Finances

Championship

Another set of half-baked proposals from the Football League

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Two summers ago, I stood on the stoop of a pub in Oxford and was interviewed over the telephone by the We Are Going Up podcast about the proposals to introduce reserve teams of Premier League clubs into the Football League.

Met with a volley of outbursts and snorts as it was, the idea was given short shrift in most quarters (aside from Mark Warburton – a man who .

The Argument: Is There Too Much Football on TV?

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When did being a football fan start to feel like such hard work? It's not that there's more football in the world than there used to be. What's changed is the availability and exposure of it all. Anybody with the right sort of television package, mobile phone contract or internet connection should never go more than 24 hours without a game to watch.

Eye Witness Assessment: Blackpool’s Alarming Slide

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[A]lthough Blackpool almost suffered an equal fate to that of their fellow Lancastrians Bolton on visiting Reading on Tuesday night, the tone and manner of defeat was quite different. Don't misunderstand me, this was wretched from the Tangerines – an almost hopeless lack of quality exposed cruelly by the new directness Nigel Adkins has instilled recently – the team simply blown away by the home team's marked superiority.

Eye Witness Assessment: Bolton Wanderers are in Intensive Care

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[A]mir Khan would be proud. As double whammies go, fans of Bolton Wanderers have been on the receiving end of two sledgehammers this January. First, after several years of heavy punishment on the financial front, the latest body blow landed as the club's parent company Burnden Leisure Limited announced a new high for its debt of £163.

ownership

The Future of Northampton Town Hangs in the Balance

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If ever any of us were naïve enough to think that football had gotten its financial house in order, the current predicament of Northampton Town FC is a salutary reminder of how bad things can get. Here, a supporter of the club who has asked to remain anonymous, expresses his feeling at the club's current situation.

Football Cities: Bristol

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After Ben Woolhead's analysis of the Toon on Wednesday and our call for a non-league start up to challenge the artificial hegemony of MK Donsyesterday, the third post in our Football Cities series sees us very pleased to welcome a brand new writer to The Two Unfortunates. Will Jones runs the Bristol City blog, To The Left of Ross and here provides a thoughtful analysis of how soccer .

Football Cities: Milton Keynes

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Haters are gonna hate and my goodness, this website has expounded a lot of column inches putting the boot into MK Dons in itssix and a half years of existence.

At times, we've attempted to raise the level of acrimony to an art form – much as When Saturday Comes have refused to include the Dons in its annual season previews, we have declined to let people forget .

Football Cities: Newcastle upon Tyne

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Perched on a hill, visible from all directions as you head into Newcastle, towering into the air in the centre of town – St James' Park couldn't really be much more symbolic. Its location befits its status as an iconic focal point, right at the heart of the city metaphorically and spiritually as well as literally.

Dilemmas of Football Ownership: Property is Theft

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[O]nce upon a time, earlier on in my real career in book publishing, I was present at some tense negotiations in which a nicotine moustachioed representative of the National Union of Journalists lost the room a bit with the old adage that 'property is theft'. At the time, our smooth operator of a company MD plunged his head into his hands, the look on his face something akin to that of a Newcastle United supporter on being told that Joe Kinnear would be returning to Tyneside.

Dilemmas of Football Ownership: Property is Theft

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[O]nce upon a time, earlier on in my real career in book publishing, I was present at some tense negotiations in which a nicotine moustachioed representative of the National Union of Journalists lost the room a bit with the old adage that 'property is theft'. At the time, our smooth operator of a company MD plunged his head into his hands, the look on his face something akin to that of a Newcastle United supporter on being told that Joe Kinnear would be returning to Tyneside.

Dilemmas of Football Ownership: History and the Need for Change

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[F]or the second of our posts exploring the theme of football ownership, we are pleased to welcome Jon Keen, a long-standing supporter of Reading Football Club and founding memberofSTAR (the Supporters' Trust at Reading). Jon is also aregular contributor to Reading blog, The Tilehurst End. Here, Jon unpacks the issue while asking the inevitable question of how it came to all this?

