Is It The End Of English Football?
Let’s do a quick reality check –
Manchester United are in over £700 million debt, the average team is blowing 70% of it’s revenue on player’s wages, and more than ever, teams are constantly looking
So why are all these teams on the brink of implosion, and moreover, why the hell aren’t they doing anything about it
When I Was A Youth…
In the space of just twenty, short years everything about football has changed.
The early 90′s were a simpler time – a time where Fulham were still battling it out in Third Division, a time where Liverpool could actually win the Premiership, a
football stadiums across England were filled with true fans, not afraid to support their teams on pitches dirtier than a Paris Hilton home video.
Nowadays, if you just looked at football from a glance, you’d only see the good side.
Compared to twenty years ago, football is looking fantastic. The pitches are all in pristine condition, the players are better than ever, and there’s more interest in the sport than anyone would have ever imagined.
But off the pitch, and into the finance offices are where things get ugly.
Money, Money, Money
It’s as if football’s addiction to debt is what’s causing this downwards spiral. With the Premiership alone owing the banks over £3 billion, the finance sheets are looking ridiculous.
Don’t get me wrong though – debt per se isn’t awful, in fact the real problem is how much debt you’ve got relative to your income. That’s when things turn ugly.
It’s not just me who thinks that this a a huge problem, either.
Wigan’s Chairman, Dave Whelan, has been saying for ages that clubs should only be allowed to be in debt to 25% of their turnover. And this puts even his team, one of the better off ones, in the red.
Statistics wise, here are the worst-off six teams in the premiership:
West Ham – £110 million debt
Fulham – £193 million debt
Liverpool – £237 million debt
Chelsea – £311 million debt
Arsenal – £333 million debt
Manchester United – £719 million debt
Put that into percentage, and Manchester United are in 280% of their £256 million turnover.
Think about that. No way is football the lucrative business we all thought it was.
Put this into the long-term, combine it with the current recession, and look at the sight before you.
England potentially has a nationwide problem here.
No, this is not just a plague of the British. Nor the Irish. Or the Welsh.
Indeed, this is a fully-blown global problem.
For example, Argentina has just recently recovered from a full on football hiatus because of their failure to agree on a new broadcasting deal, that sent dozens of clubs down into the pits of debt.
Things only resumed when the government stepped in with an offer to broadcast on state-run television.
Political intervention is what their football needed, how about ours?