Football’s Financial Funny farm

12 August 2009

Well it doesn’t seem like two minutes since the much loved Ronaldo headed off to sunnier and wealthier climes to fulfil his childhood dream. And John Terry resisted the vulgar lure of a wheelbarrow of wonga to snub Manchester and stay in the City. Don’t be fooled though, it was probably the rain that put him off.

And now, thank goodness, the new Premier League season is about to begin all over again. We can all breathe a sigh of relief; stretch our newly bought replica shirts over our barbeque stuffed frames and head off to spend ten per cent of our weekly income watching our heroes lose. And when they do lose, we upset ourselves with the whim that ten per cent of our one-footed striker’s weekly wage could keep us in beer until 2075.

And so this is how the freakenomics of football works. Gone are the days when we could sit behind our club captain on the bus on the way to the game. These days if you so much as look at his helicopter you’ll be tazered by his entourage of baboons.

For years now we have been asking how long could this all carry on? When will the bubble burst? Once proud clubs like Leeds and Southampton’s fall from grace has been accelerated by financial gaffes. And should the unthinkable happen and Sky suffered a corporate wobble, what implications would there be for us all. The collapse of Setanta has crippled Scottish football.

But nobody cares at Manchester City where they carry on spending entirely oblivious to the recession. In the last twelve months they have enthusiastically spent just over £200m on transfer fees, committing a further £300m in wages.

And across the road the paupers at Old Trafford can take comfort in the truly global attraction of their brand.

Even Burnley is sexy now. The Lancashire mill town more recently associated with the BNP and drug addiction levels is now home to everyone’s ‘second team’. I’m sure Burnley has already hit the radar in Abu Dhabi, but can they really expect to prosper in a league awash with cash by advertising a policy of bringing in young and hungry players who think of football first, contracts later and Dom Perignon only when they’ve won a trophy?

For the good of football let’s hope so.

And now the book plug:

Brendan Flood, operations director at Burnley F.C. has penned his diary of the epic tale of the club’s rise to the Premier League. Big Club, Small Town and Me, is due out this week – rrp £9.99.

If you want to know how football clubs can progress while watching the pennies, order your copy online by emailing

It isn’t really suitable reading for Blackburn fans.

Stuart Wilkin writes for Insider

Posted  12 August 2009


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