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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

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Debunking football finance myths

The Guardian has published an interesting blog that seeks to debunk a number of football finance myths in the context of the transfer window.  The article contrasts the lack of transparency in terms of transfer fees in English football with the NBA and the NFL but, as is pointed out, they operate salary caps so full financial disclosure is essential.

Virgin caps away ticket prices

Football fans travelling to watch their team play Southampton this season will have their match day tickets subsidised by the club's shirt sponsor Virgin Media.   The agreement will cap prices at £20 for away fans, with the media company meeting the additional costs.   If there were, say, 3,000 away fans, the additional cost would be £30,000, which is a cheap way of boosting Virgin's image.

It's a dog's life

It used to be said that some matches attracted just one man and a dog, but the non league dog phenomenon is attracting growing interest.   You can see a selection of non league dogs here.   One of them is appropriately supporting Barking FC.

At Leamington a collie comes with his owner to every match and watches the play intently.   Indeed, so badly does he need his fix that he comes to some junior matches as well.  In winter he wears the club's colours.

Premier League shirt deals rise to record high

The combined value of Premier League shirt sponsorship deals this year is £226.5m, an increase of £3.6m on last year.  In percentage terms this is less than two per cent, so it is a much smaller rise than that for broadcasting contracts.

Jam tarts kit disaster

I have just returned from a visit to Scotland and there has been much attention given in the media to the new away kit for Hearts.

Villa's Chinese charm offensive

Earlier this year I was on a panel with someone in the marketing department at Aston Villa whose job was to promote the club in China.   Given the way in which the club have been dragged down under the ownership of Randy Lerner, he had a bit of an uphill struggle.

City sign first esport player

Manchester City has signed their first esports player to compete in the world of gaming.  Kieran Brown, an 18-year old gamer who has more than 12,000 followers on YouTube will represent the club at Fifa esports tournaments.  

Gamers sit in row in front of computers where they play against each other, often watched by thousands of spectators.   It has progressed from small get togethers of geeks to football stadium sized events.

Should clubs accept sponsorship from betting companies?

It's far from unusual for football clubs to accept sponsorship from betting companies.  Four Premier League clubs do.  However, the news that Betdaq are to replace the University of Greenwich on Charlton's shirts has sparked some controversy.

Shirt sponsors deny cannabis link

Torquay United's new shirt sponsors have emphatically denied that their company name has any link with cannabis.   420 Skatestore is a skatestore clothing company.   In the United States 420 is a slang term associated with cannabis.  Gulls supporters have jokingly speculated on social media whether the team will appear with a cannabis leaf on their shirts.

National League sets ambitious targets

The National Leage has set itself some ambitous targets in a new four year strategy entitled 'Growing our Game' covering the period 2016 to 2020.

It wants to increase annual attendances from 1.5m to 1.7m.  It wants live broadcast matches to go up from 25 to 40 per seaon and to increase commercial revenues by 50 per cent.   The target for social media following is an increase from 750,000 to 1 million.