English Football and Its Economy
Introduction In English 92 professional football clubs are registered in 4 divisions. There are 20 clubs in the Premiership League, which is the first division league, below Premiership League, there is a League called Championship League, which is the second division league and there are 24 teams, the third division league is called League One even though it is not the first division and there are also 24 clubs, and the bottom league is called League Two and 24 teams are registered. Today, it is said that the English Premiership League is the wealthiest league in the world.
If you are football lover Roman Abramovich is the name you would certainly know, who is one of the most famous owners in England or even in the world. He was named Person of the Year in 2003, and now he is ninth richest person in Russia and fifty-third richest in the world. He is estimated to have had invested in Chelsea Football Club more than 440 million pounds since he took over in June 2003 until January 2006. Moreover, Abramovich spent 50 million pounds for a record British transfer fee on Spanish footballer Fernando Torres in January this year. There was also big takeover of the club ownership in August 2008.
Manchester City Football Club was purchased by Abu Dhabi United Group who is a United Arab equity company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family and Minister of Presidential Affairs for the UAE. After the takeover they immediately signed high profile players such as Robinho for a British record of 32. 5 million pounds at that time. Following year Manchester City spent more than 100 million pounds on players. For one of the most famous football club Manchester United Football Club, they are ranked the third richest football club in the world. English football is not all about money.
Of course the quality of football is undoubtedly at the top level but what is making English football more exciting is football fans in England. It is said that the football fans are very passionate and fanatical. On the other hand, their excessive passion towards their local football club sometimes make things very dangerous. Their excessive acts eventually lead to hooliganism. 1985, there was a controversial incident in Brussels when Liverpool Football Club played against Italian team Juventus in Champions League, and 39 people were killed and 400 people were injured in this tragedy.
In this case study, we will look deep into the economy of major football clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester United as well as Manchester City. We will also look into history of hooliganism. Introduction of Professional English Football As it is briefly explained in Introduction, Professional English Football League is formed with ninety-two clubs divided in four leagues. There are twenty teams in the top league, English Premiership, the Premiership clubs are as follow:
Arsenal Football Club, Aston Villa Football Club, Blackburn Rovers Football Club, Bolton Wanderers Football Club, Chelsea Football Club, Everton Football Club, Fulham Football Club, Liverpool Football Club, Manchester City Football Club, Manchester United Football Club, Newcastle United Football Club, Norwich City Football Club, Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club, Stoke City Football Club, Sunderland Association Football Club, Swansea City Football Club, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, West Bromwich Albion Football Club, Wigan Athletic Football Club, and Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manchester United won the league in 10-11 season. On the other hand, there was an intense relegation battle in Premiership League. In Premiership League regulation, three teams automatically go down to the league below, which is Championship League. Bottom three of season 10-11 were West Ham United Football Club, Blackpool Football Club, and Birmingham City Football Club For the Championship League, there are twenty-four teams, the teams who belong to Championship League season 11-12 are:
Barnsley Football Club, Birmingham City Football Club, Black Pool Football Club, Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, Bristol City Football Club, Burnley Football Club, Cardiff City Football Club, Coventry City Football Club, Crystal Palace Football Club, Derby County Football Club, Doncaster Rovers Football Club, Hull City Football Club, Ipswich Town Football Club, Leeds United Football Club, Leicester City Football Club, Middlesbrough Football Club, Millwall Football Club, Nottingham Forest Football Club, Peterborough United Football Club, Portsmouth Football Club, Reading Football Club, Southampton Football Club, Watford Football Club, and West Ham United Football Club For the League 1, there are also twenty-four teams, the teams in League 1 are:
