The true cost of success in football is now becoming clear:


But many financial experts believe that Chelsea will not have money to spend the way they have done since 2003 for very much longer. Abramovich might sell the club, which could result in the debt being thrown onto Chelsea and this is something that they will not be able to deal with. Their loss of £78million should not affect the club as the parent company takes all of the financial hits and leaves the club on a stable footing for now. A move away from Stamford Bridge will pose benefits for the West London club, but a stalemate over shares of the ground seems to be holding the club back.

Abramovich has also been involved in an ongoing court case that may well affect his long term financial state if he does not come out on top.

After becoming one of the best sides in Europe at the end of the 1990’s, Leeds United chairman Peter Ridsdale took out large loans to fund big name signings in the assumption that they would qualify for the Champions League and repay the debts in match day and media income. However, David O’Leary’s side narrowly failed to finish in the top four and thus had to find a way of paying off the ludicrous debts. This was the first sign that the mighty Leeds United were falling from grace.

Wholesale departures including players and management left the club on the brink of relegation and after failing to beat the drop; the training ground and historic home Elland Road were also sold to keep the club afloat. Failure to return to the top flight immediately meant that manager after manager came in on a shoe-string budget and failed to impress before they were eventually relegated again, this time to the third tier of English football.

The club entered administration in 2007 and were deducted 15 league points, and Ken Bates’ arrival was a sign that the club may have to start from square one. It has taken the club 11 years to look like they may be a Premier League club again, something that can’t happen again. Such a rapid decline shows that owners have so much power of a club and that loans and heavy debts will eventually come to light, and it may take longer than expected to be sorted which will heavily affect the club.

Leeds United are a prime example that things can end up as bad as first feared and should be used as a worst case scenario to all current and future football club owners.

One club that can be used as an example of business that runs successfully is Arsenal. When the Gunners moved to theEmirates Stadium in 2006, it was thought that the club would be financially restricted because of the multi-million pound building costs. But, the sale of Highbury and development of accommodation has proved a huge success and any revenue raised from the homes will be re-invested in the club. The financial gain has been dramatic, with matchday sales now at a all-time high in north London. The club were bankrolled to Stan Kroenke and the shareholders claimed a combined £243million last year without putting hardly any money into the club itself.

The sale of players has been a-money-making hit also, with Cesc Fabregas making the club £30million in the summer, something that a club with very little debt can re-invest in players immediately. Reaching the UEFA FFP should be simple for the Gunners and they should be looked at as a club that have used shrewd business acumen and youth development to its advantage.

Arsenal prove it is possible to run a steady, profitable business in football, but many have showed that it is harder said than done. Sometimes financial backing can produce success, but it needs to be reigned in to comply with UEFA rules and prevent the club falling from grace and losing what pride it has.

 Written by Brad Pinard for

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  • Melon Man says:

    Why regurgitate a poor article like this one?

    The author has not done his homework on City, and I can’t be arsed to do it for him.

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