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Tag Archives: Premier League

Newcastle United takeover: Financial firm tables formal bid in region of £300m

Mike Ashley took over the running of Newcastle United in 2007

A financial firm headed by British businesswoman Amanda Staveley has tabled a formal takeover bid in the region of £300m for Newcastle United.

PCP Capital Partners has been in talks with the Premier League club’s owner Mike Ashley for about a month, and a source close to the deal said an offer has now been made.

Ashley said on 16 October he wanted to sell after 10 years in charge.

Staveley watched Newcastle’s 1-1 home draw against Liverpool on 1 October.

The 44-year-old helped broker the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour bin-Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 2009, and it was reported she led Dubai International Capital’s £400m bid for Liverpool in 2008.

Ashley, 53, has been a divisive figure at St James’ Park since taking over in 2007, with some supporters regularly protesting about the way the businessman has run the club.

He bought Newcastle for £134.4m in 2007. Their latest accounts – up to 30 June 2016 and before the club’s relegation to the Championship – showed a profit of £900,000 and turnover of £126m in 2015-16.

The Magpies have been relegated twice from the Premier League during Ashley’s reign.

After winning promotion last season, Rafael Benitez’s side are 11th in the Premier League after 12 matches.

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Two West Yorkshire rivals offer cheapest seasons tickets in league football

Bradford City were pipped by a West Yorkshire rival for the cheapest season ticket price out of all of the professional league clubs in the country, according to a national survey.

The Bantams’ cheapest season ticket price of £149 was only beaten by Huddersfield Town’s £100 offer, which involved fans who kept season tickets for the past nine years being given the special price for their Premier League campaign.

The study looks at prices charged by the 92 Premier League and Football League sides.

James Mason, Bradford City’s chief operating officer, said: “We applaud Huddersfield Town for honouring a pledge by their owner Dean Hoyle for fans who have supported him during his tenure and we understand around 4,000 were eligible for the £100 offer. If we as clubs can drive the price of football down across the board then we welcome this.’ We’re satisfied that all Bradford City fans, new or existing have the opportunity to watch football for considerably less than everywhere else. We think large crowds equal a better atmosphere and it helps the players and leads to a better fan experience.”

After the Terriers and Bantams, the next cheapest season tickets can be found at Charlton Athletic at £175, followed by League Two side Newport County on £195.

It is the third season Bradford City have run the £149 season ticket offer, in a bid to get 20,000 fans signed up.

City’s most expensive season ticket is £299, while the most expensive season ticket in the country is for Premier League giants Arsenal at £1,768.50.

BBC Sport’s annual Price of Football study looked at more than 2,000 ticket prices at 220 clubs.

The study also found Bradford City’s highest single match ticket cost £25, for the second successive year.

The club’s pies are priced £3.30, its cups of tea cost £2.20 and its programmes are £3. City’s junior replica shirts cost £36, while its adults jerseys are £45, both the same as last year.

City also take care of away fans visiting Valley Parade, with the cheapest at £20 and most expensive at £25, again the same as last year.

Meanwhile, Premier League Burnley’s cheapest season ticket is £329, while in the Championship, Bradford’s arch rivals Leeds United charge £398 for their cheapest season tickets at Elland Road.

In the National League, West Yorkshire rivals Guiseley and FC Halifax Town charge their fans £240 and £249 respectively for the cheapest season tickets.

Two West Yorkshire rivals offer cheapest season tickets in league football

Bradford City were pipped by a West Yorkshire rival for the cheapest season ticket price out of all of the professional league clubs in the country, according to a national survey.

The Bantams’ cheapest season ticket price of £149 was only beaten by Huddersfield Town’s £100 offer, which involved fans who kept season tickets for the past nine years being given the special price for their Premier League campaign.

The study looks at prices charged by the 92 Premier League and Football League sides.

James Mason, Bradford City’s chief operating officer, said: “We applaud Huddersfield Town for honouring a pledge by their owner Dean Hoyle for fans who have supported him during his tenure and we understand around 4,000 were eligible for the £100 offer. If we as clubs can drive the price of football down across the board then we welcome this.’ We’re satisfied that all Bradford City fans, new or existing have the opportunity to watch football for considerably less than everywhere else. We think large crowds equal a better atmosphere and it helps the players and leads to a better fan experience.”

