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United cut away ticket prices

Manchester United have announced a reduction in away match ticket prices for this season. After consultation with the Fans’ Forum, the Premier League champions have pledged to reduce the price of every away ticket bought by a United fan by £4, starting with their game against Fulham on 2 November.

The discount will be applied automatically by the club when fans pay for their away tickets and any money that is not used this season will be used with next year’s £200,000 budget to continue the policy.

Conurbations rule in title race

Bill Edgar who writes a column in the 'Game' section of The Times each Monday had an interesting piece last week about the way in which the leading conurbations are increasingly dominating the Premier League title race.

There are seven 'built up areas' in England with a population of over three quarters of a million. In order these are: Greater London; Greater Manchester; the West Midlands; West Yorkshire; Liverpool; south Hampshire (which would include fierce rivals Portsmouth and Southampton); and Tyneside.

How viable is AS Monaco?

Much of the recent commentary on AS Monaco has focused on its fight to preserve its tax privileges, but this interesting blog post argues that the club will face challenges building a fan base, regardless of how successful it is on the pitch.   The lack of presence of French clubs in English-speaking markets is also an issue.

Too few teams in the Premier League?

It's been argued from time to time that the Premier League has too many teams, given that the top clubs have heavy schedules in the Champions League or Europa League.   However, football economics guru Stefan Szymanski uses economic logic to argue that the Premier League has too few clubs in it.

Can a football club be a luxury brand?

How does one market a club like Monaco, newly promoted to France's Ligue 1? Given the size of the principality, it's difficult to generate big crowds. With a population of just over 36,000, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and the smallest with a coastline. Only Vatican City is smaller.

Will Cherries stadium plan bring support boost?

Promoted to the Championship, AFC Bournemouth are intending to expand their ground over the summer to provide an extra 3,000-4,000 of capacity.   At present the ground only has stands on three sides (which always feels odd) and has a capacity of less than 10,000.

The contrasting challenges of Serie A and Serie B

There are some signs of improvement in the finances of Italian Serie A clubs with the overall level of club debt down, although it remains substantial.   It is thought that Uefa's financial fair play rules are having an impact on the financial discipline shown by clubs.

No expense spared

Since they joined the English non-league system, Guernsey FC have paid for the travel and overnight accommodation of visiting teams. However, Spennymoor Town went one better for their FA Vase semi-final, hiring a private plane and staying two nights on the island. They also prepared for the match at Middlesbrough's training complex.

The estimated cost to them was £24,000. It all paid off because they beat the Green Lions 3-1. Guernsey have not defeated at home this season at their Footes Lane Stadium.

Does football threaten rugby in Wales?

Welsh rugby fans are celebrating their win over England yesterday which gave them the six nations title. But is the game being increasingly challenged by football in the allegiance of youngsters? The national team still attracts fanantical support, but attendance at long-established clubs such as Llanelli and Pontypridd has been falling.

Financial worries in the Football League

Two-thirds of teams in the Football League who responded to a BBC survey are worried about the financial health of teams in the competition.   They are more positive about their own financial health, only four describing it as worrying and getting on for half (18 out of 41) describing it as more than adequate.