Dilemmas of Football Ownership: History and the Need for Change

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[F]or the second of our posts exploring the theme of football ownership, we are pleased to welcome Jon Keen, a long-standing supporter of Reading Football Club and founding memberofSTAR (the Supporters' Trust at Reading). Jon is also aregular contributor to Reading blog, The Tilehurst End. Here, Jon unpacks the issue while asking the inevitable question of how it came to all this?

Dilemmas of Football Ownership: Are Foreign Owners or Dodgy Owners the Problem?

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[W]hen Vincent Tan, the Malaysian owner of Cardiff City, made the – apparently unilateral - decision to change the club's colours from blue to red, I posted a few remarks on Twitter intended to express some solidarity with those Cardiff supporters who felt that this change was the last straw. Some fans had even made the painful decision to stop going to watch their own club as a result.

Dilemmas of Football Ownership: Are Foreign Owners or Dodgy Owners the Problem?

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[W]hen Vincent Tan, the Malaysian owner of Cardiff City, made the – apparently unilateral - decision to change the club's colours from blue to red, I posted a few remarks on Twitter intended to express some solidarity with those Cardiff supporters who felt that this change was the last straw. Some fans had even made the painful decision to stop going to watch their own club as a result.

Nottingham Forest

Football Cities: Nottingham

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The sixth part of our Football Cities seriessees long time contributor Steve Wright analyse the footballing landscape in Nottingham. As a companion piece to Steve's post, I'd like to direct you to a recent edition of the outstanding We Are Going Up podcast in which presenters David Cameron Walker and Mark Crossley took a trip to Meadow Lane and reflect on many of the issues discussed by Steve in .

The Financial Underbelly: Queens Park Rangers

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This summer, a serious new broom is sweeping through Loftus Road, the current home of Queens Park Rangers.

Four new players have joined since the cessation of hostilities in May and each has a very different image from the ragbag of a shower of ex-internationals, cronies and never has-beens brought to Shepherd's Bush by Harry Redknapp and others.

The Financial Underbelly: Nottingham Forest

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Our latest series of posts features a range of clubs in varying states of financial health. The Football League and indeed, the sport as a whole, has provided evidence of extreme financial irresponsibility for a while now and few fans can point the finger at the more flagrant over spenders given that any of the teams we support could quickly be plunged into debt or abandoned by a disloyal .

Which of Leicester City’s Players Will Step Up?

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[I]n this month's issue of When Saturday Comes magazine, I cast an eye over Leicester City's financial prospects as the club homed in on promotion to the Premier League. In all, my article was perhaps a little kind on the Foxes as I gave the benefit of the doubt to the view that the untold riches on offer post-promotion would wipe out the serious ‘ifs' that surround the club's economy.

After Billy Davies, Nottingham Forest Need Root and Branch Reform

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[N]o one will be surprised I am sure to hear that I am happy to see the back of Billy Davies. I was happy when he left the first time and was not impressed to see him back at the City Ground after the mess of Alex McLeish's six weeks in charge, which had followed the debacle of Sean O'Driscoll's sacking.

Patrick Bamford and the Rise of the Privately-educated Footballer

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[S]tewart Robson was something of an under rated footballer of the 1980s. Unfortunate to have figured most prominently for Arsenal during the dog days of the Terry Neill/Don Howe era, George Graham preferred Steve Williams in the midfield anchor role and the tough tackling and energetic Robson is now half-forgotten.

Football and High Speed Rail 2: The Pros and Cons

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[O]ne of the more emotive of political causes in recent times has been the plan to build a new high speed rail line between London, the North of England and the Midlands; the now notorious High Speed 2 project – often abbreviated to plain HS2. With construction due to begin in 2017, the plan is for the line to extend north westwards from Euston station in the capital to Birmingham before branching in the shape of a Y towards Manchester and Leeds.