After the Terriers and Bantams, the next cheapest season tickets can be found at Charlton Athletic at £175, followed by League Two side Newport County on £195.

It is the third season Bradford City have run the £149 season ticket offer, in a bid to get 20,000 fans signed up.

City’s most expensive season ticket is £299, while the most expensive season ticket in the country is for Premier League giants Arsenal at £1,768.50.

BBC Sport’s annual Price of Football study looked at more than 2,000 ticket prices at 220 clubs.

The study also found Bradford City’s highest single match ticket cost £25, for the second successive year.

The club’s pies are priced £3.30, its cups of tea cost £2.20 and its programmes are £3. City’s junior replica shirts cost £36, while its adults jerseys are £45, both the same as last year.

City also take care of away fans visiting Valley Parade, with the cheapest at £20 and most expensive at £25, again the same as last year.

Meanwhile, Premier League Burnley’s cheapest season ticket is £329, while in the Championship, Bradford’s arch rivals Leeds United charge £398 for their cheapest season tickets at Elland Road.

In the National League, West Yorkshire rivals Guiseley and FC Halifax Town charge their fans £240 and £249 respectively for the cheapest season tickets.

MP urges football clubs to help pay for matchday police costs

SHIPLEY MP Philip Davies has urged professional football clubs to help pay for policing costs at matches.

He said if the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) refused then Government should set in law the amount clubs have to pay to police forces attending their homes games.

Mr Davies said: “I have met with the Home Secretary to discuss this with her, and can I urge the minister to get the Home Secretary to meet with the Premier League and the EFL and ask them to make a voluntary contribution off the massive amounts of money they get from TV rights before they redistribute it out to the clubs.

“If they refuse to do so legislate to make sure police forces get a realistic figure for the cost of policing matches, as otherwise it is money that is taken away from neighbourhood policing in all of our constituencies.”

Mr Davies made the comments in the House of Commons after Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh said the Metropolitan Police spent almost £7 million last year policing Premier League games.

Despite the huge cost and that clubs draw in £240m each match day, she said clubs only contributed £360,000.

Mr Davies wants football clubs and other sporting organisations to pay a decent proportion of cost to over-stretched forces.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: “They do contribute over £2.4billion into the public finances from Premier League.

“We are aware of the continued increase in costs to police for football matches and other sporting events and this is something we have an ongoing discussion with all those that are involved.”

Scandal in the game

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Media captionAndy Woodward says despite the ‘massive effect’ on his life he is glad he spoke out

“The impact it’s had has been catastrophic, and you live with that all of your life. I can’t put into words what it has done to me. I think we survive and that’s it. We survive.”

When Andy Woodward first spoke out on November 16, last year, to the Guardian newspaper and then the BBC‘s Victoria Derbyshire programme, it felt like an important moment.

A former professional footballer, he sat on a couch under bright studio lights and gave a brutally honest account of the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his youth coach. It was harrowing stuff.

“Andy Woodward’s pain was visibly tangible,” said a viewer on Twitter. “Sadly football is no place to open up on any subject. I applaud his courage.”

Image caption Mr Woodward says since speaking out there have been “moments of real darkness”

“I have sat here watching this interview in utter disbelief,” said another email to the programme. “Let’s hope what Andy has done will help others out there.”

A week later and Mr Woodward was back on the same couch, this time alongside three middle-aged men all speaking eloquently for the first time about the abuse they say they suffered as young boys. All three had contacted him after his first TV appearance.

By Christmas, more than 25 former professionals had spoken out publicly in what Football Association chairman Greg Clarke was then calling the biggest crisis facing football. Many others contacted the BBC to tell their stories in private.

The last set of numbers released by the police in September give perhaps the best idea of the scale of the scandal although, if anything, they are still likely to be an underestimation.

