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The money available: how each of the top six clubs gets it money

By Tony Attwood

Accoding to the Swiss Ramble website, between 2008 and 2017 Premier League clubs had over £8 bn of available cash.

Of this 54% came from their own operation – that is TV money, marketing income, sponsorship, gate money, prize money and transfer income.   That money is down to the club’s own operating abilities – the deals they do, the position they get to in the league table etc, how big the stadium is, how high the prices.

But 42.5% (£3.4bn) comes from these same clubs’ owners.   And this has nothing to do with how good the club is at winning matches, buying cheap and selling expensive, and the like.  This is money that is given, and how much the clubs get depends on two things: the wealth of the owners and the vision of the owners.

If the owners see the club as a reflection of their own glory, or as something to be built up to sell on, that’s one thing.   If the owners see the club as a source of profit to the shareholders (ie themselves) that is another.

Money can be put into the clubs by loans and by buying up shares – the two are roughly equal.  The loans might or might not be repaid.  The loans might earn interest or they might not.   The shares might be of value once bought or they might not.

This is where the huge differences come among the clubs known as the “top six”, and to see this clearly we can reduce all the different sources of income to three simple columns with a total income at the end.  (Figures are adapted from the Swiss Ramble site which has presented them in a different way).

Figures are in millions of pounds…

Club Operations Owners External loans Total
Arsenal 754 0 0 754
Chelsea 76 520 11 607
Liverpool 351 247 48 645
Manchester City 146 1275 0 1421
Manchester United 1307 318 0 1625
Tottenham Hotspur 675 14 148 837

The first thing to say is that the period of time is one selected by Swiss Ramble who did the analysis.  It has the benefit of being a long period – 10 years – and so it is only partly reflective of recent developments.

But what it primarily does is show the disparity between the way the clubs operate.  Arsenal stands out alone in getting all its money through its operations.  And for the people who have endlessly claimed across the years that Arsenal is the most expensive club to support (not quite true, but it is one of the more expensive clubs to support) we can see why.  It doesn’t bet any money from elsewhere.

The club’s money comes from what we used to call gate receipts, transfer deals, TV rights, marketing and so on.  It doesn’t come from investment from the owner or share issues or external loans.

And this is where Arsenal suffers against some other clubs.

Now I am regularly criticised for the time span that I select for tables like this, and at least here no blame can be put on me, because the time span was selected by Swiss Ramble.  So different clubs will be in different parts of their cycles.   Liverpool for example have been investing particularly heavily of late – not all the way through the period.

Another affecting factor of course is the club stadium.  If the club is given a stadium by the state in return for the owner making the local city the hub of its airline, the cost of stadium development is greatly reduced than if the club seeks to develop a new ground itself in an expensive area.  (I simplify the issue of Man City’s stadium of course – but we’ve been through the details before.  In essence, much of the cost of the original development was paid by the state).

Likewise if the club has not built a new ground but just extended what it has, such as Liverpool, there will be costs but they will be smaller.   Tottenham’s external loans will increase dramatically in the next round of figures, because of the new ground development.

Chelsea were certainly planning to expand their income from matches by building a new stadium.  But once the UK refused the Chelsea owner a business visa he cancelled the project.  As far as I know (and of course I shall be corrected if things have moved on,) there is no more development work going on for Chelsea.

So there we are – if Arsenal want to compete they need more money.   The obvious source would be the owner, but he doesn’t work like that.  We are where we are.

22 comments to The money available: how each of the top six clubs gets it money

  • Menace

    OT so we are down to the Man City v Liverpool match of the New Year. The officiating is priceless as is the commentary. Yellow cards for players that stop the progress of others…sometimes. Then again a cuff to Sterling off the ball by Van Dyke is not mentioned. Mane gets away with his fouling. The commentators seem to have agreed that Kompany should have had a red card for a lunge that Mo Salah kicked and went down. Sterling was fouled earlier when Taylor played advantage but didn’t revist the foul for a card.

    There are lots of talking points and only one goal thus far.

  • Gord

    OT: Nice to see Liverpool lose.

    OT: Santi opened the scoring for Villareal, but Real Madrid replied with 2 (HT).

  • Menace

    What a match but Arsenal are still the only team to go through the whole season undefeated. Man City 2 Liverpool 1.

    Salah tried a dive but Taylor motioned him to stand up. Van Dyke gets away withot a card despite clear fouls on City players. Perhaps they weren’t cards but fouls should be given when a player is pushed.

