Monday, 31 December 2012

Does Money Guarantee Success In Football?

After Manchester City rose to fame by being taken over by Arab Billionaires and won the league last season with an entirely different squad to that of 10 years ago, it begs the question - Does money guarantee success?

I have compiled a table which details each club that is currently in the Premier League and it's net spend. For the less economically knowledgeable, this is basically how much a club has spent - how much a club has received. (Both of these are in terms of transfers). This table has taken into account the last 20 years and goes back all the way to the 1992/1993 season. I have filled in the clubs who have make a loss in red and those who have ended up making a profit in green. I have also ranked each club in terms of their net spend so the club with the highest net spend and the biggest loss is rank 20 (Chelsea) and the club with the biggest profit and lowest net spend is rank 1 (Norwich).

The first thing that stands out is that both Norwich and Reading have ended up receiving more money for selling players than they have spent to buy them. In this day and age I think this it quite an achievement. A special mention to Swansea who narrowly missed out and have a net spend of £0.6m.

The main focus of this article was to analyse whether by a club spending huge amounts of money on players they would be guaranteed to enjoy success.

Arsenal ranked an impressive 6th in the table. Although Arsenal haven't won a trophy for the last 8 years, I would still class them as a successful club as they qualify for the Champions League each year (Just about!) and in the 1990's were successful and this table takes into account that period don't forget. So after spending just £21.9m I would say Arsenal are a perfect example of how you can be successful without spending huge amounts.

On the other hand you have the huge spenders in Chelsea and Manchester City who unsurprisingly ranked 20th and 19th respectively. If you consider Chelsea with their net spend of  £595m you would say they have been fairly successful in the last 20 years. However if you compare them to Manchester United who have a net spend of less than half of Chelsea's then you would say they are nowhere near them. United have been mainly dominant over the last 20 years however they have done so without spending hugely like Chelsea and they have been more successful in my opinion.

You could however look at the other end of the spectrum and consider Reading for example who had a profit with a net spend of -£3.4m. Although their spending has been admirable in the last 20 years, you could say that this has limited them. They haven't been at all successful and are only sporadically in the Premier League. Their lack of spending has meant they haven't been able to compete with other teams and sadly, this argues for the fact that money buys success. 

In conclusion I would have to say yes and no in answer to the question, 'Does money guarantee success?'. My reason for this is simple, it definitely guarantees success, but only to a certain extent. Although Man City have seen a rise in their fortunes recently, they aren't dominating the English game like the figures say they should be, they trail United who have a much better net spend, the same can be said for Chelsea. The argument on the other side is that although Arsenal are punching above their weight for their net spend and I classed them as successful, they are a level below the other big spending clubs and I feel that if they fail to match other clubs' spending then they could be a club in decline from what they once were.

What do you think, does money guarantee success in football? Tell us in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!


  1. Could you please detail how Everton have spent £35m net in the last 20 years? Many thanks.

    1. I can't go through every player for the last 20 years but here's the list and the net spend is in the top right of the table :)

    2. Everton have sold a number of high-profile players at a profit over the period, which has offset their costs quite considerably- Wayne Rooney being a prime example. This is why their costs are lower than they otherwise might be.


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