£18,257,000,000 is a frighteningly big number, but this is the total wage bill of Premier League clubs since in started in 1992/3. It’s enough to pay the annual salary of 730,000 nurses.
In it’s first season, 1992/1993, the Premier League total wage bill of all 22 clubs, as the Premier League club had in those days, was just over £97 million, with players receiving an average annual salary of £106,000 p/annum.
By 1999 the average Premier League annual salary had increased to £474,000 p/annum.
The 2000’s was notable for two arrivals that disrupted the finances of the Premier League, Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and Sheik Mansour at Manchester City.
By 2010, on the back of increasingly lucrative TV deals, the total amount spent on wages had increased to £1.39billion, with the average player salary increasing to £1.57 million p/annum.
As we enter the 2020 January Transfer Window, the amount spent on Premier League wages has doubled since 2010, rising to a staggering £2.8 billion with the average annual salary in the Premier League, now a mouth watering £3.2 million p/annum.
In the last decade Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have been the biggest wage payers, which may explain why they have won all the Premier League titles with the exception of Leicester City’s amazing achievement in 2016.
The changes in the totals paid by clubs can be seen below:
In it’s first season the total wage bill of all 22 clubs, as the Premier League club had in those days, was just over £97 million.
Liverpool perhaps surprisingly having the biggest wage bill that season, despite finishing a relatively modest sixth in the table.
Champions Manchester United were second in the wage table, indicating that the ability to reward players, as well as the managerial skills of Sir Alex Ferguson, was a factor in their on field success.
The average annual salary for a player that season was £106,000.
Over the rest of the decade wages quadrupled, and Manchester United became the dominant club in the division in terms of what they were prepared to pay, as well as having amazing success on the field of play, culminating with the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble in 1999.
Jack Walker’s benevolence at Blackburn is evident by the club being the 4th highest payers in the Premier League in the 20th century.
Newcastle’s swashbuckling football under Kevin Keegan was underpinned by being in the top six wage paying clubs during that period. Manchester City, relegated in 1996, were conspicuous by their relatively lowly position in the table.
By 1999 the average Premier League annual salary had increased to £474,000.
The next decade was notable for two arrivals that disrupted the finances of the Premier League, Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and Sheik Mansour at Manchester City.
It doesn’t take a genius to spot in the above graph when Roman Abramovich first turned up in London. His benevolence transformed the club from what was seen as a good cup team to Premier League title winners.
Chelsea were the biggest spenders during the first decade of the century, blowing everyone else out of the water as Abramovich underwrote almost £1 billion in wages.
Newcastle fans will also note that their club was a big spender during the decade, as Mike Ashley did not arrive at St James’ Park until 2007, so his influence at the club was only there for two seasons.
On the back of increasingly lucrative TV deals, the average salary had increased to £1.57 million by the end of the decade, with some clubs paying far more.
The Mansour revolution at the Etihad was just starting to take place by this stage, with the acquisition in August 2008.
Within two more seasons Manchester City were the highest payers in the Premier League and in 2012/13 they became the first club to be paying on average over £5 million a year.
In both 2014 and 2017 the Premier League under Richard Scudamore managed to negotiate 70% increases in domestic football rights.
This led to what Sir Alan Sugar called ‘the prune juice effect’ as the extra money coming into the game went straight through to higher wages, which doubled over the decade to over £2.8 billion, a rise of 2,828% in a quarter of a century, during which time UK overall inflation has risen by 97%.
The average annual salary in the Premier League, according to the Global Sports Salary Survey, is now £3.2 million per year.