Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of! Football Finance

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Everton and Mr Micawber?

Posted on July 16, 2009

According to the Liverpool Post, Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright “laments club debt despite record turnover” (1). It’s tempting to shout ‘Mr Micawber!’ at him, with a dash of ‘The Emperor’s got no clothes!’, but, while that may be sound yet obvious advice, the problem of debt in a Premier League club deserves deeper analysis. Details […]

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Posted in Costs, Debts, Governance, Revenues, Transfers, Wages | Leave a Comment »

The Magic of Football – still there in the Cups?

Posted on January 27, 2012

It’s increasingly difficult to see any magic in the beautiful game other than black magic, especially when you look at it from a financial perspective.  You only need to think of the narrow escapes at Plymouth and Wrexham recently, and both Portsmouth and Darlington are standing on the edge of the precipice. The Cups may […]

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Posted in Community, Fans | Leave a Comment »

The ins and outs of the transfer window

Posted on September 3, 2011

So, the transfer window finally slammed shut, to use the mandatory cliché, amid the predictable hype.  In one respect this was hardly surprising – of the 289 August deals reported by the BBC (1), no fewer than 93, or 32%, had taken place on the final day.  In total 141 (49%) had taken place in […]

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Posted in Costs, Globetrotterisation, Premier League, Transfers, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Big 1, 2, 3 or is it still 4? Or more?

Posted on June 9, 2011

Currently I’m working on a joint research project on various European football leagues with colleagues in Austria.  One set of data which we have produced so far casts some light on this perenial debate.  The latest version of the date centres of course on whether Liverpool ‘have fallen out of the Top 4’, and/or whether […]

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Posted in Governance, History, Premier League, Pyramid movement | 3 Comments »

A day of reckoning

Posted on May 23, 2011

I managed to follow the great play-off between AFC Wimbledon (to whom, many congratulations) and Luton Town (to whom, commiserations) at least live online.  Football at its most exciting.  I wonder if Andy Burnham chose quite the right words though when he tweeted “Wimbledon back in Football League. Brilliant. A great victory for all football […]

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Posted in Broadcasting rights, Costs, Economic impact, Fans, Football Conference, Governance, Merchandising, Premier League, Promotion, Pyramid movement, Relegation, Revenues, Sponsorship | 2 Comments »

Manchester City following in Pompey’s footsteps

Posted on October 2, 2010

Manchester City’s financial results, published earlier this week (1), were generally reported uncritically earlier this week, notwithstanding the key loss of £121m, with the exception at least of The Sun (2), where there was some attempt to look beyond the positive headlining provided by the club. According to the club, the financial highlights could be […]

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Posted in Benefactors, Costs, Debts, Ownership | 10 Comments »

The trouble with new stadiums 4 (and final)

Posted on August 10, 2010

[See also The trouble with new stadiums 1, which looked at the argument that “We’re a club with ambition and we need more seats to reflect that ambition“, The trouble with new stadiums 2, which looked at the argument that “We’ve got the wrong sort of stadium.  We need one better suited to maximising our […]

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Posted in Assets, Costs, Debts, Stadium | 13 Comments »

The trouble with new stadiums 1

Posted on June 27, 2010

You may have noticed – I am not a fan of the new stadium.  At the Supporters Direct Conference I spoke briefly about ‘the myth of the new stadium’, and over a couple of postings I’ll  elaborate on why I don’t, in general, rate them. Broadly, there are three lines of argument that are trotted […]

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Posted in Stadium | 7 Comments »

Farewell to Preston

Posted on May 9, 2010

Without a great deal of publicity, at the end of April the National Football Museum closed its doors at the Deepdale Stadium in Preston. Anyone wishing to pay an act of homage to the great history and heritage of English football will now have to wait until Autumn of next year when it will reopen […]

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Posted in Governance, History | Leave a Comment »

A funny old week in football governance

Posted on March 26, 2010

The week started badly enough with the surprise resignation of Ian Watmore as Chief Executive of the FA (1), swiftly followed by a typically decisive FA reaction, to appoint current chief operating officer Alex Horne on a temporary basis until December in his place (2).  This has been followed by a major round of conspiracy […]

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Posted in Football Association, Governance, Premier League | 1 Comment »

Italy’s new ‘Premier League’

Posted on August 27, 2009

The BBC has reported under the headline Serie A to form breakaway league that “Serie A is set to copy the formation of England’s Premier League“, to be known as Lega Calcio Serie A (1). Before looking at a rather important detail that the BBC omits, it is worth looking at whether the formation of […]

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Posted in Broadcasting rights, Governance | 5 Comments »

Half Premier League ‘technically insolvent’

Posted on August 15, 2009

The latest report from Equifax on the financial state of the clubs in the Premier League (as reported at 1) makes extremely depressing reading. Details are shown below. The Equifax score is based on accounts data, age of accounts, trading stability, profitability, working capital, gearing, and legal and court information. Club Score out of 100 […]

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Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

AFC Liverpool and Liverpool FC

Posted on July 13, 2009

There is a definite uncertainty about AFC Liverpool. No, I’m not referring to either their financial situation or their progress on the pitch. I’m referring to their sense of their own identity. In my earlier posting on The fate of resurrectionist clubs (1), I looked at FC United of Manchester although their predecessor was alive […]

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Posted in Identity, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »


Posted on July 9, 2009

I love stadiums, Victorian (Archie Leitch – what a hero!) or ultra-modern. I love them as buildings, as examples of grand architecture. But I am unsentimental about them otherwise – I do not share the typical British view that they can and must only be associated with one club. As someone who who works in […]

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Posted in Costs, Stadium | 5 Comments »

Culture of secrecy

Posted on June 24, 2009

Researching management in any sector can be hampered by the difficulty in getting data. In the football sector it’s often particularly difficult because of football’s culture of secrecy. Requests for information may be met with the mechanistic response of ‘it’s commercially confidential’, especially if the request is for financial data. While I can readily understand […]

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Posted in Organisational culture | 3 Comments »