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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

Attendances

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Super club status a mixed blessing for City

Manchester City have been named as one of nine European super clubs by Uefa.  While the recognition is welcome, it could store up problems for the future.   Uefa may decide to target these clubs with new financial fair play (FFP) measures.  

The magic of the FA Cup?

As usual, there were some unexpected results in yesterday's FA Cup games.  However, some Premiership clubs put out weakened teams, while attendances were generally low, in some cases because of supporter boycotts.

Record attendances

Gate money is less and less important to top clubs compared with broadcasting revenue and income from commercial sponsorship.   That is not to say that it is insgnificant, otherwise clubs would not bother spending large sums of money to expand their stadiums (although there is a prestige element there as well).   Gate money can give clubs a financial edge.

Some of the highest matchday ticket price are now to be found in the Championship.  Rotherham United fans had to pay £42 for the privilege of seeing their side beaten 3-0 by Leeds United yesterday.

Has Leeds' time come at last?

This site has argued for a long time that Leeds United have been punching below their weight.   The city is a prosperous regional capital and, unlike a number of other northern cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham) it has only one club.    It is the fourth biggest city in England.

Leeds are now in the play off places and looking more stable.   There are persistent rumours that erratic owner Massimo Cellino, who has been banned for football activity for 18 momths, may be on the verge of selling up.

Morecambe FC plunged into crisis

Morecambe FC has been plunged into crisis after majority shareholder Mr Diego Lemos failed to deliver on promises of investment.  Ali Abdulrahman Al Hasemi has resigned as co-chairman and director.

Mr Lemos has not been in the country since mid-November and has been difficult to contact.   The Brazilian businessman took over at the club at the beginning of September.

No easy path for Bury

Lower league clubs in Greater Manchester face some of the biggest challenges of any clubs in securing financial stability.  The attractions of City and United are close at hand and these clubs are generally located in not particularly prosperous areas of the conurbation.

City control wage bill

Manchester City have dropped far behind Manchester United in terms of overall wage bill, the club's annual report shows.  City, who once had the largest Premier League salary costs. had a wage bill of £196m, putting them on a par with Arsenal and below United's figure of £232m for 2015/16 and Chelsea's £215m for the previous season.

Wages amounted to 50 per cent of turnover, the figure recommended by accountants Deloitte.  Three years ago City were penalised by Uefa for breaching financial fair play rules.

Keeping up with Europe's elite

In his latest piece of analysis the author of the Swiss Ramble blog turns his attention to Borussia Dortmund. Their experience demonstrates the challenge of keeping in touch on and off the pitch with Europe's top clubs.

Checkatrade trophy still unpopular with fans

The latest series of matches in the Checkatrade or Football League trophy shows that the new format involving Premier League under 23 teams remains unpopular with fans.

The biggest attendance was at the derby between rivals Swindon Town and Oxford United at 2,698, but in fact it was the lowest attendance ever for a A420 derby.   Just 457 saw Barnet face Norwich City.   Portsmouth against Reading under 23s attracted the lowest attendance since 1945 and the 609 at Grimsby to see them play Leicester City under 23s was their lowest ever for a cup competition game.

New Main Stand opens at Anfield

Anfield's new Main Stand is to be officially opened today.   A local friend who is a Liverpool supporter has a seat in the top tier.   I hope he doesn't suffer from vertigo and has a good pair of binoculars!   There is an incredible view, not just over the rest of the city, but as far as Snowdonia.  It is the largest individual stand in the country.