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Financing the Emirates: how it affected Arsenal.

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By Phil Gregory

This article about the way the Emirates stadium was financed arose from the work being done in relation to the Parliamentary Enquiry into Football – to which Untold Arsenal is presenting evidence.

I have popped all the key information gathered in a table below to make it (I hope) easier to understand.

If you aren’t interested in the factual details however, have a look at the analysis section at the end so you know how the numbers impact on the big questions. To help I’ve highlighted the key points in bold.

To explain the table just below:

Year Net debt (£m) Bank loans (£m) Bonds (£m) Bond rate (%) Debenture (£m) Debenture rate (%) financing costs paid (£m)
2005 153 213.7 n/a n/a 25.2 negligible 3
2006 262.1 284 n/a n/a 25.5 negligible 2
2007 268.2 64.5 255.2 5.3 25.8 negligible 18
2008 318.1 139.3 250.2 5.3 26.1 negligible 17
2009 297.7 129.6 244.9 5.3 26,4 negligible 16.6
2010 135.6 0 239.3 5.3 26.7 negligible 18.2

Net debt is what we owe the banks (and later bondholders) minus cash in the bank.

Bonds function like a loan from a private investor: I lend Arsenal £1000, they pay me a % and repay me at a fixed date. Dead easy.

Debentures are basically bonds for all intents and purposes. Roughly half of ours receive no interest and are repayable in 136 years, while the other half gain interest at 2.75% which is added to the capital. Overall charges are so low that they don’t really affect the bigger picture, so I didn’t list the rates in the table.

Financing costs paid are simply money flowing out of the club as a result of our financing. It doesn’t include the small yearly repayment of the bonds (it’s just interest and the like).

If you refer to the table throughout as you read I think you’ll see what I mean, and it will save me endlessly citing figures.

Initially, we borrowed a fortune from the bank to start building the stadium. As the project progressed however,  the risk inherent in a large-scale construction project like the Emirates inevitably diminished, so it made sense to shop around and get a new, cheaper loan.

That’s what we did with the bond issue in 2007. So in 2006, the club announced we’d issued a bond for £260m, which replaced the more expensive property development and Emirates Stadium debt (lumped together under “bank loans”). The majority of the bonds were fixed rate, so no surprises in there, while about £50m of them were variable.  The refinancing reduced our per-year finance costs  from £32m to £20m. The £32m was previously capitalised (i.e. it cost us in the future, more on that in the next paragraph) whereas the £20m we pay there and then, so it impacted current profits.

The eagle-eyed will note that in the table, the “finance costs paid” actually goes up when the bond was issued. This was because prior to moving into the Emirates (season year end 2007), we capitalised the interest on the construction loans. What that means is we weren’t paying off the interest as it was due, instead we simply got it rolled back up into the main body of the loan (PIK style). So for example a £100m loan on 10% interest = £10m interest bill per year. That £10m then got put onto the £100m and the banks were happy as it means we pay more money to them next time round (£110m loan with 10% interest = £11m interest bill).

This idea of “capitalising” the interest is apparently normal when you borrow a lot of money to fund a construction project. It makes sense not to impose another charge onto the club until the construction is complete, and the club is getting more revenue in. Dead easy.

So the bonds decreased our overall interest bill, but we were now paying off the interest as it was due, with the decrease in profits that that brings.

Naturally the club weren’t too fussed about this as during its first season.  The Emirates could be attributed to around £55m of increased revenue, compared to funding costs of £18m and additional operating costs of £7m, leaving the gain from the new stadium alone during this single season at £30m. Alongside this, 91% of the flats in Highbury Square had buyers lined up by this point, despite construction not yet being completed.

The bonds were issued in 06-07, and by 07-08, property development was moving into its final stages, reflected by the value on the balance sheet of the development rising up to £188m from just over £100m the season before and the agreement sorted to sell 96% of the units.  Net debt was still increasing as we went back to the bank for some short term property funding (bank debt was still way below its pre-bond level if you check). Finance charges slightly underestimate the situation, as they don’t include bank loan interest (for property development) that was capitalised (rolled up) to be paid back later as I mentioned earlier.

