SAFC: back in the Deloitte list, with plenty after our place

Deloitte's waiting
Deloitte’s waiting

John McCormick writes: back in January various sources ran the news that all of 2013-14’s Premiership clubs were in the world’s top 40 in terms of revenue. While Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff won’t stay there for 2016 I expect Burnley, QPR and Leicester to replace them. Looking ahead to 2017, Burnley, Hull and QPR should drop out with Norwich reappearing, along with Watford and Bournemouth; that’s the power of the Premier …

I can’t go into more detail, I don’t have the information. I presume it will be found in Deloitte’s “Annual review of football finance”, which costs £1000 for businesses, or just £100 to those who can get a discounted copy. I can’t get one, and even if I could I wouldn’t pay £100.

Instead, I download a copy of Deloitte’s Money Football League. This is much shorter, focusing on the top 20 revenue-generating clubs in the world, and I think it’s as much as a publicity mechanism as anything. It comes out in January or February each year, after Deloitte collates information about the previous season, and by the summer it’s easy to forget it’s effectively a season out of date.

You need to bear this in mind as last year it was late July when I got round to commenting on our position (

As I said at the time, it didn’t matter that I was late. We weren’t mentioned. We had been the previous year and even the year before that but in January 2014, most likely as a consequence of poor league performance in 2012-13, we had dropped back out of the list.

I’m late again this season, for pretty much the same reasons. A battle with relegation, managerial changes, wins against the Mags, they all concentrate the mind and assume priority. Now that’s all over, we’ve survived, and apart from the odd international game there’s a dearth of football, I can pick up where I left off in January, when I began looking at how far we had moved.

In 2012-13 we finished the season in 17th place on 39 points, three above relegated Wigan. In 2013-14 we finished on 38 points but not only did we survive as a Premier League club we ended up in 14th place. On the back of an improved TV rights deal that was worth £71,700,890. Add in a trip to Wembley and the result was an increase of some £28 million in revenue over the previous year. Enough, I reckoned, to get us back into Deloitte’s top 30.

It was.

This year we’re back in the Deloitte report, at number 27, our highest place for some time. Not as high as I’d like, but at least it’s a positive step.

Champions and three times our revenue. But both Manchester clubs bring in more money
Champions and three times our revenue. But both Manchester clubs bring in more money

The report isn’t the Money League itself, of course. Deloitte reserve that for the top 20 clubs. There are high placed English clubs in the top 20, these being the Champions League four plus Liverpool and Spurs, and as even Spurs generate almost twice as much as we do we can’t get close to them.

However, there are other English clubs which dip in and out of the League, or at least challenge for places in it. These usually include Everton, NUFC, West Ham and Villa but, as you can see above, Fulham have been there in the past.

The gap between these clubs and us is small and can usually be explained by league position and the effect it has on TV facility and merit payments. These aren’t the whole story as clubs do generate money through other streams but a Premier-wide rise in payments explains why these clubs all rose through the Money League ranks. Everton and NUFC now occupy Money League slots, in 19th and 20th place, while West Ham and Villa sit just outside in 21st and 22nd positions respectively. Between them and us are Olympique Marseille, AS Roma, Southampton and Benfica.

To illustrate the importance of the Premier’s TV deal let’s look at West Ham. In 2013 they didn’t feature in Deloitte’s report, in 2014 they were in 29th place with €105 million and this year they are knocking on the door of the Money League with revenues of €135 million.

John McCormick:
John McCormick: money isn’t everything

Or we could look at Southampton. They didn’t appear before the 2014 report – at least not in recent years. Yet here they are at number 25. That is to say, they are the 25th biggest football club in the world in terms of revenue generation. Their stadium has a capacity of 32,500 so they don’t have the biggest crowds, by any means, but in the 2013-14 season they finished two places above us in the Premier and two places above us in the Deloitte list, some 2 million euros better than us. Not a bad achievement from the Saints, you have to say.

