This is when foortball starts to change 2: the Man C case



By Tony Attwood

The BBC recently compiled a chart adding together the matchday, commercial and broadcast revenue of clubs as shown in their 2023 financial reports.  Manchester City were of course top, followed by Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and in sixth place Arsenal.

Arsenal’s total income from these sources noted above was £467m.  By comparison, Manchester City had a revenue of £712m – which is over half as much again as Arsenal.

The figures also show that in football there really is a “big six” as the seventh placed team in the table was Newcastle with an income of £250m – just over half as much as Arsenal and around a third of the Manchester City income.   Manchester City’s “commercial” income (which is the money that all the arguments are about – income excluding that from match days and broadcasting) is off the chart compared to most clubs, and double Arsenal’s total.

Indeed this disparity of income (£712m for Man City compared to £467m for Arsenal) shows what an incredible season Arsenal have just had in getting within two points of Manchester City, as well as showing how much of a financial advantage Manchester City has over Arsenal.

However, we must admit last season was a slightly below-average season for Manchester City, if one compares it with the last seven seasons in which Manchester City have won the league six times.

In one sense we could argue that Manchester City have actually been in a state of mild decline: their best goalscoring season was in 2019/20, their best defensive season in 2018/19, and their highest points in 2017/18.

But this would be a little misleading, for last season Manchester City won only one game fewer than their average across the last seven seasons, and only lost one game more.

But this does not mean that Manchester City are unbeatable juggernauts.  They have lost between two and nine games in each of the last seven seasons and conceded between 23 and 35 goals in each of these seasons.

To try to get to grips with how far Arsenal are behind Manchester City we can compare Arsenal last season with Manchester City across their last seven years in which they have won the league six times.


Club /  time P W D L F A Pts
Man C (average) 38 29 5 4 96 30 92
Arsenal 2023/24 38 28 5 5 91 29 89


There is a difference between the Arsenal performance last season and Manchester C’s performance on average across their title winning period, but it is not that great.

However, the spending capacity of the two clubs means that the difference is an enormously difficult one for Arsenal to scale.  For although it would seem the difference is only turning one defeat into a victory and scoring three more goals, that assumes Manchester City will stand still, which seems unlikely (unless the League really does get its act together and starts imposing penalties for the club’s years of alleged misdemeanours).

Following precedent in other cases, Manchester City’s 115 charges should bring a massive points deduction which they will then appeal against.  But we now have the fact that meanwhile Manchester City are suing the league, claiming that sponsorship agreements are incompatible with UK competition law.  These are the rules that stop clubs from arranging sponsorship deals with companies they are “associated” with (or indeed own). which (rather amusingly given Man C’s claims of late) are restrictive and anti-competitive.”   

Even more laughably Man C are claiming damages for a loss of earnings.

A Man C victory would undermine the whole structure of the league, in that the league creates its own rules based on a two-thirds majority vote.    Daniel Gore from the legal firm Withers, is quoted in the Independent as saying, “It is hard to see how effective governance could take place without a (majority vote) threshold such as this, so Man City’s challenge could plunge the Premier League’s governance structure into chaos and make it harder for any decision to take place.”

This leads to the conclusion that Untold reached as the story first emerged, that if Man City were to win either this case, or have their 115 charges overturned, the league title would become unavailable for other clubs, and the other clubs would all most likely resign from the League.

They could then sign a Founder Members Agreement for a new league exactly as they did on 17 July 1991 with the formation of the Premier League, but without Manchester City, and any other clubs who sided with Manchester City.

Manchester City would probably then go off and form their own league, possibly one involving playing other clubs from the City group around the world.  Or perhaps with English clubs who are massively in debt and would do anything to get some money.

So there we have two outcomes.  One in which Man C win and everyone else leaves, or one in which Man C fail, and the remaining clubs’ authority is reinforced, allowing them to extract damages for the 115 offences.

We wait to see.  Meanwhile if you missed it, you might enjoy


4 Replies to “This is when foortball starts to change 2: the Man C case”

  1. Great story as always and technically correct.

    The major concern is the time limit on these charges.
    What is causing the delay, either a lack in evidence or Man Citys game plan to drag this court case out.
    The world will be watching to see if the English league allows corruption to go unpunished and teams like Everton will be waiting to see if the Man Citys punishment is fairly proportional to Evertons points deducted for just minor offences in comparison to Man Citys huge 115 charges against them.

  2. As I have mentioned before, but I will say again, and try and remember to say at the top of each article, if you find an advert is covering the article simply press the control button (often bottom left on the computer and dthe minus sign, often top right on the keyboard

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