Even though at this moment we were again borrowing from the banks, they weren’t frightened to lend to Arsenal. If you consider the conditions back then in the both the property market (where we were hoping to make the very money to pay the banks back) and the banking sector (who suddenly were quite keen to keep their money to themselves due to finding a few subprime ticking time bombs on their balance sheets), 6.6% interest represented confidence in the Highbury Square project.

Cash in the bank at this stage was also high at £93.3m, though over £30m of this was untouchable, as it formed the collateral for the bank’s lending to Arsenal. This partly explains the high cash in hand figures we’ve seen in recent years (once you deduct £30m of the cash in hand, and consider the seasonality of our revenues, it’s really not that much for a club of our size).

By the end of 2009, all the flats were built. There had been a few issues in terms of people backing out of deals, particularly companies who had bought large quantities of the flats with a view to selling them on, due to a downturn in the housing market. The Highbury Square loan was now getting paid down rapidly due to strong sales and as you can see it was cleared by the 09-10 accounts.

For the most recent figures, the Highbury Square and Queensland Road developments have been totally sold off. This means that their debts have been completely cleared (£129.6m of them). With only a few units left to be sold, it is likely that they’ll be sold out by the end of the next financial year. All sales are now producing profit for the football, bar the odd negligible legal/transactional fee, money which is made available to the football side of the club. Debt repayments have resulted in net debt falling significantly, to only £135.6m (from nearly £300m)

Only £45.8m of property remains on the balance sheet, while we can roughly estimate that the remaining units will yield around £33m of pure profit, judging from previous sale numbers and revenue figures. There do remain a couple of smaller property developments, but they are relatively minor and not expected to bring in any money in the short term. They will be a future revenue stream, though nowhere near the level of the Highbury flats.

From here on out, we’ve got around £20m of bond/debenture payments, of which around £5m is repayments. It’s all fixed rate and long term, so there are no surprises in store. Low and fixed rates mean even if the Bank of England raise rates in the medium term (likely in my view) we won’t be affected. All in all, the financial future of Arsenal is amongst the best of any football club, especially when you consider medium term improvements in commercial revenues.

Analysis

Money in the bank and transfer spending:

With all the money from the property development now streaming into the club’s bank account  instead of the lenders’, cash in hand increased significantly to £127.6m. This figure caused some significant irritation amongst certain supporters, given a perceived lack of investment in the playing squad.

But this figure is slightly misleading: fans must bear in mind this figure is taken at a specific moment in time, so is affected by seasonal comings and goings. I am a wealthy individual the week after my student loan comes in, but less so the week before the next instalment is due, after all.  In Arsenal’s case, exceptional season ticket uptake meant the figure was some £14m higher than would have been in the case normally (disenchanted support? Don’t make me laugh), while £31.5m was locked down due to the terms of the stadium debt along with an additional £6.6m for a similar situation in regards to Queensland Road.

Deducting off the untouchable collateral, and the exceptionally high figure for season tickets at that moment in time, and you have £75.5m that I consider a “normalised” figure for cash in the bank, that can be compared to other sides. Now, you can’t simply go out and blow that on transfers, as over the year (even if we forget player purchasing completely) cash in the bank will fall throughout the season due to the nature of the club’s revenue streams and outgoings. So that £75.5m isn’t simply “spare cash”.  Much of it will be needed throughout the season.

So let’s say a percentage of it is available for the transfer fee for a superstar. You have to account for their future wages, so future operating profits (and therefore future cash in the bank) will be lower. Moreover, to attract a superstar you may need to break the wage structure by offering them say £120k per week. The true cost of that per year is vastly more than £120k multiplied by 52 (over £6m), it manifests itself in the increased wage expectations of the rest of the squad. Sure, if we signed Ozil, Eboue isn’t going to suddenly decided he is worth six figures weekly, but he may think that he can get an extra £5k or £10k out of the club per week in his next negotiation.

