Often Partisan

Cash Rules Everything Around Us

Figures released yesterday show the influence money has in the top flight; Cardiff City, who finished bottom of the 2013/14 Premier League earned more money from TV rights and merit payments than Manchester United did as Champions in the 2012/13 season.

Due to the new three-year broadcasting deal that came into effect last season, Cardiff City picked up a massive £62.1million last season. – £1.3million more than Manchester United the previous season. Liverpool earned the most money last season, picking up a combined £97mil from TV rights and merit payments after appearing on TV 28 times last season. To put it into comparative terms, Cardiff earned 2.5times Birmingham City’s entire turnover from last season (£24m) just from being in the top flight.

The gulf between the money in the Premier League and the divisions below has been large since the inception of the PL in 1992. However, with the new TV deal the gap is the widest it has ever been and it goes to show how important it is to clubs in the top flight to finish 17th and maintain the gravy train – much more important financially than winning a trophy such as the League Cup (which has prize money of £100,000 for winning it) or the FA Cup (prize money of £2million for winning it). It also should demonstrate why owners in the Championship (such as Leicester City’s owners) are ready to spend large sums of money in an effort to get to the top flight.

This new injection of money will not be good for the lower tiers in the game. As more money comes into the top end of the game players have been paid better wages that have correlated those rises in income. It’s easier than ever for bigger teams to take young players from small teams – especially with the onset of EPPP last season – for small sums of money and with the advocacy of “League 3” it seems that the FA are promoting the idea of the top flight clubs hoovering up talent and having huge squads to fill out “A” and “B” teams.

Even when Birmingham City were in the Premier League, I will admit to not being too happy with the way football is in the thrall of the TV companies. Like many people, I have wondered how much further it will go before the bubble pops and the big TV firms decide that they won’t pay as much any more – if indeed the bubble will pop. Sky made their whole business model around capturing the Premier League TV rights in the early 90s and they still have such a stranglehold on them I can’t see them being willing to let them go easily. I have to agree that Sky have improved TV coverage of football exponentially – but at what cost to the punters who go to the matches?

I will admit to being a bit hippie about all this, in having the belief that money should be shared out more equally among clubs and that more investment needs to be made in the grassroots of the game. From a selfish standpoint, I can see that it’s going to be harder for clubs like Birmingham City to be sold because of the need for a buyer to have more money than ever; I would estimate personally that any owner of a Championship club needs to be prepared to spend at least £5million a year without ever thinking of seeing it again until the club is promoted. To paraphrase the Wu-Tang Clan, “Cash rules everything around us”.

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36 Responses to “Cash Rules Everything Around Us”

  • bluearmyfaction says:

    It’s really the fault of the Football League. They should and could put their foot down over a more equitable distribution of money – by persuading the 14 clubs more likely to get relegated than play in Europe that it’s in their interests to vote for a trickledown. Or else threaten to shut up shop and stop promotion/relegation. I doubt the Premiership TV rights are worth much if you’ve got non-stop Stoke City or West Ham action to tout around the globe.

    • RichardM says:

      I don’t think you can blame the Football league, they have a pretty weak hand compared to the Premier League, who are sadly the “bullies” in the playground, ensuring that the select few get richer and more powerful at the expense of the rest of us. I’m slowly starting to think there needs to come a point in time when the majority of football fans say enough is enough, and we try to reclaim the game from the money men. Easy for me to say posting on the Internet I know, but I can only see it getting worse. I keep praying that the big six / seven’s greed will eventually be their downfall – and they will all leave us to join some silly Euro Super League, which will give the rest of us the opportunity to build the English league back into something resembling a genuine competition. Even the Villa can’t compete anymore.

      • Chris W says:

        I think the decline is beginning, now that Man U’s monopoly has fallen they are slipping down the league, I think next season will see them slip further. Chelsea are no longer the force they were along with Arsenal. Villa have been struggling for two or three seasons now, never recovered from McLiesh. The playing field is levelling out and soon the Arabs and Sheiks will get bored along with more and more people ditching sky and finding cheaper alternative ways to view live football.
        KRO+DNM

        • Chas says:

          I wish I could agree with you,. Chris. I have been wanting this for years, but it doesn’t happen. I would love to see one of the Top 5 Clubs go bust, but cant see the powers that be allowing it.

          • Chris W says:

            Abramovich isn’t spending as he use to, Liverpool are now desperate on Champions league football.
            It will be interesting to watch Man Utd this season without European football, they are already 100’s of millions in debt.
            KRO+DNM

  • Big Al says:

    I wonder how much happiness Cardiff fans got per pound out of that amount?

  • Graham says:

    my money is on Cardiff winning the Championship next season

    • Chas says:

      I will draw your attention to QPR . They might go up, but they weren’t runaway League Winners as a lot thought.