Financial Underbelly

The Financial Underbelly: Reading

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In Friday's previous instalment in our series on the financial health of football clubs, Chris Lines described Reading Football Club's attitude post-relegation in 2013 as a 'dignified readjustment'. Here, Jon Keen delves deep in a bid to assess the financial health of the Royals.

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When the guys at The Two Unfortunates asked me to put something together about the financial underbelly at Reading, the two words that sprang .

The Financial Underbelly: AFC Bournemouth

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For the fourth in our series charting the financial background to a range of clubs, we have called upon Chris Lines, @narrowtheangle on twitter and purveyor of the blog of that name. Here, Chris turns his attention to the club that finished atop the Football League pile in May and one that has garnered more than a few column centimetres since.

The Financial Underbelly: Coventry City

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Okay, okay when it comes to Coventry City, the financial situation is less an'underbelly' than a gaping open wound that has festered for several seasons now. Here, Ian Palmer sums up his personal fatigue with the whole business. Ian can be followed on twitter at @iancpalmer.

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Coventry City have been losing fans.

The Financial Underbelly: Blackburn Rovers

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Next up in our summer series is Phil Lloyd who initially got in touch to contribute an entry to our Great Football League Teams series back in 2012 but has since been forced by the continuing tenure of Venky's at Ewood Park to restrict his missives to contemporary matters. Phil can be followed on twitter at @PhilLloyd6.

book review

Book Review: The Club: Living the Dream at the Bottom of English Football

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The Club: Living the Dream at the Bottom of English Footballby Simon Akam
Published by Newsweek Insights
2014, £1.99

Simon Kuper, author of the outstanding Football Against the Enemy and the deeply flawed Soccernomics aka Why England Lose, is responsible for one of my least favourite quotes from modern footballing lore and one that Simon Akam, in this intriguing new book published in Newsweek's excellent Insights series .

Book Review: Haircuts and League Cups: The Rise and Fall of Carson Yeung

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Haircuts and League Cups: The Rise and Fall of Carson YeungbyDaniel Ivery and Will Giles
Published by GHI HK Limited
2014, £20

The career of Carson Yeung, and his troubled reign as Birmingham City chairman, is chronicled in a colourful book by Blues blogger Daniel Ivery.

Book Review: Sport in Capitalist Society: A Short History

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Sport in Capitalist Society: A Short History by Tony Collins Published by Routledge 2013, £19.99 [G]od bless Crystal Palace's self-styled ultras, the Holmesdale Fanatics. The irony of proudly displaying a banner reading "AGAINST MODERN FOOTBALL" during a Premier League match this season, one which was beamed into bars and living rooms around the world on television, was clearly lost on them.

Charlton Athletic

How Swindon Town’s Link with Tottenham is Starting to Divide

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[W]e live in an era where the inviolable independence of football clubs is starting to become a thing of the past. After our recent examination of Charlton Athletic's Belgian connection, guest writer Alex Cooke turns his attention to the somewhat looser but still significant link between Swindon Town and Tottenham Hotspur.

Assessing the Future of Charlton Athletic’s Belgian Connection

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[A]mid the gasping at the prospect of an all-Sheffield FA Cup quarter-final when Sunday's draw took place, Charlton Athletic fans will have quietly considered the chance the club now has of contesting a semi-final at Wembley Stadium. That would constitute a real turnaround for the Addicks after a difficult season on and off the pitch, one that has seen them take up occupancy in the Championship relegation zone, a campaign of mediocrity rather than plain awfulness, ungarnished with truly horrendous results but all the same very flat at times.

coventry

Coventry City Face Up To Another Year in the Third Tier

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[W]hen, in March 2013, Coventry City left the Ricoh Arena in what, in hindsight, resembled Walter White's frantic attempts to gather his dirty money and bury it in the desert before Hank could reach it in the final season of Breaking Bad, it seemed almost inconceivable that the club's absence from its purpose-built stadium could be truly long-term.

