Shamrock Rovers living hand-to-mouth

English Premier League is a financial otherworld compared to Ireland’s top division

Soccer, somewhat unfortunately for the purists, is a business as much as it is a game. Obscene amounts of money slosh through the game in England, where the last Premier League television rights deal was worth £5.1 billion.

But if soccer is a business, in Ireland, the business is a corner shop. Accounts filed this week for Shamrock Rovers, historically the glamour side in Irish professional soccer, show the relative paucity of resources available to the top clubs in this country.

Rovers has just filed abridged accounts for the year to the end of November 2015. They show that Shamrock Rovers FC Ltd is effectively balance sheet insolvent to the tune of €100,000.

The club had tangible assets of €44,000, which would barely cover the cost of the transplanted hairs on the head of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.


Rovers had €118,000 cash in the bank, but it had creditors of €440,000, up by €180,000 over the same period a year earlier. The abridged accounts indicate the club made a loss of about €50,000, with accumulated losses overall of about €550,000. It had a deficit of assets of €100,000.

Wage bill

But it is the note attached to the accounts outlining the wage bill that really tells the tale. Rovers is one of the best-run and resourced clubs in the country, but its total wage bill for 29 players, five management and coaches and three administrators came to just €1.18 million.

That is an average salary across the board of €32,000. For the average cost for a full year of a professional player at Ireland’s most historic club, you could probably get Man United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a Monday.

It could be worse. Almost 12 years ago, Rovers flirted with financial disaster when the club entered examinership, and it was only rescued with the generosity of its loyal fans. So, for the club, it’s nice to be alive.

But wouldn’t it be even nicer if, as businesses, Ireland’s top domestic soccer clubs didn’t have to live so hand to mouth?