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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


Two Tier Premiership Idea Revived

The idea of a two tier Premiership has been revived by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside. He proposes two divisions of 18 teams each, but controversially no promotion or relegation from the Football League, an arrangement that is usual in American sporting competitions. He argues that smaller leagues would solve the problem of the winter break and the England team. Given Bolton's situation, his views may not be entirely disinterested.

Premiership's Most Costly Bench Warmers

The Premiership's most costly bench-warmers have been revealed in a new list published by football website Heading the league is West Ham's injury-prone Kieron Dyer, who having played no more than two Premiership games since August 2007 has cost the Hammers an estimated £1.1m per game. He is closely followed by Manchester United's Gary Neville, who is only now returning to long-term action following a succession of long-term injuries.

Premiership Faces Political Challenge

The Premiership faces perhaps its biggest ever political challenge from what is in effect a combined front of the new culture secretary, Andy Burnham and FA chairman Lord Triesman. Everton supporter Burnham has been tipped as a possible future Labour leader and responding to the concerns expressed by some football fans should do him no political harm.

BT's Vision

BT shares have not been doing too well lately, not just because of the general state of the market, but because of concerns about topping up BT's pension fund. The former utility, still the leading fixed-line phone company in the UK, is looking for ways to boost its slowing revenue growth. This explains the importance of its face off with BSkyB over access to the satellite TV operator's premium content. Broadband has been BT's main domestic motor over the past five years, but the market is maturing. About 60 per cent of homes now have broadband.

Zabeel Investments Lose Interest in Charlton

Press reports over the weekend have suggested that Dubai based Zabeel Investments have lost interest in unglamorous south-east London Charlton Athletic, available at a knockdown price, and switched their attention to Everton. One possibility that does not seem to have been considered is that, given that this is the era of the sovereign wealth fund, Dubai-based interests might buy both a Merseyside club and Charlton. Dubai Investment Corporation have been circling Liverpool for some time, but they might consider Everton a better value buy and more readily available.

Hammers Take Their Case To Court

West Ham will step up their fight against paying Sheffield United compensation by lodging an appeal in the High Court this week. West Ham have also asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to hear the dispute. The grounds on which West Ham can appeal to the High Court are actually quite limited. They have to show that the arbitration panel that decided in favour of the Blades' claim over the Tevez affair made an error of law or came to incorrect findings of facts.

What Relegation From The SPL Means

The impact of relegation from the English Premiership is a familiar story, but what about the implications of being relegated from its Scottish counterpart? The absence from the fixture list of matches against the Old Firm can create a serious financial shortfall for relegated clubs. Relegation leads to an almost immediate loss of £1.5m. Relegated clubs are provided with a £250,000 parachute payment by the SPL during their first season in the First Division, followed by £125,000 the following year.

The Financial 'Meltdown' and Football

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has talked this weekend of a 'meltdown' in the world's financial system which could lead to a further 20 per cent being wiped off stock exchange values. We don't claim to be economic forecasters on this page, but one of the difficulties with statements of this kind is the so-called 'Oedipus effect': making the prediction increases the chances of it occurring. Some of the commentary in recent days has come from people whose agenda is the failure of the Premiership.

Dubai Bid For Charlton

On a day in which global markets have been in turmoil, unfashionable south-east London club Charlton Athletic have received a bid from a Dubai-based investment group headed by His Excellency Mohammed Ali Ali Hashimi. Apparently the group considered a number of football clubs but thought that Charlton offered the greatest potential. In a statement, the prospective new owner has praised the passion of the club's fans, its heritage and its commitment to the community. He also expressed his determination to get the club back to the Premiership.

UEFA Threat To Debt Ridden Clubs

Uefa are threatening to ban debt ridden clubs from their competitions. This is a major threat to leading English clubs to whom Champions League football is a key slice of their income. Some might feel that the move is motivated by continental jealousy at the success of English clubs in the Champions League. Others might feel that Uefa are trying to tackle a genuine problem facing football.