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What does it take to become a big football club?

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When people talk about clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Liverpool they put them in the bracket of a big club. What is a big club? and what does it take to become one of the elites of club football?

In 2003 when Chelsea were taken over by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich it sparked a new era for football.

In their first season under new ownership Chelsea spent over £100 million on players, something only Spanish giants Real Madrid could do at the time.

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Claudio Ranieri who as Chelsea manager at the time was sacked after the first season after failing to win the Premier League.

Chelsea then appointed Jose Mourinho who led them to back-to-back Premier League titles (the fifth club in English history to do so) as well as an FA Cup and two League Cups.

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Abramovich's influence at Chelsea

However in the space of four years Chelsea fans and Mourinho learnt both the benefits and the draw backs to have a super rich owner after Mourinho was sacked after failing to deliver the prize Abramovich craved the most, the Champions League.

Since the Russian took over Chelsea have had ten different managers in just 12 years.

Despite the quick fire change in managers the Abramovich take over turned Chelsea into one of the Europe's top sides after consistently challenging for titles both domestically and internationally.

Whilst Chelsea is a perfect example of a club becoming a 'big club' there are many teams where this hasn't worked out quite in the same way.

QPR experiment has failed

Take for example Queens Park Rangers, who after a number of financially difficult years and multiple oversea owners including Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore - where the club found themselves with four years of super rich owners but none of which wanting to invest into the club heavily - they found themselves having some of the richest owners not just in England but anywhere in the footballing world and it was looking like their dream of European football wasn't going to happen. It didn't, and doesn't look like it will happen.

However they were taken over more recently by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes. The club under the helm of Mark Hughes bought a number of high profile players in a short space of time in order to make sure the club stays in the Premier League.

The biggest of which was centre-back Chris Samba for a whopping £12 million. The club were relegated and many believe the reason is due to many singings in a short space of time leave no time for the team to adapt.

QPR are currently in the Premier League still and are facing another relegation from the England's top domestic league for the second time in three years.

Trophies and European football the key

There are a few teams that are challenging the trend. Whilst they still have the backing of owners, they aren't in the same bracket as Chelsea or Manchester United.

Teams like Tottenham, Everton and more recently Southampton have a long way to go yet.

In my eyes to become a truly 'big' side these teams need to win trophies and challenge in Europe consistently over a decade and hope that the owner you have will continue to pump money into you club.

How many big clubs are there in English football? Have your say in the comments below!

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