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The trouble with football is it keeps going wrong.

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In the past 31 days this site has received over 750,000 visits.  Many thanks to everyone who has supported what we are trying to do here.

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By Tony Attwood

The story that those people who don’t like Arsenal love to tell is that Arsenal gets it wrong.  Transfers, financial policy, tactics, youth policy, flexibility, you name it Arsenal gets it wrong.

And I am sure they do.  Not all the time, in fact I think not most of the time, but sometimes like all organisations they don’t get it right.

In fact that’s the point.  No one gets it right all the time.  And it is the fact that some get it more wrong than others that is the real issue.  I just thought I would give three examples of clubs that really do get it wrong:

First, AC Milan have promised refunds to fans who have renewed their season tickets, following the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, along with Alessandro Nesta, Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso and Filippo Inzaghi.  Some hard core supporters put on a mock funeral for the club.  Others had filed a legal case arguing that fans bought season tickets on the assumption that Ibrahimovic and Silva would be at the club.

The club says the offer of refunds was made because of “the need for style and love of the club towards its supporters and independent of any legal analysis,” adding that “the lawsuit is without any foundation.”

Milan has lost around 250 million euros across the last six years, they have debts that have even an Italian bank worried, and their stadium just doesn’t generate the income other stadia do because it is showing its age, and doesn’t have the sort of facilities that the Emirates does.  In short, without major investment in a new ground (difficult at this time) they are a bit stuck.

The point is that the club came 1st and 2nd in the last two seasons.  But the last time the club made a profit was 2006, and that was because of various special factors.  Loss is the order of the day.   So it looks like Milan must turn back to its youth academy which has stopped producing, and find some way to develop its stadium, which it doesn’t own, if it is to dig itself out of the mire and meet FFP requirements.

This is interesting because youth and stadium is where Arsenal have spent its money. and Arsenal’s contrast with Milan is striking.  Arsenal can and are marching forwards with their new marketing plans as the old marketing contracts start to run out.  Milan’s only option (get a better ground to raise their matchday income) is much tougher.

Portsmouth, a much smaller club, are much closer to the edge.  But they won the cup recently, and had Arry as a manager recently too.  Now bankruptcy looms, and unless the club can get rid of the rest of its players quickly, they are finished.  They would be removed from the Football League completely and would presumably do what other clubs do: reform, find a new ground, and enter somewhere around the Puma Engineering Hampshire Premier League along with AFC Aldermaston and the like.  Quite what the Football League will do about it, I don’t know – presumably just play one team short for this season, and then work out some extra promotions next year.

The problem though is the players.  If all the players go, then they presumably have to bring in youth players and free signings, and all that will do is make the lingering death more painful.

To take another example of problems: Rangers.  Rangers we’ve heard about so often – but the latest is worth mentioning.  Rangers won the league in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but have now been kicked  out of the league and re-admitted into the Third Division (actually the fourth tier).  They have accepted a ban on signing players for a year.  21 players have gone by my calculation (but I could be wrong) and they have 13 left.  I am not sure if all 13 want to play in the 3rd division, but even if they do, it is not really enough.

So presumably the rest will be youth players and loan players.

But it is not over yet.  There are still matters outstanding, in that the club is being investigated for cheating on its contracts – that is by giving the SFA one version of the contract and the player another version.   The club say they have been punished enough, but the SFA’s problem is that if this case of false contracts is proven, then some of the trophies that Rangers have won will have been won by cheating, and so presumably should be removed.  If the SFA do nothing, then the message is, cheating on contracts will not result in punishment – and that doesn’t work too well either.

Rangers protest – and would perhaps do the same as Juventus – that is to claim that they did win the various cups and leagues, and so continue to show them as having been won, even though they have been stripped of the titles and victories.  Bit messy really.

But the Rangers problem affects all Scottish football.  Celtic are asking their fans to buy season tickets despite the lack of Rangers in the league – which suggests to me (and as always I stress I am merely looking on from a distance) that they are selling fewer tickets than last season.

And what would happen, I wonder if Rangers, because of its shortage of players, didn’t actually get promotion this season?  OK that is perhaps too wild a thought, but a lot depends on how they get around the squad changes.  Everyone is assuming Rangers will recover and rise back to the top league because of the club’s massive support.  Maybe that’s true – but supposing they don’t.  Or supposing some serious oligarch sees this as the moment to buy up another SPL club and get it into a top two battle with Celtic.  Rangers might return and find they can’t automatically get back into a top two dogfight each year.

