Can a football club be a luxury brand?

How does one market a club like Monaco, newly promoted to France’s Ligue 1? Given the size of the principality, it’s difficult to generate big crowds. With a population of just over 36,000, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and the smallest with a coastline. Only Vatican City is smaller.

No expense spared

Since they joined the English non-league system, Guernsey FC have paid for the travel and overnight accommodation of visiting teams. However, Spennymoor Town went one better for their FA Vase semi-final, hiring a private plane and staying two nights on the island. They also prepared for the match at Middlesbrough’s training complex.

The estimated cost to them was £24,000. It all paid off because they beat the Green Lions 3-1. Guernsey have not defeated at home this season at their Footes Lane Stadium.

Does football threaten rugby in Wales?

Welsh rugby fans are celebrating their win over England yesterday which gave them the six nations title. But is the game being increasingly challenged by football in the allegiance of youngsters? The national team still attracts fanantical support, but attendance at long-established clubs such as Llanelli and Pontypridd has been falling.

Financial worries in the Football League

Two-thirds of teams in the Football League who responded to a BBC survey are worried about the financial health of teams in the competition.   They are more positive about their own financial health, only four describing it as worrying and getting on for half (18 out of 41) describing it as more than adequate.

Rangers make operating loss

Newco Rangers made an operating loss of £7.1m in the seven months to 31 December 2012.  This turned into an overall profit  before tax of £9.5m due to a one off accounting credit of £20.4m described as ‘non-recurring release of negative goodwill’ and there is certainly plenty of that around in Scotland as far as Rangers are concerned.

Villa cut losses

Aston Villa have cut their annual losses to £17.7m in the year to 31 May 2012 compared with £54m the previous year.  The wage bill was cut by £13,8m and £26m was made from the sale of players.  Owner Randy Lerner waived £20m of interest he was due on £107m of loans.

Football journalist David Conn has tweeted that this looks like a process of downsizing.   Income was down £11.6m or 12.6 per cent to £80m.  Attendances were down by an average of 3,500 to 33,783.   It looks like a case of a club whose ambitions no longer match its history or its potential.

Return of the New York Cosmos

The New York Cosmos were the star team of 1970s soccer in the United States, doing a great deal to spur interest in the game among the young.   In 1975 Pelé signed a contract with them said to be worth $4.75m, making him the highest-paid athlete in the world at the time.  

The squad was full of international greats such as Franz Beckenbauer who had led Germany to World Cup victory in 1974.   As many as 77,000 fans came to the Giants Stadium where the Cosmos played for a time.  Attendances fell when Pelé left in 1977 and eight years later the team was disbanded.