For a golden period in the 1970s and 80s, English football ruled the roost in Europe.
And since claiming seven out of 10 European Cups through the triumphs of Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Aston Villa, England has strived to restore those continental bragging rights.
Now, the country can finally step into a new era of supremacy, say analysts, as the Premier League hammers home its financial advantage, which was enhanced during the Covid pandemic.
Three English clubs were in two European finals last season, including Man City and Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League, while Manchester United took on Villareal in the Europa League
UEFA has released figures for the distribution of prize money from last season’s European competitions, which have been published on Twitter by financial analyst Swiss Ramble.
And it is the Premier League clubs who are way out in front, amassing £414 million between seven participating teams.
Leading the way were the Champions League winners, Chelsea, with £105M, followed by runners-up, Manchester City, with £104M, then Liverpool on £77M and Manchester United with £70M.
Kevin Keegan and Ray Clemence helped win the European up for Liverpool in 1977
Clubs from Spain’s La Liga were the Prem’s closest challengers, collectively claiming £351M last year, but German and Italian teams now trail well behind in the wake of their English rivals. While the Premier League claimed more than double the prize money of France’s Ligue One.
Last year’s success was no flash in the pan. English clubs have contested three of the last five Champions League finals, winning two. On two occasions it has been an all-English final.
The domination of the Premier League reflects the number of competitive clubs in its ranks, which tend to go deep into European competition.
As well as the Champions League pay-outs, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Leicester City took home good money from the Europa League.
However, the value of a top four finish in England is also underlined in the figures, since English clubs on average earned £89M in the Champions League last season, compared to £19M for those in the Europa League.
|League||Clubs’ total earnings|
So, the scene is set for another golden age for English football on the continent, but can it match those heady days when Bob Paisley, Brian Clough and Aston Villa’s Tony Barton masterminded victories over Europe’s elite.
‘Yes, is the answer to that question,’ said Dr Rob Wilson, an expert in football finance at Sheffield Hallam University, told Sportsmail.
‘I would expect English teams to dominate for the next five years if not longer. It is absolutely possible.
‘Both European cups last year  should have been won by English teams. We had three out of four finalist spots.’
Brian Clough’s teams won the European Cup twice for Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980
|Manchester City||Champions League||£104M|
|Manchester United||Champuons League/
|Tottenham Hotspur||Europa League||£18M|
|Leicester City||Europa League||£18M|
|UEFA/ Swiss Ramble|
Chelsea defeated Manchester City in the Champions League final and Manchester United lost out to Villarreal in the Europa League in a dramatic penalty shootout.
This season, English and Spanish clubs have dominated the latter stages of the Champions League, with Liverpool competing in the final against Real Madrid in Paris on Sunday.
Meanwhile West Ham United made the semi-final of the Europa League before going out to Eintracht Frankfurt and Leicester City were in the semi-final of the new Europa Conference League, losing to Roma.
That should guarantee another decent haul of prize money this season, too. Liverpool have already guaranteed themselves a windfall of at least £102M from this year’s Champions League competition, estimates Swiss Ramble.
The Reds will receive £106M if they win the Champions League and would then qualify for the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. If successful in both of those competitions, it would take their total earnings to £114M.
Liverpool earned their place in the Champions League final with a win over Villarreal
|UEFA Club Ranking 2016||UEFA Club Ranking 2022|
|1.Real Madrid||1.Bayern Munich|
|7.Paris Saint-Germain||7.Paris Saint-Germain|
In addition, there will be funds earned through gate receipts and commercial opportunities, as well as bonus clauses in existing sponsorship deals.
The success of English clubs is underpinned by the Premier League’s huge TV revenues and global exposure, which increases commercial opportunities. As well as the deep pockets of some rich owners.
Money talks and most of the best players look across the Channel in the end; Erling Haaland’s move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City this summer being the latest example.
The Covid pandemic highlighted the imbalance in the economic strength of the big five leagues in Europe and cruelly exposed the profligacy of Real Madrid and Barcelona in past years.
During the pandemic clubs in the Premier League continued to strengthen, pulling ahead of their rivals.
Manchester United earned £70M from European competition loing in the Europa League final
EUROPE’S BIGGEST NETSPENDERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC*
1. Manchester United
4. Leeds United
5. Tottenham Hotspur
6. Manchester City
8. Paris Saint-Germain
9. Aston Villa
10. AS Roma
*Data compiled by CIES Football Observatory
An analysis of net spending during Covid conducted by the European Football Observatory CIES has shown that seven of the top ten spenders were English clubs. The Spanish teams had to pull in their horns.
The upshot is that the Premier League pulled away and now have some of the most expensive – and talented – squads, with Manchester City top of the pile, according to CIES.
English dominance is also supported by how UEFA distributes prize money. More cash goes to clubs with a track record of success in Europe, measured over a ten-year period, and to representatives of countries with the most valuable TV markets.
English clubs already do well on the TV-based distribution and they are climbing the 10-year ranking and will be expected to trouser even more Euros in the future.
As a result, the rich can get richer at a faster pace than rivals at home and abroad, which translates into repeated qualification for European competition and helps sustain consistent domestic and continental success.
In other words, the way the prize money is shared tends to concentrate more wealth in the hands of already wealthy clubs. Who needs a Super League?