"I have never met anyone like Kieran who is so passionate about the numbers and why they matter. I have never met anyone so dedicated to the idea of transparency; to the notion that football clubs have a legal and moral obligation to lay their books open so that fans can see the figures and make up their own minds about what they mean ... Even more importantly he is able to articulate for me what until now had only been a gut feeling: that football is a wonderful game, but it properly belongs to us not them. Football clubs are an idea, a community, a romance. They belong to fans, not faceless conglomerates who think they can change the very nature of the game for their own personal satisfaction. Thanks to Kieran, I don’t just get cross, I can actually begin to explain to people just how unevenly and unfairly the money in the game is distributed. I can explain how and why supporters’ trusts and 50+1 models can work. I now know why it’s wrong to sell a stadium to yourself, not just morally, but financially. I can casually throw in actual figures when I get cross about the biggest clubs having no care for the smallest, or the women’s game having to fight for scraps at the top table. In years gone by, I would just get angry and shout 'agents, bloody agents'. Now, I can tell you exactly why I shout that." – Kevin Day from the Foreword
"Football needs Kieran. His brand of financial scrutiny is well thought out, simple to understand, but most of all consistent. He has no fear or favour and is always on the money. We have to change the financial and regulatory situation in football if we are to avoid more disasters like that at Bury, Bolton, Blackpool, Coventry and not least Accrington Stanley, a town that has first-hand experience of the desolation that can befall towns that lose their key social activity." – Andy Holt MBE, Chairman, Accrington Stanley FC
"Kieran Maguire combines financial expertise with a supporter's love of football, and does very valuable work documenting and explaining clubs' financial workings, including illuminating areas of concern for supporters whose clubs have fallen into crisis." – David Conn, The Guardian and author of The Fall of the House of FIFA
"The antithesis to the cliché that football is the beautiful game is the equally clichéd statement that football is big business. Kieran Maguire explains the reality behind the latter claim, detailing the vast inequalities of wealth, mainly focused on the English elite levels ... Football doesn’t come out of this looking particularly ethical or trustworthy. It is clear that there is plenty of sharp practice permitted within the rules ... Maguire does a fine job of deconstructing those rules, though, and shows how they more likely serve the interests of the big six clubs by protecting their position at the top of the Premier League from nouveau riche challengers ... should be essential reading for anyone even remotely considering investing in football ... For general readers ... it should increase your understanding of what goes on and why." – Stephen Mumford, Times Higher Education
"The Price of Football by Kieran Maguire is an excellent book for anyone who wants to understand how money impacts the game of football. You don't have to be an accountant to understand it." – Margaret Decker, Birmingham City Supporters Trust
The first edition of The Price of Football quickly established itself as the go-to guide to understanding football club finance for the serious fan. Kieran Maguire, one of the UK’s top football finance analysts, shows how professional clubs operate as businesses and explains, in non-technical language, how to read, understand and interrogate club accounts.
As a clear-headed analysis and presentation of the financial imperatives and challenges facing football clubs across the English and Scottish Leagues, it has become a welcome resource not only for students of the industry, but by a wider constituency of supporters looking to understand their club’s latest transfer deal, or season ticket price.
This fully revised and updated edition includes analysis of the most recent club accounts, the latest legal rulings on club affairs, as well as the impact of Covid-19 on the game’s finances.
Foreword by Kevin Day
Part I Football club financial reports 2. The balance sheet 3. The profit or loss account 4. The cash flow statement
Part II The price of football 5. Buying players 6. Ticket prices 7. Broadcasting and sponsorship income 8. Financial fair play
Part III Football club financial analysis 9. How to analyse club accounts 1: trend analysis 10. How to analyse club accounts 2: ratio analysis 11. Valuing a football club 12. Ownership models: love, profit, vanity and insanity 13. Red flags: things that make you go “hmmm” – creative accounting and football finance 14. Football finance in a post-Covid-19 world and Project Big Picture Glossary of accounting terms
Kieran Maguire teaches the Football Industries MBA at the University of Liverpool Management School. He specialises in financial reporting, financial modelling and football finance, and regularly appears on television and radio commentating on matters relating to club finance.