast the match live from Zagreb.

The Liverpool Stadium Shambles

George Gillett made a rare visit to Liverpool yesterday to see his club beat Manchester United, but while fans celebrated their victory, large numbers of them protested against the American owners. As one of them said on Sky Sports News, he wished the American owners would just take their profit and go. It was the way in which United eclipsed Liverpool on the pitch and their continuous expansion of Old Trafford that led Liverpool into an urgent search for a new stadium to replace Anfield.

Terras To Sell Stadium

Weymouth Football Club have announced plans to enter into a deal that could see the club move into a new stadium.  The Blue Square Premier outfit will ask shareholders to approve a deal with Wessex Delivery Partnership. Under the terms of the deal, the club will continue to play their games at the Wessex Stadium until the new venue is built to Football League standards.

Asian Billionaire Sounds Out Spurs

Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur may be rescued by an Asian billionaire. The news about the 'super rich' investor comes from Singapore. Super-agent Pini Zahavi and the wealthy Asian have been discussing a possible deal. Zahavi brokered the deal in which Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003. The discussions are at a prelimary stage, but the billonaire investor views Spurs as a perfect buy because of the profile of the club and the fact that they are in London. This last point is regarded as crucial. Joe Lewis' Enic Investment Group has been the majority owner of Spurs since 2001.

The Future of Scottish Football

In many ways Scottish football has never been in better shape. Per head of population, more of Scotland's inhabitants pay to watch top-flight football in their country than anywhere else in Europe. In 2004-5, 73 per cent of SPL players were Scottish. However, when one is talking about Scottish football, one naturally focuses on 'The Old Firm' because they dominate the game far more than the top four do in England. On the face of it, they are doing well. In Europe, Celtic reached the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in 2007, losing to eventual winners AC Milan.

Norwich City Up For Sale

Norwich City has effectively been put up for sale by majority shareholders Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones. Their twelve year relationship with the Canaries looked set to come to an end after fellow directors Andrew and Sharon Turner resigned from the board, leaving City with a £1.5m black hole to fill this year. The Turners, who own financial services business Central Trust, which deals in sub-prime mortgages and is valued at £275m, will not be able to immediately recover £2.5m of interest-free loans to the club, which are on long-term repayment schedules.

Belles In Distress

Doncaster Belles, the oldest club in the Women's Premier League, are on the verge of bankruptcy. The club's future is in jeopardy after it lost a major sponsor and it may be forced to close within days. The club may have to shut down after Sunday's match with Arsenal if some funding cannot be found. At the moment the club can't even pay for the coach down to Arsenal which would cost £500. The Belle's annual budget is just £65,000. Doncaster Council and Doncaster Rovers have offered to help out, but their money won't be available until the end of the month.