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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

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Rampant Stags

Fans generally have many, often justified, criticisms of club owners so it's nice to see praise for a change.   At Mansfield Town's annual meeting Darren Shaw, representing Stags Fans United, credited finance director Jim Beachill for his steadfast work on the club's finances saying 'Fans really appreciate it.'  Dean Foulkes, chairman of the Stags Supporters Association was even more effusive: 'The finances are incredible, brilliant. People are so excited to support the club.'

Hatters must go up to compete

Luton Town vice-chairman David Wilkinson has said that the Hatters must go up this season if they are to continue to compete.   In his view the gap between the divisions is becoming greater.

Was it the pitch guv?

Many football managers have a great big book of excuses which they resort to in order to explain defeats. A favourite is to blame the officials: their goal was offside, but was given; ours wasn't, but was checked off. Don't get me started on penalty calls.

Chairman Gao has no readies

Southampton fans have contacted me to express their concerns that their new Chinese owner, Chairman Gao, has no money to invest in the club having borrowed large sums to acquire it.   Given that from the perspective of now minority 'partner', Katharina Liebherr, the whole point of the takeover was to provide much needed investment, this has to be a concern.   Instead of going to the next level, the Saints may find it harder to stay at the present one.

Barnsley targeted by Chinese billionaire

The long march of China into English football has been going for some time now, but I have to admit that Barnsley was not on my short list of possible targets.   Howver, it is being reported that they are in advance talks with Chien Lee, the billionaire who is a majority shareholder in Nice and has been seeking an English club.  He made his money with a hotel chain and an investment group.  

Empty seats at Wembley for Spurs

There will be almost 20,000 empty seats at Tottenham Hotspur's first Premier League match at Wembley because of restrictions imposed by Brent council and the Metropolitan Police.   Spurs have sold about 70,000 tickets for one of their biggest matches of the season against Chelsea, including 3,000 to away fans.

Stoke chairman hits back at critics

A number of pundits this year have forecast a difficult season for Stoke City with Tony Cascarino of The Times forecasting that they will finish bottom of the Premier League.   These forecasts need a health warning as they are generally wide of the mark.

Football League clubs become the takeover target

The interest in taking over clubs outside the Premier League is increasing.  A shift in club and investor behaviours has highlighted that it is clubs outside the Premier League have many attractive qualities, resulting in 40% receiving formal or informal approaches from potential equity investors in the last 12 months.

BDO's annual survey of football club finance directors questioned more than 50 clubs in the English Premier League (EPL), English Football League Championship (FLC), Football Leagues One (FL1) and Two (FL2) and the Scottish Premiership (SP).

Premier League have another super club to contend with

Premier League clubs have long been frustrated at their lack of success in the Champions League, falling foul of the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Bayern Munich etc.  Now they have another super club to contend with in the shape of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).   Up to now there has been a tendency to dismiss what has been happening in France and it has to be admitted that the league as a whole is not that strong.

Transfer window likely to close earlier

It looks likely that Premier League clubs will vote by the necessary two-thirds majority to bring the transfer window forward by two to three weeks to the start of the season.  They meet on September 7th when 14 clubs have to vote in favour of the move.  

The change would come into effect before the start of the 2018-19 season.  The transfer window in January would be unaffected.