Association Football Club Bournemouth, Brentford Football Club, Bury Football Club, Carlisle United Football Club, Charlton Athletic Football Club, Chesterfield Football Club, Colchester United Football Club, Exeter City Football Club, Hartlepool United Football Club, Huddersfield Town Football Club, Leyton Orient Football Club, Milton Keynes Dons Football Club, Notts County Football Club, Oldham Athletic Association Football Club, Preston North End Football Club, Rochdale Association Football Club, Scunthorpe United Football Club, Sheffield United Football Club, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, Stevenage Football Club, Tranmere Rovers Football Club, Walsall Football Club, Wycombe Wanderers Football Club, and Yeovil Town Football Club For the League 2, again, there are also twenty-four teams, the teams in the League 2 are: Association Football Club Wimbledon, Accrington Stanley Football Club, Aldershot Town Football Club, Barnet Football Club, Bradford City Association Football Club, Bristol Rovers Football Club, Burton Albion Football Club, Cheltenham Town Football Club, Crawley Town Football Club, Crewe Alexandra Football Club, Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club, Gillingham Football Club, Hereford United Football Club, Macclesfield Town Football Club, Morecambe Football Club, Northampton Town Football Club,
Oxford United Football Club, Plymouth Argyle Football Club, Port Vale Football Club, Rotherham United Football Club, Shrewsbury Town Football Club, Southend United Football Club, Swindon Town Football Club, and Torquay United Football Club History Of Hooliganism in football The hooliganism in football is said to be first introduced around 1960’s. Historical hooligans were called “roughs”. They caused trouble at matches throughout the 19th century. Some extreme cases the roughs attacked referees and visiting players. In the 60’s football as a sport began to get more media attention, so did the fights and disorder. In the 60’s hooligans were more organized than it is today. We do not see outrageous incident frequently nowadays.
European Cup final in 1985, when Liverpool against Italian side Juventus at Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, 39 fans mostly Italian were killed. English clubs were banned from participating in European Cup for five years, and Liverpool were initially banned for 10 years but later reduced to six years. 14 of Liverpool fans received conviction for involuntary manslaughter. What Makes A Person Hooligan Name of hooligan is said to come from the Irish word “houlie”, which means a wild and spirited party. Definition of hooligans is quite vague, this is because the word “hooligan” was created by media in 60’s. On the dictionary, it is stated “rough and lawless youth”.
However, this statement does not really explain who the hooligans are in football. Hooligans come to watch the game with extremely strong local prides. This kind of extreme fans does not appreciate away fans to come in to their local territories. Hooligans usually have strong feelings towards their supporting club. On top of that, hooligans love and enjoy to be involved in football disorder that they come to matches with intention of riot, which they think it cool to do. Most of the times, the incidents happen before or after the matches on the street or in pubs. There are three types of hooligans: 1. Hooligans who come to a match with intention of vandalizing. 2.
Hooligans who do not make themselves get involved in actual violence but set up commotion. 3. Hooligans who do not start a riot by themselves but get involved in a riot by seeing others are doing so. From our point of view, hooligans are who disrupt the peace of matches and vandalize both away fans and policemen, and properties around and inside the stadium such as cars, pubs, and houses. In terms of organized violence between hooligan gangs, a feeling of community, tribalism, and enjoyment of being involved in disorder are obviously in evidence. Can The Football Hooliganism Be Defeated The approach taken by the British authorities to reducing football hooliganism has been largely reactive:
Increasing sophisticated policing, surveillance and monitoring techniques, segregation of fans, and restriction on alcohol etc. The British Government has also introduced specific legislation to cover acts of hooliganism. While such measures are evident elsewhere in Europe, the German, Dutch, and Belgian authorities, in particular, have been more proactive in their approach to the problem. The development of a scheme called “fan’s coaching” appears to have had an impact on levels of violence in certain areas. There is, however, a general lack of initiative from the major football clubs in Europe. While German clubs are involved to an extent in the “fan coaching” schemes, elsewhere there is little contact between club officials and the fan groups.
For instance, Urawa Reds have a strong bond between club officials and supporters. It is suggested that local “fan’s forums”, which allow genuine dialogue between officials and supporters may help to reduce some of the problems. Causes Football hooliganism and the ‘ultras’ movement are too complex to be attributed to one cause only, yet there are several ways that lead down the path of violence. Most hooligan organizations are located in poor neighborhoods, where people have less opportunity for entertainment and they choose to go to football matches. Troubled with their lives, they prefer to spill their rage and anger on the pitch and on the stands instead of try and work on achieving more.