    Who cares what happens now? The PGMOL are sloping pitches despite television because the media do not question the FA’s lap dogs.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Haven looked to have missed out on the PL title this season due to the Gunners low quality performances in defending and poor striking in front of goal in some matches in the PL which culminated to their losing 4 matches and drew 5 orders at week 21 stage of the season, the privately limited self financial sustained company – Arsenal, must find a way to do a Leicester City PL title win season next season and stop using their being a self financially sustain limited liability club side company as an excuse for missing out on the PL title for 14 seasons consecutively despite their being a big North London giants club side of immerse source of making money.

    I think if the Arsenal self financially sustained business model has become a hindrance to Arsenal hindering them from winning the PL title for 14 seasons running and stopping them now from qualifying for the Ucl which they’ve been qualifying for fro 3 seasons back but didn’t win it when they were qualifying for it for 20 seasons consecutively, Stan Kroenke should put himself on notice to sell his holdings at the club preferably to the Arsenal supporters, say 100000 Gooners who will raise money to individually buy out Kroenke’s shares at the club to consequently make the club Arsenal supporters owned club side in the model of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona the two Europe most successful club sides in terms of the number of times the duo club sides have won the Ucl whose supporters owned the clubs. The Arsenal Supporters Trust, the AST could become the general overseer of the club on behalf of the club’s share holders whose members must also have shares at the club. I am not instigating a revolt against Stan Kroenke, the now sole owned of Arsenal to oust him from the club. For, he has the right of choice to either have the club run on a self business sustain model or not. And the right to show incredible passion for Arsenal to win the PL title or not in the face of the new era of heavy financing of the other 5 big club sides to enabled them win the PL and the Ucl by their respective billionaire owners. But us Gooners will not continue to watch our beloved Arsenal looking helpless to win the PL title again and the Ucl ever for the lack of sufficient money to do some world singings to reinforced the first team squad while the development of youth players at the club continues to develop some world class players for the club who with the signed world class ones can make the difference for to win the PL and the Ucl titles but instead to be languishing behind Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd in winning the PL title and in the case of the last two, win the Ucl. These are the trio PL club sides that have dominated the winning of the PL title for 14 consecutive seasons but once.

  • Gord

    Cazorla 2 – 2 Real Madrid

    Congratulations Santi!

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Haven looked to have missed out on the PL title this season due to the Gunners low quality performances in defending and poor striking in front of goal in some matches in the PL which culminated to their losing 4 matches and drew 5 orders at week 21 stage of the season, the privately limited self financially sustained company – Arsenal, must find a way to do a Leicester City PL title win season next season and stop using their being a self financially sustained limited liability club side company as an excuse for missing out on the PL title for 14 seasons consecutively despite their being a big North London giants club side of reputable immerse source of making money.

    I think if the Arsenal self financially sustained business model has become a hindrance to Arsenal hindering them from winning the PL title for 14 seasons running and stopping them now from qualifying for the Ucl which they’ve been qualifying for from 3 seasons back but didn’t win it when they were qualifying for it for 20 seasons consecutively, Stan Kroenke should put himself on notice to sell his holdings at the club preferably to the Arsenal supporters, say 100000 Gooners who will raise money to individually buy out Kroenke’s shares at the club to consequently make the club Arsenal supporters owned club side in the model of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona the two Europe most successful club sides in terms of the number of times the duo club sides have won the Ucl whose supporters owned the clubs. The Arsenal Supporters Trust, the AST could become the general overseer of the club like the Arsenal board employing and appointing the Gunners manager and other personnel of the club on behalf of the club’s share holders and the AST members must also be shareholders at the club. I am not instigating a revolt against Stan Kroenke, the now sole owner of Arsenal to oust him from the club. For, he has the right of choice to either have the club run on a self business sustain model or not. And the right to show incredible passion for Arsenal to win the PL title or not even in the face of the new era of heavy financing of the other 5 big club sides in the PL apart of Arsenal the 6th to enabled them win the PL and the Ucl by their respective billionaire owners. But us Gooners will not continue to watch our beloved Arsenal looking helpless to win the PL title again and the Ucl ever for the lack of sufficient money at the disposal of the club to do some world singings to reinforced the first team squad while the development of youth players at the club to fish out top quality players for the senior team continues to develop as the some world class players for the club are signed to make a difference for Arsenal to win the PL and the Ucl titles instead to be languishing behind Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd in winning the PL title and in the case of the last two, win the Ucl. These are the trio PL club sides that have dominated the winning of the PL title for 14 consecutive seasons but once.

