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Finances YE 2019


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What's interesting about that bottom five, is that there are some very different approaches within the group.

Three of those clubs could be described as well run and solid as ongoing concerns - that's us, Fulham and Manchester City - both bankrolled by what I'm going to call "good" billionaire owners - that means if those owners got bored and just shipped out, the clubs wouldn't be in danger of folding - they'd both just be back to square one but on a reasonable foundation - there'd have to be an adjustment to their ambitions, but they'd be pretty secure. The big red numbers in the charts above are about the losses those owners have endured, not the football clubs.

A fourth club might be in that boat and might not - Chelsea is run by a generous, but more complex billionaire owner - if Roman Abramovich decided to up sticks overnight, he could demand from Chelsea the return of around £1.1bn in loans - a sum that would render them deeply troubled overnight. Now it's very unlikely that he would do that, the loans are on a sweetheart basis and he's written off debts before for Chelsea - but the possibility is still there - and in their current form, they do still represent an existential threat to Chelsea football club, albeit an unlikely one.

The other club is of course, the richest club in the world, the one that makes the most income, the one with the giant profile and the huge sponsorships. It's the least stable sporting entity on the planet. United have debts of around £500m - not as a gift from their owners, but from banks - they pay real interest on that debt. Those massive debts aren't covered by the owners, the owners don't contribute at all, the owners created that debt in order to leverage buying the club.

Those debts are covered by the highest top line income in the Premier league.That's important, because it means that there is no club in the Premier league that is more poorly positioned to survive a sudden hit to incomes than Manchester United - they're the bloke with a great job but a massive mortgage and huge car payments he can barely afford - if anything happens to that great job, say a global pandemic for instance, he's in a world of trouble. 

You'd think wouldn't you that when football wrote up rules to protect clubs from financial implosion they'd reflect the various stages of those clubs by including debt in their measures - perhaps as the number one measure of a clubs health? That would allow for recognition of "good" billionaire owners and make it more difficult for bad billionaire owners to profit from clubs or leave them in danger. It would mean that Manchester United would be under some sort of special measure preventing them getting themselves into an even deeper hole - something that says that the bloke with the massive mortgage and car payments can't buy another Rolls Royce until he's back in the black.

Sadly, that's not the case - and it's not the case because Manchester United and couple of other clubs that quite fancied going down the same path had a huge influence on those rules in FIFA and in the UK and on how they were written. The way in which FFP exists now, is to some extent Manchester United's fault - and it means their current situation could get quite precarious.

If one thing should come out of football's current crisis, it should be the rewriting of those FFP rules to protect clubs from financial failure, rather than to protect them from competition.



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On 11/03/2020 at 16:16, tonyh29 said:

Swiss Ramble posted this today  , lot of it isn't new info , but still interesting I guess




Looks like Leeds are involved in some Financial shenanigans of their own if they were reporting higher commercial income than us last season. 

Edited by sidcow
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