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English Leagues

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Birmingham City FC still get the blues despite profit

Birmingham City FC still face serious financial problems and further cutbacks despite making a profit of £15.7m in the 2011-12 financial year.   Their latest auditors have expressed reservations about the financial prospects of the club.

How much would you pay for an away ticket?

Not £62 according to many Manchester City fans.   That is the price they are being charged for a seat at the Emirates on Sunday for the game with Arsenal and 912 tickets have been returned unsold.  The game is live on Sky and can be watched in a pub in Manchester without incurring any travel costs.

The cost of renting a stadium

Coventry City are not the only lower league club to pay a lot of money to rent their stadium.   Bradford City pay £380,000 a year to a company owned by former chairman Gordon Gibb who paid £2.3m for Valley Parade in 2003 to keep the club alive.

Bradford's troubles started when they secured a second year in the Premiership and then spent big on salaries trying to stay there.   This cost them £36m and then they were one of the clubs hit hard by the ITV Digital collapse.   A stadium redevelopment was financially draining.

Everton losses increase

The scale of the financial challenge facing many Premier League club is brought home when one realises that Everton, recognised as having one of the best managers in the Premier League, has lost £52m over the last seven years.  Indeed, if they weren't so skilled at player trading, their losses would be even bigger.

Wigan turn loss into profit

Wigan Athletic has achieved something that is all too rare in football, a decent annual profit.   Last year's loss of £7.2m became a net profit of £4.3m in the year to the end of May.  

This is their eighth year in the top flight and it is six years since they have made a profit.   It should be noted, however, that they did gain £7.9m in profit from player sales.   Nevertheless, the club is getting closer to a break even position.

MK Dons could win empty stadium stakes

This season Milton Keynes Dons have been watched by an average of 8,721 people in a stadium that holds 22,000, which means stadium:mk has the fourteenth most empty seats per league game in the country.  A planned redevelopment of the ground next year will raise the capacity by 10,000 so, unless crowds go up, MK Dons will play to the most empty seats of the 92 league clubs.

The high risk transfer window

It is generally accepted that the January transfer window is a high risk one, but some clubs may be driven to it by desperation.   There is a lot at stake.   This year's £40m minimum payout is expected to stand between £55m and £60m next season and that is before one counts the benefits of higher attendances and more lucrative sponsorship deals.

Butland may go in fire sale

Birmingham City may have to sell England international goalkeeper Jack Butland at a cut price fee in the January transfer window to keep the club afloat.   The Blues value Butland at £10m and rejected a £6m offer from Southampton in the summer, but may now have to accept less than £6m.   The club's finances have been described as 'chronic'.

At least five Premiership clubs have scouted Butland this season including Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.   Another possible target in a fire sale is Nathan Redmond, the England U19 international winger.

The Villa conundrum

Robbie Savage has been forecasting on Radio 5 for some time now that Aston Villa will get relegated this season. The best one can say about that is that it is his job to generate controversy.   With some defensive strengthening in the January transfer window, a young side should survive.  But there is no doubt that Villa are punching below their potential weight.    This afternoon's game with perennial strugglers Wigan Athletic is a six pointer.

No resolution in Ricoh row

There has been no resolution of the dispute between Coventry City and the operators of the Ricoh Arena, ACL.   The club has not paid the outstanding rent of £1.1m and there has been no agreement on a compromise deal with ACL perhaps feeling they have gone as far as they can.   ACL are now considering their legal options which could include a winding up order against the club.