Preserving Football’s Heritage: A Modest Proposal

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[T]oday, we welcome Susan Gardiner to The Two Unfortunates. Ipswich fan Susan took part in a conversational assessment of the fortunes of Ipswich Town FC back in May. Here, she turns her attention to matters of more general interest and crucial they are indeed given recent events. Susan is on twitter at @susan1878 and blogs at Those Who Will Not Be Drowned.

Leyton Orient are Top at Christmas, but the Olympic Stadium Spectre Looms Large

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[A]s 2013 draws to a close, one club for whom it has been, on the surface, a quite ridiculously good year have been Leyton Orient, so man opposingfans' second favourite team and a club whom we covered after a recent visit to Brisbane Road a month or so back. Now, Andy Brown, who will be familiar to many of you as @OrientMeatPie on twitter (andwe can vouch personally for the splendidness of said victuals) takes a look at the current state of play in the East End while urging caution when it comes to off field manoeuvrings.

Arsenal

How the Deloittes Rich List tells us something vital that everyone seems to miss.

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By Tony Attwood

A couple of years back I had the temerity to question the financial blogger's Swiss Ramble's insight into one aspect of football finance. The level of abuse I received in return was astonishing it was a sort of journalistic equivalent of "not fit to wear the shirt".

So each time I [.

Tottenham fans object to the way tickets are sold

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If you are a season ticket holder at Arsenal, and you can't get to a game, you can try and sell your ticket on Arsenal's Ticket Exchange which is owned an operated by Arsenal.

It is not perfect, and as I found when trying to sell my ticket for Arsenal v Tottenham in the FA [...]

The Rest

Examining the Hull City Ballot

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[T]here could be a new name on the cup this year. Would the FA really want it to be Hull Tigers? There are a few big ifs of course – three other clubs have their own ambitions of lifting the trophy at Wembley on 17 May. It's also highly likely that football's governing body will maintain its block on Assem Allam's bid to change Hull City's name, regardless of the outcome of the most pointless poll this side of Simferopol.

Plymouth Argyle: Crisis Without End?

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[D]espite their outstanding recent form, Roger Willis questions how far Plymouth Argyle have really come since owner and chairman James Brent took them out of administration in 2011. *** "Flies all green and buzzin' in this dungeon of despair" once sang Frank Zappa. Well it's the Greens that are a-"buzzin'" at present and manager John Sheridan has developed a side which – a horrific 0-4 reverse at home to York City notwithstanding – has just enjoyed a fine run of performances and results that has seen Plymouth Argyle shake off an iffy start to the season and surge up the.

Blackburn Rovers have Unearthed a Gem in Gary Bowyer

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[W]hen I last wrote of Blackburn Rovers in the autumn, my verdict was overwhelmingly harsh. After all, the imposters who currently own the club are still in place, the wage bill is exalted and the consequences of year upon year of over spending and declining attendances are beginning to bite hard. If there is a club whom Blackburn resemble in their current trajectory, it's Coventry City, a team that patented the concept of slow decline before their demise became a head on rush into oblivion these past 12 months.

Unexpected Rivalries 8: Sheffield United and West Ham United

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[I]t is now almost seven years since Uniteds Sheffield and West Ham faced up to one another on the football pitch, the Blades gaining something of a pyrrhic victory over the Hammers with Michael Tonge described in one unmentionable daily newspaper as having turned in a performance of ‘supernova intensity' – hard to believe given that gentleman's typically languid style.

A Cautious Welcome for QPR’s New Stadium Plans

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[J]ust before Christmas, Queens Park Rangers announced ambitious plans to move into a new stadium by the start of the 2018-19 season, signalling the arrival of an off-field component to Tony Fernandes' much debated generosity to the club. Partners include the company Stadium Capital Developments and the plan is to acquire land holdings in conjunction with Network Rail and the Genesis Housing Group, the arena part of the much vaunted redevelopment of the Old Oak Common neighbourhood of west London.