English Premiership charms big investors

Deloitte Sports Business Group consultant Alan Switzer contends that the Premier League have given their clubs every chance of becoming highly profitable with the TV contracts worth ‘1 706 billion which were signed earlier this year.

The deals with BSkyB and Setanta come into operation next season, when clubs will receive their first windfalls, and with the three-year deal worth 67 percent more than the current contract they stand to cash in.

Switzer points to signs of player wage bills being cut and he expects that trend to continue during coming seasons, with the savings made going towards improving the financial health of clubs.

“The volume of investors certainly has increased in the last year or so,” said Switzer.

“In terms of why, the current financial outlook for Premiership clubs has never been so strong, particularly with the new broadcasting deals starting next season.”

The new revenue going into Premiership clubs might have been expected to bump up transfer fees and wages, but Switzer observes that “it is all bottom line and potentially profit”.

“The key thing for clubs is to keep that in the club. In the past when TV deals have been announced, a large chunk has gone on player wages. This time we’re confident clubs will be able to retain a large amount of that.”

Attack on brother shocks

Chelsea star

Chelsea’s ’16 million star Jon Obi Mikel was in shock after his brother was beaten up and threatened with death in an armed car-jacking.

Ebere Obi was left with facial injuries while driving his ’50 000 BMW X5 in the Nigerian city of Jos.

Ebere, a goalkeeper with local side Rangers International, was travelling with pal Ugo Efugh, who plays in defence for their league rivals Mighty Jets.

The pair were accosted by two armed men who took them hostage in the car and were driven into the bush and tied up.

One of the robbers hit Ebere in the face and Efugh said: “An argument ensued whether to shoot us or not. Miraculously God intervened and we were not s hot.”

Becks will be back: Woodgate

Jonathan Woodgate is backing his Real Madrid team-mate David Beckham to return to the England fold.

The former Leeds and Newcastle centre-back, who has joined home-town club Middlesbrough on a season-long loan, believes that Becks is simply too classy a player for Steve McClaren to ignore for good.

Woodgate became a close friend and confidant of Beckham’s during his two years in the Spanish capital and insists that the former England captain still has a burning desire to represent his country.

He said: “David Beckham will be back for England. I don’t think we have seen the last of him at international level. I got to know David well during our time together in Madrid and I know what playing for England means to him.

The attraction of Champions League

Manchester United summer signing Michael Carrick claims the prospect of Champions League football was a “massive factor” in his decision to join the club.

The former Tottenham midfielder, who cost ‘18,6 million, could only watch when United demolished Fulham 5-1 in the opening match of the season after picking up an ankle injury in the pre-season clash with Ajax.

“I’ve come here to win things but everyone expects us to do that,” he said. The squad believes we’re capable of it. Whatever competition Manchester United are in, we’re always going to be contenders. Champions League, Premiership, FA Cup, Carling Cup ‘ we’re always looking to win them. That’s the big attraction.”

Ferguson wants winter break

Sir Alex Ferguson has called for a winter break in the football season.

The Manchester United manager insists he has supported the idea of a mid-season break in the domestic calendar for many years. A number of managers have lobbied for a break but it has been vetoed as the number of clubs in the Premiership would be reduced and the FA Cup would also be affected.

Ferguson said: “I’ve always been a supporter. It makes me laugh when managers come out and talk about winter breaks ‘ I championed it when I was manager of Aberdeen in 1980 and I did again when I first came down here in 1986! And there’s still nothing done, it’s ridiculous. We had international friendlies at the beginning of June so why can’t we play the season until the end of May? The players need to keep going anyway for these internationals.”

September 2006
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