Day: May 27, 2008

A Trust Issue

There was revealing stuff in The Independent this morning – a list of all twenty of next year’s Premier League clubs, along with what their current estimated debts are and how much they’re expecting to be able to spend on new players for next season. Surprise, surprise, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool top the bill in both the size of their debt and the amount of money they’re likely to spend. The combined debts of the top four are a jaw-dropping £1.862bn. The supposed beacons of success within modern English football are almost two billion pounds in debt. Set against this, the debts of the remainder of the clubs in the Premier League are relatively minor (though one can see just how important Fulham’s win at Portsmouth on the last day of the season was – at £149m in debt, relegation would have almost certainly been the last that the Premier League would have seen of them, and a Leeds or Sheffield Wednesdayesque implosion could well have been on the cards), but the clubs will at least receive a greater income from television revenues next season as the new contracts kick in and, if all else fails, there are always the fans to bleed a little more money out of. Season tickets are rising at an average rate of 7.2% this summer (over twice the current rate of...

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All Played Off

And with that, the season was over. That’s your lot – or, at least, it is until the start of the European Championships. The final weekend of the domestic season was, perhaps surprisingly, not quite as dramatic as one might have expected. Because of Euro 2008, the play-offs for the Football League were played in reverse order this year (something to do with the Championship players being more likely to be taking part in it, apparently), so on Saturday it was Bristol City against Hull City at Wembley and, surprise surprise, it was Hull that won the match thanks to an absolutely belting goal from the 63 year-old Dean Windass. With it, of course, comes at least a year in the Premier League and the opportunity to pit their wits against the best. Now whether either they or the automatically promoted Stoke City will be capable of doing any better than Derby County did last year is open to question, but it is a sign of the ever-widening gulf between the Premier League and the rest that many commentators aren’t even talking about their chances of survival, but of their chances of getting more than the feeble tally of eleven points that Derby managed this season. Such considerations are, however, for another day. For now, Hull is no longer the biggest British city to have never hosted top division...

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