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

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?