One year of spending in the PL clearly does not guarantee success.




According to ManUtdNews “Ten Premier League clubs are lobbying to block takeovers closely linked to nation-states” following a bid by Islamic Bank for the club.   Indeed it is increasingly felt in many quarters that the takeover of Newcastle United was in fact “The Newcastle chairman, Yasir al-Rumayyan, has been described as “a sitting minister of the Saudi government” the state of Saudi Arabia not an independent investment fund as they buyers had claimed.” .

And indeed it has been revealed that there was involvement by the British government in the deal which “did encourage Premier League to approve Newcastle takeover,” as the Guardian has reported – the implication being that the UK government see this takeover as an act of helpful diplomacy.

Under the current rules nation states can’t take over Premier League clubs but the way that these rules are being got round through having a closely linked but nominally separate entity buy the club, rather than the state, is meaning that clubs that don’t sell out to a nation state, are fearing that they soon won’t be able to compete.


Manchester City have indeed done incredibly well since being taken over by Sheikh Mansour, who has an estimated individual net worth of at least £17 billion and a family fortune of at least $1 trillion.  What difference does it make if it is him backing the club, or a state backing the club?

The argument that says “there is nothing to worry about,” comes from Chelsea.  They are not backed by the state, but they were backed by a man with unthinkable sums of money at his disposal, and yet now they are not successful.  This theory goes that buying a club is not a guarantee of success, and nation states don’t want to be associated with failure.

Then again, to come at this from a different direction, West Ham United was backed by the UK state in the sense that the state gave the club their ground for free.  We did make a bit of a fuss about that, as did a few other publications, but no one really cared too much, and look at where West Ham are now.

The simple fact is that while money is incredibly helpful to a football club, it is not everything, and if football really wants to have a more level playing field football can always impose much stricter financial fair play rules.  For example, there could be a maximum spend per season on new players.

But even if that doesn’t come into play what we could consider is the simple fact that money doesn’t buy success.  This table below is based on data from Transfermarkt – to which we have added an extra set of  columns – showing the position of the club in the league, and then in the final column the position of the club in the spending league minus the position in the playing league.

So Chelsea are first in the spending league having spent €543.66m more than they have received in the last two transfer windows, but are 11th in the Premier League, meaning they are ten places below where their spending would suggest they should be – if spending actually related to performance.

In fact, spending does not relate to performance.  Nottingham Forest might have a bit of an excuse given that they were in the Championship last time around but West Ham United and Southampton have no such excuse.

# Club Nett spend Lge Pos Difference
1 11 -10
2 4 -2
3 3 0
4 18 -14
5 14 -11
6 1 +5
7 5 +2
8 20 -12
9 13 -4
10 15 -5
11 8 +3
12 10 +2
13 9 +4
14 6 +8
15 12 +3
16 16 0
17 2 +15
18 17 +1
19 19 0
20 7 +13


The position of Manchester City near the foot of the table shows us however a weakness in this model – although it does remain a helpful guide tp to a point.  Manchester City have been spending massively over a number of seasons, and we are here only considering the spend from the last season.

What we can do – and indeed will do – is add together the nett spending of the clubs over a number of years and then also add into the table how many trophies the clubs have won during that time.

We will have that data soon.    But for now the message is clear.  A one year spend does not guarantee a rise in performance.


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