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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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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.

The challenges facing the Welsh Premier League

Tucked away at the back of The Non-League Paper one can find brief reports for the Welsh Premier League (WPL).   The league is currently headed by The New Saints, the only full-time professional club in the league.   They play in Oswestry and their full name is The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club (Clwb Pêl-droed y Seintiau Newydd).  

What can be done about rogue owners?

The problem of rogue owners at clubs like Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool, Charlton Athletic and Leeds United persists.   There is no easy solution, although some ideas have been put forward and are discussed below.

During the past week a lot of the focus has been on Blackburn Rovers where there was a well-attended meeting called by two fan groups last Thursday.   In November 2010, when the Indian conglomerate Venky's, took over Blackburn were a stable, well-run Premier League club that had won the title under Jack Walker's benevolent ownership in 1995.

Fans give new trophy the thumbs down

The successor to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, the Checkatrade Trophy, has not gone down well with fans and they voted with their feet last night in the first group stage games.  There were plenty of three figure attendances and anonymous Premier League teams full of youth players.

Most of the top Premier League clubs including the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool refused to take part.   Those that did take part fielded little known players and often did not fill their substitutes bench.  The lowest shirt number in Everton's 15-man squad was 41.

New troubles at Plymouth Argyle?

It is five years since Plymouth Argyle were rescued from oblivion and the excellent 'two unfortunates' blog take a look at the current, rather complex and worrying situation.  

Derbies bring in the crowds

The ability of local derbies to attract big crowds is shown in the attendance figures for the National League and its north and south divisions for the 2015-16 seasons.

The biggest crowd in the National League was for the Lincolnshire derby between Grimsby and Lincoln (7.650).  This was followed by Tranmere Rovers versus Chester (7.433) and Wrexham versus Tranmere Rovers (6,707).