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Why Arsenal need Kroenke to do more than just talk

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David Bond | 16:33 UK time, Friday, 30 September 2011

Silent Stan Kroenke finally broke his silence on Arsenal's troubled start to the season telling the Daily Telegraph in an interview this morning that he has full confidence in manager Arsene Wenger and that he has a long term vision to try and emulate Manchester United's commercial success.

But a look at their latest financial results for the year ended May 31 2011 tells you just how far they have to go.

On the face of it Arsenal Holdings Group's performance is very impressive. Turnover of £255m and a group operating profit of £50.5m.

But this includes the proceeds from the property side of the business associated with the move from Highbury to Emirates back in 2006. These reached their peak in 2010. Strip that out and there is a very different story.

Stan Kroenke agreed a deal to purchase Arsenal in April. Photo: Getty

Stan Kroenke agreed a deal to purchase Arsenal in April. Photo: Getty

Yes, unlike Manchester United, Arsenal are paying down their debts and it is a credit to the board's self sustaining model that the club now has net debts of £97m. When you consider they have moved to a new ground and taken a risk on selling off their old home as luxury flats, that is no small achievement.

But the problem is the football operation is now at near to full capacity. Turnover on the football side of the business is up slightly, by £2.5m to £225m.

However wages are increasing year on year and now account for 55% of the club's turnover - high for a club as traditionally prudent as Arsenal. There was a £14m increase in 2010/2011 although these figures don't account for subsequent changes to the wage bill following summer player trading (Major transfers out: Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Eboue and Gael Clichy. Major transfers in: Mikael Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Gervinho, Per Mertesacker, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ju Young Park and Andre Santos).

On top of that there is another £55m in other operating costs which barely changed over the last 12 months.

On the commercial side Arsenal pulled in £33m. This has been much the same ever since the club signed long term deals to 2014 with Nike and Emirates. This provided cash up front to help secure the stadium move but now look under valued compared to deals being done by United and Manchester City.

In commercial terms alone Arsenal are £70m behind United whose global strategy of packaging up their rights and selling them off territory by territory allowed them to break through the £100m barrier for the first time in 2011.

In overall turnover terms they are more than £100m behind.

And yet Arsenal and Wenger do have cash in the bank - according to these accounts, £115m. (That will have changed following the £60m sales of Nasri and Fabregas and the money subsequently invested on new players.)

Arsenal's reluctance to spend big is not only philosophical, designed to remain within the spirits and laws of Uefa's financial fair play. It is also pragmatic. While they could easily afford the transfer fee of a major player, servicing their wages over five years would not be sustained by a business which will soon run out of flats to sell.

This is why many fans are now asking billionaire Kroenke to dig deep and invest some extra money on top of the £500m or so he is committed to spending on buying his 66% stake and controlling position in the club. They fear that soon the financial gap with the rest of the top teams in the Premier League will soon be too big to close.


  • Comment number 1.

    Just remember: Utd have to service bond payments of around £50m a year with £500m odd to repay toward the end of the decade. Arsenal should be clear of debt by 2015 if they either stay in Champions League or sell a major player each year for £20-30m. Utd need far more in revenues to service their debts than Arsenal do.

    Arsenal's issue is their salary structure to be honest now. They have a more narrow bandwidth than most which may have been sensible for a group of youngsters but isn't consistent with retaining the Henry's, Fabregas', Nasri's and possibly van Persie's of this world.

    Their commercial revenue is also a major issue and that will depend on future performance on the pitch. You won't get revenue like Utd's not being in the champions league.

    So Mr Kroenke has to take a hard-nosed business decision about hwo to stay in the Champions League.

    The Press reads like it has already been pre-ordained that they won't do that.

    I do hope if that is so that all football fans with season tickets will get a 100% refund for fraud.

    I have no evidence that it is so, but the way the Press reads is not consistent with a fair fight.

    Why is that?

  • Comment number 2.

    So long as Alisher Usmanov owns almost 30% of the shares, what incentive does Kroenke have to increase their value? Usmanov is worth six times more than he is, nominally, but Kroenke's the one with the power to do the buying. It thus makes financial sense to see the value of the asset he's buying cut and cut and cut until a deal is made.

    Don't know why no one in the media has considered this.

  • Comment number 3.

    Arsenal are being held back because of their wage structure. People kept asking over the summer, why don't Arsenal sign a big name player? Short answer is because they can't afford to pay their wages. Anyone who has ever player Football Manager knows that the quickest way to financially break a club is to have an unsustainable wage structure.

    As for growing the commercial side of the club, maybe they could take a page out of United's book and sign players from growing football markets. One could argue that they have started to do that but in their own way. Rather than buy an established star like Park Ji-Sung, to sell jerseys in Korea, they are going to grow stars from East Asia such as Japan's Ryo Miyaichi and Korea's Park Chu-Young. Maybe Arsenal should try to buy an American star as an investment...

  • Comment number 4.

    Backing Wenger the way they did by allowing the purchase of Mertesecker [sp], Arteta et al. Is one thing but where was that sort of money when Wenger could have broken even the grasp of Chelsea and Man Utd duopoly let alone the Man City, rejuvinated Liverpool and possible gate-grashers of Spurs?

    There are times when you really do need to speculate to accumulate - and Arsenal knowing just how much they can get for some of their youth players (even if you give them away free with a massive sell-on clause) should IMHO taken a bit of a gamble when they had the chance - they knew they'd finish at least top-5 2-3 seasons back. Now if results really go against them they might finish 7th at beast (that's expecting MUFC, MCFC, CFC to get the top 3 and then LFC, THFC to get 4th & 5th then AFC getting 6th unless there's a massive shock and someone like NUFC, AVFC or EFC grabbing 6th on last day of season (which I can't see happening unless things are truly dreadful for AFC).

    The irony is for Wenger is that if he could fast forward to the fair-play rules coming in and/or his crop of youth players all maturing at once as well as having some money to buy young player that have established themselves in the PL like Rodwell, Fellani and Tiote (sorry EFC and NUFC fans but they were first 3 I thought of) then they'd have a great chance of getting right back up there.

  • Comment number 5.

    @No. 3, Valid point about Park Chu-Young selling shirts but not the only reason. Decent talent, current S. Korea captain (we aren't growing anything, he's finished article) and he was exceptionally cheap. All round good buy if he settles well.

    Miyaichi wasn't about shirts, he's a fantastic talent is why. If he reaches his potential then shirts will be merely a bonus, as he could be a consistent match winner.

    As for everything else... the board have a lot to answer for, frankly. Not maximising marketing revenue, not maximising transfer value (Fabregas for £25m guaranteed and £40m IF WE'RE LUCKY?! WHAT?!), spiking ticket prices (when fan turnout is dropping because of their mismanagement affecting the pitch) and finally a buyout by an owner obviously just content to bleed the club's fans dry.

    David Dein wasn't entirely perfect either, his Emirates and Nike deals look woefully outdated now and run till 2014. But I can say this with absolute no doubt; he would of done a far better job at securing transfers we needed.

  • Comment number 6.

    I find it a bit strange that a club that is trying to stick to a financial model which, on the face of it, should lessen the chance of financial meltdown seems to face disproportionate criticism.

    Is the only future for clubs to spend way above their means and then look for a sugar-daddy to pull them out of the financial mire? Or to expect general taxpayers to indirectly subsidise them by deferring/avoiding payments to HMRC etc?

    Perhaps a few complete club liquidations would put another slant on this.

  • Comment number 7.

