By Tony Attwood
Manchester City were bought by Sheikh Mansour, with an estimated individual net worth of at least £17 billion with a family fortune of at least $1 trillion, in September 2009.
He removed Manchester City’s accumulated debt of over £300m and has since worked, and is continuing to work, on the infrastructure of the club. The approximate amount spent on transfers in is around £300m. £500m was said to be available to ensure that Manchester City reached to top of English and European football.
So what has the owner got as a result of this investment of nearly £1bn
In terms of Europe, Man C have not progressed beyond the last sixteen or either the Europa League or the Champions League. Here are the league and FA Cup details…
- 2009: 10th in League, 3rd round in the FA Cup
- 2010: 5th in League, 5th round in the FA Cup
- 2011: 3rd in the League, winners in the FA Cup
- 2012: 1st in the League, 3rd round in the FA Cup
- 2013: 2nd in the League, runners up in the FA Cup
- 2014: 1st in the League, 4th round in the FA Cup
- 2015: ? in the League, 4th round in the FA Cup
So, for £300m transfer investment, £300 spent paying for past accumulated debt, and probably the same amount again on infrastructure (or maybe closer to £400m), Man City have won the league twice and the FA Cup once in seven years.
As for the stadium Man City pay the council £3m a year and and Etihad airlines have said they will create a British hub for Etihad Airways.
Now of course with projects like this it can be said that the results will be seen in the future – but it is not clear if this is the case. Certainly this year’s league table, and the failure in Europe suggest that the imagined duopoly of oil rich Chelsea and Man City winning everything has not happened after seven years of mega investment.
Man City were hauled back once by European FFP, although they did get the damage reduced on appeal, and they have been helped enormously by the apparent abandonment of FFP in the Premier League. So the harm hasn’t been done too much at that end. It just seems that seven years is not enough time to get to dominance.
Certainly Man City have been able to take themselves into the top three over the past four years and they have won three of the main domestic trophies over the period. And that of course is more than Arsenal. But I think maybe the owners, and some supporters and commentators expected more.
Does this mean that £900m to £1bn spent on infrastructure, players and debt clearance is not enough to get a club right to the top? If so, just how much does it cost? Presumably over £1bn.
And that is interesting because it could be this that puts off further rich investors. I think some (like the Venky’s at Blackburn) thought they could do it for far far less than this. Man City has been a bit of a wake up call all round.
Of course Man City’s investment is in huge contrast with the struggle that Arsenal have had to pay for their £380m stadium over this time, and the rent of £3m a year that Man City have to pay looks like peanuts compared to Arsenal’s year on year investment – all done without the £900m investment package.
Which raises the question: what of Arsenal in the face of this £1bn investment?
Clearly we haven’t won the league in these last years, and just have last season’s FA Cup and a nearly paid for stadium to show for our endeavours. But at the same time, our old chums who write under the name “Telegraph Sport” have come up with an article saying…
Arsenal can win the Premier League – here are seven reasons why
Now I don’t take much note of the Telegraph when it says negative stuff about Arsenal so I am not going to say much when they are positive, but still, I always strive for balance… (No actually I don’t, but anyway I want to quote this).
My point here is that after seven years of Man C investment and Arsenal’s struggling to pay for the stadium, Man C are being given a rough ride by the press who have suddenly started writing these seven reasons for hope… (This is an abbreviated review of the Telegraph’s piece)…
1: Four out of Arsenal’s last six matches are at home
“Arsenal have won their last nine home matches in the League – a club record – and has included impressive wins such as the 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool at the start of April. In the form Arsenal are in at the moment, it’s hard to see Swansea, Sunderland and West Brom picking up any points in north London.”
2: Chelsea are still to visit the Emirates
“A defeat for Jose Mourinho’s men could also affect them negatively in their remaining fixtures.”
3: Arsenal’s squad is stronger than any in the league
“Arsenal have more Premier League goalscorers this season than any other team, and Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky can’t get a game right now. At the back, Arsenal look almost as well staffed with international defenders Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs and Calum Chambers similarly twiddling their thumbs.
“Just to add to Arsenal’s options, they are soon to welcome back Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Debuchy and Mikel Arteta, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also to return before the end of the season….”
4: Arsenal can’t stop winning at the moment
“Eight league wins in a row is Arsenal’s best run since the ‘Invincibles’ season, and in that run they haven’t once fallen behind or conceded an equaliser….”
5: United at Old Trafford should hold no fears
On paper, a match away at in-form Manchester United looks like being Arsenal’s toughest test, but their 2-1 win in the FA Cup will put paid to any inferiority complex.
6: If opposition goalkeepers stop dropping clangers, Chelsea will start dropping points
“Chelsea can’t keep getting away with the insipid displays that have characterised their recent form…”
7: Chelsea have some tough looking fixtures
You can imagine the rest.
Of course this is just a Telegraph dream, written just to set us up to knock us down, but still, it is interesting.
While Man City are being pushed off their perch and this week people are talking up Liverpool again, we’re being set up as very unlikely possible champions.
But that’s no my point here. My point is that Man City have invested nearly a billion pounds turning the club round, and they have improved their results a lot. But they don’t have the domination that I think their owner and his advisers imagined they would have by now.
Nor do we, of course, but we are on the up, and we haven’t used up the money of an obscenely rich family.
I think it makes our re-birth all the more remarkable.
Of course we could have taken billion pounds from an oil rich person, but then morally we’d be in the same place as Man City. I’d sooner be where we are.