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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

English Leagues

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Wenger's fear of Chelsea's spending power

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is apparently concerned about how Chelsea might exercise their spending power in the summer transfer window.

Why United stay on top

Sir Alex Ferguson believes that you should not retire but stay active and engaged.  He is living testimony to the wisdom of such a course.   He is already planning to strengthen his squad over the summer and United chief executive David Gill has pledged that the money will be available.

Will Cherries stadium plan bring support boost?

Promoted to the Championship, AFC Bournemouth are intending to expand their ground over the summer to provide an extra 3,000-4,000 of capacity.   At present the ground only has stands on three sides (which always feels odd) and has a capacity of less than 10,000.

Usmanov tops rich list

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has moved to the top of the new Sunday Times rich list with a fortune of £13,300m.   The Russian citizen, born in Uzbekistan, shares with Farhard Moshiri (ranked 41=) a near 30 per cent stake in Arsenal.

However, majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has kept him off the board.   'It rankles me,' Usmanov is quoted as saying.   At times he has tried to present himself as the person who has the interests of Arsenal fans at heart.

Up for the Cup

The 5.15 timing for this year's FA Cup final has provoked controversy.   Wigan Athletic fans are particularly aggrieved.  By the time the game has finished it will be too late for them to get to Euston and catch a train home.   The FA's response has been to recommend using a coach, provided by one of their sponsors, National Express.  But this could mean a return home well after midnight, not fun if you have small children with you.

Most of Premiership money still goes to players

The annual review of Premier League finances published by The Guardian shows why the majority of clubs were prepared to back rules to rein back spending.   £1.6bn, two thirds of total income, was spent on wages in 2011-12, most of that on players.

Real Madrid overtakes Manchester United in rich list

Business magazine Forbes has been compiling its football rich list since 2004 and for the first time Real Madrid have knocked Manchester United off their perch at the top of the list. It is not that United have stopped growing, simply that Real have grown even faster.

Forbes value the Spanish giant at $3.3bn with Manchester United just behind on $3.17bn. Barcelona are in third place. It is evident that the two leading Spanish clubs are impervious to the troubles of the country's economy.

US Premiership deal seen as breakthrough

In discussion of new markets for Premiership television rights, the emphasis has been on emerging countries in Asia alongside an increasing interest in Africa where GDP per capita is growing rapidly in some countries.    Rights are now sold to more than 200 markets.

Coping with relegation

Despite enhanced parachute payments relegation from the Premier League is a big financial challenge for clubs, particularly if they have spent heavily in a bid to stay up.   Relegation clauses in player contracts have become more common and can benefit players as well as clubs, but they are not a sufficient answer.

Cardiff's long road back

When I started watching football in the early 1950s, Cardiff City seemed to be an established top flight side. In fact, when I checked back, they spent just 15 years in the top flight, finally leaving in 1962, although they are the only team outside England to have won the FA Cup.