Saturday, June 10, 2023

No surprises in the rich list

Graham Fisher in Editorial, General Soccer News 11 Feb 2011


Money doesn't necessarily buy success

Deloitte calculate the richest football clubs in the world and produce a list of the top twenty clubs annually. The review does not include the cost of transfer fees or player wages, or VAT and other sales taxes, but calculates the income from all football business. This includes money from ticket sales, sponsorship, merchandising and other commercial revenues, television money, corporate hospitality and use of the stadium for things like business conferences.


The review probably doesn’t mean a great deal and the results are certainly not very surprising. The top ten clubs from season 2008-09 were exactly the same ten that we find in the latest list for season 2009-10.

The most interesting thing is to see whether the commonly held belief that English Premier League football is the richest is in fact correct and whether success on the field equates to having a lot of money.

Let’s take a look at the top ten:

1. Real Madrid: 438.6m euros
2. Barcelona: 398.1m euros
3. Manchester United: 349.8m euros
4. Bayern Munich: 323m euros
5. Arsenal: 274.1m euros
6. Chelsea: 255.9m euros
7. AC Milan: 235.8.m euros
8. Liverpool: 225.3m euros
9. Inter Milan 224.8m euros
10. Juventus: 205m euros

This is the sixth year in a row that Real Madrid have topped the list yet in the last two seasons the only thing they have won is one Supercopa. There has been no European success throughout those six years.


In fifth place we have Arsenal, who have famously gone five years without winning anything. Also in the top ten are AC Milan who have just a couple of domestic cups and a UEFA Cup to show for their last six years and Liverpool, who had a pretty disastrous season. Both of these clubs are used to much greater success. Making up the top ten is Juventus who finished seventh in Serie A and won nothing.

It would seem, therefore, that current success is not necessarily a pre-requisite for making a whole lot of money. Deloitte says that the established large and loyal supporter bases and historic on-pitch success has “continued to underpin the brand strength” of football’s top clubs.


The top six clubs are identical to last season and six of the top ten have appeared in the top ten list for ten seasons in a row.

The biggest climbers in the top twenty are, unsurprisingly, Manchester City who now sit just outside the top ten in eleventh place. Together with Tottenham and Aston Villa, they make up the seven English teams in the top twenty, which suggests that English football still is where the money is despite Real Madrid and Barcelona occupying the top two positions.

The other eleven places in the top twenty are made up by a third Spanish team, four from Germany, four from Italy and two from France.


Whilst commenting on the record amounts of money taken by clubs in 2009-10, Deloitte added that they were a little surprised that the global economic downturn had not seemingly had an effect.

“We continued to assert that the game’s top clubs would be well placed to meet these challenges given their large and loyal supporter bases, ability to drive broadcast audiences and continuing attraction to corporate partners. This was more than borne out by clubs’ revenue performance in 2009-10.”


UEFA’s financial fair play rules will soon come into effect and that will leave these top few clubs in an even stronger position. The rules will mean that clubs will only be allowed to spend what they actually earn. The report’s editor said,

“In the coming years, particularly as UEFA’s financial fair play rules take effect, Real Madrid’s revenue prowess should, in theory, translate into a competitive advantage on the pitch. The much discussed implementation of UEFA’s regulations from 2013-14 will not impact on clubs’ revenue generation, with the key principle underlying the regulations being that clubs do not spend more than they earn. Indeed, the regulations should help encourage clubs to identify and realise sustainable increased revenues.”


Roughly translated I think that means that the clubs who earn the most will be able to spend the most on players and should, therefore, become even stronger. That is great for those clubs in the top ten but it can only mean that the smaller clubs will fall even further behind. What chance will any of the other Spanish clubs have of getting anywhere near the big two?

I don’t pretend to know anything about financial matters but I thought all of this was quite interesting!


Graham Fisher



Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Live Scores


Betting Guide Advertisement


Become a Writer
More More
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x