Football League Chairman Lord Mawhinney has encouraged League clubs to be economically prudent in the year ahead, as the effects of the worldwide Credit Crunch take hold.

Speaking to Sky Sports News following the publication of The League's Agents' Fees Report for 2007/08, which revealed that clubs committed £11m to agents last season, the former cabinet minister said, "I think this is going to be a difficult year, economically, for a lot of clubs - not because they are run badly, but because the national economy is not in good shape.

"I have been a member of parliament for 26 years, and I understand the pressures on the budgets of ordinary people up and down the country. People spend money on things that they are interested in, or that excite them, but they also spend that money only after they have dealt with the fundamentals of life.

"People's disposable income, what they've got to spend on other things once they deal with these fundamentals, is likely to decrease this year. I think that probably means that some people will spend less on football. Also, a number of companies whose profits are being squeezed may have less money to spend on sponsorship and supporting their local clubs.

"Clearly football fanatics will continue spending their money on football. There will be other people who will say, 'I'd like to spend my money on football but I have to put petrol in the car, stay warm or put food on the table. These are higher priorities'. Consequently, I think this may be a very difficult financial year for a number of clubs.

"Football clubs are an essential part of their communities and communities are hurting. The Bank of England was telling us just this week that communities are likely to continue to hurt for some time. Football cannot be totally protected from that economic squeeze.

"My advice to our own clubs is that you should review your budgets, make sure they are as tight as possible and make sure you administer them as tightly as possible."