Consider that for all the squad players, and then the super high expectations of our star players and you quickly see how breaking the wage structure isn’t a “one-off” affair. We cannot ramp up spending on players based on one-off revenue streams (the property profits) either, to do so would be more reckless than City or Chelsea, as at least they can rely on a series of cash injections. We have to be covered for the future costs resulting from that transfer, too.

As an aside, with the high number of contract renewals over the last 18 months, the next wage bill will be substantially higher anyway. Caution will be the watchword for the short term, at least until we start benefiting from improved commercial deals.

It is worth emphasising here that repayment of the property debt didn’t come out at the expense of football funds. The property debt was ring-fenced, so it didn’t affect the football club and was solely paid back by funds it generated itself. Even the interest bill from the property side of things was capitalised, so it didn’t eat into Wenger’s budget. That said, the property development is affecting the football side now (positively) as all profits generated went straight back into the football club, so it represented a little gold mine for Arsène Wenger, should he deem it necessary.

Why then, didn’t Wenger spend over the last few years? Frankly, he did. The wage budget is amongst the highest in the league (wage spending dwarfs transfer spending for the vast majority of clubs, so is the surely more important of the two). Secondly, the constant renegotiations to keep players tied to the club certainly cost us, and looking at the accounts the combined fees for transfers and renegotiations have hit £40m on occasions.

Wenger also spent another resource: time. Prior to the bond issue, no part of the Emirates or Highbury Square was costing the club interest just then (it was all being rolled back up). Apart from the need to hold some cash as capital for the loans, until the roughly £20m finance cost of the bonds came to play, the various bank loans weren’t really affecting the clubs profitability. And yet we weren’t spending money. Why?

Because in my eyes we were spending time on developing a squad. If you can afford to blood a Cesc, Clichy etc, why bother spending if you know in time those players will be as good as, drilled in your systems and style (and more loyal) than a 28 year old purchase?

After the bond issue, we had to rein in spending to account for the fact that operating profits needed to be £20m higher than before to cover the bond payments that are deducted after the operating profit figure is calculated. Given we were already spending significantly on player retention (higher wages and renegotiation costs) in order to keep this squad together, transfer spending was purely limited additions when things don’t go as planned. A good example of this is Senderos: he came in as a young player with huge potential and didn’t make it in the end, so we used the scouting system and got a Vermaelen to replace him.

Hence my belief is this: we didn’t spend initially as we sought to blood players and use the academy (we instead spent time). We did this as we couldn’t play the same game as everyone else in the transfer market, and we couldn’t play our original game eternally (sublime performance in the transfer market for low costs: see Anelka, Henry, Vieira).  After the bond issue, we had extra charges and our young players were reaching the top level, so we had to pay more to hold onto them. In the Emirates, our revenues went up significantly,but given that the squad by this point was reaching fruition, where could we strengthen? Fans demanded a defensive midfielder in the summer of 2008, yet Song is now one of the best in his position. Last summer they demanded a goalkeeper, now Fabianksi and Szcznesy are playing excellently.

Our old competitive advantage was being wiser in the transfer market. Our new competitive advantage is the academy: we don’t need to go into the transfer market when we are producing Wilsheres that are the envy of some of the biggest clubs in the world.

The story of Fulham’s takeover of Arsenal

Our great and glorious past

Untold Index

36 comments to Financing the Emirates: how it affected Arsenal.

  • Bexxy

    Good article, badly timed. Hardly topic of the day.

  • Phil

    I think Tony’s thrown me to the wolves here 😛 Oh well, there’s hundreds of other blogs out there with reaction and ratings for the team; we lost, we move on.

  • Recalcitrant

    I’ve now become a fan of this site. You guys have a long term vision for the club same as that of Wenger. Good to see people around seeing the sense in what Le Prof has done for Arsenal.

  • WalterBroeckx

    What a great job, Phil.

    I must say that I’m not that well in the knowing of those things and certainly in English it takes a lot of concentration to understand it all. But I think I can understand the situation much better now.

