Despite widespread belt tightening across the economy, football clubs are still operating in a league of their own.
The relentless pursuit of glory and pressures from ever-demanding supporters still causes desperate chairmen and directors to take their eye off the business ball.
With ever more far-fetched aspirations of competing with the best both domestically and in Europe clubs are increasingly getting caught offside when it comes to the most basic of business principles.
According to Deloitte the collective debt of the Football League’s 92 clubs now stands at some £3.5bn. For the Premier League alone the proportion of income clubs spend on wages has hit a record high of 68%.
‘Double-dip’ recessionary fears were emphatically pushed aside by the league this year when transfer window spending on players went through the roof with a record outlay of £710m, eclipsing 2008’s peak of £675m.
Despite the drive by football’s European governing body UEFA to impose the Financial Fair Play Directive only Arsenal – out of the Premier League’s most high-profile clubs – would currently satisfy the ruling.
Scepticism surrounds the power of UEFA to ensure debt-laden clubs will make strides over the coming three seasons to try and break even.