In the not too distant past the top clubs in Europe were the ones with the most money. This, to an extent, is still true today but the main difference is that a lot more clubs have the most money than previously.

Thinking back fifteen or twenty years ago there were the usual suspects in Real Madrid and Barcelona from Spain. Bayern Munich, at the time, were usually Germany’s sole representatives in the latter stages of any competition. Arsenal and Manchester United used to fight for the Premier League in England and the Milan clubs and Juventus usually offered Italian resistance.

Other clubs would surface, very temporarily, to win the occasional competition or upset the big clubs on the way, but the best players always seemed to go to the “top” teams in Europe. Of course, they were more likely to get paid exorbitantly at these clubs and their chances of winning medals was also greatly enhanced. The problem for players was that there weren’t many top teams at the time.

That was all about to change though with the entrance of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea. A billionnaire, he immediately started to splash the cash and appointed Jose Mourinho as manager, with the sole intention of winning the Premier League. Once this was achieved, sustained success domestically and in Europe became the goal.

Not too long after Abramovich, both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were taken over by billionnaire Middle Eastern owners. Having the same ambitions as Chelsea, the Premier League was now much more difficult to win and, if you weren’t PSG, the French League became impossible to win!

Clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid also muscled their way to the top of the pile but they achieved this through good management rather than good fortune. Their success followed the appointments of Jurgen Klopp and Diego Simeone respectively and their financial wealth was gained by winning and selling their best players to the even bigger clubs! They have, however, both managed to become a serious threat to the “bigger” clubs in their leagues.

Thanks to a TV bidding war between Sky and BT, the English Premier League clubs are now the best rewarded in Europe. This has seen the emergence of clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool into serious contenders for the title. Add to this the new owners and money at West Ham United and Everton and the title race in England has become the most interesting and open in Europe, if not the world. Even a team like Leicester City can win it, which gives hope to everybody!

Now, the top table in Europe can no longer cope with just six place settings, there are far too many guests. Diners used to be; same two from England, same two from Spain, same one from Germany. The lesser tables would be occupied by different clubs annually, depending upon who had a good season. In the last few years the top table has had to find room for a French club, another Spanish club, another German club and at least two more English clubs.

In fact, it’s getting rather crowded at mealtimes!

  1. FPL says:

    The money spend on players this summer is CRAZY!


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