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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 Premiership

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Are the English bad at playing football?

The Economist (it likes to call itself a newspaper not a magazine) runs the occasional article on football.  It ticks a number of boxes: globalisation; popular culture; big money; unusual markets.  It also shows that the magazine is not too stuffy and can get down with the masses.

No FFP investigation into City

Manchester City are not to be the subject of a special investigation under Uefa financial fair play rules unlike Paris Saint-Germain.  In an unusual intervention, Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga complained that City were 'irreparably damaging the football industry' by creating an inflationary spiral. His intervention had the backing of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Has the 'bubble burst' for Chinese owners?

I am always suspicious of articles which claim that the bubble has burst or is about to burst in relation to the Premier League.   If I was given a pound for each time I had read such a story, I could afford a good meal out on the proceeds,

The Billionaires Club

James Montague has brought out a new book called The Billionaires Club which is about 'the unstoppable rise of football's super-rich owners.'   I have only dipped into it to so far but he is a journalist and can tell a story well.

It starts with a chapter about Crewe Alexandria and finishes with one about Portsmouth.  The main body of the book is about owners from Eastern Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East.

Transfer window records are broken once again

The fact that transfer window records have been broken once again is hardly a surprise.  Spending by Premiership clubs on the closing day was £210m compared with £155m last year as they scrambled to close last minute deals.  Overall spending was a record £1.4bn.

Some widely predicted transfers did not go ahead and some players are stuck in clubs where they are clearly unhappy, leading one commentator to describe the final day as 'anti-climatic'.

Rationality, Kim Jong-un and the transfer window

Everyday understandings of rationality often miss the point.  You may disapprove of someone's objectives, but that does not make them irrational.  For example, portly North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is clearly a nasty piece of work.

Watford receive record fine for forgery

Watford have received a record fine of over £4m from the Football League for forgery.  The actual fine was £3.95m, but they also had to pay £350,000 in costs.   The fine would have been £5.75m if the club had not pleaded guilty and cooperated fully with the investigation.

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.

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.