  • Daud

    @tony,
    I must remind you that I believe it is preferable to link Swiss rambles article if it is the basis of the entire article. But that’s not why I’m commenting…
    I respect swiss ramble’s work a lot. But I suspect there’s a mistake somewhere(further reason why a link would have been nice). I doubt Chelsea has made so little money compared to arsenal in the duration being assessed. Of course I could be wrong but I seriously doubt Chelsea’s figures at least. It is about one tenth of arsenal’s

  • Gord

    OT: PGMO Statistics
    For GD 1, all 10 referees hadn’t officiated the GD before (obvious).
    For GD 2, 4 “new” players
    GD 3, 5 new players
    GD 4, 4 new players
    GD 5, 4 new players
    GD 6, 4 new players
    GD 7, 4 new players
    GD 8, 4 new players
    GD 9, 2 new players
    GD 10, 2 new players
    GD 11, 4 new players
    GD 12, 5 new players
    GD 13, 4 new players
    GD 14, 4 new players
    GD 15, 5 new players
    GD 16, 5 new players
    GD 17, 5 new players
    GD 18, 5 new players
    GD 19, 4 new players
    GD 20, 8 new players

    Anyway, a rough ASCII table of the referees, and how many weeks (Game Days, Match Days) between appearances. A 1 means they did it the week before.
    Atkinson 1 2 1 1 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 2 1 3 1 1 _ 1
    Attwell 2 2 1 2 3 _ 2 2 1 2 1 _ 2
    Coote 3 3 5 4 5
    Dean 1 1 3 1 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 2 2 1 1 1
    East 7 4 3 1 5
    Friend 1 1 2 2 3 _ 1 1 2 1 2 _ 1 2 2
    Hooper 7 5 5 3
    Kavanagh 1 2 1 2 2 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 1 3 2
    Madley 17 3
    Marriner 1 1 2 1 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 2 1 1 3 1
    Mason 2 2 3 2 4 _ 2 1 3 2
    Moss 1 2 1 1 1 _ 2 1 1 2 1 _ 2 1 3
    Oliver 1 1 1 2 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 2 1 2 1 1 _ 1 2
    Pawson 1 1 1 2 2 _ 1 2 1 2 1 _ 2 1 1 1 1
    Probert 3 1 1 4 2 _ 1 2 2 2 1
    Scott 1 2 2 9 1 _ 2 2
    Taylor 1 1 1 1 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 1 1 1 2 1 _ 1 2
    Tierney 2 1 1 2 2 _ 3 1 1 1 1 _ 1 2 2

    Taylor, Oliver and Atkinson have done the most; Dean, Marriner and Pawson are close behind.

    Where there are gaps, they could be due to injuries (to the referee), other stress in their life, or because they pissed off 😈 Mike Riley. That _9_ in Scott’s data looks suspicious. Easy had fitness issues to start the season I believe).

  • Gord

    Sorry, I’m not trying to turn into SAA. But I forget to “pad” the double spaces, to keep wordpress from eating them. So, just the table again.

    Atkinson 1 2 1 1 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 2 1 3 1 1 _ 1
    Attwell _2 2 1 2 3 _ 2 2 1 2 1 _ 2
    Coote _ _3 3 5 4 5
    Dean _ _ 1 1 3 1 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 2 2 1 1 1
    East _ _ 7 4 3 1 5
    Friend _ 1 1 2 2 3 _ 1 1 2 1 2 _ 1 2 2
    Hooper _ 7 5 5 3
    Kavanagh 1 2 1 2 2 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 1 3 2
    Madley _ 17 3
    Marriner 1 1 2 1 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 2 1 1 3 1
    Mason _ _2 2 3 2 4 _ 2 1 3 2
    Moss _ _ 1 2 1 1 1 _ 2 1 1 2 1 _ 2 1 3
    Oliver _ 1 1 1 2 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 2 1 2 1 1 _ 1 2
    Pawson _ 1 1 1 2 2 _ 1 2 1 2 1 _ 2 1 1 1 1
    Probert _3 1 1 4 2 _ 1 2 2 2 1
    Scott _ _1 2 2 9 1 _ 2 2
    Taylor _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 1 1 1 1 1 _ 1 1 1 2 1 _ 1 2
    Tierney _2 1 1 2 2 _ 3 1 1 1 1 _ 1 2 2

  • Gord

    If I had to rank the PGMO referees based on when they did games up to the end of GameDay 20, I would suggest:

    1 Atkinson Dean Kavanagh Marriner Pawson Oliver Moss Taylor

    2 Friend Tierney

    3 Attwell Mason Probert

    4 Scott

    5 Coote East

    6 Hooper

    7 Madley

    But this ranking supposes that all gaps in appearance, are due to “discipline” by 😈 Mike Riley.

  • Gord

    I listed referees in alphabetical order in each rank. It is entirely possible that I should sub-rank in a class by how many times they have appeared.