To date, 784 victims have come forward linked to 331 clubs across the country from the grassroots to the Premier League. The youngest person identified so far was just four years old when they were abused. A total of 285 suspects are now being looked at as part of a series of police investigations.

Image caption Mr Woodward’s interview led to other former professionals coming forward with allegations

“It’s been the most dramatic year of my life. At times there have been moments of real darkness,” said Mr Woodward, looking back.

“There have been times where I’ve thought, ‘Should I have done it?’ But when I see the numbers who have come forward, plus people talking about it in Parliament, it’s given people the courage to speak out.”

Elements of the scandal have, by necessity, vanished temporarily from the public eye as those police investigations start to make their way towards court.

The FA‘s own independent investigation, led by the QC Clive Sheldon, has started its work. At the last count, the team had interviewed 15 victims, with plans to speak to another 20 or 30 more. It is due to report back by Easter 2018.

A similar inquiry is under way in Scotland.

body-narrow-width”> Image copyright Colorsport/REX/Shutterstock
Image caption Andy Woodward, pictured in 1995, says “change needs to happen now”

Certainly some big name clubs have questions to answer. How did Aston Villa, for example, allow an abusive scout to remain on the books more than 18 months after staff say they were first warned about his behaviour?

There is pressure for change. A group of former players have formed Save, a not-for-profit group. It’s pushing for, among other things, better criminal records checks and a new law making the covering up of abuse a criminal act.

But are football clubs and the FA now doing enough to protect the next generation of young players?

“No,” says Mr Woodward. “We can’t wait until the end of the [FA’s] independent review. Change needs to happen now.”

“I don’t believe it’s a safer place now than a year ago. What happened all those years ago to all those players cannot happen again.”

The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

Cost of football ‘puts off’ young fans

Eighteen of the 20 Premier League clubs offer specific discounts for teenagers and young adults

The BBC Price of Football study has found that the majority of ticket prices have frozen or fallen for a third year – yet a poll of young adult football fans suggests the cost is still putting them off.

This year BBC Sport asked more than 200 clubs across the United Kingdom for information on ticket prices and found almost two thirds of price categories have been reduced or remained the same across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In a separate poll, we asked 1,000 18 to 24-year-old fans living in Britain how they engage with football and four in five (82%) said the cost of tickets was an obstacle to them going to more matches.

The annual study found that 135 clubs out of 190 in England, Scotland and Wales offer reduced prices for teenagers and young adults – separate from any student concessions – but 55% of the fans we polled said they had stopped going completely or go to fewer games because it was too expensive.

Young adult fans can save, on average, £146.94 on season tickets in the English Premier League and Football League, while in the top four divisions in Scotland the average saving on a season ticket is £143.66.

According to figures from the Premier League, young adult fans bought 4% of all season tickets this year, while a report in 2015 suggested the average age of an adult supporter in the Premier League was 41.

Rob Wilson, football finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University, says top clubs need to do more to attract young adults. “These fans are the next generation of season ticket holders but they have been brought up in a sanitised and expensive environment,” he told BBC Sport.

“With this in mind, they are reluctant to pay so much to watch their teams play and these findings should act as a warning to the Premier League elite – they ignore this group of fans at their peril.”

In a statement, the Premier League said: “Clubs engage with their fans in many ways and hugely appreciate their loyal and passionate support.

Home ground v home comforts – how young fans watch football

“For young fans specifically, all clubs offer concession prices, including discounted junior season tickets.”

The online poll, conducted by ComRes, also showed young fans are more likely to engage with football by playing games on a console or PC (61%) than playing in a football team (37%).

More young football fans bet on football (44%) than play in a team (37%), but more fans play in a team than have a fantasy football team (33%).

Only one in four fans (26%) said they go to watch football live more than once a month.

