Stunning sum spent by City to buy their way to Premier League success

Cormac Byrne

MANCHESTER City spent more than €1billion turning themselves into Premier League title favourites, according to an in-depth review of English football finances.

The £930.4million (€1.13bn) figure is taken from the Manchester club's last three annual accounts and illustrates how much money needs to be spent to take a club from mid-table mediocrity to Premier League supremacy.

The survey detailing what clubs earned and spent uncovered that, since Sheikh Mansour's takeover in 2008 to the end of last season, the club's outlay was an astonishing £930.4m with only £365.3m generated by its own operations, meaning that Mansour picked up the bill for the remaining £565.1m.

The survey does not take into account the £53.6m spent by the club on new arrivals last summer.

City's massive losses are set to be offset by a £400m sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways.

By the end of 2011, the club owed £88.4m in unpaid transfer fees and another £16.2m to Revenue and Customs.

The survey also discovered that:

•Top-flight clubs spent £2.51bn in cash, which was £285.8m more than they earned.

•The Premier League generated £2.23bn of income -- which equates to 0.148pc of the entire output of the UK economy.

•Clubs spent almost £400m on signings after player sales. Wages for players and staff cost clubs £1.52bn.

•Premier League clubs' net debt was £1.39bn, costing them £97.2m in debt-interest payments.

Arsenal, a club which has come under fire for its lack of activity, saw its net debt peak in 2008 at £318m, largely due to the cost of constructing the Emirates Stadium and redeveloping Highbury into flats, but that was worked down to £97.8m by the end of last year, thanks to a prudent approach to financial management.

Some 10 Premier League clubs had a higher net spend on transfers than Manchester United in the 2010-11 season, something which enraged United fans and saw them turn on the Glazer family.

But this thrift was by choice, not necessity: United have plenty of money. Between 2009-10 and 2010-11, wages grew by £23m, or 16.1pc.


Yet still they made an overall cash profit of £6.6m in the first of those seasons (paying £30.4m in transfers), and £32.2m in the second (transfer spending: £11.4m).

If it were not for their takeover debts United would have had £87m free in 2011, more than Everton's entire turnover.

Were it not for these debts, United could afford to sign an £80m player every summer.

Tottenham Hotspur's financial situation improved dramatically in the 2010-11 season as, after their running costs and debt had been serviced, they brought in £66.4m in cash.

The previous year, they raised £17.5m in cash, and with their billionaire owner, Joe Lewis, giving a £15m cash donation, Spurs spent £27.5m on transfers in the 2009-10 season.

Despite having the biggest wage bill in the Premier League last season, Chelsea earned £29m more than their running costs and interest bills (compensation paid to Andre Villas-Boas after his sacking will not be recorded until the 2011-12 accounts).

However, the £50m arrival of Fernando Torres plunged the club's profits into the red.

Interestingly, the only club found to have no debt was relegated Wolves, who have £25.5m in the bank.

In the 2010-11 season, when Wolves finished only a single place above relegation, they spent more money on player purchases after sales than Manchester United, Everton, Arsenal and Newcastle United combined.