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Opinion

It’s a miracle! As 4 of 10 richest clubs in World are finalists in Champions League and Europa League

6 months ago
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The ‘dream’ scenario of four Premier League clubs in the Champions League and Europa League has come to pass.

The high drama of Tuesday and Wednesday nights propelled Liverpool and then Tottenham into the Champions League final.

Then Thursday night brought slightly less drama but once again two Premier League finalists.

A 4-2 win in Valencia brought Arsenal a comfortable 7-3 aggregate win, whilst Chelsea attempted to liven up a poor night of football at Stamford Bridge, by eventually struggling through on penalties after the game ended 1-1 at 90 minutes and no more goals in extra time.

A real fairytale story…well at least it is where the English media are concerned.

It isn’t a ‘miracle’ of any sorts, in fact it simply points to the massive failures of previous years, despite the overwhelming advantage the Premier League has.

In the last 10 years only one English club has won the Champions League, Chelsea in 2012.

In the last 17 years of the Europa League/UEFA Cup only Chelsea (2013 with Rafa Benitez) and Man Utd (2017) have won it.

The latest (2019) Deloitte list of the football clubs with the highest revenues in the World (2017/18 season), had this Top 10 (amounts in euros):

751m Real Madrid

690m Barcelona

666m Man Utd

629m Bayern Munich

568m Man City

542m PSG

514m Liverpool

506m Chelsea

439m Arsenal

428m Tottenham

Liverpool (514m) v Barcelona (690m)

Tottenham (428m) v Ajax (92m)

The real ‘fairtytale’ this season has been Ajax (92m) developing an exciting team and knocking out both Real Madrid (751m) and Juventus (395m), then only seconds away from knocking  out Tottenham (428m).

As for the Europa League it is even more stark, arguably.

Chelsea (506m) and Arsenal (439m), having a combined income of almost one billion euros.

The last available Valencia turnover figures show revenue of around 100m euros, whilst I couldn’t find one for Eintracht Frankfurt, but to get in the Deloitte top 30 you needed a turnover of 151m euros just to make that list, so at best, the German club will have income of around 25% to 30% of that of Chelsea. Certainly their wage bill shows that their players earn on average £20,000 per week, no more than 20% of the Chelsea squad.

I have always thought/said that the most difficult challenge for English clubs such as Newcastle United and others is qualifying for the European competitions.

In 2016/17 Leicester almost reached the semis of the Champions League, English clubs with the money should pretty much always get to at least the last 16, especially when the you have the seedings which usually mean they have an ever bigger advantage.

Newcastle had the 19th highest turnover last season of 201m euros and absolutely no reason why, if the club was ran ambitiously, that NUFC couldn’t become a top eight club at a minimum and build over a period of years, with regular European competition as well to aim for.

The four English clubs getting to the two finals is a first but it shouldn’t really be seen as that great a surprise, it is almost like being  shocked at who has ended up top six in the Premier League this season.

On the pitch obviously both Liverpool and Tottenham did well to reach the final but Spurs had a massive final advantage, whilst the scousers have revenues of around 80% that of Barcelona, so a pretty even battle in terms of financial muscle.

As for the Europa League, the vast financial gap meant that Chelsea and Arsenal were beating clubs of a lower financial level than Cardiff and Huddersfield.

With a Champions League place now up for grabs to the winner, it is no surprise Premier League clubs are suddenly taking a serious interest in the competition.

After only one English/Premier League winner in 14 years, we now have had a sequence of Liverpool losing in the 2016 final, Man Utd winners in 2017, Arsenal losing in the semis to eventual winners Atletico Madrid, then two PL clubs in the 2019 final.

In no other European League are you guaranteed to have clubs in the Europa League with such massive finances, so whoever of the six misses out each season on Champions League qualification via the Premier League, will be going all out to win the Europa League.

The Champions League is a bit more tricky as you have at least a handful of usual suspects who can financially challenge the English clubs but I think we can guarantee Premier League domination of the Europa League for years to come.

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