A common cause for hooliganism in the past was alcohol but nowadays no professional club allows any kind of alcohol to be sold at the stadium or in a radius of several hundred meters. Another reason while people go wild during football games is city rivalries. The so-called derbies are often filled with a lot of excitement and tension and the losing team’s supporters are not happy to see their team sink. There are also organized gangs called football firms that go to matches with the single purpose of fighting with other firms from the city rivals. Conclusion English football industry is very active in terms of the movement of money on players’ transfers.
As it has been mentioned, after the take-over of Manchester City Football Club in 2008, Abu Dhabi United Group has invested more than 44o million pounds on players. For the first transfer window, which was in summer 2008 after the take-over, Manchester City spent almost 79 million pounds. Following summer they spent almost twice as much of 120 million pounds. Last summer they spent around 90 million pounds. Having been taken over Manchester City have been better and better as a team. They finished 3rd last season, which means they are qualified to play at Champions League. The Background of Chelsea Football Club seem to be similar to Manchester City. Chelsea were purchased by Roman Abramovich who is a Russian Billionaire.
Since the take-over in June 2003, Abramovich is estimated to have spent about 475 million pounds. On the first season for Abramovich Chelsea finished second in Premiership, and they concrete themselves as regular in top three. Next season Chelsea won the first league champion honour under new owner within two seasons. After the take-over by Abrmovich Chelsea have won three champion titles in total and they compete in Champions League every year. Unlike these two clubs, Arsenal have different kind of ownership. Arsenal’s parent company, Arsenal Holdings plc, operate as non-quoted public limited company. They have comparatively small amount of budget they can use on transfers.
Each season Arsenal has been spending 10 million pounds. However, Arsenal is undoubtedly successful in terms of quality of football and players. The reason for this is that Arsenal have good eyes on prospective young players. Arsenal have been successful on players without investing enormous amount of money to win the title. Thiery Henry, Cesc Fabregas, and Jack Willshere are all grew under Arsenal manager Arsene Weger. In 03-04 season they managed to win the title, but one game at either Premiership or Champions League, starting players were all foreign players from outside the U. K. They had good young talents but from outside home country.
There may be impression if the club is wealthy they can buy star players and they can eventually win the league. Like Manchester City and Chelsea they have been successful on transfers, they can relatively buy any player unless players’ attached clubs refuse to negotiate. However, before it was only Chelsea who used to be rich as a club many expensive players went to Chelsea because of high salary but today, after Manchester City’s take-over Chelsea and Manchester city seem to be in competition. There are also other foreign owners in Premiership, for instance, Aston Villa is now in hand of Randy Lerner who is also the owner of American Football team in America. Liverpool was also sold to New England Sports Ventures.
Premiership seems such an attractive field in terms of business for foreigners. On the other hand, there are many clubs that go into administration. Crystal Palace and Portsmouth are the good example. Portsmouth went into administration during 09-10 season they were deducted nine points. Crystal Palace also went into administration last year and deducted ten points from Championship League. Premiership is said to be the richest League in the world, however, at the same time there is always a chance to fail big time as well. Media is always on hoe the money is moving within football field, but we have to see football substantially and know football is not all about money. Hooliganism Conclusion
We have learned that many clubs are taking actions to combat this problem. This may be because if the supporters cause some incidents, destroy properties and injure people, that club will be heavily fined, and for the worst case, they would be banned to participate in a competition. As I have mentioned earlier, 1960’s was the peak of football hooliganism. It can be seen that actions taken by clubs has been successful, however, it is still difficult to zero the hooligans. Hooliganism is a part of the culture for British in particular. Furthermore, as long as the exaggerated media report this extent of football disorder excessively, there would still be people who will be influenced by it.