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Man Utd to win the Premier League according to economic league table

Fri 12th Aug 2011 | Money & Finance

On the eve of the Premier League season kicking off, F.C. Business Magazine has made a bold attempt to predict how the league will finish using economics.

According to pure economics, Manchester United will reclaim the Premiership championship this season to land a record 20th league title. But does science completely rule or does romance remain in the beautiful game?

If economics alone were to decide this season’s Premiership campaign, then Manchester United would reclaim their Premiership crown and the three recently promoted teams, QPR, Swansea and Norwich, will all be relegated.

The same ‘Big Four’ (Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City) will again qualify for the Champions League, with Liverpool regaining European football, albeit in the less lucrative Europa League. Tottenham will again be thwarted in their attempts to qualify for the Champions League, finishing in a disappointing seventh spot a year after finishing fifth.

The F.C. Business league table uses a combination of each club’s ground size, average attendance, revenues and wage bill from the latest Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance and it also includes the name and approximate value of each club’s star player, to predict a final league standing.

From previous in-depth economic research carried out between Alex Miller and Professor Chris Brady of the BPP Business School, for use on the UEFA Pro Licence training course, it is very unusual - but certainly not unheard of - for clubs to finish more than three places either side of their economic status.

In recent seasons, Newcastle and West Ham have both seriously underperformed and found themselves 10+ places below their economic status and relegated from the Premiership.

At a time when statistics are increasingly used in the game, it is clubs such as Swansea that remind us that football can still be the beautiful game with a fluid and unpredictable nature, capable of producing romance and genuine surprise.

Top clubs such as Manchester City and Liverpool are increasingly using statistics in all aspects of club life, from training and fitness activities through to making major decisions such as who to buy in the transfer market.

Nonetheless, economics and stats cannot 100% calculate team spirit, outside influences, form, injuries, nerves, emotion, a mis-hit penalty, a lapse of concentration or a major refereeing decision. It also cannot measure the togetherness and camaraderie a top manager can generate within a group of players.

Professor Brady said: “It is argued by many that, given the massive significance of the economic and financial factors on the results of league competitions, football managers only provide 3% to 4% of the added value. For me, that’s the bit that makes the difference, that’s the art.” 

While on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia recently, Arsene Wenger appeared before 100 business leaders and was asked by a delegate where he thought the balance between football being art and great business was.

He revealingly replied: “I like a famous line from a great philosopher who said ‘the only way to deal with death is to transform everything that precedes it into art’. We have to make sure we try to make every day as beautiful as we can.”

So while the use of statistics and scientific theories is on the increase in the game, there remain a raft of “unknowns” in football to enable an element of unpredictability and art will remain, especially in cup football. The game consists of a combination of the two elements, with exact ratios a matter of opinion.

 

Premiership predictor for 2011/12 season

Club

Ground

Av’g gate

Wages

Revenue

Star player

1  Man Utd

75,769

74,864

£132m

£286m

Rooney (£60m)

2  Arsenal

60,361

59,930

£111m

£224m

Fabregas (£50m)

3  Chelsea

42,449

41,427

£174m

£213m

Torres (£50m)

4  Man City

47,405

45,513

£133m

£125m

Tevez (£40m)

5  Liverpool

45,362

43,949

£121m

£185m

Suarez (£40m)

6  Aston Villa

42,788

38,577

£80m

£91m

Bent (£20m)

7  Tottenham H

36,230

35,794

£67m

£120m

Bale (£50m)

8  Sunderland

48,707

40,355

£54m

£65m

Cattermole (£12m)

9  Everton

40,157

36,729

£54m

£79m

Rodwell (£20m)

10 Newcastle Utd

52,387

43,387

£47m

£52m

Ben Arfa (£15m)

11 Blackburn Rvs

31,367

25,427

£47m

£58m

Samba (£12m)

12 Stoke City

28,383

27,152

£45m

£59m

Shawcross (£12m)

13 Bolton

27,879

22,076

£46m

£62m

Cahill (£15m)

14 Fulham

26,600

23,909

£49m

£77m

Zamora (£10m)

15 Wolves

29,303

28,366

£30m

£61m

Jarvis (£10m)

16 Wigan Athletic

25,133

18,096

£39m

£44m

McCarthy (£12m)

17 WBA

28,003

22,199

£23m

£28m

Brunt (£6m)

18 Norwich

26,034

24,755

£8m

£17m

Holt (£5m)

19 QPR

18,682

13,348

£17m

£14m

Taarabt (£12m)

20 Swansea City

20,520

15,407

£8m

£10m

Dyer (£3m)

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