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United fall down Rich List

Manchester United may pride themselves on being the “biggest club in the world” but their financial might has once again been overshadowed by the two biggest clubs in Spain, according to the latest annual Football Money League.

Real Madrid remain top of the Deloitte-compiled list for the fifth year running, becoming the first club in any sport to break through the €400 million (£374 million) revenue barrier in a single year. Spurs came eighth.

Barcelona, having beaten United in last season’s Champions League final, have also overtaken the Premier League champions in terms of revenue generation over the past year.

The rise of the Spanish clubs has been partly due to the continuing decline of the pound against the euro, while La Liga clubs also enjoy the freedom to negotiate their own individual broadcast deals, while the Premier League have a collective deal which is shared much more equally among all 20 clubs.

“Real Madrid’s ten per cent increase in revenue to €401 million (£375 million) came despite a relatively disappointing season domestically and in Europe,” Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said. “Broadcast income provided Real with its largest increase in revenue and at €161m is now greater than the total revenue of all but the top ten Money League clubs.

“Barcelona’s unprecedented on-pitch success, winning a domestic double and the Champions League, helped drive a revenue increase by €57m, the largest absolute increase of any Money League club, to €366 million.”

Manchester United earned a total of €327 million, marginally up from €324.8 million last year.

United remain England’s most financially powerful club, having increased their income by nine per cent over the past year. The most notable change in the list sees Arsenal leapfrog Chelsea into fifth place. Arsene Wenger’s side recorded a seven per cent rise in revenue to £224 million compared to their London rivals’ £206 million – a three per cent fall in revenue.

“Tottenham Hotspur’s revenue has dropped because last season was a bit worse than usual on the pitch, they had frozen season ticket prices and there was not a lot going on in big new commercial developments,” Jones added. “Arsenal have the advantage in matchday income with a new 60,000-seater stadium and they made the semi-finals of both the Champions League and the FA Cup.

“All the English clubs were impacted by the continuing depreciation of the pound against the euro and the scale of this is shown by the fact that if exchange rates remained at their June 2007 level, United would be top of the money league table.”

Liverpool, who enjoyed an 11 per cent revenue increase, rose one place to seventh above AC Milan. There are seven English sides in the top 20 in Europe – Tottenham Hotspur are 15th, Manchester City 19th and Newcastle United 20th