ONCE the beautiful game, top level football is now big business as Manchester United become the first British club in history to announce yearly revenues in excess of £500m – and this by a club which has endured a series of costly upheavals on and off the pitch.
It’s why Premier League survival is critical to the finances of clubs like Hull City and Middlesbrough, two of the teams who recognised the commerical importance of replacing dilapidated stadia with family-friendly grounds.
And it’s why the more wistful Leeds United fans glance enviously across the Pennines to Manchester, a city which has built much of its regeneration and leisure industry on the back of its two mega-rich football clubs.
Even though a new survey ranks Leeds as the best to place to live, they will wonder whether the true potential of their team – and council-owned land ripe for redevelopment next to Elland Road – will be realised while the club lurches from crisis to crisis under Massimo Cellino.
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