Money, money, money / Must be funny / In the rich man's world

As if it is going to make any difference to us, the football rich list, based on data from the 2008/09 season has recently been released. And it is Real Madrid again who top the bill, with Barcelona in second and Manchester United who have now dropped down to third. Although the reports authors, Deloitte's sport unit, say that the Old Trafford club would be leading the pack if the pound was still at summer 2007 levels against the Euro.

If you take a look at the top seven in the list, four of them are the English big quartet, two are the pair of Spanish giants that we have mentioned, while Bayern Munich are the sole German representative. We then hit a big lump of Italian clubs with some French, German and English sides filling out the rest of the top 20. Newcastle United, with it being figures based on last season, even coming in at number 20, something I am sure they can forget about this year.

So, no sides outside of the five big leagues being involved comes as no surprise given the way the Champions League system is seeded in their favour, infact the 2007/08 figures show only Turkish outfit Fenerbahce sneaking into 19th place. The Yellow Canaries from Istanbul only making it that far in the list by reaching the Champions League Quarter-Finals, where they would eventually lose to Chelsea, in that campaign.

That made little difference to Real Madrid holding onto the rich list title though as they went out last season at the round of 16 stage. The Whites however able to sit back on their television contract with Mediapro that sees the club pick up more than 1.1bn euros over seven seasons. Spanish clubs of course, unlike those in England, being able to negotiate their own broadcasting deals, Real getting well over twice the amount Manchester United did in the 2008/09 season at approximately 136m compared to 52m.

As well as including television revenue the Deloitte report takes into account, money from ticket sales, sponsorship, merchandising and other commercial revenues, corporate hospitality, and non-match day income. Although, fortunately for some of the Premier League clubs included in the top 20, it does not include transfer fees and player wages, you dread to think where Manchester City would be in the list as against their current new entry at number 19.

Even down there it just shows the massive difference between them and the Red Devils with City earning 102.2m euros compared to United and their 327m euros. Arsenal, down to their increased income at the Emirates Stadium the next English club beneath Manchester United at 263m euros, while Chelsea and Liverpool weigh in with 242.3m euros and 217.0 euros respectively. Those figures showing just how far City have to go in their efforts to be a self sustaining club in the top four.

I have though just made myself smile there though by suggesting one of the top four is self sustaining. But perhaps we are being a little bit too hasty in dismissing Arsenal and their remarkable last set of accounts that were released recently to the end of November 2009. The Gunners seeing their profits rise to 35.2m in the space of just a six month period from June onwards while their debt levels have fallen by an enormous 129.2m from 332.8m to 203.6m.

Those figures were of course helped by the fact that Arsenal sold 261 apartments, raising 96.6m in the process, at Highbury Square, the development built on their old ground. The Emirates Stadium did cost around 430m to construct however, but bearing in mind that over 32 home games last season Arsenal's matchday income pulled in a hefty 100.1m, it is pretty hard to argue their logic at sensibly "speculating to accumulate."

And that's where you have to wonder just how much Gunners fans actually want, with other clubs at the top of the Premier League up to their eyeballs in debt. Arsenal play in a beautiful recently built 60,000 all-seater stadium, they have one of the best managers in world football, they have players who play football as nicely as it can ever be played and they are consistently challenging for silverware on four fronts every season.

But because they haven't won a trophy for four years, their last success being the FA Cup in 2005, a few of their fans are baying for blood. Try having a look around you folks at a lot of other football clubs at the moment and you might realise life isn't really that bad after all. In this day and age for a lot of clubs, especially in the non-league world, it's just about financially getting through another week, never mind wondering about whether or not you are going to win anything.