Clubs with the largest debts in English football

Roman Abramovich

10. Leicester City - £80m

Leicester City currently stands tenth place in the debt table with £80m to their name, as they have made a number of high profile investments since Brendan Rodgers' arrival at the King Power Stadium in 2019. Their debt could be largely down to the new state of the art training ground which they have had built near Loughborough, which is rumoured to have cost the Foxes £95m.

9. Bournemouth £90m

Bournemouth come in at ninth having recorded debts of £90m. In 2017/18 and 2018/19 they spent £110m on transfers, alone with signings such as Dominic Solanke, David Brooks and Jefferson Lerma coming to the Vitality Stadium, which essentially saw the south coast club spend far more in wages and transfer fees than the £134.9m revenue which they recorded in years such as 2018.

Bournemouth's relegation from England's top flight last season is likely to have affected their overall debt, as well as playing games without fans due to COVID, meaning that their matchday revenue has been cut.

8. Watford £97m

Watford have a total debt of £97m. At the end of the 2018/19 season it was revealed that the Hornets owed £79m worth of transfer fees to other clubs, something that will not have been easy to pay off in recent times, due to the Vicarage Road side being relegated from the Premier League last season.

Following Watford's relegation from the Premier League last season, following some heavy expenditure in the summer window of 2019, where they signed the likes of Ismaila Sarr from Rennes for £40m, this debt is likely to have got slightly bigger from £79m to £97m, especially with the loss of matchday revenues due to COVID.

7. Wolverhampton Wanderers £103m

Wolverhampton Wanderers are in £103m worth of debt, owing money to their owners Fosun Industrial Holdings. The Midlands side have spent heavily since being taken over by Fosun in 2016, which saw Wolves spend 192% of their revenue in the Championship on wages alone when they were promoted to the Premier League in 2017/18.

Following promotion to England's top flight, Wolves also spent £111m and have since seen their debt rise to £103m, which is hardly a surprise considering the amount of money that has been invested at Molineux.

6. Liverpool £157m

Liverpool's debt comes in at £157m, as FSG and Fenway Sports have the Anfield club ran on a tight budget. At present Liverpool's wages to generated income in a non-COVID season stands at around 58%. But, due to there being no fans in the stadiums, their matchday revenue is effectively non-existent as is the case for every other club in England at present.

Liverpool's owners have taken out loans to develop Anfield in recent years which have amassed at over £100m, and it looked like they could be financially struggling in the summer due to the current pandemic, as they put some of their staff on furlough, before reverting what turned out to be a very unpopular decision. Despite this Liverpool still had a net spend of £33m, signing the likes of Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara.

5. Manchester United £271m

Manchester United have been in debt ever since the Glazers bought the Old Trafford club back in 2005, which saw them take out a bank loan in the club's name, effectively leaving United with a massive debt of £660m, which meant that the club were in debt for the first time since 1931.

United's debt was recently lowered to £204m which seems like progress considering the fact that the Glazer's have to pay £62m a year in Hedge funds to service the debt, although due to the recent pandemic, United's debt increased yet again to £271m, as their revenue has been down by £101m.

4. Brighton & Hove Albion £279m

Brighton & Hove Albion are surprisingly fourth on the list, although the £279m worth of debt is actually owed to their owner Tony Bloom who is a lifelong fan of the club.

Bloom invested £111m into squads in a bid to try and get Brighton promoted to the Premier League and has also overseen the Seagulls move from the Withdean Stadium to the Amex Stadium, which cost Brighton over £100m.

Since their promotion to the Premier League back in 2017, Brighton have spent just shy of £230m on transfer fees.

3. Newcastle United £384m

Newcastle United have a staggering debt of £384m, which is remarkable considering the lack of investment on the pitch at times at St James' Park.

Since Mike Ashley bought shares from Freddie Shepherd in 2007, it was revealed that Newcastle had a debt of around £70m, which had interest payments of £6m per year to Barclays Bank. However, Once he bought full control of the club from Sir John Hall back in 2008, he would be required to pay a £57m mortgage off on the stadium to Barclays, of which he has never done, instead, he moved the debt to a different debt creditor, MASH Holdings, his own company.

Since then, the Toon Army haven't paid off any debt and have even spent two seasons in the Championship. In their last spell in England's second division in 2017/18, they spent 131% of their revenue on player wages alone, before being promoted back to the Premier League.

2. Tottenham Hotspur £534m

It is common knowledge as to why Tottenham Hotspur are in debt amounting to £534m, as they have recently built the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, having left White Hart Lane to temporarily play at Wembley whilst their new ground was built.

Daniel Levy took out a loan of £637m to build their new state of the art stadium, but, converted roughly £525m worth of their debt into a bond scheme, which means that the club can pay staggered payments within the next 15 to 20 years.

1. Chelsea £1.3bn

Chelsea are in £1.3bn worth of debt which is incredible, considering this is close to being treble of the amount of what Tottenham owe.

In 2015 it was announced that Chelsea had taken out £1.04bn in interest-free loans, which is the majority of their debt. It was also announced that Abramovich's club had made a loss of £96m in the 2019/20 season despite having a transfer ban. Even though the Stamford Bridge club had made losses, this didn't stop them from spending just over £220m on their squad last summer.

Thanks for reading this article, for more information on debts in football and clubs finances, follow the link provided: deloitte-uk-annual-review-of-football-finance-2020.pdf


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