|Reclaiming past honour|
United have since 2005 been owned by the Glazer Brothers through a leveraged buyout; who brought the club into private hands after its public flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 1991. The debt incurred from the leveraged buyout has been paid down with the equity generated through United's earnings; Draining out at least half a billion dollars from United in recent years.
In contrast, City's fortunes have turned in the last decade, from festering in the third division of English Football to Premiership dominance, due to the direct ownership of the club by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Abu Dhabi Investment Group since 2008. City's Debt was converted to equity, enabling further spending on lucrative contracts for topflight players. Last year City reported a loss of over $300 million bankrolled by its profligate owners. Chelsea have followed a similar model through the ownership of the Russian Oligarch, Roman Abramovich.
Both Models allow for low risk-averse strategies; but succumb to the single-minded pursuit of economic profits. The English Premier League in general has a more competitive and less regulatory environment since it was founded in 1992; compared to the strangling duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga, the top-flight division in Spain. However, the Premier League's mercenary and fleeting nature does not engender club and team camaraderie, which has reflected in England's anti-climactic performances in the Euros and the World Cup since 1992; in contrast to the replete trophy cabinets of its continental rivals.
The Premier League's financial model differs greatly from the the Bundesliga, the top division in Germany, where many of the clubs like Bayern Munich are majority owned directly by the fans. This fosters a long term relationship between the club and the community but allows for high risk-averse strategies both on the field of play and in management. The difference is also reflected at the macro level in the century-old variation of financial institutions between market-led Anglo-Saxonism and bank-based corporatism of Teutonic models.
European wide club competition is limited compared to the level and intensity of sports played out in other big economies, like the US. Only in a greatly integrated European league would the different mindsets be thoroughly tested, the Champions' League unfortunately does not offer that platform. Nevertheless, here is hoping for a Blue Moon over a goal-fest derby tonight!