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Wednesday, 1 December, 1999, 02:40 GMT
Man Utd 'richest club in the world'
Manchester United: Turnover expected to leap to 111m

Manchester United not only have a claim to being the best football club in the world, they are also the richest.

Nine British clubs in total made it into the top 20, according to figures compiled by accountants Deloitte & Touche for the 1997/98 season.

Manchester topped the list again with a turnover of 87.9m, despite the figures relating to a year when they did not win any trophies.

Alan Shearer of Newcastle Newcastle: Better performance off the pitch
Projected turnover for their historic treble-winning season is expected to leap to 111m.

Among the reasons for the club's vast earning power are massive merchandising (24.1m), the launch of its own television channel, MUTV (16.2m), the expansion of the Old Trafford ground (gates/programmes 29.8m) and an improved profile in Asia.

The next British side on the list, at fifth, is Newcastle United which has thrived despite indifferent performances on the pitch.

Merchandising slipped, but improved gates, sponsorship and TV revenues have boosted turnover by 20% to 49.2m.

Ninth-placed Chelsea with its development of the Chelsea Village at Stamford Bridge, and with its hotels, restaurants and conference facilities, shows the importance of a club owning its own ground, as turnover rose to 47.5m.

Glasgow Rangers, 1999 Rangers: Punch above their weight
In fact, the London side would be the second richest in the world if the money earned by its successful travel group was included.

At 10, Liverpool (45.5m) have shown that willingness to licence out to third parties - for example, selling a 10% share in the club to Granada - can significantly increase revenues.

Arsenal, placed 13th with a turnover of 40.4m, have been restricted by their relatively small Highbury ground, which has a capacity of just 38,500, and plans are underway to move to a bigger 60-000 seater stadium by 2003.

But perhaps the biggest over-achievers on the list are Glasgow Rangers, who, at 16th, are the only representatives from a nation outside the so-called big five of England (eight entries), Italy (6), Spain (2), Germany (2) and France (1).

Chelsea merchandise Huge merchandising drives profits up
The Scottish side managed 32.5m from a population of just over five million people. Outstanding management and the earning power of the Scottish Premier League have been pinpointed as the reasons Rangers punch above their weight.

Aston Villa stormed into the top 20 at 17th with a mammoth 44% boost to turnover thanks to increased merchandising, matchday earnings and TV revenues, plus a strict wage policy.

One behind is Tottenham Hotspur, which was only second to Manchester United in pre-transfer, purely football-related income over the last five years.

New entry Leeds United fill up the 20th place on the list and look set to rise further up the ladder following their link up with Sky and new plans to develop leisure facilities.

World rich list
Figures compiled by Deloitte and Touche, based on turnover for the 1997/98 season

1. Manchester United, England - 87.9m
2. Real Madrid, Spain - 72.2m
3. Bayern Munich, Germany - 65.2m
4. Juventus, Italy - 55.3m
5. Newcastle United, England - 49.2m
6. Barcelona, Spain - 48.57m
7. AC Milan, Italy - 48.55m
8. Internazionale, Italy - 48.2m
9. Chelsea, England - 47.5m
10. Liverpool, England - 45.5m
11. Borussia Dortmund, Germany - 41.5m
12. Lazio, Italy - 41.1m
13. Arsenal, England - 40.4m
14. AC Parma, Italy - 33.4m
15. Paris Saint Germain, France - 32.9m
16. Glasgow Rangers, Scotland - 32.5m
17. Aston Villa, England - 31.8m
18. Tottenham Hotspur, England - 31.2m
19. AS Roma, Italy - $30.7m
20. Leeds United, England - 28.3m

UK rich list
Figures compiled by Deloitte and Touche, based on turnover for the 1997/98 season

1. Manchester United 87.9m
2. Newcastle United 49.2m
3. Chelsea 47.5m
4. Liverpool 45.5m
5. Arsenal 40.4m
6. Rangers 32.5m
7. Aston Villa 31.8m
8. Tottenham Hotspur 31.2m
9. Leeds United 28.3m
10. Celtic 27.8m
11. West Ham United 24m
12. Everton 22.7m
13. Derby County 20m
14. Wimbledon 19.8m
15. Blackburn Rovers 19.4m
16. Leicester City 19.2m
17. Sunderland 18.8m
18. Middlesbrough 18.7m
19. Coventry City 17.4m
20. Sheffield Wednesday 16.3m
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See also:
30 Nov 99 |  Football
Man Utd crowned world champions
12 Mar 99 |  murdochs big match
Fast facts on Man Utd
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.