No turning back for the money men

Trevor Haylett looks at whether football has ever had it so good

To Peter Shilton's chagrin, and to the dismay of Third Division Gillingham, football - or at least those at the top end of it - is currently awash with money. Loads of it. And there are more barrowloads to come, just as there will be larger transf ers than that which has seen Andy Cole move from Newcastle to Manchester United.

Pursued by sponsors, courted by television executives, targeted by children with a new club strip at the top of their shopping list, and supported by you, me and the man next door through the turnstiles, the game has never had it so good.

Growing attendances have pointed the way to a brighter tomorrow for several seasons, but the major catalyst for change was the creation two summers ago of the Premier League, which has turned football on to the kind of wealth it could only dream about before.

Trevor Phillips, the commercial director of the Football Association, said that even though the teams and the faces are basically the same, it is seen outside as a different product.

"If you wrap something up in a new coating, it's amazing what a difference it can make. The improvements which have been carried out to stadiums have been very beneficial from a commercial point of view.

"Then there are the millionaire businessmen that have come into football and, because of the way the premier league is set up, have more of a control over their money than before."

The Premier League's television contract with BSkyB has been enormously beneficial. Last season, it put £2.6m into the Manchester United bank; £743,500 was their starting share, £1.01m was a facility fee for appearing both live on Sky and on BBC's Match Of The Day, and £856,000 was their merit payment for finishing as champions. Even Swindon, who ended up bottom of the table and relegated, earned £1.025m.

With massive television exposure, other sponsors have been queueing up to obtain a share of the action. Carling, the League's central sponsor, signed a deal worth £3m a year over four years. Lucozade paid £1m to be the competition's official drinks supplier, while Citizen paid £300,000 for being the official timekeeper.

That is the easy money, gained merely for being among the elite of the national game, but the clubs have not been idle either, and are now reaping the rewards for their efforts in becoming more marketable. Phillips can recall a time not so long ago when football merchandising meant putting your club's logo on a cheap mug or a scarf to earn a few bob. "Now it is as sophisticated as anything you will find in America."

At Old Trafford, merchandising accounted for a staggering £14m income in 1994, compared with only £2m four years ago. Gerry Boon, of the accountants Touche Ross, says: "Manchester United has always been a very powerful brand name, and now they have people there able to convert that into good profits which are then ploughed back into the club. This enables them to do the kind of things in the transfer market we saw on Tuesday."

United's turnover for last season totalled £43.8m - an increase of 74 per cent -and that was before the opening of their new club superstore. The figure does not include transfer fees, and is made up of revenues through the gate, television and sponsor money, programme sales, catering and the like.

United's profit on the year was £10.8m, so Cole does not look such a vast outlay after all. Arsenal's turnover was up 40 per cent to £21.4m, Newcastle's 50 per cent to £18m and Tottenham's was £17.7m.

The additional prosperity has enabled premiership clubs to compete with their rivals in Europe for the best players. Klinsmann, Popescu and Schwarz all came away from a World Cup summer with England as their destination. The threat of having to match thefabulous offers available abroad is not the problem it was.

Although the gulf is no longer so vast, Italy remains in a different league. Roberto Baggio's contract will see him earn £1.2m in wages alone this season. The television deal negotiated by Serie A brings in £60m a year. For five appearances in the live Sunday evening fixture, Milan, Internazionale and Juventus each pocketed an extra £1.2m.

With huge money comes extra responsibility, and Phillips is not alone in voicing the fear that the gap in financial terms between the Premier League and the First Division has now become so wide that promoted clubs find it impossible to invest sufficiently in the transfer market to ensure they can stay longer than the one season.

Mike Lee, a spokesman for the Premier League, says that there is a drive to continue to plough funds into the game and to update facilities, even though most of the work to comply with the Taylor Report has finished.

The League also points out that while it is their clubs growing fat because there is more cream to go around, the benefits are spread far and wide.

"Whoever Newcastle buy as Cole's replacement, the chances are that eventually a player will make the jump from the Endsleigh League, and thereby bring a tidy sum to his selling club," Lee said. "And those who are relegated from the Premier League will continue to take their share of the Sky television deal for two more years."

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice