After eight years at the top of the Deloitte's Football Money League Report Manchester United (or Morecambe Bay Rowdies as they are being re-branded by the Glazer's) have been dethroned by the former financial hospital-case of Real Madrid. In the 2004-05 season covered by the report Real Madrid have doubled their income in just four years, a performance of which the Morecambe Bay Rowdies could only dream! Ironically, Manchester United have assisted in their own downfall. Real Madrid's revival has been put down to the astute worldwide marketing of their galacticos, including former Man Utd captain David Beckham! Real Madrid's galacticos may not have delivered the expected on-field performances but they have certainly delivered the financial bacon! Real Madrid said that Beckham's £25 million transfer fee was covered by shirt sales!
Manchester United will have a difficult time holding onto even second place in next year's report when the fallout from the Glazer take-over kicks in. They are adding 7,500 seats to the Theatre of Queens but that won't affect the income stream until the 2006-07 season and the Deloitte Report of February 2008. United's profitability, though not income, will be under pressure from servicing the huge debts incurred during the Glazer take-over of 2005.
Premiership Champions Chelski slipped down from fourth to fifth despite winning the title and a good Champions league run, but as their finances live in world NeverNeverLand with the fairies and Abramovich's cheque book who cares? Shame Chelsea fans can't get behind their team in numbers even when a Russian is buying them the title.
Arsenal slipped to tenth position and need both the bigger ground AND a Champions League win before they start to reduce the serious £50 million pounds a season they are behind the Morecambe Bay Red Sox!
Other surprises in the list include Liverpool's eight place, although up two places on 2003-04, they did win the Champions League in the 2004-05 season, even with a bigger ground they will find it hard to improve on the results of a season where they win the Champions League and the money that it brings. Looks like Liverpool fans will have to dig deeper in their pockets to keep the club at the top in Europe.
Another traditionally big club, Celtic are in the list but have slipped three places from 13th to 16th. Given that 60,000 of the Celtic faithful fill Celtic Park every other week their lowly position illustrates the benefit English Premiership clubs get from the SKY deal. For example, Spurs are above Celtic in the list! Spurs! They averaged 35,873 fans per game in the season under review.
Glasgow Rangers don't appear in the list at all and yet they were in Europe last season and regularly fill Ibrox with it's 52000 capacity. By contrast, Newcastle United's St James Park has a similar capacity that is also filled regularly but they appear in the list in twelfth position!
But English clubs had better watch out as their SKY gravy train may get derailed. There is massive disinterest amongst the viewing public for this season's Premiership, filled as it is with small, poorly-supported, nouveau-riche teams that are little more than millionaire's playthings; plus the lack of competition and excitement (when Boro beating Chelsea 3-0 at home is a season's highlight you know your product is in trouble however many camera angles you put on it) - Rupert Murdoch will not pay through the nose for the over-hyped dross served up on our screens every weekend. Additionally, French and German clubs will also be receiving substantial money from new satellite deals, plus the Germans will get a boost from the massive investment in the ground infrastructures for this year's World Cup. Several German teams regularly top 60,000 for home games too. Consequently, expect more European success for them and less European success and money for English teams. This could be as good as it gets for English teams unless they can think of a way to exploit their fans even more, until the pips squeak!
Of course, Leeds United aren't in this rich list but we are confident of a good position when "Mrs Miggin's Football Pauper's List" is published next week.
Here's the full list courtesy of Pink Football:
1 (2) Real Madrid £186.2m
2 (1) Man Utd £166.4m
3 (3) AC Milan £158m
4 (5) Juventus £154.9m
5 (4) Chelsea £149.1m
6 (7) Barcelona £140.4m
7 (9) Bayern Munich £128m
8 (10) Liverpool £122.4m
9 (8) Inter Milan £119.7m
10 (6) Arsenal £115.7m
11 (12) Roma £89m
12 (11) Newcastle £87.1m
13 (14) Spurs £70.6m
14 (17) Schalke £65.8m
15 (-) Lyon £62.7m
16 (13) Celtic £62.6m
17 (16) Man City £60.9m
18 (-) Everton £60m
19 (-) Valencia £57.2m
20 (15) Lazio £56.1m
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