Day: August 4, 2009

The 2009/10 Season Preview: The SPL & SFL Division One

Continuing what we hope will be the most comprehensive pre-season previews of the season that you will be able to find anywhere on the net, we’re heading north of the border tonight for the first of a gargantuan two-part look at what we can expect in Scotland. Gavin Saxton is your guide to the 2009-10 season in the SPL and the SFL Division One, with The SFL Divisions Two and Three to follow tomorrow. Updated (6th August): Since this was written, the SFL have, on Wednesday afternoon, relegated Livingston from the first to the third division. Although this possibility was anticipated in my preliminary comments the other day, it was nonetheless a surprise to most of us that they took such a severe line, particularly with just three days to go before the start of the season. Airdrie and Cowdenbeath, the respective play-off runners-up, have been promoted to the first and second divisions and predictions below adjusted accordingly.   The Scottish Football League (Divisions One to Three) kicks off this Saturday, with the Premier League starting a week behind on the fifteenth. It’s been a difficult close season, the collapse of Setanta causing big holes in the budgets of the SPL sides. With a (lesser value) replacement being obtained from Sky and ESPN, it seems the worst case scenario of three SPL clubs going out of business is not going...

Read More

UEFA Square Up To The Premier League. Again.

It’s all in the timing. The BBC couldn’t have chosen a better time to run a special report on the state of finances in English football. The eve of the new English season is a time of optimism at most clubs, but in an interview with Radio5’s Dan Road, the UEFA general secretary David Taylor expressed concerns about many aspects of the way that Premier League clubs in particular are running themselves, singling out the saddling of clubs with debt and the transfer activity of some (hello, Manchester City) as having a destabilising effect on the health of the transfer market. We don’t need to go into the extent to which Taylor is correct yet again, of course. That much is self-evident. The more curious question is the one of why so few people seem to take any notice fo what these people. After all, UEFA aren’t the only ones to have expressed concerns over the finances of football clubs. The All-Party Parliamentary Football Group said the same thing earlier this year. The FA’s Lord Triesman said the same thing last year. And then we have organistations such as Supporters Direct (who often find themselves drawn into the most severe of the crises). Yet it all seems to fall upon deaf ears. The most likely explanation is the “it’ll never happen to me” syndrome. It’s the same thing that...

Read More

The 2009/10 Season Preview: The Blue Square Premier

It didn’t seem like that long ago that the new season still seemed like an age away, but it has crept up on us with alarming stealth and begins this Saturday. We’ll be running complete previews for English football throughout the week, starting off with the Blue Square Premier this evening. If the team that you support has been selected for a place in the relegation positions, then don’t be too angry. It’s only a game, after all. The Blue Square Premier starts this season in a state of some confusion. There is, at the time of writing, still no sign of a new television deal and many clubs will spend much of the coming autumn, winter and spring struggling to make ends meet. Even a new television deal will be unlikely to be as lucrative as the one that they lost during the summer. Add that to the propensity for BSP clubs to wildly overspend and sail close to administration from time to time, and there could be choppy waters ahead. 1. Luton Town: If a large support and determination to stick one over the Football League count for anything, it’s difficult to see much past Luton Town to win the BSP this season. They have already sold over 4,000 season tickets and signed a new sponsorship deal with Easyjet and, on top of this, being newly relegated...

Read More