    With regards to Spence's comments - The deal for Fabregas is cheap. But then he didn't want to go anywhere else. So if you only have one club that the player wants to go to, and he doesn't want to be at Arsenal then you have to get what you can. There is no doubt if it was open to the highest bidder we could have got double the money, but the truth is it was never going to be the case. Barcelona are in a pretty dire financial situation, they paid there best price and Fabregas was going nowhere else.

    Arsenal's general financial situation is superb. They have substantial money in the bank, less the £100mil debt, compared to the rest of the league this is particularly remarkable. The property sales are coming to their end, but its debt free, and is therefore all profit to the club. The commercial side of things is where Arsenal's focus is and will be for now and the future, hence the trip to asia over the summer, and they look set to do likewise and tap the Indian market as well.

    With regards the deals with Nike and Emirates, they do look small in comparison to what Man city pulled off over the summer, but then they are coming to an end in two years which will mean they will be renegotiated and will be much more in line with current deals. They were good for the time.

    The media are looking for every opportunity to critiscise Wenger, Arsenal and the board. I am quite happy with how Arsenal are attempting to be responsible with their money. They do not want to rely on massive money from sugar daddy, that is the way to irresponsible financial practice. Yes they are limited by their wage structure, but then perhaps paying someone £250,000 a week who then refuses to come of the bench, is the not the best model to follow. We could get our billionaires to throw money around like there is no tomorrow but then that might only bring success in the short term, the long term is that when Football finally realises that they can not spend the way they are currently, Arsenal will be the club that has the revenue and model to be a long term success. Look at Man City, for all their billions, they have only won the FA Cup, for Chelsea, they have an ageing squad and little stability. UTD is different, they have the global following, but they are still financially on a knife edge.

    I know the Arsenal fans are not happy with the ticket prices going up, and that is perhaps an area the club could look at, but all in all, Arsenal is not in crisis and the notion that they are is idiotic!

  • Comment number 8.

    Fans should remember that football is cyclical. Preston North End, Spurs, Leeds, Liverpool, N. Forest, Newcastle, Blackburn, Arsenal, and Chelsea all had their spell at the top of English football. Yet, all are playing catch-up at the moment.

    Man Utd's current position will wane in the coming years once Ferguson departs. His canny ability to buy and blood the right player is the difference between them and other teams.

    Arsenal will be back. No one knows when.

  • Comment number 9.

    He "must do more than talk", meaning....? he must dump money into the club?

    NO! That is not the Arsenal way. Fans may complain that their millionaire board members do not pump cash into the club a la Roman, but there is no integrity there.

    As the blog points out Arsenal' sstadium naming rights and shirt sponsor deals, having been made years ago, are grossly undervalued now, an extra 50 million there would make the bank balance look better. Plus the transfer sales of Nasri and Cesc will put this years figures up in the black.

    Look at the top clubs finances ( do not count Chelski and Etihad as they are unrealistic ) and you will find all the big clubs struggling financially. Only ManU is miles ahead and how much have they earned for their success on the field the last few years? A lot, (and IMO that is due to just one man, SAF).

    Lots of big companies, in and out of football are struggling, Arsenal's position is not that bad in comparison. You know that Wenger and the board are aware of that and are playing a fiscally cautious hand.

  • Comment number 10.

    Once the debt is all cleared will have much money to spend as all the sugar daddy clubs. Just got to hope Wenger can keep his working his miracles until that day.

  • Comment number 11.

    When will people stop talking about Man United's debt? The club are not in debt, the owners took on the debt to buy the shares in the club and they (the owners) can recoup that whenever they choose by selling shares (as it appears they may do in Singapore). As private owners, the Glazers can also choose to take money out of the club to repay their debt, but this is their choice as private owners, not an obligation of the club. The club makes a very healthy profit, such that the Glazers have (apparently) taken significant money out of the club, but there are still plenty of operating funds available, according to their last set of figures.

    This is in complete contrast to Arsenal who took on debt as a club, to finance the ground re-building (a very good move, financially), but which the club is liable to repay. The ficus of this article is whether Arsenal can generate the operating revenues (compared to Man United) to cover both the wage bill and transfer costs. The new ground certainly provides match day revenue (I remember reading somewhere that they have one of the higher ticket prices), but a business decision to take higher up-front payments for naming rights and sponsorship in order to reduce the debt means that they now appear to be generating less than comparable clubs from these avenues. Why is this a problem now? It was a perfectly sensible decision (and probably lauded by commentators) when it was made however many years ago. The fact they are now having to get by on somewhat less until these deals can be re-negotiated was the obvious - and known - outcome that the club decided was the best way to go forward.

    The problem appears to be that with the recent injection of vanity investments in football clubs (I use the terminology to cover investments which are not intended to generate a financial return), salaries for top players have risen faster than Arsenal expected and - in order to retain the star players which the club believes are needed to maintain their position as one of the top Premier league teams - they are paying a higher percentage of the operating costs in salaries than they would like.

    So what? If they can cover these costs, why should anyone complain? This is another decision taken by the Arsenal board based on whether they want to possibly lose higher-paid players or slow down their debt repayments. The only difference between this and a mortgage owner choosing to take some equity out of their home to pay for an extension is one of scale and the fact that some tens of thousands of Arsenal fans believe they have a say in the decision.

    By suggesting that the majority shareholder should "open his wallet" to put more money into the club you are buying into the whole concept of vanity investments. Maybe this was not the point of your article, but that seems to be what you are saying in the headline. Do you want Kroenke to be another Abramowitz? You can't have it both ways; you either run the club as a business - investing to make some money, or as a plaything spending money so you can swan around saying you "own" a football club.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Wow. The first 10 comments have all been really, really reasonable. Just got back from the Gruaniad, where everything gets taken over by nutters!

    Anyway, just want to say that it's a bit tough being a gooner at the moment, but I do console myself with the thought that the *only* teams to have ever won the Premier League either spent like mad people, or were Arsenal.

    I'm sad about Cesc leaving, but his heart wasn't in it and it was beginning to show. As for Cashri - well, he had half of a fantastic season, and according to the BBC commentary from the other night was anonymous in defeat. So I would argue for one good piece of business there because there's a chance that he is not quite the game changing genius many commentators have been claiming. I'm laying myself open with that one but there you have it.

    I'm still proud to support a club that has got its previous silverware with less funds than several, but those ticket prices are just silly money. And silly money might well turn out to be fickle money - but I think at that point we'll see the invisible hand of market forces jump in to make the necessary correction to bring back the crowds.

    That said, I do wish we had made one galactic-like signing ever! Fantastic though Oxlade Chamberlain may well prove to be (a scoring Walcott?), and good though I think Arteta is...I did feel a bit like I'd been given supernoodles at the close of the transfer window, rather than the steak dinner I was hoping for.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm actually really disappointed by this post as it is dangerously misleading. It appears to suggest that without the sale of property that Arsenal would not be making a profit. But when you actually look at the figures for property sales that arsenal are not in a strong position:

    'On the face of it Arsenal Holdings Group's performance is very impressive. Turnover of £255m and a group operating profit of £50.5m.

    But this includes the proceeds from the property side of the business associated with the move from Highbury to Emirates back in 2006. These reached their peak in 2010. Strip that out and there is a very different story.'

    However, when you look at the article on the arsenal website which is referenced, you find a the following:

    'The sale of apartments at Highbury Square is in its final stages, with 69 sale completions in the year (2010 - 362) generating £30.3 million of revenue from property (2010 - £156.9 million).'

    Forgive me if I'm mistaken but that still means that Arsenal made a profit of £20.2m. I accept that Arsenal are no longer in the strong position they were a short time ago and that there are far too many fringe players on inflated salary but even with these problems they are making a healthy profit and have significant funds in the bank.

    So when you look at the facts, Arsenal have £115m in the bank and debts of £97m (which gives them £18m net), they are making a profit of £20m per season without property sales and this doesn't even include the money from their summer dealings and the departure of 2 of their highest earners.

    Also they are 3 years away from being able to negotiate lucrative sponsorship deals (the current deals, while undervalued were a condition of arsenal receiving the necessary finance to build the stadium so you could argue their value should take into consideration the extra revenue created by the new stadium)

    The only concern is the possible/likely loss of CL revenue for 2012-2013 season which will have a major bearing on finances.

    I understand at the moment there is little incentive to praise Arsenal and there are plenty of valid reasons for criticising them so I'm surprised that David felt the need to write an article that appeared to me designed to mislead the reader over the validity of Arsenal's profits.

  • Comment number 15.

    I've been wondering for a while about the validity of the idea that Arsenal's financial model is the future for all football clubs. From what I understand, property dealings aside, it seems to be predicated on purchasing young potentially gifted players for nominal fees, developing them for a number of years both as players and financial assets, and then selling them on for tens of millions.

    My question is, if every team is meant to operate like this (buying young players, developing then selling) who are they meant to sell them to? Surely this model requires a small number of clubs with external funding in a Barca/Real/City style to buy players for larger fees to keep the model sustainable?

  • Comment number 16.

    Despite the woes of this statement Arsenal are in a strong position. Yes Kroenke as Dana Blackenhorn quite correctly points out, will be less likely to invest in the club if it makes the shares owned by Usmanov more valuable. So we go in a different direction. Get the board - Usmanov & Kroenke to invest 100 million each in sponsorship of PLAYERS - Sponsor them they old way, goals/clean sheets/games played...Players will come on "low wages" because they are sponsored by the owners to play. The owners get their cash back because the value of the club rises. This is not a wage deal, it's an image rights "type of deal" Also surely it's time for Arsenal to RE-negotiate their existing sponsorship deals with Emirates and Nike. They could bring in MILLIONS by buying out the contracts and renegotiating. Is that not what Kenyon did when he moved to Chelsea.. ?? Get a training kit sponsor and show snippet videos on the home page of training. Opening new areas for sales is totally down to Kroenke. He could be pushing the sales of thousands of shirts in his other sporting arenas.

  • Comment number 17.

    rhpotter wrote:
    When will people stop talking about Man United's debt? The club are not in debt,

    Ah, yes they are in debt. Do you understand a leveraged buyout?

    the owners took on the debt to buy the shares in the club and they (the owners) can recoup that whenever they choose by selling shares (as it appears they may do in Singapore).

    No the owners didn't take on the debt, the company is liable for these debts, as they are secured against the assessts of the company, in this instance, Man Utd. That is why they are selling shares in the co.

  • Comment number 18.

    If Man United's owners are successful in the Singapore listing it will have been the perfect financial play. They bought the club for £800m of which about £600m was in debt. So the Glazer have put in about £200m of cash into buying the club. Since then they have pushed up revenues and streamlined the clubs commercial activities whilst backing the club to compete at the highest level allowing it to generate money through success on the pitch. Thanks to this activity the debt is now down to £500m.

    Fast forward and take the low estimates for the Singapore listing of 25% of the company for £400m and you see that the Glazer's stake in the company reduces to 75%. However, not only do they reduce their ownership of debt to £500*0.75=£375m, but their share of the company gains £400m*0.75=£300m in cash. Bearing in mind that they put in £200m of cash... they have paid £200m for £300m in cash plus a 75% stake in Manchester United whilst reducing their portion of the debt to £375m. The listing now values this stake at £1.2bn. I get £1.2bn + £300m cash - £375m debt = £1.175bn for a cost of £200m.

    With the Singapore listing Man United will suddenly be in a strong position. So what about Arsenal... well that needs a second post.

  • Comment number 19.

    Considering Arsenal... there is a healthy cash balance, but two strong issues arise:

    1. Can the club compete enough to bring in the money?
    2. What is the marketing strength of the squad?

    Taking the first issue you have to consider how likely Arsenal are to get Champions League football next year. The two teams from Manchester look favourites for a top 4 spot and Chelsea would appear to be next in line. So it is between Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool for that final spot and on current form, Arsenal would appear to be the weakest of the four. So what would happen if they could not manage this top four finish? Firstly you deduce revenues from the champions league including extra matchday revenue, prize money and TV money. Then we should consider whether Van Persie and Walcott would sign new contracts without Champions League football, reducing the squads ability to compete in future years for the Champions League. Without being a top team would they also manage the same attendances?

    Second issues is marketing... players like Van Persie and exciting youngsters attract shirt sales, but if Arsenal lost Van Persie, could they really bring in the same commercial revenue as players like Van Persie, Messi, Fabregas, Rooney or Ronaldo?

    However, the biggest issue is none of the above and an issue divorced from most concerns... that is why are fans so happy about a situation where they are being milked. suggests that Arsenal have made a £31m of profit from transfers over the past 5 years. Other sources suggest that they have some of the most expensive ticket prices. Owners, not fans should pay for new stadia and upgrades that bring in financial rewards. Ultimately, the major concern is what those fans are pay high prices for... so that owners can make big profits and fund a big stadium that will make them greater profits in the future or to allow the club to compete at the highest level?

  • Comment number 20.

    Man United has to be the model for financial success... generate good revenues and use it fund the football. The football is the key... the finances should just be self-sufficient. Have people considered that paying down Arsenals debt quickly could cost more in lost future revenue by being uncompetitive than they would have earnt by being successful whilst paying the debt down more slowly.

  • Comment number 21.

    Rob, you have forgotton about the bonds that man yoo have to service the interest on each year, and then repay in full at the end of their term. Admittedly they are better then the original PIC loans they took out, but it is still a substantial amount of money. The only thing keeping them afloat is the extra revenue they have managed to secure from sponsorship, but i do have to admit they have done a good job at that.

  • Comment number 22.


    I think this blog is very negative just like everything else that has been written about Arsenal lately. It is disappointing that you can not even report the simple facts correctly, there is £160m sitting in the bank £23m up on the same period last year, this does not take in to consideration this years transfers which is about £17m positive versus last years £14m investment which is a £31m swing. This is also likely to reduce the clubs overall wage bill as the highest earners moved on and the club has also managed to loan out decent earners this season, add to this the 6.5% increase in season tickets next years results are likely to show a £40m profit in the football business alone. Not to be sniffed at. Fast forward 2 years from there and the new commercial deals are likely to boost revenues by at least £30m a year which will be pure profit.

    Even the supreme Man United's with an almost prefect year income wise with very low spend on players £14m, made only made £30m, however based on a similar performance this year that is likely to swing them in to a loss again due to player purchases. However Man Utd are very much a class act and are to be admired by most clubs at their ability to generate income.

    Compare this to Chelsea’s last set of results at the end of 2010, there football turnover was £20m less than Arsenal, finishing higher in the table, going further in the Champions League, and having stronger commercial deals they lost £70m. This does not even include the net £130m spent in the last 2 transfer windows, which is likely to push these figures to losses over well over £100m possible even higher than City and with a wage bill almost equivalent to 100% of their turnover it is not all roses in this garden.