    I still remember when the first word was out about the Emirates and looking at the plans I was scared that we never could pay for this stadium. But we could, we did, we do and we will do in the future.

    I think without the Emirates and the brave decision it took to build it, we would be like Liverpool, Aston Villa and Everton: clubs who are in decline as they cannot compete in the same market with the big money spenders like City, Chelsea and other teams who are borowing the future.

    Also a good remark on buying time with the youngsters. We didn’t have much money but we have choses a different path (that is why I love this club so much) than the rest. Not going for the easy way by buying but going the long and difficult road by growing them.

  • Wrenny

    Perfectly timed I would say. One bad result does not negate the fantastic development the club has embarked on.

    Great article and brilliantly well researched. And it’s nice to see confirmation of things that I have spoken about and tried to explain in the past, namely the issue of our cash reserves (which isn’t just spare money swilling around the coffers) and the big investment we’ve made in the squad via contract extensions rather than transfer fees on new players.

    You didn’t mention it specifically in your article, but there is the perfect example of the sales of Toure and Adebayor. Shortly after those sales we extended the contracts of no less than SEVENTEEN first team players, and of course we did buy Vermaelen in that summer too.

  • gandiv

    I think we got bigger things to worry about then financing the emirates.
    A suggestion to the Editors – can we not have like a page which stays at the top so that we can discuss matchday events/post match events et al???
    That way we can talk about pressing issues like the rubbish performance against the mighty ipswich

  • Wrenny

    @gandiv

    I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic…

  • Sam

    Arsenal’s financial prudence is all good. Let the accolades keep coming and make us proud. Wenger’s philosphy is also unique, daring and impressive. But the problem is the stubbornness.

    After being bewildered by the lack of spending, lately I had to console myself thinking “Not Wenger’s fault, he didn’t have the funds”. And now you say, funds weren’t a problem!

    My question then is, if we had paid an extra few millions on a GK and turned a profit of £30m instead of £35 million, the financial position still wouldn’t have looked bad and we could’ve been 6 points higher in the league!

    In 2007-08 season, when we had a 10 points lead in January, if Wenger would’ve signed a striker to cover the injured RvP and a misfiring Adebayor, we could’ve ended the trophy draught 3 years ago, and how!

    Problem is that Wenger is doing 95% of the things right, and then undoing all the good work by the inability to address the 5% of the weakness in the squad which can be eradicated by a small spending. He would still get credit for financial prudence, we’re not asking him to turn over the whole squad ala Real Madrid of Man City, just asking him to address the absolutely essential elements.

    All the above mental exhiliration about financial prudence and record profits doesn’t bring joy to my ears when I have to pay the highest ticket costs in the League and inspite of that see no sign of essential investment in the team.

    Wenger didn’t sign a much needed GK in the summer. It remains to be seen whether he finally gets a reinforcement for the defence (and by that, I do not mean a geriatric past his game), or he lets the squad down once again by not strengthening the crucial areas.

  • phil

    Walter – drop me qn emqil if there’s anything you’d like to ask. Althought the most important thing is that it all went well and we’re stable now.

    Sam – have another read through the appropriate sections of the article. If yearly player spending = transfers + wages + renewals, we’re one of the top spenders in the league. The only thing Wenger could’ve done differently over the summer would’ve been to buy “names”. When you look at his track record, his lesser-known purchases deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt…

  • budock

    i don’t know how much extra money denilson and bendtner got with their last contracts..but you might as well gone to the top of the emirates and chucked the cash out the window for all the good it did!

  • Andrew Chua

    Arsenal’s financial prudence deserves the accolades and is something most clubs would want to emulate. Or could they?

    Take the managers, most of them. All the revenue streams, operational expenses and sustainability programs et al are not rocket science stuff. But most are still taking the ‘buy’ approach. And the only reason IMO is the owners/board. Most managers are not accorded the luxury of time, definitely not with the Indian chicken owners and/or the oil sheikhs. So what can a manager do? Not much, since the priority is on instant results. Tell Mancini or Mourinho about the youth development and he will probably ask you to f*ck off. To hell with the financials… his priority is to deliver results. Delivering results is akin to survival for them.

