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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Football Finance


Geopolitics and Manchester City

Why does Abu Dhabi want to own a Premiership football club?   Manchester City are officially owned by Sheikh Manosur, the brother of the Crown Prince, but in effect they are an an asset of the state,   this is evident when one looks at the ties between the club and state-owned assets such as Etihad Airways as well as the closeness of Mansour to the de facto leader.

The plight of Coventry City

Coventry City are in the third tier for the first time in 48 years, having for a long time been a constant if quite often relegation threatened presence in the top flight.   A famous FA cup victory is still cherished by fans.

The club's debts amount to £60m.   Ownership of the 32,500-seat Ricoh Arena is shared between Coventry City Council and the Alan Higgs Charity, a local trust.   Coventry pay £1.2m rent and making nothing from sponsorship or corporate events.

Bayern Munich and Chelsea: the contrast

Both Bayern Munich and Chelsea are big spenders on top players.   Over the past three seasons, Bayern have accounted for more than a quarter of the Bundesliga's total spending.   However, Chelsea lost £67m in their most recent accounts while Bayern make a healthy pre-tax profit every year.

The German model: the Bundesliga

The debate about the respective merits of the Premier League and the Bundesliga is more than one about football.   It is also part of a large clash between rival models of capitalism: the free market or 'Anglo-Saxon' model and the coordinated capitalism or 'Rhineland' model.   Britain is seen as a classic case of the former model, Germany as an exemplar of the latter.

Saints Alive!

Those Southampton fans that I know were incredibly nervous yesterday before their home match against a Coventry side sadly beset with deep seated problems, but of course they needn't have worried.  They will now become the first Swiss-owned team in the Premier League.

Southampton provide a prime example of how a benefactor can transform a club's fortunes.  German-born billionaire Markus Liebherr bought Southampton for about £12m in 2009.  He died two years ago before they had climbed out of League One, but the estate passed to his daughter.

Two bids for Rangers

Administrators Duff & Phelps now have to subject two bids for Rangers to a process of due diligence. Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy came together with the Blue Knights consortium to mount a joint bid. The merit of this is that Kennedy has more financial resources while the Blue Knights have more knowledge of the club.

Pompey remain in peril

Portsmouth are renowned for their dedicated fans who will sing through any adversity.   Recently they have been singing about going on a League 1 tour which includes the possibiliity of getting soaked in the uncovered away end at Yeovil.

Even that would not dampen their spirits, but there is a real risk that the Pompey chimes may ring out no more, at least in the Football League.   Earlier this week the chairman of the Football League said that he thought they could go into liquidation.

Port Vale deal agreed

Port Vale should be out of administration by June, subject to the approval of the Football League.   A £1.3m takeover by Lancashire businessman Keith Ryder was approved by creditors on Thursday.   The company voluntary arrangement was approved by 87 per cent of creditors.

Ryder's initial offer was £1.4m. But Stoke-on-Trent City Council rejected his offer to pay them £800,000, partly in instalments, so they have instead settled for £700,000 to be paid up front.

More financial turmoil at Blues

The release of the financial results of Birmingham City's parent company, Cayman Islands registered, Birmingham International Holdings, has been delayed for a fourth time.   It is now hoped to present the results for the year to 2011 by the end of July and the annual report by mid-August.

This could throw the club's plans into turmoil, regardless of whether they succeed in winning promotion to the Premier League through the play offs.  The transfer embargo imposed by the Football League over its concerns about the parent company's finances could well be extended.

Fan sues club

One of the most loyal supporters of Preston North, Robert (also known as 'Ben') Casey, has felt obliged to serve a High Court writ to reclaim £250,000 he lent the club in 2007.

Casey, who was instrumental in designing the new Deepdale asked for his money back in August 2010 but at that time he was told the club couldn't pay him.   The writ goes on to claim that further promises and offers have been unacceptable to Casey.