By Tony Attwood
“Deloitte reveal more than half of world’s 20 richest clubs are in Premier League”. That is the headline in the Guardian.
According to the article, more than half of the world’s 20 richest clubs are in the Premier League. And the richness of clubs is indeed something that is often cited in commentaries about clubs.
This immediately leads to a problem – because if there are a dozen very rich clubs, they can’t all win trophies all the time. After all, there are only four significant trophies to win each season: the Premier League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and a European trophy. (I’m not counting the one off trophies like the Community Shield or games where the winner of one cup plays the winner of another cup and the winner gets another cup).
The issue of “value” is of course somewhat contentious given that sponsors can pour money in with impunity these days, with the various authorities seeming to have little desire or power to stop clubs getting money from strange sources (we remember of course the Manchester City official tractor sponsor for example).
But for what it is worth, here is the list of trophy winners and their estimated club value, according to Deloitte’s…
|No||Club||Club Value||Year of win||The trophy/trophies||Years since trophy|
|1||Manchester City||€731m||2022||Premier League||0|
|2||Liverpool||€701m||2022||FA Cup / League Cup||0|
|3||Manchester United||€688.6m||2017||League Cup and Europa League||6|
|5||Tottenham Hotspur||€523m||2008||League Cup||14|
|7||West Ham United||€301.2m||1981||Leage Cup||31|
|8||Leicester City||€252.2m||2021||FA Cup||1|
|11||Newcastle United||€212.3m||1969||Fairs Cup||53|
|12||Aston Villa||€210.9m||1996||League Cup||26|
Of course the value of the club changes over time, and is affected by all sorts of issues. Tottenham’s value has increased because it has a new stadium but is decreased by the fact that it has a net debt of somewhere around three-quarters of a billion pounds (we can’t be sure of the exact amount because the figures for 2021/2 have not been released yet, but this is the general expectation).
An article in 1 Sports 1 recently ranked teams by debt level. They only did the top six, but these made interesting reading.
Tottenham came top of the debt list with €826m worth of debt – most of course due on the stadium. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that the club is about to collapse since it has two valuable backers, but their failure to get a sponsor for the stadium, along with 14 years without a trophy, does suggest that not everything is perfect for the club.
Second in the debt league are Manchester United at €580m. Part of this is caused by the fact that the main owners of the club have a set of shares unique to themselves which pay a dividend to the owners irrespective of the profit or loss. A neat deal if you can pull it off.
Third in terms of debt is Brighton and Hove with debts of €393m. Brighton is of course owned by a fan who has put his fortune into the club – and to good effect it must be admitted given their progress in the league. Their last trophy was League One in 20 and they were promoted from the championship in 2017. They are currently above Liverpool and Chelsea in the League.
Fourth is Liverpool on €386m, showing that it is possible to throw money into a club to win trophies, but that doesn’t make the trophy-winning automatic – although they have won four trophies in the last four seasons.
Fifth are Everton with debts of €353m, and they are still two seasons away from their new stadium opening – a stadium costing €1.3bn. They are losing money hand over fist season by season, and are completely dependent on the goodwill of Farhad Moshiri
Sixth is Leicester City with debts of €311m – a club whose finances and tactics we have pondered for years and years, although no other publication seems to have had any interest in what they get up to. Half of the money is owed to King Power. The sum owed might not seem much when compared with those above but in October 2002 the club went into administration with debts of €35 million. Now that is multiplied by almost ten. Of course, they have won the league and the cup, but it appears to have cost them around €290m which I suppose is the going rate.
It’s a funny ol game.
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