  • Keep The Faith says:

    With the thick end of 500 players employed in premier clubs first team squads mostly on telephone number wages is it any wonder that despite all the monies on offer most of these clubs are in debt. The premier league is not the best league in Europe, it is probably third and that’s only because the Italians have lost their way. Our top flight does not have the technical skills of many of our near neighbours or the competitiveness of the championship. This year has been an exception due to uniteds poor form but the prem have 4 clubs who compete and the rest trying to stay in a completion they can’t win or praying they get a Europa league spot by winning the mini league . With all the money thrown at premier clubs they continue to fleece their own fans with ticket prices and steal talent from lower league clubs once that club has spent years developing the talent.football has long ceased to be a sport it is a soap opera. The entire set up of the industry is anti competative and designed to be so. The FA will tell us it’s all to promote the England Team. This years World Cup will show how much we have improved as a nation . Wenger stated that a player needs to have developed the ball skills and basic techniques by the age of 8 if they are to reach the very top. Where is the investment in to coaching at the lower age groups? I love the Blues but lets not kid our selves, Football is a gravey train pure and simple. The greed of the F A has killed the dream.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    A few of years ago I saw a lad I know who lives in my area with a Chelsea top on, not long after that he had a Man U top on, I saw him again yesterday wearing a Man City top. It sort of tells you what is wrong with the game now.

  • pierre says:

    I think who ever the new owners are,investment in wast hills and youth development is crucial. We simply will not be able to compete in the transfer market.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    The financial gap between the divisions is growing larger by the season.
    Two of the promoted teams to the Premiership in the last two seasons were relegated this season.
    Two of the promoted teams from League 1 last season were relegated this season.
    Blues missed their chance in their first season in the Championship, but lost to Blackpool in the Play-Offs.
    Blues’ chances of promotion is nil unless a massive injection of cash is made.

  • Andy says:

    TV Dollar bill y’all.

  • DoctorD says:

    Spot on article, Dan.

    The growing financial gap is becoming ever more dangerous as it makes the riches on offer ever more enticing but means that those who gamble to hit the big time and fail will lose spectacularly.

    We’ve seen the situation backfire on Leeds, Portsmouth and us (to some extent) and there will, I am convinced, be even more – and even bigger – casulaties in the future.

    However, the top five, six or seven Prem clubs will always be safe and so there is no push from them to reform the system. As for the rest of the top-division clubs, they simply hit the panic button by firing their managers as soon as their status is in doubt and that’s only going to get worse in future.

  • Blueboy88 says:

    The Premier is not perfect & technically not the best league in Europe.
    However it is undeniably the most exciting & interesting.
    46 different clubs have played in the Premiership since its inception, so the dream is very obtainable.
    For all its faults I for one would love to be preparing to watch BCFC play Villa, Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea etc next season.

  • Chris W says:

    Football and money are in the news quite a bit lately; more in line with BCFC is Leeds Utd.
    Their new owner is shouting about how bad the finances are and how they were losing a million pound per month.
    I would hate to hear what Blues new owners will be saying when they take over.
    I think we can safely say that we will not be competing for the Premiership for at least 3 years, as we will need to consolidate and clear the debts that we do not know exist yet. I am sure with all the smoke and mirrors coming out of Hong Kong and from experiences not all in the garden is as rosy as PP tries to make out.
    As for the Premiership, they will not be happy until they have their super league instead of putting money back into schools and grass roots football.
    When I was at school, we had football twice a week and at least one competitive
    game a week, Plus a Saturday morning league. Once in senior school every year
    had a school team with inter house sports leagues and an inter-school league. We
    also had sessions at our local Football Clubs mine was Elmdon as we were South
    Birmingham.
    My 5 yr grandson has one half hour session a week and nothing after school.
    My 12 yr grandson has an hour football session a week and there is no longer a football league between schools anymore, the school curriculum does not allow it and the school cannot afford the extra costs.
    As in life, not only is it money orientated but political too.
    The cost of a season ticket and the insecurity of employment, despite all the government figures, unemployment is on the increase, families have to juggle finances with football now being a less appealing expense for that leisure pound. Football, more so the Premiership are happy with all the money that sky and TV companies are pumping into the game but it is at the expense of the true supporter, when I was growing up it was either Blues or them across the city. Walking round the Bull Ring, we see the top premiership teams’ shirts or the top European teams mainly Barcelona and Messi.
    I agree Dan, the bubble has to burst, but I don’t think it will as long as supporters keep putting their money across for extortionately priced tickets and Sky dominates.
    KRO+DNM

    • Small Heath Blue says:

      Totally agree, and to add insult to injury amateurs wanting to play in Sunday leagues have to pay for the privilege of playing. The bubble will burst, and it will be soon, as more and more people are circumventing sky to watch football for nothing on the internet. The sooner it bursts the better, as the money taken from football by players and agents and hangers on is obscene.

