By Tony Attwood
Does the amount of money a club receives, or the amount that it pays to players actually make a difference to where the club is in the league and the success that it has?
Using the latest accounts figures, following a chart in the Guardian newspaper I’ve just extracted two figures from the list which seem very relevant to me: turnover and wage bill.
Turnover: 3rd highest in league, £245m (down from £258m in 2011)
Wage bill: 4th highest, £143m (up from £124m)
Turnover: 2nd in league, £261m (up from £229m in 2011)
Wage bill: 2nd, £173m (down from £190m in 2011)
Turnover: 8th in league, £81m (down from £82m in 2011)
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Wage bill: 10th, £63m (up from £58m)
Turnover: 5th in league, £169m (down from £184m in 2011)
Wage bill: 5th, £119m
Turnover: 4th in league, £231m (up from £153m in 2011)
Wage bill: 1st, £202m (up from £174m in 2011)
Turnover: 1st in league, £320m (down from £331m in 2011)
Wage bill: 3rd, £162m (up from £153m in 2011)
Turnover: 6th in league, £144m (down from £163m in 2011)
Wage bill: 6th, £90m (down from £91m in 2011)
I have selected these two measurements and added in the Difference figure because it seems to me that the difference between Turnover and Wages shows how much space one has to play with next season as FFP comes in. If you have a lot of space there you have every chance of buying in new players without having to think first about who you sell.
So here are the difference figures together
ARSENAL Difference: £121m
CHELSEA Difference: £88m
EVERTON Difference: £18m
LIVERPOOL Difference: £50m
MANCHESTER CITY Difference: £29m
MANCHESTER UNITED Difference: £158m
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR Difference: £54m
Manchester United are clearly in the strongest position – they have the biggest amount of space between their turnover and the amount they spend on players, and so could buy in more players and pay higher salaries. Their only problem each year is how much the Glazers want to take out of the club each year.
Second are Arsenal. Which means again there is a lot of room in the budget for more players.
Then it is Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Man City, Everton.
These figures of course don’t account for spending power – Man City can outspend everyone, but they give a bit of a snap shot into how much they are likely to spend on new players without selling anyone at all. It also shows that Tottenham, Liverpool and Man City in particular have to consider FFP as they work this summer to improve their squads, while Arsenal and Man U don’t. Everton seem to be living on the edge – they are in fact overachieving.
What these figures then allow us to take into account is how the income from each of these clubs will change – and change is what is needed if the clubs are to grow without worrying about FFP.
ARSENAL: the end of the old stadium funding deals should mean that there will be a huge growth in income from sponsors, and from overseas interest. We know that China, the rest of SE Asia and America are the three areas being focussed on.
CHELSEA: FFP is a consideration given the money being pumped in by the owner. These figures reflect the winning of the Champions League – which will of course drop out of the next set of figures. The new stadium project has been turned down twice – and they really need this. The owner could pay for it all, and it would not affect FFP, but would then generate huge extra incomes which could be Chelsea’s salvation.
EVERTON: Everton are working at the limit, without a budget for new players, and with only the slightest of hopes for 4th place. Europa would help if they got fifth, but there is no chance of a new stadium.
LIVERPOOL: They seem to be settling down to another season without European football, and recent history suggests that they have shot themselves in the feet with their transfer dealings. They seem to have given up on a new stadium and are talking of rebuilding instead. The problem is, that to get into the Champs League they need not only to do much better themselves, but also have the clubs above them failing to improve – or at least three of those clubs slipping back.
MANCHESTER CITY: The big spending on players has to be stopped because of FFP. The stadium income is modest and they are unlikely to build another one soon. So just how do they improve the squad? I have no idea.
MANCHESTER UNITED Because of their long term history of brilliant world wide marketing they have no worries.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR. Their problem is that they need the stadium, but unless the owners are going to fund it, they will have the same restrictions Arsenal have had over recent years – having to get the money from sponsorship in early to pay for the stadium. What’s more they won’t have Arsenal’s income that we got from Highbury.
So, based on this analysis I’d say the way forwards is easier for Arsenal and Man U than for the rest. As the full analysis in the Guardian shows, the prime accountancy figures don’t have a direct relationship with success on the pitch – but they give a rough and ready guide. What I’m trying to evolve here is a guide to what happens next.