It sounds astonishing to think that a Premier League player can command £200,000 a WEEK, yet this is the figure that is being talked about by the Deloitte Report on the Financial state of the Football.
Television Rights Deals are spiralling upwards, inevitably pushing Players wages upwards and the author of Deloittes report suggests that it will not be long before a player commands a £200,000/week Salary. The mind boggles that an average Premiership player and Journeymen (players who move from Club to Club) could then earn £50,000/week. Far fetched I hear you cry. Yet the money continues to pour into the game at a breakneck speed as the Premier League Football appeal spread across the world.
The English league is dwarfing its Italian, German and Spanish peers, with Match day, Sponsorship and Broadcast revenues reaching £1.4 Billion in the 2005/2006 season. The Serie A Italian League generated £1 Billion, falling well short of the English games financial windfall.
Perhaps these numbers explain the success of English clubs in the Champions league with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United all reaching the final 4 this season.
Chelsea have spent big over the last few years backed by their owners generosity, yet Manchester United are not falling behind, having already spent £35 Million this week on Anderson and Nani, plus quite probably another £17 Million on Owen Hargreaves and the 2006/2007 season has only just ended.
With the newly negotiated TV deal kicking in this season the premier league clubs will be receiving £2.7 Billion over the next 3 years and the spending will not be stopping yet. The highly lucrative Television Rights from abroad will boost even further the amount of money the clubs have at their disposal, pushing towards the first predicted £10,000,000 a year salary.
- In 2005/2006 Football Agents scooped a noteworthy £50 Million for brokering all these deals.
- The general opinion is that Derby Countys victory against West Bromwich Albion is worth an extra £60 Million to them.
- Manchester United sell Match day suites for up to £150,000/season
- Match day attendance in the Premier League is 92%
- Manchester United have an estimated 75 Million fans worldwide with 41 Million residing in Asia
- The Premiership had a weekly global audience of 78 Million Football fans in the 2006/2007 season
- 650,000 South Korean Football Fans have signed up for a branded Manchester United Credit Card
It's very hard to get an understanding of all these numbers and what they mean in real terms. My dad has been telling me all his life how it's not a fair game and that it cannot continue (referring to wages of players) and that ticket prices are too expensive. Yet is does continue and in fact Match day income is not the biggest earner for the Premiership Clubs anymore with Broadcasting rights providing the bulk of their income. Football has come a long way since the cloth cap days and there is certainly no turning back to these bygone eras, ridiculed in the Harry Enfield Video below :
He has made his decision to stand up for the small club, not because he doesn't want to watch the big games but because he believes it is just plain wrong that people earn this kind of money. He quit watching Premier League Football, cancelled his Skysports subscription and now follows Kings Lynn Football Club week in and week out. The football isn't so good but it is still exciting and it doesn't cost him a large chunk of his weekly pension to see the games.
Perhaps it isn't fair anymore. Only as far back as 1992 the TV income was split between the 92 Football League Clubs. Today a staggering 90% goes to the Premier League, with 7% going to the Championship and 3% to League 1 and 2. (Barnet Football Club Chairman - Tony Kleanthous on the state of English Football)
Maybe though nothing has really changed. The big clubs still have to get their players. Of course their net is cast ever further looking for the best young recruits and this is not so good for the small English clubs as the money leaves the country. However money still pours down to the lower leagues through Transfers. This is where the smaller clubs have to be run well and managed efficiently.
This is also the lifeblood of football. Without the small clubs, managers do not learn their art, players do not build their skills and perfect their trade, coaches do not gain experience. After all Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard et al, did not just appear from thin air. My Father may have lost faith in Football but it may be just that the structure of the game has changed. The smaller clubs will be feeder clubs to the big clubs, and in effect this is what has always happened, as the best move up the Footballing ladder and the worse slide back down, whether you be a club, manager, player or coach.
It will take longer to break into the imaginary elite of football for the rest of the clubs as the gap between the Premier League and the rest of the English Clubs continues to grow. Nevertheless the state of the English game, relative to the rest of Europe seems to be positive, with the Championship being declared the Fifth Richest League in Europe with an annual turnover of £318,000,000.
It's not just the smaller English clubs that can cry foul. The massive buying power of the Premier Leagues elite is also giving them a huge advantage over the rest of the European clubs. It looks like Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have very healthy futures ahead of them. So long as they keep one eye out for the less fortunate teams all should continue to bode well in the English game or Football will simply cease to exist without the whole Footballing structure in place.
And is it worth it? Well you be the judge.