We’ve talked about this fairly often, but sometimes the reality of exactly how far Spurs trail behind the rest of the big six financially can still surprise me:
Put another way, Tottenham’s total wage bill last season is closer to Watford’s than it is Arsenal’s. Yet we were one very dumb match day 38 result away from placing above Arsenal in the table. We also finished above Manchester City (£98m higher wage bill), Liverpool (£108m), Chelsea (£122m), and United (£132m).
Michael Caley found another angle to capture how insane these numbers are:
Last year Spurs and Leicester finished 3rd and 1st while paying lower total wages *combined* than any of the big five clubs alone.— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) April 7, 2017
The Swiss Ramble shared other numbers that also illustrate how large the gap between our club and the rest of England’s Champions League contenders really is.
In terms of revenue, we’re in a bit of a no man’s land with enormous gaps between the clubs immediately above and below us, though our overall picture is much closer to the clubs trailing us:
The commercial revenue numbers are similarly stark and perhaps also explain why Manchester United puts up with Ed Woodward even though he is terrible at football things:
You can see more of the numbers in the Swiss Ramble’s timeline.
It is possible, of course, to over-state some of these things. Our wages will almost certainly bump up considerably this year thanks to Champions League bonuses and the signing of Moussa Sissoko, who is reported to be making around £80k per week, which is roughly £4.2m per year. Moreover, the fact that we are paying Moussa Sissoko £80k per year should keep us from being too enthusiastic about how well-run our club is.
Even so, the story those numbers tell is remarkable. Earlier this week an annoyed Mauricio Pochettino told reporters that Spurs do not get enough credit for what they do accomplish in the midst of constant worrying over trophies and top four placement:
“I hear people say that Tottenham must win a trophy this season or next, but come on. When you compare us with six or seven other clubs in the Premier League, you start to realize that we deserve a lot of credit.
“Nobody wants to win titles more than we do — the chairman, the players, the fans. But look at the other teams in the top six, look at the investment, look at the different things happening in the Premier League.
“Rather than talking about winning trophies, we need to see that Tottenham deserve full credit and to be shown more respect. We all want trophies but we need to be more realistic.
“Winning a trophy is not as easy as, for example, going to the shop and buying a pen.”
Literally all of our rivals for top four have wage bills nearly twice as high as ours or higher. Their revenue and commercial revenue is significantly greater than ours. And yet for each of the past two seasons, Spurs have not only been on the edge of top four, as we routinely were under Harry Redknapp, but have actually looked like a favorite for the top four.
The work that Daniel Levy has done to manage the club’s financials as well as Pochettino’s work on the training ground both deserve, if anything, even more praise than they typically receive.
There are still worries about the situation, of course. The club’s scouting department seems to consist of “Hey that guy looked good when he played against us for that bottom feeder Premier League team. Let’s sign him!” The club’s analytics department reportedly also lags well behind the standard of the other top six clubs, though that is one area we we should be able to keep up. So we shouldn’t paint an overly rosy picture.
Even so, to have a club with the financial resources of Tottenham competing at basically the same level as Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea is stunning.