Best in the UK: Off The Pitch crowns St. Mirren as best-run club financially in 2019/20

23 September 2021

St. Mirren
Photo: Alamy

Off The Pitch and the Football Business Awards linked up to celebrate Britain’s best-managed football clubs financially, based on three key metrics, discounting absolute size differences.

St. Mirren has been crowned as financially the best-run club in 2020 among the 8 finalists, ahead of Manchester United and Burnley in second and third places, respectively.

Joseph Mailil, analyst

The Metrics

The EBITDA margin sheds light on how well a club’s operations are driven relative to its turnover isolated from transfer activities. Clubs who do not disclose profits from player sales separately from overall revenues are excluded from the analysis, as this inflates the EBITDA margin.


The ROA-ratio (Pre-tax profit) gives indication to how good a club is at generating profits using its assets, which primarily concerns intangible fixed assets in the form of player registrations. 


The Equity ratio’s purpose is to assess how large a share of a club’s assets is being financed by owners’ investments, or how large the share of leverage the club uses to finance its assets is.

St. Mirren were crowned on Thursday at the Football Business Awards 2021 as the best-performing club in financial terms. 

The club finished 9th in the Scottish top tier in 2019/20, after the season was called off due to uncertainties regarding the pandemic. However, the Scottish club also managed their finances highly satisfactorily in 2019/20, as they improved their EBITDA-margin from a negative 12.3 percent to a positive 2.7 percent.

Bearing in mind that the overall average for all UK clubs included in the analysis was a negative 28 percent, the turnaround for The Buddies was very pleasing.

Although the club’s return on assets before tax was just 1.2 percent, they did significantly outperform the average of clubs included, which was a negative 21 percent. 

On top of that, the club doubled their cash at hand, insuring them against liquidity bottlenecks during the pandemic, keeping the club’s equity ratio at a very high 90 percent.

Apart from Manchester United and Burnley, the finalists were Burton Albion, Chelsea, Kilmarnock, Sheffield United, and Tottenham.

Off The Pitch reached out to St. Mirren on several occasions for an interview but did not get any response.