    Then there is Liverpool with turnover almost £40m shy of Arsenal yet double the commercial income to that of Arsenal and still includes the income from the Champions League this paints a very bleak outlook. The last set of results showed that the wage bill was around 62% of the turnover however remove the Champions League money and that shoots it up to 73% of turnover without all the new additions. Add to that Liverpool have been posting on going losses for years, while around £15m a year will now be clawed back each year by the settlement of the debt that would still leave a net debt of £5m. However this will be even higher when you consider the £20m net loss of Champions League versus Europa League and to that Liverpool that year made a profit on player sale due to Alonso leaving, therefore the next set of results point to a substantial losses of around £75m. (£50m swing in transfer plus £20m CL and under lying losses).

    There is not much point talking about city they will be posting losses well in excess of any number ever seen before.

    As for Spurs well their turnover is almost half of Arsenal’s but they are a well run unit, on a relatively low turnover they do extremely well. They posted a £6m loss on the last set of account but this is likely to rebound in to heavy profits from the drop in spend on players and the boost of the CL. However the biggest challenge facing Spurs is the lack of match day revenue they bring in a mere £27m a year less than a third of Arsenal’s revenue this can only truly be resolved by building a new stadium, therefore welcome to the world of a £250m of debt. This fact is made worse by the fact that Spurs actually have £64m in debt already only £30m less than Arsenal with no stadium to show for it.

    All in all I think that it is fair to say that Arsenal FC don’t need Stan to dig in to his pockets and all Arsenal fan’s should stick by the club and not worry about what lazy journalist write just to get views. Even if Arsenal where to miss out on the Champions League next year we would return a profit, not 1 of the other so called big clubs can boast this sort of sustainability. In real terms if fair play is even remotely adhered to Arsenal are in a great position, this was never a short term project. By the close of next year if Arsenal finish in the top 4 we are likely to have reduced our net debt to around £50m by 2014 when the rules kick in the club is likely to be turning over close to £275m in football business alone which by all accounts should be providing the club with around £30m a year for player investment. The best bit about this is if the rules are followed the strain of wage bills is actually likely to reduce as clubs can not afford to be spending £250k a week as the turnover will not be high enough, which will actually put Arsenal in a very strong position as 50% will be £137.5m a year allowing us to pay for more premium players if the manager wanted too.

  • Comment number 23.

    I swear David Bond is a mobile phone salesman in disguise.

  • Comment number 24.

    Mainly agree

    Wengers balance has been all wrong in the past five years, accent on the books and not enough emphasis on the players. I wont go into the numbers, they have all been discussed at length above.Bottom line is - we will be facing Spurs on Sunday with a vastly yes vastly inferior squad and will be thumped.

    If all the ' in Wenger we trust' lemmings are happy with that and happy with where he has brought us because we have a reasonable set of accounts then fine.

    But Im not....

    Remember what it was like to have butterflies in your stomach every saturday, remember what it was like to live every point.... remember.... its all gone. Wenger has recalibrated us down to thinking fourth place in the league was the height of our ambition...this year it will be just staying up.

    He is responsible for the worst squad I can remember and Im 47 - hey, great books though.... Personally I couldnt care if Colonel Gadaffi was bankrolling us - I want a squad back. Chamackh !!! - no thanks, Arteta...come on, Yossi what a panic buy these guys were. Then again Wenger has the magic touch they say, Luzny, Stepannovs, Grimandi, Julio 'the beast' Baptista, Francis fox in the box Jeffers, Aliaidiere, Cygan, Bendtner, Senderos, Squillaci (who he cant even offload) and now this woeful lot. RVP will be off in January I bet.

    Well, I am happy to say that Ill celebrate when Wenger goes - and so will many others who sit around me at the Emirates - sadly in despair these days !

  • Comment number 25.

    David, slightly off topic but given the growing interest in Britain and Ireland in American football, why is the sport not covered in greater detail on the BBC Sport website, I know you have to cover the staple sports but check Monday 01:30 and which channel is having the best ratings. NFL match at ridiculous hour. Please support this game more, thank you! Can I have a job too. Really nice guy so I am.

  • Comment number 26.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 27.


    Being a supporter means standing by your club through thick and thin. Yes, Arsenal gave its fans a lot to cheer in the first half of the previous decade and then tapered off. But that was mainly because of the cost of moving to Emirates. And when a development of that magnitude happens, there is going to be lot of adjustments that fans and supporters have to bear. Things like hike in ticket prices, lukewarm in the transfer market, sale of star players and the like. All this means that for a few years, expectations of success on the pitch should also be lowered. But Arsenal have regularly competed in Champions league, been in the Premier league title chase until the last few weeks every season and made it to final stages in domestic cups. In doing so, they have achieved more than what should have been expected of them.

    Trophies would not have been difficult if Arsenal had decided to stick with Highbury and regularly spent most of their turnover on wages paid out to stars. But then we would have been in the position of Liverpool or Tottenham who have more trophies than us in the last six years but would probably gladly trade them for new stadia.

    The board has ensured that in pursuit of success, there in no unmanageable debt on the clubs resources (Leeds, Portsmouth, etc) nor have they compromised on football to an extent where Arsenal have had to endure relegation battles.

    In return, they have asked for patience and fan support in testing times which is what true fans and supporters should do without batting an eyelid.

  • Comment number 28.

    Arsenal are not limited by their wage structure. Big myth. At Arsenal, Diaby, Rosicky, Denilson, Eboue, Almunia, Squillachi, Bendtner, Fabianski, Chamack Kosciely etc were all on 50K+ a week. Moany of them of 60K+ a week. No other club would even think of paying these type of players that kind of money. On the other hand, Fabregas and Nasri were on 90K a week.. Any other big club would have paid these two more than that.

    Arsenal waste money on average players and force out their quality players by not paying them competatively..

  • Comment number 29.

    The reality is Arsenal FC is suffering through Peter Hill-Wood's feud with David Dein. There were two potential buyers of the club: A Russian and an American. Hill-Wood publicly stated of Kroenke 'we do not want his sort here" - yet because of Dein's association the Russian, Hill-Wood prostituted himself to Kroenke.

    It is no-incidence that the club has won nothing since Dein left - it is also no co-incidence Clichy, Nasri and Fabregas left within months of Kroenke upping his stake to 66% of the club.

    Make no mistake: Kroenke is out to bleed Arsenal dry. The proof? Why not pump in the necessary funds in June for AFC to purchase the three or four signings that would have kept Nasri & Fabregas and in all probability would have allowed for a sustained challenge on all fronts this season.

    All this financial doping, constraints, leaving within your means is utter rubbish. Did Wenger adhere to this when he brought in Vieira, Petit, Overmars, Wiltord (who even back then cost £12M), Henry, Pires? No he didn't.

    Small club, Big Stadium. That's what we've become.

  • Comment number 30.

    DB may be sports editor, but there's little evidence here he's qualified to read a set of accounts. Others have already rebutted his analysis better than I could do.

    As for his unfounded statement that "many fans are now asking billionaire Kroenke to dig deep" — that certainly isn't what I hear from the many fans I meet and listen to. A few rather vocal "fans" are expressing dissatisfaction with the team and the manager, and maybe a few more with the board, on the basis of an admittedly poor 6 months' results. But as Kroenke himself said, only 6 months ago we were in a position to win all 4 trophies. We weren't exactly doing too badly then. And for the last few seasons, the press (and some of these so-called "fans") have been predicting that Arsenal would struggle to make the top 4 — as if any club that didn't make the Champions League was pretty much a loser. But the facts have proved otherwise. Only Arsenal's amazingly consistent success over the last 15 years under Wenger has made them a top club with such high expectations. Those of us with longer memories remember the darker days of the previous decades. I was cheering for Arsenal when we counted it a success to be in the top half of the top division.

