Unlikely but not unthinkable: Success on a shoestring in the Superliga

Can the top flight new boys Helsingør with its meagre budget emulate Herfølge’s heroics of 2000

The average Danish Superliga club had staff costs five times more than the average First Division outfit, according to an analysis of the 2015-16 accounts of 23 of the divisions’ sides by Idrættens Analyseinstitut ahead of the start of the new season last weekend.

Superliga champions FC Copenhagen led the way with staff costs of 156.9 million kroner – almost 100 million clear of the average 63.8 million paid out in the 12-team top flight, which increased in size to include 14 sides from the summer of 2016.

The average in the First Division was 13.1 million, with recently promoted Helsingør only paying 3.5 million. FC Vestsjælland did not contribute to the report as it went bankrupt midway through the season.

Better in the black
Overall, Idrættens Analyseinstitut concluded that Sønderjyske was the club most punching above its weight, as it managed to finish second in the Superliga on a comparatively modest budget.

Sønderjyske’s revenue soared by 20 percent to 53.9 million thanks to a huge growth in its TV revenue from 15.6 to 27.3 million and a 50 percent jump in attendances. Overall, it made a 2.7 million kroner profit.

Also in the black were FCK’s parent company Parken Sport & Entertainment (66.5 profit), FC Nordsjælland (24.0), AaB (7.1), Randers (1.3) and AC Horsens (0.5). Bringing up the rear were Brøndby with a loss of 31.9 million.

A clear correlation
“There is a very clear correlation between how much you spend on pay and how much you win. The clubs that can maintain high levels of pay compared to the other clubs win more trophies,” Rasmus Storm, the chief analyst at Idrættens Analyseinstitut, explained to DR.

However, some clubs like Helsingør and Herfølge – which won the Superliga title in 2000 despite having the lowest wage bill – can get lucky, contends Storm.

“If you have a particularly good strategy, organisation and playing staff, you can beat the odds,” he concluded.

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