Fair play, City will make money as well as spend it

League title would allow Manchester's slickers to raise their profile and a lot of cash into the bargain

The difference for Manchester City between winning the Premier League title and finishing as runners-up could be as much as £30 million, according to a leading expert in football finance. Professor Tom Cannon of the University of Liverpool School of Management believes that being able to bill themselves as champions of England would potentially add that much to commercial revenue in the next year. And while even that sum is less than one-sixth of City's last annual loss (£195m), he believes that the development plans for the whole Etihad Stadium campus could enable them to meet Uefa's imminent Financial Fair Play regulations.

Roberto Mancini's team play at Newcastle today in the single match now most likely to decide the destination of the championship. If they can win it, then Manchester United will still be behind them even with a victory of their own at home to Swansea City later this afternoon. In the final fixtures next Sunday, United appear to face the tougher game, at Sunderland, while City, however historically unpredictable, would be expected to win at home to Queens Park Rangers.

They would then be able to cash in commercially, according to Professor Cannon. "With sponsors, advertisers, prices of season tickets and Champions' League games, executive boxes, overseas tours and so on, it would make a big difference," he said, "especially since it would be the first time since the Sixties that they could call themselves champions.

"Globally it's really important, for instance in the kind of deal you can do for a tour of Asia when you're seen as Premier League champions. All the evidence at the moment is that sponsors and advertisers are basically moving upmarket. I think City have a brilliant communications and marketing team, the best in the Premier League, and they'll be very smart. So all in all you could be adding £25m to £30m to the bottom line."

Last summer, City announced a10-year deal worth well over £300m for naming rights to the stadium and shirt sponsorship with Etihad, which caused considerable controversy because of the close links between the airline and the club's owners. "What was the losing bid?" Liverpool's sceptical owner John Henry asked. Uefa seem, however, to have accepted it as a genuine price, which will therefore count as income towards Financial Fair Play.

Meanwhile the owners will be allowed to sink more money into the whole area around the stadium without any effect on FFP in what Professor Cannon regards as "possibly the most exciting development around any ground in Europe".

"It could change the game," he says, "from being a one-day-a-week business to a six or seven-day business. They'll effectively have three stadiums in the campus and will be changing the whole football experience."

The other significant advantage he sees for City over Chelsea, with whom their billionaire's ownership is most often compared, is that the Middle East is an area of much greater financial potential than Roman Abramovich's Russia. "There's a lot of very rich businesses in the Middle East who could weigh in behind City if they win the championship and then go on to repeat it, or do well in the Champions' League. It's not just about Etihad. But it'll be a long time before we see Aeroflot on a club's shirts here."

Until that first title, and perhaps for a while to come, they will nevertheless still be playing catch-up with United and Liverpool commercially. As a committed Evertonian, Professor Cannon has personal experience of that. "I lead for the university in our relations with countries like Vietnam and Indonesia and I get a bit fed up with meeting people like the deputy prime minister of Vietnam and the first thing he tells me is that he's a big Liverpool supporter. But that's how Liverpool get their two enormous sponsorship deals with Warrior and Standard Chartered. That's what City have to aspire to."

Mancini believes they will do so slowly, saying: "Just now, City has a high profile in the world. Maybe we need another two years but this is normal because you can't change history in two or three years, it needs to be for five, six or 10 years."

Victory today would be a huge step along the way. They will surely have to moderate their spending sooner or later, but for now, as United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson says: "Nobody can match their financial power, no one. You have to accept that. So we do it a different way. We have to look at younger players with the potential to develop. But there's no doubt we'll be bringing players in this summer. Maybe two or three."

A title lost to their local rivals would doubtless bring renewed urgency to his recruitment. That could well happen on goal difference, a new experience for even the managerial daddy of them all, and one that would leave the bitterest of tastes.

"You have to look at that [6-1] game where we lost three goals in the last three minutes to City," Ferguson said. "That's a goal difference of six." Now it's up to eight after City completed the double last Monday, and it could be six again when the final, final whistle is blown a week today.

United have always been able to maintain that it was not the derby defeat to Denis Law's backheeled goal in 1974 that sent them down but results elsewhere. If four more games go to form starting today, they will have to admit that what will always be remembered as "the 6-1" was what did for them in 2012.

Newcastle United v Manchester City is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 1.30pm; Manchester United v Swansea City is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 4pm

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent