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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme



The Villa conundrum

Robbie Savage has been forecasting on Radio 5 for some time now that Aston Villa will get relegated this season. The best one can say about that is that it is his job to generate controversy.   With some defensive strengthening in the January transfer window, a young side should survive.  But there is no doubt that Villa are punching below their potential weight.    This afternoon's game with perennial strugglers Wigan Athletic is a six pointer.

New owners of Leeds will not splash the cash

GFH Capital, the new owners of Leeds United, will not spend 'crazy money' in the Januray transfer window.   'January is not a great time to do business and we already have quite a good squad with others coming back from injury,' said GFH executive Salem Patel.   'What we want to do is to make the investment sustainable and make the club successful.'

Manager Neil Warnock has said that he does not want to spend 'stupid money', although Southampton's Ricky Lambert is said to be among his targets.

Seagulls break attendance records

Brighton and Hove Albion are set for the third biggest jump in attendances over a two year period since league football started in 1888.   Should they maintain their present average of 25,446 in the Championship, they would have achieved a rise of 246 per cent compared with the figure of 7,351 in 2010-11.

Last season, an average of 20,027 watched their league games, but stadium development has allowed for another rise this season with a capacity of around 27,500 at the Amex Stadium.   The capacity at the Withdean Stadium was 8,850.

Football Attendances and Success

Success on the pitch clearly boosts attendances, as does bringing in a star player, most recently illustrated by the case of Edgar Davids at Barnet.  But are football attendances a stronger influence on success than the other way round?

The evidence seems to suggest that a large fanbase is a prerequisite for long-term success in England. Data from the National Football Archive website suggests that there is a remarkably close correlation between a table that ranks clubs by their success since 1888 and one that ranks attendances.

Rangers and Scottish football attendances

How has the demotion of Rangers affected football attendances in Scotland?   This is the question football economics guru Stefan Szymanski poses in his excellent blog.

Do Leeds fans get value for money?

Leeds have the highest season ticket prices in the Championship, ranging from £462 to £752.  What particularly annoys fans is that they consider that the money has not been reinvested in the team.

Bargain basement football

The recent financial troubles of Hereford United raise questions about just how much it does cost to run a club in the lower divisions, interpreted here to mean League 2 and the Conference.

Consider wages first.   I have been told not that a not untypical wage in the Conference is £500 a week. Interestingly that is equivalent to the median gross (before tax) wage in the UK which was £501 a week in 2011 (and probably hasn't changed much since then).

Should clubs cut prices?

The BBC published a lot of data yesterday about how much it costs to go to a match at different clubs, even down to the cost of a pie (although often there one is not comparing like with like).  

The price is right

Tonights game between England and San Marino at Wembley is a sell out.   This in spite of the fact that the microstate surrounded by Italy is the joint worst team in the world (they rank 207th alongside the Turks & Caicos islands).   No doubt England fans will be hoping to see some goals, although it should be remembered that San Marino also have eleven men on the pitch and getting through a crowded goalmouth is not easy.

Bulls hit financial trouble

Relegation from League 2 to the Conference has produced financial challenges for Hereford United and part-time football is one of the options being considered.  However, most Conference sides are now full time and such a move could undermine a push for promotion.   The Bulls are currently 12th out of 24 teams.