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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Attendances

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Attendances up in Football League

More than 18 million people attended Football League games this season, the highest number for almost 60 years.   Sky Bet Championship attendances surpassed the 11 million mark, with average crowds over 20,000.  

Tough finances in the Championship

With all the clubs in the Championship in 2015/16 having now published their accounts (except Bolton Wanderers), the author of the authoritative Swiss Ramble blog has now come up with some fascinating statistics.  

Of course, it is well known that Championship clubs like to splash the cash in an effort to reach the Premier League.   However, these figures show how difficult it is to avoid a loss in the Championship and how much parachute payments distort the financial picture.   One wonders if their level stops clubs reining in wages as much as they should.

The Bradford model

Bradford City's co-owner Edin Rahic was the first German to become involved in owning an English league club.  He commissioned a detailed analysis of all 72 Football League clubs looking at history, transport facilities, manager turnover, squad size and average age and potential fan base.   The Bantams ticked all the boxes.

Celtic's success hits SPL attendances

Celtic's runaway success in the Scottish Premier League may be hitting attendances as fans lose interest in a one horse race.

A critical match for Hamilton Academicals with Aberdeen saw just 2,006 fans in the 5,500 seater stadium with just two lonely souls in the East Stand.   Hamilton's average attendance this season has shrunk from 3,024 to 2,584.

AS Monaco's dilemma

AS Monaco face a difficult financial balancing act.   In 2014-15, the club made €117m, less than a third of Paris Saint-Germain's total for the same campaign.  With little match-day and commercial revenue, they are very reliant on Champions League qualification.    They can make €2m from a Champions League game.  This means remaining competitive on the pitch while seeking to maximise profits in the transfer market, a difficult balancing act.

Is Villa or Newcastle the bigger club?

I am always a little supsicious of attempts to say which of two clubs is the bigger one, as there are no accepted criteria.  At least this report from Sky on Aston Villa and Newcastle United looks at a range of criteria, whilst avoiding offending fans of both clubs by coming to no clear verdict.

Super club status a mixed blessing for City

Manchester City have been named as one of nine European super clubs by Uefa.  While the recognition is welcome, it could store up problems for the future.   Uefa may decide to target these clubs with new financial fair play (FFP) measures.  

The magic of the FA Cup?

As usual, there were some unexpected results in yesterday's FA Cup games.  However, some Premiership clubs put out weakened teams, while attendances were generally low, in some cases because of supporter boycotts.

Record attendances

Gate money is less and less important to top clubs compared with broadcasting revenue and income from commercial sponsorship.   That is not to say that it is insgnificant, otherwise clubs would not bother spending large sums of money to expand their stadiums (although there is a prestige element there as well).   Gate money can give clubs a financial edge.

Some of the highest matchday ticket price are now to be found in the Championship.  Rotherham United fans had to pay £42 for the privilege of seeing their side beaten 3-0 by Leeds United yesterday.

Has Leeds' time come at last?

This site has argued for a long time that Leeds United have been punching below their weight.   The city is a prosperous regional capital and, unlike a number of other northern cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham) it has only one club.    It is the fourth biggest city in England.

Leeds are now in the play off places and looking more stable.   There are persistent rumours that erratic owner Massimo Cellino, who has been banned for football activity for 18 momths, may be on the verge of selling up.