Once upon a time there lived a simple little football league in England called the First Division when along came Rupert Murdoch and Sky and transformed it into the Premier League and lo and behold! The money rained down and the streets were paved with gold all the way to the media mougul’s bank and the coffers of the top clubs. The Premier League Clubs share via broadcast rights £5.136 billion, up from £3 billion almost a mere 3 years ago. It hasn’t stopped raining pennies since. Well 5 pound coins really. On one hand Some will say it certainly transformed the game into the richest league in world football but on the other hand has taken the game away from the working class supporter. The days of 3pm Saturday kickoff live on the BBC are long gone. The ale and pork pie and scratchings are replaced by champagne and cocaine and platinum credit cards. The money pumped into the Premier League has its pros and cons. One may say a negative is the number of foreign owners and investors in the what Pèle calls ‘the beautiful game’ played in England. It has steadily increased in the past number of years.
One of the first high-profile owners and a notorious one at that for the hiring and firing managers is of course Russian Billionaire , Roman Abramovich with a net worth of $9 Billion according to Forbes. The 51 year old Owner of Chelsea whom he bought in 2003.
Recently the government has been urged by supporters of English clubs to set up a licensing system for football clubs to curb the increase in clubs being owned by foreign investors.
Anyhow, that’s grand in the meantime Man City have gone down the Chelsea route in similar fashion of being bought by a very rich person. The United Arab Emirates’s Sheikh Mansour bought the club in 2008 for £210 million. The 47-year-old has a net worth of $17 billion. That’s some serious game of Monopoly being played there.
So where does that leave us in the Money Clubs table? Probably at the bottom. Liverpool was sold to Fenway Sports Group on 15 October 2010 for £300m. After Gillett and Hicks made an absolute balls of running our beloved club Another American John Henry owner of Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox is now the current owner. Have we improved much? Won much In comparison to the other two clubs, Chelsea and Man City? Not really. I’ll let the statistic experts among you devour over what all three clubs are worth, have spent, invested in the club etc. In player purchases in past five seasons, Man City spent approx: £565 million. Chelsea £507 million and Liverpool £365 million. We’re kinda £200 million short of playing with the big boys. Do we have the right owners or should I correct that and say should we have a wealthier owner? One with 100% focus on the club? John Henry switches between Liverpool and Boston Red Sox and the others in the Fenway Sports Group. How do we even know that the £142 million we got for Coutinho is actually all being invested back into Liverpool FC and not across the Atlantic in the other businesses? I for one would love to get into bed with the Arabs well at least flirt heavily with them because of their billions. The traditionalists among you will cry, “foul!” And I hear you. But should we not move with the times after all if you’re not in you can’t win. Bottomless funding for players easily swayed by the cash as evident with Coutinho. No more losing top players as we’ll be competing for everything having bought the best and being in a financial position to retain the best. As Andrea Bocelli and Sara Brightman would sing, ‘time come to say goodbye’ to FSG?
Paris St Germain being bought by Qatar Sports Investment in 2011 has made them not only the richest club in France but one of the wealthiest in the world. They bought Neymar for €222 million from Barcelona last year, and Mbappé on loan with them from Monaco? They have option of buying the player for €180 million. All this wheeling and dealing without blinking and bottomless amounts of cash. Just saying.