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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

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The preferred mobile operator for footballers

Reports of the High Court hearing involving Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley have largely focused on the drinking sessions associated with business meetings.   However, one piece of information that slipped out was about a confidential mobile phone company used by footballers and club owners like Mike Ashley.

Shropshire-based Sports Mobile offer bespoke VIP service.   Players want the new iPhone as soon as it comes out and they make sure that players get it before everyone else.

Big boost in Championship television coverage

There will be a big increase in the number of Championship matches shown live on television according to a tender document issued by the English Football League.  

The EFL would allow the number of league games broadcast live to almost treble from 112 to 324 matches a season in 2019-20. Up to 228 of the 552 Championship matches would be live, compared with 92 at present.

The quiet transfer deadline

The frantic transfer deadline with all its hype and television coverage is at the end of August.  First, however, there is a 'quiet' transfer deadline when managers look at the squads that have reassembled for training at the beginning of July and assess the gaps.

Of course, some clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United like to do their business early.   United are hopeful that they will get most of their targets soon, but Chelsea are only now nearing a breakthrough or two.

Sunderland takeover talks fail

Talks with a German consortium for the takeover of Sunderland have ended in failure.   The club set a time limit on the talks so that preparations could begin for next season and have now brought in Simon Grayson as manager.

Financial pressures on Championship clubs

The financial pressures on Championship clubs as they seek promotion to the Premier League are emphasised by the fact that they made an average loss of just under £10m in the 2015-16 season.  Only Wolverhampton Wanderers made a profit and that was because of a player sale.

Middlesbrough made the biggest loss at £32m, followed by Brighton and Hove Albion at £25.9m.  QPR had the biggest wage bill at £40.8m, almost equivalent to their turnover.

Leeds United buy back Elland Road

The new owner of Leeds United has bought back their Elland Road home.  The ground was sold on a lease back deal in 2004 when the club was in financial difficulty.

Newcastle United need to wake up to new financial realities

Newcastle United need to wake up to the new financial realities of the Premier League, argues this article. It's no good hunting around in the bargain basement for players.

Crawley Town FC's Turkish owner pumps in £1m

Crawley Town FC's Turkish owner Ziya Eren has pumped £1m into the club in his first four months in charge. This takes the form of investment and interest free loans.

It is estimated that the club lost £270,000 in 2015-16.  It faces competition from Premier League clubs Brighton and Hove Albion to the south and Crystal Palace, with a new manager, to the north.

Chinese firm takes Cobblers stake

A Chinese firm 5USport has taken a stake in Northampton Town FC.   The size of the stake has been revealed as 60 per cent. but the chairman of the Cobblers, Kelvin Thomas, insists that it is a partnership rather than a takeover.

It does show that Chinese firms from a variety of backgrounds are prepared to take an interest in football clubs below the Premier League level.

Dyche urges realism

Burnley manager Sean Dyche has urged Burnley fans to be realistic as the club seeks to establish itself in the Premier League.   The Clarets have to operate in accordance with a business model more than most clubs in the Premiership.

Promoted Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United both have big money behind them, although Huddersfield Town are in the unusual position of having more limited resources than Burnley.