“City Bought their Title!” …Really?

The common saying that most non Manchester City fans are saying now is, “City bought their title!” Well, it’s no lie that City did spend a lot for their club. It is also no lie that City did have the highest salary in the EPL, and the third highest in the world behind Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, the irony of this comment is what encouraged the research of this blog. Did City buy their title?

The English Premier league has now been in existence since 1992. In that time we have seen Manchester United completely dominate the league with winning 12 EPL titles, twice pulling a 3 peat. We have seen Arsenal and Chelsea both win 3 titles, and even the now relegated Blackburn win 1. Finally in the 20th season we saw a new club win the title, Manchester City. So now in 20 years only 5 clubs have won the EPL title, with the 3 of them winning it more than once.

I’m sure that before I open up the research I am going to find that all of these clubs won their titles by building their clubs through the academy, buy managing their budget, and by passing on high price players. I am sure that I am going to see that most of these clubs remained within their respected countries league, instead of scouting around the world and grabbing up the best players regardless of how much money they demanded. Hopefully you can hear the sarcasm coming through.

Of course what I found was the method and formula that City used to build their club was not written by them. Of course I was astonished to find that the EPL had been dominated by money long before Abu Dhabi, who purchased the club, came along in 2008.

Very astonished by these facts I decided to check into some more facts after I heard an Arsenal fan say,

“Arsenal didn’t have to buy a trophy. Hell they didn’t even have to buy it with the Invincibles undefeated season in ’04. Some clubs have class (and a youth academy system), some clubs don’t. It’s like being a fan of the Yankees who just go out and buy every player they can.”

So let’s begin with Arsenal. Arsenal has won 3 EPL titles, with the last one coming in 04. Not bad for a league that doesn’t allow for much diversity when it comes to winning titles. Since “Arsenal doesn’t have to buy trophies,” I found myself intrigued by their current pay role. I found that Arsenal is currently the 4th highest paid club in the EPL, 9th highest paid club in the world, and 16th highest paid professional sports organization in the world. Wow, I was shocked to see these numbers since the Arsenal fan above was very set that his team fought through the trenches with rag tag players to finish 3rd in the EPL this season. So then I figured, well maybe being the 4th highest club in the EPL behind Man City doesn’t mean much if Man City is paying out like the Yankees?

Note: All my research came from the UK guardian and ESPN sports. 

So let’s take a look at this season’s current salaries in the EPL amongst the top clubs.

  1. Manchester City – Average player pay- 7.4 million per player
  2. Chelsea – Average player pay- 6.8 million per player
  3. Manchester United– Average player pay- 5.5 million per player
  4. Arsenal – Average player pay- 5.3 million per player
  5. Liverpool – Average player pay- 5.3 million per player

Then the significant drop comes in.

  1. Aston Villa- Average player pay- 4.0 million per player
  2. Tottenham- Average player pay- 3.8 million per player

So I guess the poor Arsenal fan, having the 4th highest salary in the EPL, definitely had an argument since his club was only able to afford paying their players 5.3 million per player. This obviously is not over spending, of course. He did mention how Arsenal and other teams with “class” built their clubs through their Academy. So I decided to take a look at Arsenal’s starting 11 today.

Szczesny- Came over from Legia Warsaw

Jenkinson- Came over from Charlton Athletic last year

Vermaelen- Came over from AFC Ajax Amsterdam

Koscielny- Came over from Lorient

Andre Santos- Came over from Corinthians

Rosicky- Came over from Borussia Dortmund

Song- Found one!! Academy player!

Coquelin- Came over from Lorient

Benayoun- Came over from Chelsea

Gervinho- Came over from Lille

van Persie- Came over from Feyenoord

Let’s not forget Sagna who came over from Auxerre

I just sat here in Shock. I mean, I thought Arsenal was a club that was built through their academy? But as I searched each player I only kept coming up to this statement, “is a ‘non-homegrown’ player in Arsenal’s official 2011/12 Premier League squad.

Well, maybe their coaches are academy coaches then? Nope, Arsene Wenger actually coached 3 other professional clubs before coming over, and is currently the highest paid coach in the EPL.

Needless to say, I’m not sure where this Arsenal fan is getting his facts. His club has been playing “the game” for years. Arsenal like many other clubs have been spending and over spending their money for years in order to win trophies.

In 2007/08 these were the highest salary clubs in the EPL.

  1. Chelsea
  2. United
  3. Arsenal
  4. Liverpool
  5. Newcastle

In 2008/09 these were the highest salary clubs in the EPL.

  1. Chelsea
  2. United
  3. City
  4. Liverpool
  5. Arsenal

In 2009/10 these were the highest salary clubs in the EPL.

  1. Chelsea
  2. City
  3. United
  4. Arsenal
  5. Liverpool

Published April 23, 2011

Highest Salaries in the EPL according to ESPN Sports.

  1. Chelsea
  2. City
  3. United
  4. Arsenal

This season – Highest Salaries in the EPL according to ESPN Sports.

  1. City
  2. Chelsea
  3. United
  4. Arsenal
  5. Liverpool

The comment above though was made that even the Arsenal 04 club didn’t have to buy it with their 04 undefeated season. Let’s look at the pay role that season.

  1. Chelsea
  2. United
  3. Arsenal
  4. Liverpool

Arsenal, you are not Stoke City (Lowest EPL salary club).

Even more research showed that since the 04 season Arsenal’s wages have increased by 68%. So I think it’s safe to say that Arsenal is still spending, and still playing the game. Arsenal may not be bringing in a ton of transfers, but they are definitely paying out a ton to hold onto guys that they brought in earlier.

Basically it is real simple. I understand it sucks to lose. I understand it sucks to see a club come up in the last few years out of nowhere and take the title. Manchester City isn’t doing anything that hasn’t already been done for years in the EPL. City has learned to play the game. They are not the Yankees for one simple reason. Nobody in Major League Baseball can keep up with the Yankees in spending. Chelsea, United, and yes Arsenal, amongst other clubs can keep up with City’s spending. Rather they choose to do so is a whole other argument. Unless you are Swansea City or a Queens Park Rangers, you really don’t have a complaint. Even those clubs don’t have a complaint. The EPL is designed so that any club can spend as much as it wants to help it’s club win as much as it wants.

So did City buy their club….Hell yes they did. So did United, Chelsea, and Arsenal. Clubs that have been doing it for years.

So I leave you all with this…”Don’t hate the playa, hate the game”

Now, let’s watch City win it all 🙂

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