    As for the repeated claims that "Arsenal must sign a big name to compete", I can think of very few big names we have signed over the last 20 years, yet no one could say we have not competed. Dennis Bergkamp was probably the last established "big name" signing by Arsenal — and by the previous manager, incidentally. Maybe Sol Campbell. But were Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Cesc Fabregas, or Samir Na$ri, hailed as "big name" signings? I don't think so. They became big names, playing under Wenger.

    No, most Arsenal fans are proud of the long history of the club, its reputation, and its success. Over the last 15 years, no one has been more responsible for that than the Arsène Wenger, who is still one of the top 3 managers in Europe if not the world. And though I was sad when the club went into foreign ownership, I'm delighted that the new majority owner respects and supports the traditions of the club, and is indeed a fan going back years before his ownership. I hope he continues to allow the club to run its affairs prudently. In recent years, clubs such as Blackburn, Chelsea and now Man City have tried to buy success. I would rather earn success. It taste so much sweeter.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 27

    Can you please elaborate in what way moving to the Emirates prevented Mr Wenger from addressing his team's defensive frailties in the past years. While you're at it, you could enlighten me on how moving to the Emirates prohibited a tactical evolution, which allowed the team to adopt different formations in accordance with circumstances (some pundits call this a Plan B). Or why did he do business on the final day of the transfer market? Surely that wasn't dictated by his desire so save up to pay for the new stadium. He knew players were on their way out and didn't think to replace them until 11.55?

    I simply do not understand the attitude of some football fans, the "Benitez till we die", "Wenger we stand by you" etc. How blind are you? Your club is going down and you're paying hard earned money to employ the people overseeing this disaster.
    Yes I am a Manchester United supporter and it may seem petty me taking the moral highground, so let me assure you there's nothing of that here. I am concerned by the negligence, with which some supporters regard what goes on in a great football club (albeit a rival one).

  • Comment number 32.

    Sorry Mr Bond but once again when it comes to talking football finance you have constructed the entire message into something you prefer to see instead of what is really there to see.

    You did it with Manchester United many times, where YOUR preferred debt figures were vastly different to the REAL debt figures that had already been released previously and accepted as fact by other BBC journalists. The actual situation at Arsenal is that they will run out of flats at approximately the same time as they finish making the payments for the new stadium, they only need another two or three seasons until that is complete and all debt is cleared.

    Arsene Wenger is a master of finance and yes, that huge pot of money can be used now to buy alot of players, but a man like Wenger will have and still will in the very near future, have told the board to use some of that money pot to take a further big chunk out of the debt. This is why Wenger is not spending the money, he wants that debt gone to free up the club.

    So many people are misguided when they say Arsene Wenger does not like spending money when the reality is he stopped spending the money when the club took on the debt. The result is that Arsenal can make repayments on the similarly comparative scale to Manchester United and yet remain in profit. When that debt is paid off, the self imposed chains are off Arsene Wenger.

    Before Ashburton Grove you saw the French man spending in excess of £20M for players like Marc Overmars etc. You are making out that Arsenal are successful but cannot produce the same nounce as Manchester United. What you have completely failed to see is that they have a different strategy due to differing circumstances.

    When Arsenal get their accounts into the black, and they will get into the black... you can say now they are in the black, but to Wenger... they pot of money is a separate thing he doesn't want to touch for obvious reasons, they will again be ready to start spending the money. And with that comes big name signings and with that comes increase in revenues.

    It is time for to start writing intelligent and accurate reports Mr Bond.

  • Comment number 33.


    Moving to the Emirates meant that Arsenal have had to be prudent in the market. Which is the primary reason that once the defence comprising of Campbell, Vieira, Toure and Ashley Cole was broken up, they could not be replaced with similar calibre players. With Arsenal priced out for the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Essien, de Jong , all the manager could do was promote from within (Djorou, Song, Gibbs) , go for bargains (Koscielny, Eboue, Sagna, Santos) or has-beens(Gallas, Silvestre, Squillaci , re-hiring Sol Campbell). The trend today is that the top defences are bought off the market. In the last few seasons, how many defenders from the top teams can you name that have risen through the ranks.Not many. In such a case, one does best with what one has. No matter what formations you work out, if the versatile (read expensive) defender is absent, you cannot keep away the goals.

    As for the last day bit of business, it can be implied by the late sales of Cesc and Nasri which generated the necessary dough to add to the defence and midfield. Mind you, none of the signings were record ones, which meant that the club still stayed within the means.

    And finally for the disaster that you forecast, pundits and press have been predicting Arsenal with worse since 2005 but reality has been different , hasn't it ? To an extent the greatness of football clubs lies in how they perform in adversity , and for me on this factor Arsenal is and will be a great football club .

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm not sure what this blog is trying to say. It presents evidence that Arsenal are financially secure and a successful club (let's not forget that) but somehow are in trouble. Sure they make less money than ManU, but everyone does in the EPL.

  • Comment number 35.

    A massively important issue is that Kronke has borrowed circa £500m to buy his 66% stake in Arsenal, but he needs 75% of the shares to transfer this debt to Arsenal FC. As long as Usmanov holds 29% of the shares, Usmanov can block the special resolution that Kronke needs to control the club completely and transfer his debt to Arsenal. Usmanov is a white knight/godsend for Arsenal fans, his shareholding blocks Kronke from leveraging Arsenal the way Liverpool and MU have been by their owners. You think £97m of debt is bad? Just wait until Kronke adds £500m to that, but of course that £115m suspiciously languishing in Arsenal's bank account will also be snaffled up by Kronke to offset the clubs new debt mountain. In my view so long as Usmanov retains his stake Arsenal will be ok, but if he sells up Arsenal would be servicing a bigger debt mountain than ever before and will be doomed to the mediocrity that is the trademark of Kronke's sports acquisitions. The only hope for Arsenal is Usmanov no matter which way you look at it. The board have been studiously arrogant and conceited in their attitude to him and we as Arsenal fans should now make our feelings clear to the board that we would like Usmanov (and Dein) on the board.

  • Comment number 36.

    another blog on the "disaster" season that Arsenal are having on and off field. Oh dear, there may be a blip in their finances, they may drop out of the top four, oh the end of the world is nigh.....

    what a shame, it's about time someone else had a shot at the big time. Disaster is when you get relegated, go bust, not when you cannot buy your next GBP20m player

    perspective please, there's lots more to write/talk about than the "big four" (or Man City thanks)

  • Comment number 37.

    @35 Gasterix

    Kroenke leveraged his £500M against his own $2.7Billion personal worth. It meant he was able to secure a rediculously low interest rate because the cash was already there a few times over.

    And Kroenke doesn't want to leverage it against a sports team, he already had that leveraged against his other businesses.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have long wondered just why Kroenke is involved with Arsenal. Now he tells us. He wants to emulate Manchester United's commercial success.

    So nothing to do with football then.

  • Comment number 39.

    @37 The Realist

    Obviously the bank didn't lend him £500m without taking security of some sort on his existing assets. BUT, that doesn't mean that he would not transfer that debt to Arsenal if he could. The point I am making is that HE CANNOT transfer his acquisition debt to Arsenal now, but if he would if he could. No right thinking business man would not offload their debt in this way, it reduces the target tax liability and frees up his other personal assets from all the cumbersome bank imposed restrictions and covenants etc.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think Arsenal are to be admired. Not urged to spend spend spend.

