x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Buying football's silverware

Is it possible to buy success in football's English Premier League? Blackburn did it in 1995, Chelsea have done it and now Manchester City are trying to do it, say the critics.

Pay As You Play: The True Price of Success in the Premier League Era
Paul Tomkins, Graeme Riley and Gary Fulcher
Gprf Publishing
Dh63

There's been a long-held belief that it's possible to buy success in football's English Premier League. Blackburn did it in 1995, Chelsea have done it and now Manchester City are trying to do it, say the critics.

There's just one problem: no one has ever properly analysed and quantified the spending of clubs and then correlated it to their success. This is what Pay As You Play manages to do, charting every transfer by every club that has played in the EPL since its formation in 1992. Yes, even Barnsley.

To make it a level playing field, all deals are weighted according to the average transfer fee of that season, thus allowing each one to be directly compared with the huge fees of today's market. Some of the results are surprising. For example, despite his vast collection of silverware, Jose Mourinho, formerly of Chelsea, finished only 59th in the managerial rankings table. Football has long lacked a scientific approach to the art of winning, Pay As You Play is an excellent first step to remedying that.