Other findings:

  • Two thirds (65%) of young football fans said the cost of travel was an obstacle to attending more football matches.
  • Three quarters (74%) of young fans said they get their football news from social media – 24% from print newspapers.
  • Three in five fans aged 18-24 go to a sport app or mobile site (59%) for football news while at least half access it via a TV results service (53%). 
  • 70% of supporters agreed that football clubs did value their fans, but more than half of the teenagers and young adults (56%) said professional football was not run with them in mind.
  • Similar numbers of football fans asked said they go to a football match at least once a week (11%), two to three times a month (15%) or five to 10 times a season (14%).
  • One in six (16%) male football fans aged 18-24 said they go to a match at least once a week, compared to 7% of women in this group.

The picture across Britain

Of the top four leagues in England, 91% of clubs offer special prices for young adults, separate from any student concessions. The age ranges vary from 16-24 years old, with most targeting the 18-21 bracket.

The biggest discounts come in the Premier League, where an Arsenal member aged 16-19 can purchase a season ticket for £384 compared to the cheapest adult season ticket at £891 – a saving of £507.

Chelsea offer the biggest discount on single matchday tickets for their under 20s, who can pay £15.50 instead of £47 – a saving of £31.50.

But despite these discounts, 81% of the young adult football fans living in England who were polled say they feel the cost of tickets is stopping them from going to more matches.

In Scotland, 27 of the 42 clubs offer young adult discounts.

In the poll, 79% of fans say cost is an obstacle to them attending football matches.

A third of the clubs in the Welsh Premier League offer special discounts for young adults.

Of the young adults asked in Wales, 90% say the cost of tickets puts them off going to watch football.

Analysis and reaction

Rob Wilson, Football Finance Expert, Sheffield Hallam University:

E-sports are becoming big business and this is the next key challenge for clubs. How do you convert e-sport players into terrace-goers? Can you link the e-game to the actual one? How can mobile technologies support this at half time, for example? Moreover, the way that young fans consume information is changing – clubs need to engage fans much more effectively when it comes to social media.

We’ve seen big reductions in subscriptions to the pay TV platforms so it’s unsurprising young people think twice about live football. There are also lots of options for young people to spend their leisure pound (the cinema, gym, university, cars etc) so football clubs need to work much harder to engage them. There is no magic bullet but they need to do more and communicate that more effectively. The long-term impact of young fans feeling priced out is yet to be truly felt.

Kevin Rowles, economics expert:

What we are seeing, especially with young people, is that incomes are being squeezed in real terms and this will lead to a decrease in demand, particularly as there are alternative leisure opportunities. The number of fans attending football will also respond to rise and fall in prices because of the price elasticity of demand for tickets.

Support for a team is often a matter of loyalty and hence lower prices may not attract many new fans. If young people find their finances are stretched, they may make a rational choice to follow a team by other means such as screened matches.

Young people tend to be in work but with the very slow growth in wages in the last 10 years, their income is lagging behind living costs. Real wages are not rising and young people are also saddled with student debt. Rent and utility bills have to be paid and they are rising faster than other prices.

Then, when you have to pay for food on top, it means things like sport and paying to watch football are not a priority.

Dr Rachel Andrew, clinical psychologist:

There are a number of different, interacting factors that play a part in young people’s decision making. These factors are relevant to decisions made about leisure (and in particular football). These include factors such as: 1) temperament and personality and 2) past history – including childhood memories, parents’ interests & values, and past teachers or peer influence.

However, there are some interesting trends around leisure also. Young people are drinking less. Young people are more thoughtful about what they want to do with their time and money. Superficially it looks like they have increased choice about what they may do, but in reality they also have less money and less time.

As a young person gets older, it often becomes more important to make decisions that will not alienate them from a social group of friends when compared to decisions that their parents may not like or may be unhealthy.

I am not surprised young people are engaging with football online through videos/fantasy football and probably through social media & apps too – as this is a trend we are seeing across the board with leisure.

I feel sad and disappointed that young people are playing less football as there are so many physical and mental health benefits to this. It is sad that the big drive to increase football in schools is not having a long-term effect once children leave school.

Do you still go to games?

Do you attend football matches regularly? If so, what keeps you coming back? Or if you don’t, what stops you from going? Get in touch using this link.

City fans’ group scoop national award upset

A BRADFORD man beat off competition from Premier League giants to win a national football award.