    Arsene is a lucky bloke. He is in a club where the top accepts what he proposes…. financial stability and sustanibility and at the same time challenging for honors every season.

  • phil

    Andrew, really good comment. Strangely, even though the revenue streams isn’t rocket science as you point out, most businessmen lose their heads as soon as they come into contact with football. Take Ashley at Newcastle for instance – clearly a successful businessman, but didn’t do due diligence when he took over, and continues to make bizarre decisions.

    You are right though. With managers not being given time, they don’t care about the financals only their own career (Arry for example). Previously, the lack of regulation in the EPL worked fine as it was self-regulated : every owne rwas a local, so didn’t want to screw the club up. Now the interests of an owner may not align with the interests of the club and the fans, so we have issues.

  • Richard B

    Thanks Phil. It’s really a pity that people take such a short sighted view in their comments which detracts from the excellence of the work and the influence it may have at the highest levels. But that’s football fans for you. If it didn’t happen last night it didn’t happen at all!
    Another reason why I believe we haven’t spent money is that UEFA (who praised us to the skies yesterday) are using us as the template for how they wish to see clubs run in the future. If we suddenly stated to splash the cash then that strategy would be blown out of the water and the whole Financial Fair Play initiative would be put at risk.
    Make no mistake, Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger in particular, are fundamental to that exercise which has the potential to completely change the way football is run around Europe and will be of huge advantage to us if it works.
    It is also a fact that(and sorry for repeating myself on this) regular big transfer market spending has never been in the DNA of our club, which is why Wenger is so much the right manager in the right place.

  • goonergerry

    Phil- thanks for the expert financial explanation- its the analysis that bothers me. Seems to me many people look at finance figures like most football fans look at league tables and think great Arsenal are top of the league. If financial prudence was the aim of football Arsenal would be top of the EPL. Unlike FIFA I am not happy as a fan to see Arsenal top of a league that spends as little as possible on strengthening its squad. Of course this would be OK if Arsenal ever looked like achieving success- sadly we dont.

  • Phil

    Arsenal seek to ensure the club is around 100 years in the future. No doubt the “we don’t spend enough” view is based on last night’s game, but if you read the article you’ll see that we actually spend more than most, just not on headline-grabbing stuff.

  • goonerforfortyyears

    While the financial prudence is good, though not quite sure if a recent French second division defender is worth the same as Raphael Van Dar Vaart is seen as financial prudence, I believe the story the fans want to hear is our performance on the pitch as pointed out by Bexxy and Gandiv.

    However, I suppose the moral of your story is that we do not have the money to spend big therefore settle for a cheap Upson or Campbell rather than Cahill or Samba. I think not. There are a few players at Arsenal who for a while are not contributing much to the team that can be effectively be offloaded to give the side that much needed balance by suitable purchases elsewhere. Denilson, Vela, Bendtner,Diaby (for ever injured) are not exactly contributing much to the team are they ? Surely that will resolve some of our wage bill on ineffective players ?

    Incidently one of your reporters said AAA must be laughing at the result against Leeds. In the first place I cannot understand a true Arsenal supporter laughing at a bad result, but what I do understand is when fans get frustrated. If they laughed at Leeds they must be bawling after the Ipswich game.

  • Samuel

    Yet we still have fickle Arsenal fans looking to break the bank and buy overrated overpaid so called superstars,Arshavin and Walcott ,who cost a fortune in weekly wages but cannot produce the goals on the pitch,no thanks reduce the cost of borrowing for the new stadium pronto ,that,s the sensible way ?

  • critic

    so we are one of the highest spendes who don’t know defending….ouch!! that hurt more…

    Off topic : very nice article.

  • Stuart

    @ Sam

    Sorry, I didn’t bother reading all of your post but felt inclined to comment.

    I can’t see £5Mil getting us a keeper who is any better than the ones we have already and given that our current keepers are progressively getting better as games go by (given the odd mis-hap) I think it is the right decision. IMO would only have been worth spending out for Cech or equivalent if you’re going to spend money on a keeper.

