The Price of Football

Understanding Football Club Finance

Kieran Maguire

£60.00  |  $95.00
ISBN 9781911116899
£9.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781911116905
£9.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781911116912
216 pages   |  240 x 170mm   |  16 January 2020


"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


Professional football is the most popular sport in the world in terms of both spectator attendance and television viewing figures. As its popularity has grown so has its monetary value. Kieran Maguire examines how professional football clubs operate as businesses and explains how to read, understand and interrogate the finances of professional clubs.

The book begins by exploring the financial accounts of the football club – the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow – and shows what they reveal about a club’s financial health. Analysing accounts from across the English and Scottish Footbal Leagues, the book explains how assets are financed, how clubs account for players in different ways, and why wage levels continue to rise at the elite end of the game. How ticket prices are determined and how television rights and brand monetization impact on club finances are highlighted alongside the increasingly significant role of UEFA financial fair play regulations. The book investigates the valuation of clubs, why they are bought and sold, and what any future owner must watch out for in the published accounts.

At a time when many commentators are bemoaning the effects of “too much money” in the game, this clear-headed analysis and presentation of the financial imperatives and challenges facing football clubs will be welcomed not only by students of the industry, but by a wider consituency of fans and supporters looking to understand their club’s latest hike in ticket prices or lack of player purchases.


1. Introduction
Part I Football club financial reports
2. The balance sheet
3. The profit and 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, vanity and insanity
13. Red flags: things that make you go “hmmm”

Author Information

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.

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