Humayun Islam, 40, chairman of the Bangla Bantams, a Bradford City supporters’ group, won the behind-the-scenes prize at the Asian Football Awards (AFA) last night.

He defeated Rashid Abba, education manager at West Ham United, and Nav Singh, sports scientist at Arsenal, for the honour.

It is the latest national accolade for Mr Islam or the Bangla Bantams, after the group won the inaugural Fans for Diversity Award at the Football Supporters’ Federation Awards last year.

Bangla Bantams was set up in February 2015 with help from the Fans for Diversity campaign fund, which is jointly run by anti-racism group Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation. The project promotes and encourages participation by the South Asian community in grassroots football in the district.

The Asian Football Awards (AFA) were created in 2012 to reward and recognise Asian people in the football industry.

David Moyes: West Ham name manager to succeed Slaven Bilic

David Moyes spent 11 years at Everton before managing Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland

David Moyes said he has a “big job” ahead to lift West Ham up the Premier League table after being appointed as the club’s manager.

The former Everton and Manchester United boss replaces Slaven Bilic, who was sacked on Monday with the Hammers in the relegation zone.

Moyes has been out of work since May, when he resigned as Sunderland manager after the club’s relegation to the Championship.

West Ham joint chairman David Sullivan said the 54-year-old Scot is “the right man to turn things around”.

He added: “We need somebody with experience, knowledge of the Premier League and the players in it, and we believe David can get the best out of the players.

“He is highly regarded and respected within the game and will bring fresh ideas, organisation and enthusiasm.

“He proved with Everton that he has great qualities and we feel that West Ham United is a club that will give David the platform to display those qualities again.”

Moyes’ first game in charge will be at Watford in the Premier League on 19 November.

He added: “I’m really looking forward to meeting the supporters, being in the stadium with them. I’m looking forward to them getting right behind the team and my team also.

“We need their support, we need everybody with us.”

What does Moyes face at West Ham?

The Hammers are 18th, having won just two Premier League matches in 2017-18 – and lost their first three league games of the campaign.

Bilic spent a reported £42m on players in the summer – including forward Marko Arnautovic from Stoke City for a club record £20m and former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen for £16m.

But West Ham have taken just nine points from 11 league matches, conceding 23 goals.

Following the Watford match, West Ham host Leicester City and go to Everton, before a difficult run in December which brings league games against leaders Manchester City, last season’s champions Chelsea and Arsenal.

Later in the month, the Hammers travel to face the Gunners in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

West Ham’s forthcoming fixtures
19 November: Watford (a); 24 November: Leicester City (h); 29 November: Everton (a)
3 December: Manchester City (a); 9 December: Chelsea (h); 13 December: Arsenal (a)

What will Moyes bring to the Hammers?

Moyes, who started his managerial career at Preston North End, was voted LMA Manager of the Year three times during an 11-year spell at Everton from 2002 to 2013. In 11 full seasons, the Toffees finished in the top eight nine times.

He succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United boss on his fellow Scot’s recommendation when he retired after a trophy-laden 26 years in charge at Old Trafford.

But despite signing a six-year deal with the then Premier League champions in 2013, he was sacked 10 months later with United seventh in the table.

Moyes went on to manage Real Sociedad in Spain but was sacked by the La Liga club after a year in charge in November 2015.

He took over at Sunderland in July 2016 before quitting in May 2017 after the Blacks Cats were relegated, having finished bottom of the Premier League.

Former West Ham striker Dean Ashton told BBC Radio 5 live that Moyes was “the safe option if you’re thinking about grinding out until the end of the season and safety”.

But he added: “As a player, David Moyes coming in wouldn’t inspire me.”

During his Black Cats reign, Moyes also attracted controversy for telling BBC reporter Vicki Sparks she might “get a slap” in March, leading to a Football Association charge for improper conduct and a £30,000 fine.

He said he “deeply regrets” making the comment and later apologised to Sparks, who did not make a complaint.

Analysis

BBC Sport’s Simon Stone

Moyes’ arrival at West Ham has not been greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm by the club’s support, something owners David Sullivan and David Gold are aware of.

