Keeping a Conference club going

The chairman of Hereford United, David Keyte, has issued a statement on the club’s website explaining its financial position. It is unusual in terms of the amount of detail that it provides about the financial challenges facing a Conference club struggling to survive.

In particular it brings out the consequences of relegation and has sensitive revenue is to a relatively small fall in attendances or even the loss of one match that could be expected to attract a good crowd.

The cost of the Conference

Hyde FC lost their 21st match of the season yesterday, 2-5 at home to Wrexham. They have not won a single match and drawn just three. Under 1,000 people saw them lose yesterday, whereas there were over 8,000 at Luton.

Luton and benefactor club Forest Green have budgets of £2m a year and can afford to pay their players £800 a week. Hyde have to manage on a budget around a tenth of that.

QPR announce new stadium plans

In an overnight announcement on their website Queens Park Rangers have unveiled plans for a new 40,000 seater stadium as part of a major regeneration project in the Old Oak area in West London.

They state, ‘Queens Park Rangers Football Club and our partners, Stadium Capital Developments, have concluded a letter of collaboration with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to bring forward an early and very significant private sector investment into the Old Oak Common regeneration area.’

8 per cent of clubs in serious financial trouble

Flat-lining attendances and rising costs are blamed for locking six English league clubs into a cycle of serious financial distress, a report issued today warns.

The Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert Football Distress Report monitors the financial distress in football clubs every six months. The latest figures show that a total of six clubs (one in twelve) in the Championship and Leagues One and Two are facing ‘critical’ financial pressure at the end of October 2013. The number of clubs in serious trouble represents 8 per cent of the 72 clubs that make up the leagues.

Average attendance boost in Premiership

This could be the first season for 40 years in which every top division club attracts an average attendance of more than 20,000. Swansea City’s average of 20,357 is the lowest, followed by Crystal Palace on 23,097. It last happened in 1973-4 when the lowest average was Burnley’s 20,364.

In the intervening period attendances dipped so that in 1983-4 three-quarters of clubs had an attendance below 20,000. Everton could only manage 19,343 and Notts County were below 10,000 at 9,463.

Doncaster chairman resigns in takeover row

Doncaster Rovers chairman John Ryan has resigned and sat with the fans at Saturday’s game against Barnsley. Ryan took over the club in 1998 when they were a Conference side.

In June it was reported that Irish-led consortium Sequentia Capital, who are backed by a wealthy Belize-based tycoon, was interested in taking over the club. A heads of terms agreement was signed by both parties. However, in September the club issued a statement saying that Doncaster would remain in their current investors’ hands.

Cheaper to go to a game in Germany?

Arsenal have a body of French fans who travel over for games by Eurostar. That’s not so surprising given that they have a French manager, have had many French players and are conveniently placed for St. Pancras.

It is, however, something of a surprise to learn that Borussia Dortmund can attract as many as a thousand English fans for a top Champions League or Bundesliga game. Dortmund hardly has the attractions of London.

United cut away ticket prices

Manchester United have announced a reduction in away match ticket prices for this season. After consultation with the Fans’ Forum, the Premier League champions have pledged to reduce the price of every away ticket bought by a United fan by £4, starting with their game against Fulham on 2 November.

The discount will be applied automatically by the club when fans pay for their away tickets and any money that is not used this season will be used with next year’s £200,000 budget to continue the policy.

Conurbations rule in title race

Bill Edgar who writes a column in the ‘Game’ section of The Times each Monday had an interesting piece last week about the way in which the leading conurbations are increasingly dominating the Premier League title race.

There are seven ‘built up areas’ in England with a population of over three quarters of a million. In order these are: Greater London; Greater Manchester; the West Midlands; West Yorkshire; Liverpool; south Hampshire (which would include fierce rivals Portsmouth and Southampton); and Tyneside.

How viable is AS Monaco?

Much of the recent commentary on AS Monaco has focused on its fight to preserve its tax privileges, but this interesting blog post argues that the club will face challenges building a fan base, regardless of how successful it is on the pitch.   The lack of presence of French clubs in English-speaking markets is also an issue.