In the final part of our countdown, we reveal our picks for the top 5 best run clubs in the Premier League.
5 – Burnley
Similar to Bournemouth, Burnley are a small team that has tried to compete with the big boys. Unlike Bournemouth, it has not been smooth sailing. Sean Dyche led his team to promotion, but soon found themselves back in the championship after an unsuccessful campaign. However, unlike other clubs who would panic and cut ties with the man who brought them success, Burnley’s board decided to stick with Dyche and they have been rewarded with another promotion and are currently mid-table heading into the end of the year.
They have kept a core of players who helped them to promotion, and supplemented with with some unheralded additions such as Stefan Defour. In an age where the motto seems to be “spend spend spend”, Burnley have shown that faith in a manager and a strong core of players, even in the face of relegation, means they can overcome challenges on a tiny budget and with no glamourous names..
4 – Bournemouth
The smallest team in the league, Bournmouth punches far above their weight. Upon arrival in the premier league, manager Eddie Howe purchased players such as Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings who he felt could push them to the next level. Both record signings were soon injured and unavailable for an entire season. Despite this set back, Howe and the rest of the team did not panic, and he led his team (still using a core of players from the lower leagues) to admirable success, comfortable avoiding relegation last season and currently well clear of the bottom three.
Howe is the key for Bournemouth, the youngest manager in the league has shaped the club from league two also-rans into shining examples of how to run a club using stable, astute management. It will not be long until the bigger clubs come calling when they are in need of a new leader, will the Cherris be able to keep hold of him?
3 – Leicester City
A fairy-tale title victory last season was not just the most impressive and signigicant achievement in Leicester City’s history, it is one of the greatest for any club in any country this century. Rising from the lower leagues under their Thai owners, Leicester have bought quality and seen the results on the field.
A few mis-steps here and there, such as a record signing Kramaric failing to perform, were outweighed by brilliant acquisitions such as Cambiasso, Vardy, Mahrez and Kante for a relative pittance. Arguably the clubs most embarrassing moment, the sex scandal involving Nigel Pearson’s son actually worked out for the best, as it led to the hiring of Claudio Ranieri as Pearon’s replacement, and the rest as we know is history. Honourable mention to the offer of free donuts and beer to the fans by the Thai owners after they won the league.
Despite not winning the league in recent years, Arsenal continue to show admirable consistency under Arsene Wenger. While other clubs yo-yo between top four, mid table or even relegation battles, the Gunners have never waivered under Wenger’s stewardship. From a purely business point of view, Arsenal are surely one of the best clubs in the world.
Despite being hamstrung by stadium costs for more than a decade, to the point where they needed to seel their best and brightest, the club now finds itself in a position of stability and with the money and ambition to buy top quality players, from Ozil to Sanchez to Mustafi, while ending their trophy drought with two FA cups in two years and a league position that is improving year-on-year. Last year they finished runner-up, and currently find themselves joint top of the table.
1 – Southampton
An exceptional transfer record, a profitable business model, tremendous youth set-up, on field success and progression, and excellent managerial appointments. Southampton are the leading example of how to run a football club in the 21st century premier league. They continue to climb the table, have made huge profits on players like Lallana, Shaw, Mane, while always replacing them with bargain purchases.
Arguably one of their only mistakes was one of their first big signings after returning to the premier league, Gaston Ramirez, who at the time was seen as something of a coup considering he was pursued by Liverpool and Tottenham. Shrewd work by scouts and managers such as Pocchetino and Koeman have allowed Southampton to become one of the most stable and progressive clubs in England. They are a club that function at every level from backroom staff, to players, to the boardroom.
So, there you have it. PUPcast’s list of the best run clubs in the league. After all that, what better way to unwind than by listening to the latest episode of our podcast, available here.