  • critic

    so we are one of the highest spenders who don’t know how to defend…ouch!! that hurt even more…

  • Colm kelly

    Great article. We have had too poor results but we have a chance to make things right in those 2 compitions. At least those results weren’t in the leg. We can keep improving and success will come. The future is bighter fir arsenal than ever. Remember. It could be much worse. We could support Liverpool 😉

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘Sure, if we signed Ozil, Eboue isn’t going to suddenly decided he is worth six figures weekly, but he may think that he can get an extra £5k or £10k out of the club per week in his next negotiation’.

    I wouldn’t want you as Arsenal’s HR Director if that’s what you think.

    There is an extremely lucid, straightforward and simple response to such a demand.

    ‘If you were good enough, you would be paid what Ozil gets. You are paid what you are worth and as Ozil coming will increase rather than decrease competition for places in the side, in the absence of you improving signifiantly, your pitch time is unlikely to increase. So: if you want a pay raise, go and earn it. You won’t get one just because a superstar is coming here. Good morning to you……..’

  • Phil

    Rhys: you’re reading too much into my sentence. I’m simply saying that it would increase wage expectations. That either leads to the club backing down, player unrest or players leaving. None of which are positive in my book and indeed the third may prove more costly in the long run what with transfer and signing on fees plus the wage expectations of the new signing.

  • Andrew Chua

    There are always diverse perspectives to an issue. The supposedly AAA fans… was there some truth in their outbursts?

    Leading to the match, there were a flurry of comments made by Arsenal… Wenger said that the Leeds result was a wakeup call and we should do better than that. This was followed by Fab’s comment that we should not be complacent. There were other comments from Bendtner and Arshavin. And all these coming after Ipswich’s diastrous loss to Chelsea under a soon-to-depart caretaker manager. Expectations were high and we were supposed to walkover Ipswich. Having said that, all these were just ‘talking strategy on paper’, like what the Chinese often say.

    In the match proper, fans did not witness the hunger, passion and urgency. Again, and according to the fans, it is the manner we lost the game, not just the lost itself.

    What I felt the AAA fans wanted was a reward/punishment system, no different from your working life where performances are appraised. You don’t get promoted when you consistently underperform, do you?

    And that gets blurred… how do you measure performance? Personally, I admire the ethos of the MU team of 1999… the Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, Neville brothers and Butt. They were young, hungry and passionate. And what endears was the fact that they fought and fought. The bonus was that they delivered as well.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A lot of sense in this article.
    As you say Wenger has never had the luxury of buying names, even David Dein says just that.
    Dein’s whole downfall – he was a director who thought like a fan, which is why the AAA love him so much – he did everything he could to guarantee Wenger a huge war chest,including trying to go against the stadium and his attempts to bring you know who in.. and he came a cropper.
    I think we are very soon going to realise Wenger does not need to buy names as his modus operandii, leave that to other managers. Maybe his mate Dein underestimated him.
    Last night was painful, hopefully is prompting a bit of a look in the mirror for some at Arsenal…but life goes on….

  • Ronnie Brown

    Interesting article, good read.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘Rhys: you’re reading too much into my sentence. I’m simply saying that it would increase wage expectations. That either leads to the club backing down, player unrest or players leaving. None of which are positive in my book and indeed the third may prove more costly in the long run what with transfer and signing on fees plus the wage expectations of the new signing.

    I’m not sure I am Phil. Because what you’re saying is that players will strop out the door if they don’t get a pay rise for no good reason.

    I think we all heard about the lack of commitment last night, Radio 5 described certain players as ‘not fancying it’ in the tackling stakes and two players’ contributions as ‘negligible’. That’s Mike Ingham I’m talking about, whose impartiality I particularly respect.

    It’s absolutely not a good thing for players to think they can demand pay rises for no good reason. It’s bad for the supporters who in the end have to pay for it, it’s bad for top players who should be rewarded more than less good ones and it’s bad for the reputation of a club which wants to bring true quality to the club.

