The Premier League is the greatest football league in the world, with the 2013/14 season being the best yet. Many people say that money has ruined football but what is the true impact? In this article we are going to investigate the money in top tier English football and make a decision if it has ruined football. Is it beyond saving?
Let’s start at the formation of the Premier League: the 1992/93 season. Manchester United were the first to lift the famous trophy; but how much prize money did they get? Well the answer is: £815,210. Yes, that’s just over eight hundred thousand, not million.
Now if we compare that to last season, the winners - Manchester City - won £23.5m for coming first plus £19.7m from live matches shown on TV and £52.2m also from TV income which goes to all teams; meaning they received £96,578,329 overall.
English football: Popularity contest?
However, that was not as much as Liverpool who earned £97,544,336 overall, more than City because they had three more live games shown. This shows that English football is about popularity rather than success sometimes. Another prime example of this is Manchester United having nine more games shown on TV than Everton despite finishing two places below them.
Sky and BT only care about getting the most viewers rather than showing a fair representation on the league. This is the first sign that money comes before quality, does it ruin football?
The huge TV business within football means that every single club gets a massive amount of money whether they finish top or bottom, currently over £50m for just participating! And with an over £3 billion TV deal with BSkyB and BT until 2016 the rewards are only going to increase.
Sponsorship and kit deals
The next factor is sponsorships and kit deals. Most of you have probably read about Manchester United’s kit deal with Adidas worth £750 million starting from the 2015/16 season. That is on top of the £125 million a season from Chevrolet for shirt sponsorship. This is a huge amount of money so how are teams supposed to compete with that? They can’t.
The other half of Manchester have also signed a deal with Nissan, with City recieving £20m (and no doubt a few cars) for the five-year deal. This is just to be a commercial/automotive partners, not even shirt sponsorship!
These huge deals only go to the top Premier League teams which enables them to have equally huge transfer kitties and wage bills. This leads to the big teams getting bigger and the small teams struggling to compete. The top players simply aren’t affordable for anyone out of the top five.
Now to the final aspect I’m going to cover; transfers. This is something that has not only caused big problems in the domestic league but also for the national team. A perfect example is the recent transfer of Adam Lallana to Liverpool for £25m and Toni Kroos’ move to Real Madrid for £24m.
Now, Lallana played for Southampton who had a good season but were only promoted recently from the Championship and aren’t in the financial situation to say no to that offer; he has never played in Europe and has only just been brought in to the England frame. Kroos, on the other hand, has won numerous league titles, the Champion’s League and was a key part of the Germany squad that won the World Cup. Bayern Munich are a wealthy club that could have afforded to hold out for more.
Yes, Kroos was in his final year of his contract which lowers his value slightly but the fees would suggest that Lallana is as good as or better than Kroos; this is not true.
Fortunes spent on unproven players
Another example is highly rated full back Luke Shaw, 18, also from Southampton. He moved to Old Trafford for an enormous £30m - outrageous for a teenager - yet he is unproven. Whereas, Newcastle United have just completed a deal for Daryl Janmaat thought to be around £6m, who helped the Netherlands secure third place in Rio.
So, Man United paid £24m more than Newcastle probably simply because he’s English, it is a massive risk. But United have the cash to splash so they don’t even consider being frugal, unlike Newcastle who have bought all their players this summer for the same price as Luke Shaw alone - and they are very good signings too!
Manchester City also bought up a bunch English stars with huge potential but have since barely played and they may never be a part of the England squad again. Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair were heavily overpriced and no doubt were attracted by the thick pay checks. Chelsea also hijacked Liverpool’s bid for Mohammed Salah in January; I think this was purely to stop Liverpool from getting him, which is a great shame.
The fact that football clubs are starting to be run like businesses means that they become more concerned with the latest bank busting sponsorship contracts. This does mean they can improve the squad, stadium and infrastructure but it means that transfer fees rise and lower teams are forced to go abroad to find cheaper alternatives. The Premier League is so money orientated now that players aren’t allowed to be nurtured (gone are the days of teams creating players like those from the Class of ’92) and players leave much too often, disappointing supporters.
Players earn so much a week that they don’t care if they are fined meaning discipline doesn’t have the same importance as 10 or 20 years ago. Many don’t play for love and passion anymore, it’s the money.
On the other hand, money has caused the aforementioned improvements and teams are trying to build up fantastic academies. Money means that we see the very best players every week and can see our teams achieve so much more. The technology has improved vastly and we can watch stunning footage over and over again.
There has never been more live games on TV and each broadcaster is trying to be the best, which improves our experience as fans with last season was the most competitive yet. There is no doubt money has helped the Premier League become better. But what is the cost?
So, to conclude, money has taken a hold on the Premier League and is never going to let go. More and more money will be pumped in and in answer to the question posed in the headline, yes it is beyond saving; it has been so for a number of years now.
However, I want you to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It will affect people in different ways and you all have different views. Post your thoughts in the comment box below.