Richard Hercock: Money talks as English clubs dominate financial league table

Go into any bar, in England or abroad, and you can guarantee striking up a debate over one particularly thorny subject.

Manchester City are among the richest clubs in the world.
Manchester City are among the richest clubs in the world.

No, not which country produces the best brew, but is the Premier League the best club competition in the world?

Being insular, most folk on these shores would give the PL their vote – and that is supported, at least in financial terms, when you look at how much cash is sloshing around in our top flight.

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Squeezed in between all of this week’s League Cup headline-grabbing action was the unveiling of the Deloitte money list.

All the Premier League outfits are in the top 40 richest clubs, which is quite staggering when you think of the huge teams on the continent.

Real Madrid may be top dogs in the world when it comes to income – which comes with their lucrative television deal – but just look at the Premier League clubs biting at their heels.

Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are all in the top 10, trailing Manchester United, who are in second spot.

The Old Trafford club may have endured troubles on the pitch – their worst in two decades, missing out on a money-spinning Champions League spot – but off it, the cash registers have been ringing non-stop.

Real are the world’s richest club with revenues of € 549.5m (£459m) for the 10th straight year, while United are on € 518m, Bayern Munich € 487m and Barcelona € 484m.

The strength of the pound against the euro, and the possible windfall of Champions League money if United can finish in the top four, mean the Old Trafford side could knock Real off their pedestal next year.

Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, said: “A season that saw Manchester United finish in their lowest league position since the start of the Premier League era actually saw the Red Devils reclaim second spot in the money league.

“Their commercial growth... continues to yield record-breaking deals. If the club can regain their Champions League status for the 2015-16 season, there is a strong possibility they will also regain top spot in our money league for that season.”

With new television deals for the top flight expected to be announced later this year, the dominance of English clubs is expected to continue to grow.

Jones added: “It is with great anticipation that we wait to see what the new round of Premier League broadcast deals, expected to be agreed in 2015, will yield.

“With the market expectation that another significant increase will occur, it is likely that the money league will have a strongly English appearance in the coming years.”

The Deloitte report highlights the decline of Italian clubs in terms of finances.

In 2001, Italy had five clubs in the top 10 and only Juventus remain there now in 10th position.

It also puts the spotlight on how the Premier League is big business now, and the carrott being dangled in front of clubs like Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday to return.

And also why Hull City are so desperate to avoid relegation, and hold onto their place at English football’s top table.