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Just what does it take to be established in the Premier league?

morty

morty

Moderator
Staff member
We'll start with a wee disclaimer, this isn't excusing us being shite at Chelsea, or justifying whether or not our self financing model can work. Just a little bit of a case study with a few interesting figures.

Aston Villa.

Obviously Aston Villa were one of the biggest clubs "back in the day" but there are a few interesting parallels between our two clubs in recent years, and some, also interesting, comparisons to be made. Let's start in the 92-93 season, with Villa finishing just two points ahead of us in the shiny new Premier league. Our two clubs, obviously took slightly differing directions after that! Fast forward to the end of the 2016 season, Villa are relegated, bringing an end to their stay in the Prem after 29 years. Ignoring the boring bits in between, we move onto the end of the 2018-2019 season, City lift the trophy at Villa park, as Villa themselves prepare for the playoffs.

Their 19-20 season finished with them just scraping up on 17th, they improved in 20-21 and finished 11th, and now they are in a fairly "meh" position of 13th with 10 points. They flirted with the top 6 between 2007-2010. But what have they spent to get where they are? I'm going to concentrate on spending rather than net spend etc, as it just gets too complicated. Villa are currently jointly owned by two billionaires, Egyptian Nassef Sawiris, and American Wes Edens.

Using Transfermarkt as a resource, which is normally pretty reliable, I have had a look at what Villa have spent. There is an obvious, interesting, parallel that we both sold our best player this season, to improve our overall squads.


2015-2016 64.76 million.
2016-2017 49.41 million.
2017-2018 44.78 million.
2018-2019 91.22 million.
2019-2020 103.14 million.
2020-2021 80.37 million.
2021-2022 104.58 million.

A total, over the sample period, of 538.26 million.

Pretty eye watering figures to be an average, mid table Premier league side!

For comparison let's have a look at our spend over a similar time, again just spend, as opposed to net. Note that these figures are current market value ones as opposed to actual transfer fee, not sure why they use this instead of transfer fee, but it does include loan fees, so is relevant to total spend. Obviously none of these figures include wages, you could argue you can get a player cheaper if you are willing to pay him more in wages.


2015-2016 65.16 million.
2016-2017 15.89 million.
2017-2018 19.15 million.
2018-2019 29.25 million.
2019-2020 40.73 million.
2020-2021 38.66 million.
2021-2022 110.75 million.

A total, over the sample period, of 208.84 million.
 
OldRobert

OldRobert

Well-Known Member
Interesting that at each end of your table we are on a par with them, the rest we are way behind. Don't think that proves anything, just an observation, probably just underlines the difference in wealth of the owners.
 
morty

morty

Moderator
Staff member
Interesting that at each end of your table we are on a par with them, the rest we are way behind. Don't think that proves anything, just an observation, probably just underlines the difference in wealth of the owners.
Hence my disclaimer at the start...

It is just an observation around the phrase "established Premier league side", and is any side, apart from the obvious top 6, ever truly "established"? And how much it really costs. If I could be bothered I'd do the same analysis with a few other teams. But I can't.
 
N

Number 9

Well-Known Member
Would think that the amount of years each club has spent in Premier League / Championship / League One since '92 was relevant to the discussion, because of the disparity between income of the three top leagues.
 
morty

morty

Moderator
Staff member
Would think that the amount of years each club has spent in Premier League / Championship / League One since '92 was relevant to the discussion, because of the disparity between income of the three top leagues.
There are lots of other factors that are relevant, of course. None of which stopped Villa getting relegated, when considered an "established" club.
 
morty

morty

Moderator
Staff member
As a small comparison, I looked at the spend of some other clubs in the 2015-2016 season, the season Villa went down.

Chelsea 194.54 million.
Man Utd 128.07 million.
Leicester City 45.14 million (But won the league!)
Man City 174.24 million.
Spurs 50.49 million.
 
OldRobert

OldRobert

Well-Known Member
Spurs are an interesting one, never spend huge amounts (don't think) but are never in any trouble.
There are lots of other factors that are relevant, of course. None of which stopped Villa getting relegated, when considered an "established" club.
Parachute payments being one. Would we still be here without them? Let's face it, we are coming in for a lot of criticism for "playing the system", there are calls for the system as it stands to be abolished or changed, to stop clubs like us from living off parachute payments.
 
morty

morty

Moderator
Staff member
Spurs are an interesting one, never spend huge amounts (don't think) but are never in any trouble.

Parachute payments being one. Would we still be here without them? Let's face it, we are coming in for a lot of criticism for "playing the system", there are calls for the system as it stands to be abolished or changed, to stop clubs like us from living off parachute payments.
Parachute payments were introduced when the financial gulf between the football league and the Premier league (Two completely separate business entities) became so huge that clubs were ridiculously over extending themselves in that quest to become an established Premier league side, Portsmouth being a prime example. Unless a spending cap were introduced (Like FFP was meant to be, but that is a whole other discussion.) then the Premier league would turn even more into a list of just who has the most money. And the six sides at the bottom of the list would just swap leagues every year.

Removing the parachute payments would just make the situation even worse, in my opinion. And, as an aside, there are clubs even richer than we are, in the Championship, even with our parachute payments. What does give us an advantage is that FFP is actually enforced in the Championship.
 
D

DaveJ

New Member
Definitely a little luck is needed, particularly in the first couple of seasons when a club is promoted to the premier league.
Margins are very fine ( remember us getting lucky with VAR against Sheffield Utd?
To me if you can stay up for two seasons this provides a financial platform to allow you to dip your toes in a little further and recruit better players, who maybe feeling more confident about the longer term prospects.
This said I don’t feel that until you have five consecutive seasons in the prem, you can count yourselves established.
 
morty

morty

Moderator
Staff member
Definitely a little luck is needed, particularly in the first couple of seasons when a club is promoted to the premier league.
Margins are very fine ( remember us getting lucky with VAR against Sheffield Utd?
To me if you can stay up for two seasons this provides a financial platform to allow you to dip your toes in a little further and recruit better players, who maybe feeling more confident about the longer term prospects.
This said I don’t feel that until you have five consecutive seasons in the prem, you can count yourselves established.
I remember chatting to a mate about this, and with the help with a little bit of googling, the only sides never relegated from the Premier league are Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea. I can't be bothered to research further into the old division one, but I do know Man U were relegated from that, at one point.

Which begs the question, barring the super rich clubs, is anyone really truly established?
 
D

DaveJ

New Member
This is a really good question - I personally don’t think of Everton as being a rich club anymore - but I do see them as being established in the prem and would take some sort of footballing catastrophe for them to go down.
Even the likes of Leicester who have had an amazing spell in recent years, are not beyond the drop in my opinion, particularly with Vardy in the twilight of his career now - this could well change things for them.
Top six plus Everton for me are safe, the rest of us are trying to get there.
 
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