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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

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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.  

Is Carlisle bid for real?

One of the difficulties with reports about takeover bids is sorting out those which are substantive and those which are flights of the imagination.   There have been cases in the past of bidders for football clubs not having the funds they claimed to possess or promised to invest.   In one or two cases they actually proceeded to acquistion with disastrous results for the club concerned.

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.

Club clamps down on fan social media dissent

A good reputation is important to all businesses, not least football clubs.   Social media can play a crucial role in shaping that reputation, both positively and negatively.   But should a club seek to control the expression of dissent by fans?

SPL clubs in financial trouble

Clubs in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League are facing increasing financial difficuilties according to the latest annual survey of finance directors by accountants BDO.   There is a stark contrast with the situation of English Premier League clubs, three-quarters of whom state they are in a very healthy financial position.

Investors focus on lower leagues

Global investors are increasingly focusing on Leagues 1 and 2 as they seek investment opportunities in football, according to the latest annual survey of football finance directors by accountants BDO.

No less than 73 per cent of League Two clubs have received an approach from potential investors in the last year.   Investors are interested in the potential for growth in clubs with stable business models.

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.

Putting Fifa's failure in context

Gerard Clarke has an interesting article in a recent issue of the Journal of Civil Society in which he seeks to put Fifa's governance failure in a broader context.