    The reason football wages are out of control is because of appeasement.

    And the sooner that appeasement stops, the sooner the little Hitlers will experience D-Day and maybe then true football fans will be liberated from the spiral of increasing prices for increasingly greedy players, eh?

  • Phil

    It’s simply inflation in action, sadly. Going back to the original example, if we get Ozil on our books, our overall wage bill grows. That usually implies we’ve had an increase in income (Premier League wage bills correlate strongly to the increases in the TV deal), hence Eboue wants 5k more.

    As you say, his intrinsic value hasn’t increased, but wage inflation is shifting the boundaries. If you completely rail against it, players will be underpaid relative to their peers in other teams, and will leave. So we A) appease with smaller increases or B) don’t make silly transfers in the first place (ie no Ozil on big money to begin with, preserving the wage structure).

  • Marc

    Great piece Phil – I’d love to see a breakdown of ManU’s debt.

  • Phil

    Marc: this article was based on the research I had to do for an analysis, comparing Arsenal’s debt to United’s. I’ll turn that analysis into an article, hopefully tomorrow and no doubt it’ll be published soon after that. Could be to your tastes.

  • Notoverthehill

    You are correct Phil regarding the expectation of players. AW believes in a comparative pay structure. Cesc for example is the top earner. BUT without the other players, can Cedsc perform?
    Only an idiot would agree with the view of Rhys Jaggar. The Football industry is no different from other industries in salary expectations. The percentage increase to Cesc for example, led to the same percentage increase for other leading Arsenal players. And so it now in other industries, after all the players have their Trade Union!!

  • RedGooner

    Rhys and Phil, Im on the fence here I understand totaly what both of you are saying and I would sooner bring in Ozil and release an eboue if he wanted the payrise and move him on.

    Phil am I right in thinking that what you are saying is that until our finances are finaly in position to do that we shall continue to operate in a sensible manner as we do now. Hence continue bringing players through etc.

    How do you feel that effects Fabregas and other top players who want to win things now and not in a few years time what are the risks associated with possibly loosing one or two of them and continualy starting over bringing through more talent from the accademy and still challenging for honours but maybe constantly falling short of winning something.

    Its possibly the only way we could have moved forward as an organisation and pay for the stadium etc and guarantee long term success. we seem to show here only the good points of what this business model is doing without ever mentioning the hardship side of it. When do you think Phil we will turn the corner and all this will pay off how far out is that in your opinion ?

  • Phil

    Redgooner, if you look at the figures, we’re clear of the debt. Ok, we have the bonds, but they are dead cheap so we’re not worried about them. There is nothing else to pay off early, the only thing there is to come is surplus cash from the flats to BOOST us financially.

    What we’re seeing now is the fruition of the academy. When we have a fully fit squad, I genuinely struggle to see where we can strengthen, given all the options we have. The only way you can argue that we need to strengthen is you you want to sell a player, and replace him with another. I personally trust Wenger’s judgement of the players from 100s of matches and thousands of hours in training, as well as his knowledge of the available alternatives through the world market.

    What I’m trying to say is we have the money, but I don’t see where we are going to be spending it. Short of dealing with future wage rises etc , our finances will be fine and could support acquisitions if they were deemed necessary.

    It’ll pay off any day, and with a bit more luck it could’ve paid off a few years ago. Them’s the breaks. Fact is, very very few other clubs are as well set up as we are – we can tell Barca to piss off regardless of whatever bid they make for Cesc, we don’t need the money. That sort of power is invaluable.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree with just about everything youy say, but think we could still do with a top defender though.
    Failure to get one could put us in a situation with any more injuries.

  • Phil

    It’s easy to say that with hindsight though. TV’s is a mystery injury, so we couldn’t predict when he’ll be back. If we do buy now we’re restricted to January, which is never ideal.

  • David Costelloe

    If you look over the whole life cycle, did Arsenal get the Emirates stadium for “free”? That is, did the proceeds from Highbury and the other property developments more or less give us the Stadium for “free”/no worsening of our capital position?