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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

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Chinese firm takes Cobblers stake

A Chinese firm 5USport has taken a stake in Northampton Town FC.   The size of the stake has been revealed as 60 per cent. but the chairman of the Cobblers, Kelvin Thomas, insists that it is a partnership rather than a takeover.

It does show that Chinese firms from a variety of backgrounds are prepared to take an interest in football clubs below the Premier League level.

Dyche urges realism

Burnley manager Sean Dyche has urged Burnley fans to be realistic as the club seeks to establish itself in the Premier League.   The Clarets have to operate in accordance with a business model more than most clubs in the Premiership.

Promoted Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United both have big money behind them, although Huddersfield Town are in the unusual position of having more limited resources than Burnley.

Jersey bid for Uefa status

Jersey's appeal against Uefa's refusal to let them join the organisation will be heard in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne on Wednesday.   If they were in Uefa now island champions St. Peter's would be in the Champions League and runners up Jersey Wanderers would be in the Europa League.

Seventeen clubs play in two senior leagues with women and junior leagues on Sundays.  The highlight of the season is the Muratti cup against Guernsey which can attract an attendance of 4,000.

Top 30 English Football Clubs by Average Attendances - 2016/17

Manchester United had the highest average home attendances (domestic league matches only) in season 2016/17. Arsenal had the second highest average, but were over 15,000 spectators behind Man Utd (75,290 vs 59,955).

Of the top 30 clubs listed below, 19 were playing in the Premier League, 10 in the Championship, and one, Sheffield United, was playing in the the third tier National League 1.

FA pulls out of Ladbrokes deal

The Football Association has pulled out of a sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes Coral worth up to £4m a year, after concern about the gambling industry's influence over the national game.  It is understood that the FA has paid Ladbrokes for the value of one year of the contract and no further penalty for ending it early.

Ladbrokes has similar deals with the Scottish FA and the Football Association of Ireland.

Orient: the long nightmare is over

Francesco Becchetti is no longer in charge at Leyton Orient after a controversial period of ownership which saw the club relegated out of the Football League.

An Eagle Investments consortium led by Baskin Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts chief executive Nigel Travis has taken over.  He is a lifelong fan.   The price paid has not been disclosed.

Chinese team to play in German league

China's Under 20 team is to be invited to compete in one of Germany's regional leagues.   Teams will be paid €15,000 compensation for each of the home games they play against the team.

This would seem to be further evidence of the march of globalisation in football.   It also reflects global power politics.   President Xi Jinping is to be in Berlin in early July when the scheme is to be presented to him.   

Germans now sole bidders for Sunderland

A consortium of Sunderland supporters bidding to take over the club has pulled out of the running. Because of film and television commitments they think it isn't the right time to get involved.  It is hoped that new owners will be in place before the end of the month.

Rival bids for Sunderland

A consortium of wealthy supporters is ready to rival a German bid for Sunderland.    It is believed that there is a big gap between owner Ellis Short's valuation of the club and its crippling debt and what the German consortium is prepared to offer.

Chinese offer for Newcastle

Mike Ashley is considering an offer from a Chinese consortium to invest in Newcastle United.   A stake rather than a full takeover seems to be on the table, but a minority investment could lead to a complete takeover in time.

Ashley values his stake at £350m -£400m which has so far deterred potential buyers, but the Chinese appetite for a slice of Premiership action is strong.   A substantial investment would help Newcastle to recruit top players.