Next year we can expect Southampton to widen this gap as we dropped a couple of places while they went upwards and that’s a lot of money. We might also be caught by Swansea and Stoke, another two newcomers to Deloitte. This year they finished 6-7 million euros below us, in 29th and 30th places. In Premier League terms, they left us for dead. Could they surpass us in Deloitte’s 2016? Easily, as could a few other clubs who have finished in higher spots than our 16th place.

But maybe, just maybe, we’ll finish above Aston Villa, after clambering over them at the end of last season. And even if we don’t we’ve survived in the Premier, and that’s what brings in the money.

8 thoughts on “SAFC: back in the Deloitte list, with plenty after our place”

  1. Not what I call success either and only five different champions in 23 years is not good (and thank God for Blackburn Rovers). You’re quite right that staying up is counted as a success and it shouldn’t be. The answer is for the Football league and Non-League football to get full slices and not just crumbs from the PL table.

    Even so, compare the PL to La Liga:

    2015: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico;
    2014 Atletico, Barcelona, Real Madrid,
    2013 Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico;
    2012 Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia.
    2011 Barcelona, Real Madrid,Valencia

    I think there have been about 83 seasons played since La Liga was formed and about 60 clubs have played in it. The four clubs above have won 70 of the 83 titles (Barcelona and Real have won well over 50 between them); Atletico Bilbao have won it 8 times, but not since 1984.
    The other 55 clubs have won 5 championships between them, and that’s since 1929. The last club outside the 4 to win the championship was Deportivo la Coruna in 2000. The clubs before that were Atletico Bilbao, last won it in 1983 and again in 1984, and Real Sociedad in 1981 and 82. To get the next one you have to go back to the 1950s.

    In the PL teams outside the top 4 can mount challenges – Liverpool and NUFC have, to name 2. It’s just a pity that those two didn’t quite get there (or maybe not).

    In La Liga such challenges just don’t happen and, especially now, in La Liga the distribution of money is much less even. It could be argued that the amount and distribution of money in the PL does allow challenges to the top 4.

    • The distribution of TV money in La Liga is nothing short of scandalous! Real & Barcelona are allowed to negotiate their own deals, as a result they take about 50% of the available cash between them. Atletico winning the title last season was a fantastic achievement and one that won’t be repeated too often.

    • I woke up this morning thinking the figures I first posted couldn’t be correct so I checked. I must have missed Bilbao, or confused them with Atletico Madrid. Or maybe my original source was incorrect.

      After rechecking I have changed some of the original figures

      It appears Atletico Bilbao, with 8 wins (but none in 30 years), have a better historical record than Valencia, who have 6. Given the 55 wins for Real and Barcelona combined, and 10 for Atletico Madrid, that leaves 5 other champions.

      Well, not quite; Real Sociedad have won two, Deportivo la Coruna, Sevilla and Betis have one each. That means Only nine clubs have won La Liga since it started

  2. Matches may be competitive but the competition isn’t because it’s skewed by money.

    Can you seriously see SAFC or any other of their fellow “bottom half” teams make a serious challenge for the title?

    I’ll put it more bleakly — can you see a viable title challenge by SAFC in the next 10 years?

    Why not? Because they don’t have the resources of the teams I mentioned nor their purchasing power.

    The corrosive influence of TV monies maintains that the team is a “success” if it retains its EPL status or perhaps rises a step in the Deloitte’s List. Not what I call success bonny lad.

    I don’t have a lot of time for Platini but at least he warns against the dangers of the EPL and its adverse effect on the English game—more so than the ship of fools which is the English FA.

  3. I just hope UEFA bring in a wage cap to end this morally bankrupt system and that comes from a supporter who followed the “Bank of England” team.

    The only thing of note is that our income stream means we cannot compete with others to secure 1st rate players and are therefore damned to mid-table or worse.

    It’s no feather in our cap that we make Deloiites table, it’s no feather in our cap that we spend that money on supporting the livelihoods of a bunch of mediocre players who have no resale value.

    Can we compete against the corporate giants of Spurs and ManU or the vanity projects of Chelsea or ManCity?

    No –so why haven’t administrators really attempted to create a level playing field and a truly competitive EPL?

    Because they are all blinded by dross like the Deloittes List.

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