    I am fairly sure the world economy is in a worryingly dire situation because of the spend spend spend frenzy of what Mr Bond seems to advocate here.

    Society is a want now, borrow to do so monster....that is about to find out the error of such ways in a big way.

  • Comment number 41.

    I expect they'll be alright if they keep an eye on the possibilities for better TV deals in the medium to long term. Barca, Madrid and, now, Man Utd understand this.

    Before that happens, they could do worse than rename themselves as 'London Arsenal' to use the city name as commercial leverage (and before some other London team does).

  • Comment number 42.

    @39 Gasterix, he would try if the numbers worked out good. I didn't explain myself properly which was my fault. I was rushing I am afraid to say.

    What I meant was he has leveraged that debt at low interest rates against his other business interests, and if he was to try and do that now and transfer it over to Arsenal then the same bank, or a competing bank willing to take on the debt, would stamp a much higher interest rate because they are trying to claw as much money as they can to make up for losses of their own in the financial climate.

    This will probably remain the case for the next 10 years or more with the interest rates on offer not reaching near what he managed to secure then because of the fear and possibility of double dip recession.

    So Arsenal are all but safe in regards of any fear that the debt will be transferred to the club. He got such a good deal that he won't find a better one now even though it is still a safely secured prospect for a bank.

  • Comment number 43.

    This blog seems to be following the rest of the media in trying to make out Arsenal are in crisis as a football club. What seems to be left out of all the articles is the fact that the EPL has been skewed over the last decade, first with Chel$ki and now with Manche$ter City. And yet, although going through a period of no actual success (although I'd argue in the circumstances the club has been) this has been a period of consolidation to ensure the long-term financial is healthy. I can't help but feel that the EPL (and football in general) has lost much of its charm and in part this is due to the disconnection between the players and the fans.

    Most players have little or no regard for their club and care purely about how much money they can earn (Teve$ and and Na$ri) being prime examples. The media pretend to 'examine' the Manche$ter City's and Chel$ki - but really they're just as seduced as the fans of the respective clubs.

    How come no-one in the press is talking about the ridiculous price paid for Andy Carroll at Liverpool? Or how Manche$ter City's laughable of a sponsorship deal with Etihad (why is an expensive report needed to be able to determine whether its a conflict of interest?) Is it because these are the very stories that harm journalists access to their piece of the cake perhaps?

  • Comment number 44.

    #29 wrote "All this financial doping, constraints, leaving within your means is utter rubbish. Did Wenger adhere to this when he brought in Vieira, Petit, Overmars, Wiltord (who even back then cost £12M), Henry, Pires? No he didn't."

    At the time Arsenal were widely criticised for buying Vieira, the transfer was seen as lack of ambition - the exact optinion of at least one of the tabloids was that instead of signing PV4 for £3.5m, Arsenal should have spent £8m on Jason McAteer. Petit was largely unknown, and cheap.

    Overmars was signed for about £5million, less than would have been expected because he had suffered a career threatening injury. Even TH14 signing was nowhere near what other clubs were paying for players at the time.

    As for Arsenal winning nothing since Dein left, it is more to do with Chelski changing the face of English football with their win at all costs (literally) transfer policy, and also Arsenal's decision to invest heavily in a new stadium.

    #2 interesting conspiracy theory, the reason it is not mentioned in the press is probably because the lower the share price falls, the less incentive there is for Usmanov to sell his shares. Unless Usmanov runs into a cashflow problem, he is likely to want to ride out any drop in the Arsenal share price.

    To #32 the realist
    "Before Ashburton Grove you saw the French man spending in excess of £20M for players like Marc Overmars etc. "

    Maybe you should change your username to the unrealist. Overmars cost 5.5 million, and until recently Arsenal's record signing was Wiltord for £13million (Reyes would have been higher if all the performance related clauses had been triggered)

    It will be interesting to see if the dip in form and confidence continues what the effect will be on attendances, and therefore on ticket prices. The atmosphere was slightly better than usual against Bolton, so perhaps the glory hunters have started to move on.

  • Comment number 45.

    You failed to mention the income from the sales of Fabregas Nasri etc in the figures.

  • Comment number 46.

    To Dr_John_B (#44),

    Glad I refreshed before replying to #29 and #32 - you've saved me the trouble.
    Though I would also add on the financial doping part that Henry, Pires and Wiltord (total £28m) were financed by the selling of Overmars and Petit (£30M) and Anelka (£22m).

    Provided Arsenal can manage to stay in the Champions League positions for the next couple of seasons then the future could look a lot better. They will have less debt being paid off and able to renegotiate their sponsership deals for a lot more money. At this point the UEFA financial fairplay rules should be fully in effect so this may have kurbed the Manchester City and Chelsea spending which would level the playing field. While at this point they still would not be able to compete with Manchester United spending wise for the immediate-term they would still be able to compete. We may even see genuine 4 way races for the title for a while.
    However, if Arsenal fail to make the Champions League for 1 or 2 seasons this may create a bit of a delay as the loss of the revenue from that competition (TV, prize money and gate receipts) could leave them unable to compete short-term

    Currently Kroenke needs to concentrate efforts on growing Arsenal's other footballing revenue (global replica sales, other sponsership deals etc)

  • Comment number 47.

    To Rocstat (#14)

    You need to look a little deeper at the accounts. The £160M is cash AND short-term deposits in the consolidated balance sheet. The £115M that david talks about is the actual cash in the bank part of that number (see the consolidated cash-flow).

    The operating profit (50.5M 2011, 72M 2010) is before player trading, depreciation and other things

    Go beyond this and look at the group (all Arsenal activities) profit before tax that fell from 56M to 15M between 2010 and 2011 - however most of this is accounted for by the player transfers (2010 financial year gave profit, 2011 loss)
    The footballing activity profit before tax dropped from 45M to 2M.

    David mentions the Nasri and Fabregas transfers however they cannot appear in these numbers as they only cover until the end of May 2011 (ie they will include plater trading in summer 2010 and january 2011). They will help the 2012 numbers look better.

    However it does seem to indicate why Arsenal have not been spending much money in the transfer market. The plan appears to be do the bare minimum to stay in the Champions League until they can become competetive. However, I think that in January/August they will have to consider running a loss for a year or two to guarantee Champions League football.

    As I said in my previous post in a couple of years when Arsenal can renegotiate their sponsership deals I think the situation will look a lot better. However a failure to stay in the top 4 for 1 or 2 years could cause problems.

  • Comment number 48.

    I tire of these overly simplistic 'financial' blogs, which border on outright idiocy. When, over the last 20 years, have Arsenal been on a level playing field with Man Utd in terms of revenue or turnover? That was never going to change based on a new stadium, because the groundwork for United's biggest asset - overseas merchandise & TV deals - had been laid some 15 years ago. That's why they're top of the pile financially, even with the Glazers bleeding out £50m from the club every year. Thank heavens they...could you imagine United without those repayments?

    So, if you ignore Man Utd, you should also ignore the highly unsustainable models of Chelsea and Man City. The points of comparison then shift to Liverpool and Tottenham - are Arsenal worse off than either of these clubs? Of course not. Arsenal are on the cusp of true self-sufficiency.

    The article slams the current sponsorship deals for being undervalued, but this is shortsighted: this ALWAYS happens with football deals. At the end of the contract, City's stadium deal will be considered low by the standards of that time. Also, it notes that these deals expire in 2014 - i.e. in three season's time, and also (fortuitously) coinciding with the implementation of the Financial Fair Play rules. This would be a shot in the arm to the tune of anywhere between £20-50m per year extra, giving the club considerable leverage while remaining within the boundaries of financial fair play.