However, it is the Scot’s diligence on the training ground that is understood to be the major attraction in the decision.

West Ham spent in excess of £40m in the summer to sign former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, Manchester City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart, and Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic, who cost a club record £20m.

But, as a collective, West Ham have badly underperformed.

Sullivan and Gold feel they need someone to galvanise the current group of players rather than spending more money on completely revamping the squad.

What do the fans say?

Graeme Howlett, editor of the West Ham fans’ website Knees Up Mother Brown

The fans seem quite unanimous in that they are not particularly keen to see Moyes come in. They would prefer to see someone more progressive.

I suspect there will be an awful lot of criticism for the board, who are already under intense pressure following the move to the Olympic Stadium, which has not gone down well.

Various reasons have been mentioned, including his record at Sunderland, where he came in at a similar position and failed to keep them in the Premier League. There was also the incident with the female reporter which has been mentioned a few times.

West Ham have lost their way – Allardyce

Boss of Bradford City fans’ group hopes for an ‘upset’ in final of awards

A Bradford man will be “looking for an upset” when he does battle with representatives of Premier League giants for a national football award.

Humayun Islam, 40, chairman of the Bangla Bantams, a Bradford City supporters’ group, has been shortlisted for the behind-the-scenes prize at the Asian Football Awards (AFA).

He is up against Rashid Abba, education manager at West Ham United, and Nav Singh, sports scientist at Arsenal, for the honour.

The ceremony has been organised by Inventive Sports consultancy firm and is supported by the Football Association (FA).

It is not the first time Mr Islam or the Bangla Bantams have been up for a national award. The group won the inaugural Fans for Diversity Award at the Football Supporters’ Federation Awards held last year.

Bangla Bantams was set up in February 2015 with help from the Fans for Diversity campaign fund, which is jointly run by anti-racism group Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation. The project promotes and encourages participation by the South Asian community in grassroots football in the district.

Mr Islam said he was happy to be shortlisted for the award, but hopes for an upset over his Premier League opponents.

He said: “It is amazing to be part of the awards.

“It’s great to be shortlisted and nominated for it. I’m really pleased but it’s really daunting.

“It is harder work for a League One club like Bradford City to raise its profile, than it is for a Premier League club. I will be looking for an upset on the awards night.

“It is amazing to be part of the AFA night. I’m really humbled to be part of the night and to be nominated.

“It is also recognition for all of the hard work we have done. It shows that you can get recognised.

“It helps to put Bradford on the map. I’m hoping to win and bring the trophy back up north.

“For me it’s great to go down south for the awards and be part of something with people associated with other professional clubs. If it does happen, and I win, then that is the cherry on the cake.

“Bangla Bantams is about bringing the wider community together. It is to use football for community cohesion work.

“We want to continue with our work and inspire more young people, especially, to get into football. Going to Valley Parade, the crowd is so diverse now.”

The Asian Football Awards (AFA) were created in 2012 to reward and recognise Asian people in the football industry. The aim is to provide a platform for Asian people to promote their skills while also showing the footballing world that coaches, volunteers, players, administrators and fans are Asians who love the game.

It is one of ten categories, the others are the FA For All; coach; young player recognition; non-league player; media; grassroots; team; women’s player and player recognition awards. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, November 14, at The Grange St Paul’s Hotel, London.

Mr Islam is also chairman of Shapla Sports Initiative, a scheme which holds sports sessions for children at the BEAP Community Sports Hall, Cornwall Road, Manningham.

l Comment – page 10

Paradise Papers: Who is in control of Everton?

Questions have been raised in the leaked Paradise Papers about who controls Everton FC and whether Premier League rules have been broken.

Farhad Moshiri sold his Arsenal stake in 2016 to buy nearly 50% of Everton.

But the leaked documents suggest his original Arsenal stake was funded by a “gift” from oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who owns 30.4% of Arsenal, raising the question of whether his money is now in Everton.

Mr Moshiri and Mr Usmanov strenuously denied the money was a gift.

Find out more about the Paradise Papers.