Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Richest Clubs in the EPL – The Over and Underachievers

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Bernard Ford
A Leicester City fan. Wants respect from the 'London based' media for clubs outside the bubble.

We all know that money talks in football. We also know that it is not the be-all and end-all, and money in the bank does not automatically equate to trophies in the cabinet. Finally, we now know, in light of the events at Barcelona, that money does not last forever if given to the wrong people. As a rule of thumb, however, the richest clubs should be performing better than those who have to crimp and save and watch every penny. Newcastle fans will certainly be hoping that is the case. So let’s have a look at the EPL and compare the league table in terms of the wealth of their owner, and how they are performing season in season out in the league.

The Top Six

The Saudi takeover of Newcastle puts the Tyneside outfit at the top of the tree in terms of money. It will be interesting to see if they follow a similar path to Manchester City, a journey that took them through several stages and managers before they were able to attract the very best players and build a squad and team that was capable of winning the league. Newcastle will no doubt get players in  January, but they will need to be the type ready to roll their sleeves up for a relegation scrap.

Man City were knocked off the perch of the richest club in the EPL by Newcastle, but there is no question they have been consistently the best team in the league over the last ten years. They just need to get over the line in Europe to cement their place as a truly great team.

Third come Chelsea, and though they have had low ebbs, five titles in 17 seasons equates to success, especially when you add in their two Champions League titles. Tuchel looks like he has made them genuine title contenders again.

Then come Arsenal. Despite being the fourth richest in the league, the Gunners have disappointed for several years. They haven’t won the title since 2004 and not even finished in the top six since 2014. Arteta seems to have steadied the ship, but the fact that Unibet, the best online sports betting site in PA has them as +8000 to lift the title this season shows just how far off the pace they still are. They have the most to fear from the likes of Newcastle leapfrogging them.

The next two richest clubs, or at least the richest owners (and that is a crucial distinction, of course, the owner may be rich but if he is not willing to put his hand in his pocket then it’s irrelevant) may surprise some people. Aston Villa and Wolves are in fifth and sixth place. Villa need to establish themselves as a Premier League club before having aspirations of pushing for a top six place, and the recruitment of Gerrard is a brave choice. Similar for Wolves. They burst onto the EPL scene and it is now a question of whether they can push on or simply stagnate.

Midtable

The spots around the midtable are the most surprising and show the teams that are really punching above their weight, and those that should be doing better. Manchester United and Liverpool are in 8th and 12th respectively. Crystal Palace, Southampton and Everton are in and around those two giants and it does not take an aficionado of the beautiful game to see the relative successes of those clubs.

West Ham and Brighton in 14th and 15th are this season’s two best performing clubs relative to their financial positions, and there will not be many neutral fans that will begrudge either team.

The Relative Paupers

Brentford are the least well off EPL club by a distance, relying on very good recruitment to generate wealth as well as a competitive team. It is still early days, but signs are that they may well succeed in remaining in England’s top tier. Norwich are the second “poorest” and their story could not be different. Seemingly happy to bounce between the top two leagues taking the EPL riches without investing it in players that will give them a chance to stay up, they once again look to have given up without a fight. Then comes Burnley. Every year it looks like their stay in the EPL may be up, but again and again, they defy expectations, and for that grit – and no lack of ability – they should be applauded.

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