    This ties in with my final point: WHY on earth would Arsenal stray from this model so close to the introduction of the Fair Play rules? The only clubs which will have a disproportionate advantage when these begin will be Man Utd, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Man City will have to restructure considerably, as will Chelsea (though there's the impression Chelsea have allowed their squad to mature with this in mind). Arsenal won't have to change at all, and will even be able to expand with the removal of debt and increased sponsorship. Pitting Arsenal against Man Utd is sheer lunacy; looking at where the club will be able to stand in 2013-2014 compared to City and Chelsea is a much better indicator of what Arsenal can achieve in a fiscal sense. City, very soon, will have to offload scores of players earning between £100k-£250k a week, and will no doubt find few takers as other clubs keep an eye on their turnover/salary ratio. They are carrying an excess of at least £50m a year in salaries alone, and this will be a considerable problem in the short-term future. Arsenal, on the other hand, have manageable wages and a fluid structure, as evidenced by the number of players they were able to transfer out over the summer. This fluidity will be a huge asset in terms of squad structure and the ability to re-align financially.

  • Comment number 49.

    #3 Arsenal should sign Holden and Howard as USA stars Howard was excellent today and HOlden is a tackling midfielder who likes to have a shot on goal.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think Arseneknowsbestmostthetime (43) and The Professor (48) have it right between them. From the perspective of many fans, it seems there's an unrealistic and unhealthy 'disconnect' between footballing success on the pitch at any price and re-building or re-inventing a club and its need to be financially competent and capable.

    It seems that Arsenal apply some basic good-housekeeping rules and stick to them. That's a long term strategy that might bring a decade of success, perhaps?

    Would anyone sane bet against Arsene in spotting or developing another Fabregas or Nasri? Great teams don't get developed overnight.

    For all Man City's stars and purchasing power, when it comes to building a great team, presently they still fall short, and it doesn't seem a business that is fiscally prudent, much more like a rich man's past-time. Do we see real success in Europe, for example, for Chelsea after some years of Mr Abramovitch?

    Before great stars I think we want great teams in which great stars can flourish. Only MU stand out now. And Arsenal, "not yet". Stay solvent and be a bit patient meanwhile seems smart?

  • Comment number 51.

    perhaps the bbc sport page is not the best place for analysis on Arsenal's finances. Its an interesting introduction but if you really are interested in football finances, I cannot recommend The Swiss Ramble Blog highly enough. Someone linked to it from a previous bbc blog and having checked it out it provides far more in-depth analysis than is provided here, not just for Arsenal but for most big clubs. Seriously, check it out.

    One area that Arsenal lag behind a lot of their competitors in is commercial revenue. Matchday and TV income are good but commercial revenue can improve. This has already started to be addressed with the pre-season tour of asia.

    Arsenal are extended a lot of goodwill around the globe because of their attractive football but it hasn't necessarily been converted into cold hard cash, the way Man Utd so effectively do. Hopefully the tours will raise Arsenal's profile further and enable some more commercial deals.

  • Comment number 52.

    24 @kelticgooner would be happy for quaddafi to invest in a team to win trophies. You can start supporting Juventus who have benefitted from Quaddafi's family wealth. You could switch to Man City whose previous owner was a former Thailand dictator. I am not sure how the current owners make their money although they belong to the ruling family. You are obviously happy to see starving people and oppression as long as these dictators spend money on your club. What a thought.

  • Comment number 53.

    Why are fans so sensitive to these type of articles? As usual when finance arise we have lots of pseudo analysts on here misinterpreting and misrepresenting numbers left right and centre. The financial make-up and results of the top clubs are not hard to understand and, in lay mans terms, basically say the following:

    -Man Utd are way ahead of anyone else. The Glazers have grown the business significantly while maintaining success on the pitch and servicing an ever reducing debt. When Utd's debt disappears they will be unreachable by the other clubs.

    -Chelsea and City are funded by hand-outs and operate at big losses. This enables them to buy success but they both face major challenges with the UEFA FFP rules pending. Both face the choice of not being in the CL or significantly reducing their spending/wage bill. Long term their model is not sustainable. Chelsea declared 6 years ago that it was sustainable once they became successful and grew revenues accordingly and here we are still looking at big losses and a squad that needs big spending to replenish, all of which will push-out the break-even objective even further. There's no point even considering that for City. The FFP rules will fry them.

    -Arsenal have managed their finances well but it's come at a cost. This article merely points out that, despite Arsenal's close financial management, they are not producing great numbers, relative to their main competition, when you strip-out the last of the property sales. Add to that the disruption to the squad recently and the strong possibility of falling out of the CL and that poses a problem that could see Arsenal slip further back competitively.

    Of course, all things are relative. That does not suggest Arsenal are in any financial danger and they are in way better shape than most clubs.

    -Liverpool/Spurs both have ground capacity issues when it comes to growing match day revenues and any investment to fix that will restrict them financially/competitively. However, if they get it right on the pitch and win the CL place at Arsenal's expense for a few seasons that could turn the tide in terms of their relative position financially/size of club.

    There is certainly no crisis at Arsenal but they are in a position where, with continued lack of investment, they could find themselves going many more years with winning a trophy or seriously competing for the PL and they could find themsleves without CL football for some time which, as we know, drains a signifcant revenue/profit source from the club.

    I agree with Mr Bon

  • Comment number 54.

    Who is this man David Bond?

    Has he managed a multimillion Pound/ Dollar business before? (and I am not talking about Fantasy Football or Football manager here)

    Has he been involved in boardroom politicking before?

    Has he ever participated actively in any negotiation(s) of big ticket contracts/ transactions involving multinationals?

    Has he even run a small business before?

    Does he have any training at all in financial analysis or strategic management (CFA? ACCA? MBA?)

    Has he husbanded any amount of money north of a million Pounds/ Dollars before?

    If Mr Bond cannot answer YES to ALL the questions above, then he really shouldn't be writing about things that he doesn't understand.

  • Comment number 55.

    I love the hypocrisy of some readers who label Mr. Bond as 'simple' or biased yet choose to ignore the hard facts. Arsenal won't have any more flats to sell and without CL football the club will implode financially. What part of this don't you understand? I swear if this were 50 years ago, based on some of the fervent defense of your man AW you might be asked a certain question about your political views. Wake up and smell the coffee, the edge is near (and it is not Mr. Bond who took you there).

  • Comment number 56.

    I think that many of you miss the point including Mr Bond. Each team has it's own financial model and set of principles. A large number of the models being adopted by clubs are flawed, a number of others are supported by rich benefactors with endless amounts of money to waste - would Chelski or Man City be where they are today without the money spent from the deep pockets of one individual.
    Do Arsenal they have a divine right to be in the top 4, perhaps they have consistently punched above their weight? It may be sport but when success is driven largely by how deep your pockets are or how much debt you want to get in to, then many fans, other than those whose clubs have billionaire sponsors, start to lose interest. Mr Bond may be stating facts, but a random article about Arsenal with minimal debt, in relative terms, an infrastructure every other club than Man Utd aspire to is a place I think many clubs would wish to be. What sporting joy, other than for Man City fans is there in them winning trophies - is it Mancini's coaching acumen or the millions they spend? Wenger or Mancini? Business model based on income and expenditure and performance or a rich individual until he/she gets bored? I know what I would prefer.

