Tough Love

I thought I’d better warn you first – this isn’t going to make for particularly happy reading. I have, however, been doing a considerable amount of pondering about the number of clubs falling into financial difficulties this season. We continue to live in an age of comparative wealth. The Football League TV deal is dwarfed by what the Premier League gets, but it still beats what clubs used to get in the First Division in the 1980s hands down. Crowds are up, and ticket prices are, to many eyes, as extortionate as they are in the Premier League. Ticket prices of £25 in League One are not uncommon. In spite of this, the number of clubs lurching into administration continues apace and, more troubling than this, two of the three clubs that have found themselves inviting the experts in to try and sort out the mess that they have got themselves into are repeat offenders- they are clubs that have been here before. Three or four years ago, when clubs seemed to be heading in this direction on a weekly basis, there seemed to be an obvious party to blame – ITV Digital. The television station, jointly owned Carlton and Granada TV, collapsed into liquidation and was closed by its owners after putting all of its apples in the basket of the Football League. Clubs had already gone ahead...

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