I’ve been up for the past few hours thinking about how much money really matters in football today.
In a financial era where football clubs are now branded as businesses and ran by businessmen and not football fans, criticisms are thrown at clubs for both spending too much money and not spending enough money. I personally am not a fan of Man City spending 100’s of millions each season, equally though being an Arsenal fan I get very frustrated about Arsenal’s refusal to spend money. There needs to be a fine balance without bringing the game to ruins with whoever has the most money wins.
Well I’ve been doing some research and I have found some interesting results. So here lies the question, do you need to splash the cash to win trophies?
The answer is neither a yes nor a no; I have compiled a spending table for the last 5 seasons featuring the most successful Premier League sides over the last 5 years. It makes for some shocking reading, so beware.
Total spending over the last 5 seasons
- Man City – £528.6m
- Liverpool – £281.6m
- Chelsea – £270.3m
- Man United – £198.6m
- Tottenham – £194.4m
- Aston Villa – £151.7m
- Sunderland – £135.6m
- Arsenal – £124.4m
- Newcastle – £83.2m
- Fulham – £72.7m
- Stoke – £71.7m
- Everton – £65.8m
As I said some surprises there. Only 4 out of those 12 teams have actually won a trophy in the last 5 years, with Man City only winning the FA Cup, Spurs winning the Carling Cup, Chelsea and United have shared the Premier League titles. Of course this season, this could things could change, City could win the league and people would say their spending has been justified. However £500m for a league title, surely that is way too much, how on earth can anybody compete with that.
Luckily for us the Premier League is so competitive that all the millions in the world can’t guarantee you 3 points week in week out. So let’s take a look at how much money you spend determines how many points you gain. Below is the total amount of points each of the 12 teams above have accumulated in the last 5 years and we will compare to how much money they have spent in those 5 years.
Total Premier League points (£’s per point)
- Man United – 395 points (£503k p/point)
- Chelsea – 368 points (£735k p/point)
- Arsenal – 331 points (£376k p/point)
- Liverpool – 312 points (£903k p/point)
- Man City – 303 points (1.7m p/point)
- Everton – 276 points (£238k p/point)
- Tottenham – 272 points (£715k p/point)
- Aston Villa – 262 (£579k p/point)
- Fulham – 214 (£340k p/point)
- Sunderland – 199 (£681k p/point)
- Stoke – 188 (£382k p/point)
- Newcastle – 165 (£504k p/point)
Everton currently have the lowest spend per point out of these teams and unsurprisingly Man City has the highest. What these pieces of data show is that the amount of points you gain in the Premier League isn’t necessarily down to how much you spend. Of course many other factors come into play, like tactics, managers, youth development etc. The most successful team in the past 5 years which is Man United are 4th in the total spend table and 5th in the £’s per point table. Surely this is testament to Sir Alex Ferguson’s superb management.
Of course money does play its part otherwise Man City would not be challenging for the league title this year having spent £528m, whether they will win anything is a different matter, although I’m fairly certain they will. The data shows that you can spend a lot of money and be successful at all. Take Sunderland and Aston Villa for example, who are 6th and 7th on the spending table respectively and have spent more money than Arsenal, but have never finished in the top 4. So of course this means that although spending the cash goes some way to helping the cause, you must buy the right players.
The data speak of two stories for Arsenal. On one end you could say it is highly commendable that Arsenal have managed to challenge for the last 5 years whilst spending only £124m, a shoe string budget compared to their rivals. However Arsenal fans must be thinking, a few more millions invested and Arsenal could actually turn their competiveness into trophies. This season Wenger has spent more money than ever, totalling £53.2m, which has been the 4th most in the league. Below I have compiled a table of the total spent this season.
2011/2012 Spending Table
- Chelsea – £82.8m
- Man City – £76m
- Liverpool – £56.4m
- Arsenal – £53.2m
- Man United – £52.9m
- Sunderland – £24.1m
- Newcastle – £23.4m
- Stoke – £18m
- Aston Villa – £17.3m
- Fulham – £16.5m
- Tottenham – £8m
- Everton – £8m
It is hard to draw any trends from this table because the top 3 in the Premier League have spent such vastly different amounts, ranging from £76m for Man City and £8m for Tottenham. However the top 3 this season have not exactly added tonnes of players to their squad, they have improved their already decent squad and have managed to cut back on spending as much as they have in recent seasons. Tottenham for example have only spent £26.5m in the past two seasons, in the two seasons before that they spent in excess of £119m from 08-10. This season has been Man City’s lowest spending year since 07-08, however in comparison Man United have spent the most since their 07-08 campaign.
It is very hard to measure the amount of money spent on signings against success. Arsenal has spent their highest amount ever, but is having their worst season ever under Wenger. Liverpool have spent the second most in the Premier League, but over those 5 years have maybe only come close once to winning the league title. Whilst money doesn’t bring you instant success and trophies, it does help and of course with the right manager at the helm, Ferguson has proved money & a good manager in charge is the recipe for success. Maybe Arsenal need to spend more money, maybe Liverpool needs a manager who is shrewder in the transfer market, maybe Sunderland are on the rise with Martin O’Neill at the helm, they have money as well as a fantastic manager. Of course there is so much more to take in to consideration, it takes time to build and develop a squad, for that squad to gel, which is exactly what Harry has done at Spurs.
Could you imagine the Premier League table looking like the Total spending table in terms of position?
The Premier League, UEFA and FIFA all need to play their part to stop money dictating the game of football more than it does already.
Thanks for reading.