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Premiership tops Europe's money league
By David Millward (Filed: 17/02/2005)

Britain's top 10
Europe's top 20 richest clubs

Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal could soon be the three richest clubs in Europe, putting the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the shade, a leading accountancy firm predicted yesterday.

Rich pickings: Abramovich's cash has changed Chelsea's fortunes
Deloitte's eighth Money League, published yesterday and covering the 2003-4 season, underlined the financial power of the Premier League, with eight clubs featuring in the top 20. The two Glasgow giants, Rangers and Celtic, also featured.

United, a target for American businessman Malcolm Glazer, are already Europe's richest club, having generated £171.5 million in the 2003-04 season, despite a slight fall in income and a disappointing season in which they finished third and were eliminated in the first knockout stage of the Champions League.

Chelsea, fuelled by Roman Abramovich's riches, took fourth, behind Real Madrid and AC Milan. However, the club earned £143.7 million, which made them - along with Barcelona - the fastest movers in the financial chart.

Despite having only a 42,500-seat stadium, Chelsea leapt six places. "Chelsea will not think that future overall leadership is beyond them," Deloitte said.

The coffers were fuelled by reaching the Champions League semi-final and the ability of fans to dig deeper than any other club's. Average matchday income per fan was £1,351 over the season.

Arsenal's triumphant season, in which they went unbeaten, earned £115 million and enabled them to climb from seventh to sixth place in the European money league.

All three clubs seemed set fair for further progress, the accountants said. "With Chelsea's success and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium development, we can foresee a scenario where English clubs fill the top three places in the 2006-7 Money League."

Other English clubs whose on-field achievements were decidedly modest, nevertheless fared well when it came to making money.

Liverpool, who earned £92.3 million, clung on to their top-10 place, even though income fell by seven per cent. They should maintain their position this season, having qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Newcastle United's long-suffering supporters enabled the club to earn £90.5 million, for 11th place. A successful new kit launch and sell-out 52,000 crowds ensured the books remained healthy.

Despite another season of footballing mediocrity, Tottenham Hotspur took 14th place in the rich league, earning £66.3 million in 2003-4. Spurs supporters will doubtless be heartened to know that the club displayed a willingness to "embrace good business principles in generating revenues".

Tottenham raised £15 million from a share issue, but the accountants sounded a note of caution. "This investment will need to deliver on the pitch if Spurs are to move towards the upper reaches of the Money League."

Thanks to their move to a new stadium, Manchester City reached the top 20 for the first time. A 35 per cent attendance increase and doubling of match-day income brought earnings of £61.9 million.

Aston Villa entered the top 20 for the first time, after earning £55.9 million. Deloitte added that Villa would have to secure regular European football to hold their place.

Real Madrid halved the gap on United in a season. The Spaniards made £56.9 million from commercial income alone. How much of that was due to David Beckham replica shirts was not disclosed.

Barcelona soared six places into seventh, quite a feat given their refusal to carry a sponsor's name on their shirt.

Nevertheless, sponsorship will remain a huge source of income, with football giants holding the whip hand in deals with "corporate partners", according to Deloitte.

"The major brewers, mobile communications businesses and financial services providers, for example, covet the global reach and consumer loyalty that clubs in the Money League can deliver."

But clubs were reminded that there was a limit to the number of branded products fans were prepared to buy and choosing a sponsor required some care.

"Clubs are now realising that partner selection is not just about the biggest guaranteed cheque," said Deloitte.


Revenue Sources (£million)
Matchday Broadcasting Commercial Av Att
ManUtd 61.2 62.5 47.8 67,500
Chelsea 53.6 56.4 33.7 39,700
Arsenal 33.8 59.8 21.4 36,600
Liverpool 26.4 33.5 32.4 41,800
Newcastle 33.9 33.7 22.9 50,000
Celtic 34.7 16.1 18.2 56,000
Tottenham 19.8 23.9 22.6 34,100
Man City 17.1 25.5 19.3 43,800
Rangers 24.2 7.5 25.4 47,200
Aston Villa 12.4 27.2 16.3 35,600


(Position last year) 2003-4 Total revenues (£million)
Man Utd (1) 171
Real Madrid (4) 156.3
AC Milan (3) 147.2
Chelsea (10) 143.7
Juventus (2) 142.4
Arsenal (7) 115
Barcelona (13) 112
Inter (6) 110.3
Bayern Munich (5) 110.1
Liverpool (8) 92.3
Newcastle (9) 90.5
Roma (11) 72
Celtic (18) 69
Tottenham (16) 66.3
Lazio (15) 65.8
Manchester City (-) 61.9
Schalke (14) 60.5
Marseille (-) 58.3
Rangers (-) 57.1
Aston Villa (-) 55.9


45,477 Posts
Slightly weird for me but if Celtic is so rich, why do they have so many money problems? Apparently they have jack to spend on transfers. I understand that a club can be stingy but when it's among the richest and trying to compete in the CL, this doesn't make sense.

I know that the leagues are very different. But between Newcastle and Liverpool, there isn't too much of a difference in total revenues. And look at the difference in there teams. And Newcastle apparently has a lot more than Roma but comes up short when compared to Roma in terms of players.

The revenue thing is misleading. Being rich in that sense fails to take account of all assets and liabilities. For example, a club may have made a lot this year but may have outstanding debts or other obligations.

10,624 Posts
Revenue is simply revenue. If your expenses are more than that, then you're losing money aren't you? :)

It has nothing to do with how rich you are. This article is very misleading.

45,477 Posts
Faisal said:
I think they mean the money that comes in and not the money that goes out of the club
Yes, that's what I actually said. The word 'rich' can hardly be said to be suitable when the article is talking about a year's worth of revenue.

Are there any real figures for the richest clubs out there? Even then, it wouldn't be very accurate due to various obligations or existing charges on the assets. Or undisclosed assets, etc.
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