  • the one giannisawyer says:

    This sort of model will attract Championship clubs who simply want to get promoted, and then spend nothing, happy in the existence that they will be whipping boys just to collect a years worth of TV money.
    This is essentially what is happening over the road. Nothing spent on the squad (relatively) and just riding the drop zone for a maximum profit. Now that he has collected the tidy profit, time to sell.
    The Prem is in danger of becoming the equivalent of selling drugs; high risk, high reward.
    If (WHEN) Blues get promoted back into the Prem, I want us to have a clear and sensible approach to competing with ALL teams in the division, without any shadow of financial burden if we were to be relegated. How can we ask players to express themselves and play good football, when the noise coming from upstairs is pressure to stay up. It shouldn’t matter if we get relegated, that’s life, but we should not be in a position where this puts the clubs existence in doubt.
    Just my thoughts. probably ‘a bit hippie’ too!

  • The Timms says:

    Cream get the money, dollar dollar bill y’all

  • Gary says:

    Money has totally ruined football & made it even more predictable than ever but I must admit I would love blues to get owners like man city just to see if the media would rave on about blues like they do the other teams with mega rich owners.

  • paulo_bcfc says:

    This particular topic gets my blood boiling! I have so much respect for those who support their local teams and have actually been inside the stadium to watch a game. All clubs need fans, and they need to understand fans are working people who love their club and the game. To me, sky are not too dissimilar to corporations who steamroll their way to profit and flatten anything in their way. To have sky, it’s not too far off a season ticket for a year anyway, so I’m not surprised they have the money to create super clubs. Realistically, how long could a championship club (blues or similar financially) survive in the premier league when the Chelsea bench is worth more than their club? I hate the way the premier league has become, and the greed is evident, and the media worship it, but it’s real and certain clubs kind of ‘own’ the top four places.
    I’d rather support my local team, not have sky, and continue to be amazed at the so-called supporters of ‘the top four’ ..in places far away from our shores.
    The other side to worshipping money though, is when the players can’t be arsed to earn their pay packet and relegation hits hard – and the TV money dissapears faster than a pint at half time – and along with it, is the loyalty from a few.

  • Small Heath Blue says:

    I’m assuming Marlon King won’t be picking up the soap anytime soon!

  • bluenoserob says:

    the only way sky will lose its power in the uk is if they are out bid by someone else , this in the short term at least would mean more money for the clubs , the bubble will get bigger and bigger ….

  • Andrew says:

    Im not that fussed if Birmingham dont get the premier division again, i just dont want to see second rate players because we cant afford the fee to buy players just to compete. bottom to mid table premier teams bore me.

  • Geoff S says:

    I’ve just looked on the SHA blog and they are highlighting an article by Colin Tattum (only posted at 20:30 today on the “Bham Mail” site titled ‘Birmingham City Takeover Saga Drawing to a Close’.

    Has anybody else seen it?

    • Tony says:

      Yes Iv seen it Geoff

    • Chris W says:

      I’ve seen it.
      Not sure where the good news is coming from. Until it is announced in black and white from HKSE nothing is happening.
      We all know the need for urgency, but that hasn’t bothered BIHL, they were prepared to see us fall through the relegation trap door than give LC some money in the January window.
      Would prefer it to be the British based local group, someone must know something if they are predicting they are not the ones.
      KRO+DNM

      • Geoff S says:

        Perhaps there may be more news tomorrow or over the weekend or perhaps not. Who can know for sure?

        • Chris W says:

          Don’t get me wrong, I want the end of this sorry saga, but how many times have we heard promises to be announced only to be let down. I’m not planning a street party just yet.
          KRO+DNM

  • Geoff S says:

    That should have read “Birmingham City Takeover Saga Drawing to a Conclusion”

  • Dave Partridge says:

    I am sick to death of seeing the same clubs on telly up to three times a week. Super Saturday, Super Sunday, Monday Night, Champions League, Europa League and back to Super Saturday. Last season, Manchester Utd had 28 league games televised, Stoke had 7! Where is the equal distribution that Sky and the Premier League so often bandy about?

    When England fly back home on June 25 everyone will criticise the number of foreigners in the Premiership but no one will have the gall to stand up and say the unequal distribution of TV money is at fault. I have no interest in the Premier League or European football (except that one glorious season) purely based on the financial monstrosity it’s become in allowing 17 year old academy players, who rarely get a sniff of first team football – unless its on loan – to rock up to training in a top of the line Mercedes or A***n Martin or some other flash motor.

    Football used to be for the working class, but the working class have been priced out of it for a long time. The FA and Football League are weak organisations with no spine, little integrity and no clue.


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