Chelsea close on United in rich list

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Chelsea's place among the élite of European football was consolidated last night when the Premiership leaders were named as the game's fastest-developing club after they passed rivals such as Juventus, Internazionale and Arsenal to leap from 10th place to fourth in the world rich list.

Chelsea's place among the élite of European football was consolidated last night when the Premiership leaders were named as the game's fastest-developing club after they passed rivals such as Juventus, Internazionale and Arsenal to leap from 10th place to fourth in the world rich list.

The Stamford Bridge club's turnover of £143.7m, revealed in the Deloitte Football Money League, has taken them to within £5m of Milan in third place, but they are still behind the leaders, Manchester United - who have been confirmed as the richest club in the world for the eighth successive year.

The unprecedented investment in players by Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, has left the club with losses this year of £87.8m, but the club still believe that they can break even by the 2009-2010 season after significant rises in their turnover from commercial activities.

Chelsea's rise in television revenue - a result of their Champions' League run last year - and the increase in profits from commercial sales, including replica shirts, is the first sign that the Abramovich effect is beginning to take hold. The attempt to build a self-sustaining merchandising giant on the scale of United will rely on attracting the interest of long-term supporters who buy into the club's success.

The club have also negotiated a new kit deal with adidas worth £12m over eight years, which starts in July 2006, and are in talks for a new sponsor to replace the deal with Emirates that runs out in the summer.

However, their financial case is not that pressing: they are considering celebrating their centenary year next season by keeping their blue shirts free of a sponsor's name for the entire campaign.

Chelsea's run to the Champions' League semi-finals last year, and finishing second in the Premiership, meant that their earnings from television income, sponsorship deals and crowd revenue jumped to £117.9m - a 60 per cent increase on the previous year.

The Chelsea chief executive, Peter Kenyon, who presided over the rise of Manchester United's megastore culture, has also pointed to a 57 per cent rise in merchandising profits which the club claims is against the current downward trend in football. A spokesman for Chelsea said: "The amount of money we have spent on players has been well documented. We believe we have identified upward trends in football-related revenues which has substantially increased our turnover."

As well as United and Chelsea, there are six further Premiership clubs, more than any other nation, in the top 20 - Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Aston Villa - as well as Rangers and Celtic. The combined turnover of the world's top 20 richest clubs is set to break the £2bn mark in 2005.

United's turnover of £171.5m - calculated over the season 2003-2004 - is higher than Real Madrid on £156.3m, but the Spanish club have cut the wealth gap between the two sides by half in the space of a year. The rise of Real shows the effect of David Beckham's signing on the merchandising initiative launched by president Florentino Perez.

At their last AGM, United warned that players could have to take pay-cuts on new contracts after profits were predicted to fall next year by around £14m because of reduced earnings from the Champions' League and Premiership. The club make around £60m in both match-day and television revenues, and around £50m in commercial activities.

Unlike Real and Chelsea, however, United is a plc and the club's value, according to yesterday's share price of 272p, was around £707m. The United chief executive, David Gill, has presided over a new Vodafone sponsorship deal - £36m over four years - to accompany their record-breaking £303m, 13-year kit deal with Nike.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the table, however, was the inclusion for the first time of United's neighbours, Manchester City, who make their first appearance in 16th place. Despite having debts of around £62m, the club have generated a turnover of £61.9m.

The City chief executive, Alistair Mackintosh, at 34 the youngest in the Premiership, has increased the turnover from £49m in the previous year despite the club finishing 16th last season. City have 34,500 season ticket holders and a further 100,000 smart-card holders - a membership scheme. They have also staged concerts at the ground which will see the bands Oasis and U2 visit this summer, and will host the rugby league Tri-Nations match between Great Britain and Australia.

FOOTBALL'S TOP TABLE: UNITED AND CHELSEA CASH IN

The Deloitte Football Money League for the 2003-2004 season:

Position (prior year's pos) Income (£m)



1 (1) Manchester United 171.5
2 (4) Real Madrid 156.3
3 (3) Milan 147.2
4 (10) Chelsea 143.7
5 (2) Juventus 142.4
6 (7) Arsenal 115.0
7 (13) Barcelona 112.0
8 (6) Internazionale 110.3
9 (5) Bayern Munich 110.1
10 (8) Liverpool 92.3
11 (9) Newcastle United 90.5
12 (11) Roma 72.0
13 (18) Celtic 69.0
14 (16) Tottenham Hotspur 66.3
15 (15) Lazio 65.8
16 (n/a) Manchester City 61.9
17 (14) Schalke 04 60.5
18 (n/a) Marseilles 58.3
19 (n/a) Rangers 57.1
20 (n/a) Aston Villa 55.9


Comments