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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Football Finance

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Italian football is crumbling rapidly

Andre Agnelli, the president of Juventus, has delivered a stark warning about the state of Italian football. Of course, it has been recognised for some time that Serie A has lost the status it once enjoyed alongside La Liga and the Premiership.  A series of corruption and match fixing scandals, the extent to which clubs are beholden to their 'ultras' and poor performances have all contributed to a sense of decline.

Kroenke and Arsenal fans at odds

The annual meeting of Arsenal got quite heated after a vigorous exchange of views between majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and the Arsenal Supporters' Trust which represents small shareholders.   Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis was forced to intervene to calm things down.

Kroenke, who owns about 67 per cent of the club, refused to give a long-term commitment that he would not take money out of the club through dividend payments.   He failed to give a direct answer, stating 'This club is run through the board,.  I have always been respectful of that.'

Good times in sight for Arsenal?

As Arsenal hold their annual meeting with calls for the club to spend some of their cash reserves on players, their chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, insists that good times are just around the corner.

Well, maybe, but it's a bit like chasing the elusive end of the rainbow.    Their strategy is built around the idea that their virtuous prudence will be rewarded when financial fair play kicks in and big spending clubs pay the penalty.

Adviser defends Glazers as United shares fall

Ed Woodward, Manchester United's vice-chairman and the man who engineered their listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has sprung to the defence of the Glazers as the club's shares continue to fall.  No surprise there, but it is the content of the defence that is interesting.

The mystery backers of Rangers

Rangers FC has partially disclosed information about the backers who rescued the club.  As is not unusual in modern football, they include trusts located in offshore financial havens.

The largest shareholder is Dubai businessman Arif Naqvi.   The chief executive of private equity firm Abraaj Capital, he owns 4 million of the 25.5 million shares through a vehicle called Blue Pitch Holdings.

Knitters try to unravel debts

Many non-league clubs are finding the recession challenging.  At my own non-league club, a spell without home games has impaired cash flow, although we do have reserves and have had some success in renting out the clubhouse.

Hinckley United, who carry the historic nickname of the Knitters, have faced financial troubles for the last two years and the preceding four months have been particularly challenging.   They still need £80,000 to pay off their creditors as well as £6,000 to lift their transfer embargo.

Pie high

Kidderminster Harriers have defended their £4 pies against criticism that they are the most expensive football grub in the country.   However, the club argues that the 'home baked' cottage pies are a meal in themselves.

Do Leeds fans get value for money?

Leeds have the highest season ticket prices in the Championship, ranging from £462 to £752.  What particularly annoys fans is that they consider that the money has not been reinvested in the team.

Bargain basement football

The recent financial troubles of Hereford United raise questions about just how much it does cost to run a club in the lower divisions, interpreted here to mean League 2 and the Conference.

Consider wages first.   I have been told not that a not untypical wage in the Conference is £500 a week. Interestingly that is equivalent to the median gross (before tax) wage in the UK which was £501 a week in 2011 (and probably hasn't changed much since then).

Jersey will not do a Guernsey

Football rivalry between Guernsey and Jersey is intense.   This is reflected in the interest that surrounds the annual Muratti Cup competition which has not seen the island of Alderney in the final for a long time. The less populated island of Guernsey has stolen a march over its neighbour by an entering a highly successful team in the English non-league system.