    —-

    The Man$ity-Liverpool game.

    I thought it was a little unusual that Kompany was subbed at the end of the game.

    It might just be idle thinking, but is it possible that Taylor mentioned to the 4th official, that if Kompany stayed on the field, he would be carded? Does that happen in other games too?

    Fouls are listed as 12:7. and Man$ity got about twice the fouls of Liverpool. One treatment to each side (no cards and possibly no fouls as near as I can tell), trivial treatment times and no substitutions for treatments.

    But this game is a demonstration that Man$ity does foul teams, and does get carded. But what Andrew has noticed, is that by and large, they get away with it. Or, a little birdie says “don’t indicate fouls or cards, okay?”.

    For me, this game is more like a calibration game. If some game Man$ity plays says they only committed 6 fouls, they probably committed 12. And adjust the yellow cards appropriately (it’s about 6 fouls per card as indicated). I’m of the opinion that most treatments should at least come with a foul. I don’t see anything to indicate that happened today. So, perhaps the true foul count is 13:8?

  • Gord

    OT: Fishing on statistics.

    How paranoid should a person be on what might possibly be a variable in looking at data?

    I am going to include north (ranking, not latitude) and west (similar). But Newcastle is really significantly further north than most other teams (this season). Does Newcastle get special attention for being too far north?

    How would you call a medja darling? My list is just the Spuds at the moment.

    New money to me is only Man$ity and Chel$ea. Would you add others?

    Old money to me is ManU. Should Liverpool be considered old money?

    Any other concerns?

  • That’s interesting. When I criticised one aspect of Swiss Ramble’s work in relation to the issue of marketing and how it could be expanded, I got a torrent of complaints. I wonder if his work is still held in the same high esteem as it was say 5 ot 6 years ago.

  • insideright

    One thing that is missing from this excellent analysis is where the money has subsequently been spent.
    Despite having no owner or loan inputs within the analysis period Arsenal have nevertheless been able to service their original new stadium related loans and spend a huge amount of money on upgrading facilities all the way through the Club including for the women’s and youth teams. This represents good investment when it comes to attracting the outstanding prospects who have the potential to reduce the need to resort to the transfer market in years to come.
    Despite the vastly greater ‘external revenue inputs’ enjoyed by others we have competed rather well – although dropping out of the CL places has been a blow both financially and emotionally. But, given the investments of others, how much would it cost to rectify that? To spend, say, net £100m a year to increase revenues by half that is bonkers – especially if it assumes that nobody else will spend to counter it.
    As a wise man (by the name of Wenger) once said – you could have the whole of the Premiership owned by multi-billionaires and three would still get relegated.

  • Mikey

    I too find the Chelski “operations” total a little questionable. Having said that, Abramovic took over 15 years ago and vast sums were pumped into the club prior to the figures shown in this table. So maybe but it slightly skews the overall totals.

    I think the thing that jumps out for me though is the extent to which Man U have underperformed. And this goes back further than a decade for me.

    The richest club in the world but, in my opinion, they still didn’t dominate football as much as the should. Let’s not forget, before the oil money came into the premiership we were at worst their equals if not in the preoces of overtaking them as the best club in the country. And all this when they seemingly had twice as much money as us, with refs in their pocket and the nedia sucking up to them. I’d suggest that it says a massive amount about the abilities of one ex-manager………………

  • markyb

    Daud Leon and a few others isn’t it?

  • markyb

    Mikey, Mr Fergs abilities to intimidate and bully and take advantage at least matched his ability as a football Manager

  • Gord

    27,391 – This number is bandied about as the number of times that Cortois has been nutmegged. This particular instance was 5’5″ Santi Cazorla scoring with a header.

  • Nuttntiddy

    Whilst the focus is on money may I raise a concern of mine.
    Women’s football is now coming on strongly with Arsenal one of the leaders….which is all to the good, but where is the money coming from, other than from that “raised” from the receipts from the main club. Yes, I know the women’s team must make some money but gates/advertising on the whole are very small and the larger clubs who seem to be signing women players from all over the world presumably are having to pay well to do this.
    Does anyone have any figures as to how much running the women’s team actually costs?…..And, please please I am not attacking women’s football and I am not a misogynist. I am all in favour of developing the women’s game but compared to the men it is a minority sport and it does concern me that when the main club is seemingly short of funds that considerable monies may be going out to build the women’s team.

  • Duncan

    These figures look suspect to me. Do you really think that the Glazers have put 318 million pounds into Man Utd rather than extracting millions through dividends, payment on debt interest rates etc.?

  • It is not so much what we think, but the figures provided by Swiss Ramble.