Football: Third Division preview - Funds dry up at the bottom

WITH MOST clubs in England's top two divisions taking their transfer business to Europe and beyond rather than finding fresh talent in the lower levels of the Nationwide League, times are hard down in the basement.

Last summer the 24 Third Division clubs shared a transfer income of over pounds 4m. This year that sum has shrunk to less than pounds 1.4m. Barnet's shirt sponsorship, by Loaded magazine, seems inappropriate - Brighton's deal with Skint Records is far more apt.

In the post-Bosman football world, clubs with rich backers tend to be tipped for success. The bookies' favourites for the Third Division title are Darlington, who have an ambitious and wealthy new chairman in George Reynolds. His funds, plus the pounds 300,000 received from Aberdeen for the goalkeeper David Preece, has allowed his manager David Hodgson to offer tempting salaries. Lee Nogan, the former Welsh international striker, has arrived from Grimsby and has been joined by, among others, Neil Heaney from Manchester City and Neil Aspin from Port Vale.

Northampton and York, arguably unlucky to be relegated, may bounce back while, if their manager Barry Fry can hang on to some gifted young players, Peterborough could fulfil their potential at last.

An unexpected challenge, considering only three clubs finished below them in May, could come from Hull City. Aided by his vastly experienced assistant John McGovern, the Tigers' player-manager Warren Joyce performed a minor miracle in avoiding relegation last season. Good players such as Jason Harris from Preston and John Eyre from Scunthorpe have arrived in the summer.

In the lower half of the table, the three Devon teams may struggle as could Barnet, who are distracted by off-field problems. They must find a new home by this time next year. Hartlepool and Carlisle, 22nd and 23rd last term, look in worse shape, though.

Carlisle, who have had three managers during a shambolic summer, cannot always rely on last-minute winning goals from goalkeepers for salvation.

Predictions: Automatic promotion: Darlington, Peterborough, Northampton. Play-offs: Hull, Swansea, York, Brighton. Relegation: Carlisle.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before