  • Comment number 57.


    and what about the rest? i.e. 98% of football clubs up and down the country covering over 90% of football support....

    oh yes it's only the "big" clubs that really count and football was only invented by sky in 1992

    long may they rip you off and not give a monkey's chuff, I and many others do not worry about the multi millionaire clubs who will never go out of business

    another boring top-end focussed blog, no real balance

  • Comment number 58.

    "55. At 07:41 2nd Oct 2011, Russeljones wrote:

    I love the hypocrisy of some readers who label Mr. Bond as 'simple' or biased yet choose to ignore the hard facts. Arsenal won't have any more flats to sell and without CL football the club will implode financially. What part of this don't you understand? I swear if this were 50 years ago, based on some of the fervent defense of your man AW you might be asked a certain question about your political views. Wake up and smell the coffee, the edge is near (and it is not Mr. Bond who took you there)."

    I am slightly puzzled by this comment. Arsenal now have, by premier league standards" a very low level of debt, a state of the art stadium, and attendances still around the 60k mark despite having very high ticket prices.
    In addition the clubs sponsorship revenue is likely to go up signifcantly in the next few years. The club took the decision to sign long term sponsorhsip deals to safeguard the club during the move. By current standards those deals look very low, and will certaiinly go up when re-negotiated.
    Had we missed out on the CL 3 or 4 years ago, things may have been tough, but the club are now reaching the point where they are quite capable of surviving without the premier league.
    I also don't understand the comment about flats - firstly because the income from those is lower than originally anticipated due to the financial crash, and secondly because the football club is making a very healthy profit before the property deals are included.

    Whether Arsenal will mount a genuine title challenge in the next few years is more or a concern. With City and Chelsea willing to pay ridiculous transfer fees and wages, it would be an amazing achievement to compete with them, but Arsenal still have a business model as good as any in the premier league, and there will certainly not be any financial implosion on the scale City or Chelsea would face if their sugar daddies ever lose interest.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ 58. No CL will mean 0 (zero) chance of attracting decent players, next to 0 (zero) chance of retaining players (What does RVP think of playing for a non-CL side?). Failure to reach the CL could develop into a downward spiral of separation from the top clubs (Chelsea, Manchester United, and now Manchester City). You say you anticipate a significant rise in sponsorship, I have to ask though, do you expect this despite (a possible) failure to reach the CL? Your exaggerated appraisal of attendance figures will not stand up to scrutiny when more and more ordinary fans lose confidence in the direction AW and the board are leading the club in. Like I said I am not even an Arsenal fan and I am concerned. It's mindboggling how self-professed supporters are refusing to see the alarm signals.

  • Comment number 60.

    To Dr_John_B (#58)

    Don't pay too much attention to the reported group operating profit of £50M. This doesn't include transfers and some other expenses. The overall footballing pre-tax profit was £2M the rest of the £14M group pre tax profit came from the sales of flats. So money from the football side is pretty tight and without the Champions League Arsenal would be making a loss (though with the cash and other short-term deposits this wouldn't be an issue).
    However as I mentioned earlier these accounts are for the year ending 2011. Since then the following changes have happened (a couple of people have mentioned them):
    ticket prices went up
    transfer activity in the summer made a profit
    wages have probably come down - it is likely Nasri and Fabregas were on the top end of the scale plus the other outgoings
    Qualification for the 2011/12 champions league (group stages) achieved
    Kroenke took over - before this Kroenke may not have had a huge say in the direction of the club/willingness to invest directly.

    All in all, barring huge expenditure in the January transfer window, that should make the year end May 2012 figures look pretty good. However if Arsenal fail to be competing in the Champions League (group stages) in the 2012/13 competition then this could give a hit on their 2013 numbers (and if they don't get 4th this year may affect next summer's spending) - but that's a long way in the future.

  • Comment number 61.

    @57.At 10:00 2nd Oct 2011, letusbefair wrote:

    and what about the rest? i.e. 98% of football clubs up and down the country covering over 90% of football support....

    oh yes it's only the "big" clubs that really count and football was only invented by sky in 1992

    long may they rip you off and not give a monkey's chuff, I and many others do not worry about the multi millionaire clubs who will never go out of business

    another boring top-end focussed blog, no real balance
    I totally respect all those other fans and clubs. They represent what football is all about. I was just referring to the big clubs and their relative financial positions in the context of the article.

    Money rules these days, like it or not, but beyond the rich clubs vying for the top positions there is still, as you point out, a huge audience and fan base out there who loyaly support their local team and take great enjoyment from that......and long may it continue.

    Unfortunately, the beast is out of the cage and nobody can control it anymore.

  • Comment number 62.

    @59 Russeljones wrote ' i am not even an Arsenal fan and i am concerned'. Really? You should be happy to have one less competiter against your team, unless its one of the small clubs. Arsenal has decided on a plan and they are happy with it. The team has been in the top league since the 1920's. They have been in CL for 14 concecutive years, won trophies over the years and built a world class capacity stadium. Missing out on CL for a year or 2 out of 16 years is not a failure. Those aspiring to be at the top, City, are doing it with money combined with unsettling other clubs. That is a short lived. The future is bright for Arsenal

  • Comment number 63.

    @62 happy for what? Winning a depleted league is nothing to be proud of.

  • Comment number 64.

    @59 Russeljones "No CL will mean 0 (zero) chance of attracting decent players, next to 0 (zero) chance of retaining players (What does RVP think of playing for a non-CL side?)."

    Not sure about this. Man City were able to get Robinho and other players before they had qualified for CL. Spurs are able to get and retain class players even though they have played just a season of CL and never finished top three in the league for decades. Liverpool have been able to attract talent in current market despite not being able to guarantee CL football. Outside England , PSG could get Pastore and Anzhi could get Etoo and Zhirkov - players who obviously are more than good enough for CL but won't be seen this year in the competition.

    This tells you that CL qualification or being top in the league does not get you players, money does. So even if Arsenal drop out of the CL (which is hypothetical at this point), talent can be purchased by offering good money in transfer fees and wages - which Arsenal hope to do by being debt free.

  • Comment number 65.

    Jackwillhunting (#64)

    Man City, PSG and Anzhi have all been taken over by wealthy owners and while there may be no Champions League for this year (for PSG and Anzhi) the amount of money the owners are spending means there will be - probably within the year. The huge wages they are offering probably helps.
    Liverpool have actually lost a several top class players over the last few years - Alonso, Mashcherano, Torres have all left in the last couple of years. The major players who have come in to replace them aren't quite in that same league - Adam, Carroll, Henderson and Suarez. While all are at least good players and look like they can improve none of them are as yet as good as the ones that have left.
    Tottenham look to me to have done similar to what Liverpool are doing right now attract good young players and develop them (Bale, Modric etc). What they have been able to do so far is fight off the interest from other clubs (Modric/Chelsea over the summer) which keeps the team together and able to progress.
    The interesting thing is how long both of them could sustain this without regular Champions League football.
    In an earlier post I said I think the 2012 figures for Arsenal will look better, but that 2013 might have problems (profit wise) if they don't qualify for CL this year. Unless they improve between now and January, I think Arsenal will need to spend quite heavily to stay in the race for 4th. While this might lead to losses for a couple of years provided they can keep CL qualification going until they renegotiate their sponsership deals then I think after that they will be well placed to push for trophies again. I think they need to be in the CL at this point as it will boost the value of these deals quite significantly
    Note while I am suggesting they run a loss for a couple of years, I am suggesting using the money they have in the bank. I am not advocating a long-term plan of losses gambling on CL.


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