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Sport and hard cash

Money buys success in football and several clubs now have more money than United. From 1997 through 2004, United topped the consultancy Deloitte’s “rich list” of European football clubs ranked by revenues. In 2012-13, United dropped out of the top three for the first time since Deloitte began compiling the list. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich now have higher revenues. Moreover, Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have oil-rich owners who pump money in rather than sucking it out. By the logic of the market that means there are six clubs in Europe more likely to win the Champions League than United. In the domestic league, by the same logic, the club’s natural position is now third behind Chelsea and Manchester City. (Less wealthy Liverpool will probably win this season’s Premier League, but their overachievement is probably unique in recent English history.) United’s biggest problem isn’t David Moyes. It’s money.

Simon Kuper, writing about the sacking by Manchester United today of David Moyes, manager since last July. Kuper, who writes in the Financial Times, has also co-authored a study examining the linkages and correlations between success on the field and money in the bank. Short summary: the link is very strong but not totally bomb-proof. (In other words, if you support a relative minnow as I do, you can still live in hope.)

11 comments to Sport and hard cash

  • Mr Ed

    No one who is not a male between the ages of 7 and 13 should regard football as anything other than an amusing diversion.

  • The fact that England’s best clubs have been sold to Russian and Arab criminals does not speak well of anyone, if you ask me.

  • So you want them to go bankrupt like Leeds United? 😉

  • Dave Walker

    As a male in my 40s, I can honestly say I don’t find football to be an interesting diversion – as a game I find it as dull as ditchwater to watch. Though some of the managerial machinations can have their amusing moments, I’m astounded just how much money is poured into it.

    Fortunately for me, Rugby Union continues to entertain, with a tiny fraction of football’s finances being spent on it.

  • Stonyground

    I was subjected to field sport aversion therapy at school so I tend to dislike football and rugby. I quite like watching cricket though, so make sense of that if you can. Once free of the restrictions of school sports I took to swimming, cycling and karate. Now at 55 I still cycle a lot, have my own weights gym and do a few fun runs.

  • James Strong

    There’s no need for a weights gym. Dipping bars, a chinning bar and maybe a heavy bag for punching. You can do step-ups using a chair. But none of those things are fun. Ride a bike, and run, mostly easy and occasionally hard. That’ll keep you fit, and it’s enjoyable. Let others spend their money on supporting ridiculous wage levels of footballers.

  • Ted: No, not really. They will go bankrupt in much more interesting ways when the oil price goes down.

  • Thankfully the German clubs don’t really have this problem.

  • Julie near Chicago

    But, Dave! With an attitude like that you’d miss Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction! 🙁

  • Rob

    What is ridiculous about footballers’ wages? They create the product and receive their just share of the profits.

    If Wayne Rooney developed a product which sold millions across the globe no-one would begrudge his wealth (well, apart from the usual loonies). Why do so because he plays football.

  • Stonyground

    Quite right Rob. I have no interest in football but I have no problem with people who do like it spending their own money on watching it. If the highly paid players were costing me money then, and only then, I would have a problem.

    @James Strong “There’s no need for a weights gym.”
    Maybe, but I enjoyed building it and putting it all together, and I enjoy using it. My body has gone from being pear shaped to being V shaped in about eight months so I,m quite happy.