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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

English Leagues


Fines for clubs promoted to Premiership?

The financial challenges faced by football are manifold, particularly against the backdrop of a worsening economic situation.   It's also worth remembering that they are driven to a large extent by the expectations of owners and fans.   In any league half the teams have to finish below midway.

A critique of Chelsea

The sport section of The Times devoted two whole pages to a critique of Chelsea on Saturday.   As one would expect, it was well informed and well argued, but also very negative in tone.   Of course, there are plenty of grounds on which one can construct such a critque.  But why now?

Who will be the first manager to go?

No Premier League manager has yet been asked to go this season - yet.   Such are the pressures of the Premier League that apparent under performance can lead to an exit as early as November, even though Sir Alex Ferguson insists that one doesn't worry about positions in the league until April.  Perhaps it looks different if one is in a relegation struggle.

It all kicks off in Guernsey

Island football presents many challenges, particularly for remoter islands.   The Isles of Scilly league has just two teams which play each other every week in league and cup competitions.   The Isle of Man has staged a tournament involving mainland football clubs before the start of the season.   The Isle of Wight has good enough connections with the mainland to have teams competing in the non-league system.

Portsmouth owner bailed

Vladimir Antonov, the Russian owner of Portsmouth Football Club and his business partner Raimondos Baranauskas were bailed until 16 December by Westminster Magistrates Court today (Friday).    They were arrested at their offices in Bishopgate on Thursday after the issue of a European Arrest Warrant.

They face an extradition request by the Lithuanian authorities in connection with alleged fraud and asset stripping at a Lithuanian bank.   Should they be convicted, the Lithuanian court could impose sentences of up to ten years' imprisonment.

Economic downturn hits players

Media commentary on players tends to focus on high earners with glamorous lifestyles.   But there are actually more players who are struggling to make a living in the Conference or Leagues 1 and 2.   At this level, it has been suggested that squads are being cut by an average of five to save money which reduces the job opportunities available.  

Crisis deepens at Kettering

Kettering Town FC's owner  Imraan Ladak has indicated that he may be prepared to sell the cash strapped Conference club.  Ladak blames the players for the club's plight.  He says that they do not train hard enough, eat the wrong foods and 'go out at night' (presumably this is not an implication that they are the undead).

The entire squad has been transfer listed.   As many as ten could leave by the loan deadline today, making it difficult to field a team on Saturday.

Uefa's financial fair play dilemma

Uefa faces a series of dilemmas in terms of its enforcing Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.   If it doesn't enforce them at all, it will look foolish and be weakened in relation to the top clubs.  But devising sanctions that bite without undermining the Champions League itself is a real test of ingenuity.

Carlisle plan to move on

Carlisle United are the latest club to plan to move to a new stadium.    They have been at Brunton Park for 102 years.   It is the largest stadium in England that isn't fully seated with a capacity of 18,202.   However, although it means Football League regulations for the bottom two divisions, it wouldn't satisfy those for the Championship.

Search parties out in Liverpool

I marked my first day of notional retirement with a day out in Liverpool where there is always so much to see in the museums area.   I was able to pass the Liver Building where my pension fund is based, but one target was the new Museum of Liverpool.   It is still incomplete (there have been some legal arguments) but there is already some very interesting content on the city's fascinating football history.