I’ve written all this about Milan, Portsmouth and Rangers because recently we did a series here on the billionaire clubs like PSG – and the way the billionaire model is spreading.  This is the other side of the same coin.

The fact is that if you look back a couple of seasons the notion of these events described above actually happening seemed impossible.  We were in a world in which there were doom mongers like me saying, “this is financial insanity” and reporting regularly on the Italian meltdown, but somehow nothing seemed to touch us and no one in Britain was much interested.  Arsenal were blamed for not spending to compete with Chelsea etc, and that was that.

And yet, and yet, this stuff is creeping closer and I am utterly certain there is more to come.

But also I am encouraged that more and more clubs do seem to be thinking that FFP is going to be serious, and in fact the only clubs ignoring FFP seem to be Chelsea, Man City, PSG and some of the Russian clubs.  Others are starting to move in the direction of the financial responsibility that has been associated with Arsenal since Henry Norris took over the club in 1910.

Which leaves us with two big problems: cheating and fraud.  Cheating on player registrations, cheating through fixing the refs, cheating through not paying taxes that are due and fraud through money laundering.   FFP is a step forwards, but is, I suspect, only a step.

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If you think you know your Arsenal, it is time to think again.

Follow Untold and the Arsenal History Society on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

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Latest Tales…

29 comments to The trouble with football is it keeps going wrong.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Great piece Tony.

    In respect of Arsenal, strikes me that unlike at any time in the past seven years (when were building our stadium), we are financially strong enough to compete for any player that we may really want whose is with a reasonable club and who has a reasonable agent and, in my view, that will apply to more than 90% of the pool of players available worldwide.

    It also happens that our youth policy is ripening at the right time and the need for more teams and players’ agents to face the reality of a tighening European economy and that UEFA may really mean to implement a serious-minded FFP are cresting simultaneously and at this time.

    If not Wenger, then, Arsenal has shown triple good fortune to get “stadium build”, “youth policy” and “sensible budgeting” right when they are looking to prove to matter most in the life/evolution of European football clubs.

  • Goner Michael

    Hi all I agree 100% with you we have built our stadium the youth development is coming along nicely plus the club is financially sound. We just need to strengthen with quality and to get rid of dead wood either low fee’s and either pay off the majority of their remaining contract to get them off the books. Only buy players who want to play for us and God to continue blessing the mighty Gunners..!

  • I have just had a look at the BBC’s football page and it says that Portsmouth is now down to four players. the club apparently has to get all players off its books before mid August.

    OK, but then, what sort of team are they going to put out in the matches at the start of the season.

    Incidentally the Rangers match on sunday is on BBC Alba (the Gaelic digital channel) which should make interesting viewing. The commentary will probably be an improvement too.

  • Preetam

    Hi, When people keep saying that Aresenal are a feeder club for Man city, i can only say to them that the kind of money Arsenal made of them is something pretty cool. I mean 71 million pounds on 4 players who are not even their main players. Let RVP go & I do hope for more than 30 million pounds. Arsene is far more intelligent that what the media gives him credit for, stubborn yes but it is working.

  • Oguntuase Amos

    This is just the beginning, more financially senseless clubs would start getting into trouble. Malaga is already facing the music and many will follow. Doesn’t it sound funny, Chelsea with its billions lacks a decent stadium and playing pitch, very ridiculous. Arsenal among its peers is like a house built upon the rock. Uncountable floods had come but Arsenal remains solid. The worst is over, a new dawn has come, every club would soon be looking at Arsenal with envy and seeks to copy our system..I am proud of this club called Arsenal FC , the best out of the few decent football clubs that are irrevocably committed to do things the right way.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Great article Tony.
    This is one of those articles that I remember the old days when I first came her as a silent reader without even daring to say a word. Since then a lot of water has been flowing to the see and as you know I ended up being on of the ever present readers and writers.
    But such an article takes me back to those old days a bit. And it makes me proud of being a part of this Untold blog since then.
    Proud because you had the foresight that it would end in tears for some fans. As my own local club not only locks people in at times ( 😉 ) , but also was the victim of a person who promised the moon and at the end only gave us hell I know how sad it must be for the real supporters of Glasgow Rangers and Portsmouth. I can imagine that those real supporters feel the pain I would feel if it would happen to Arsenal (god forbid it ever to happen). I have felt the pain when it happened to my local team that just, just barely survived a few leagues down the ladder.

    But what makes me so proud (and sad at the same time) is that you predicted it could happen. Now when it happens I really cannot understand people screaming to buy, buy, buy. At what cost? At what risk?

    But it makes me proud of being a part of this website. A website that predicted the sh*t we see at the clubs named in this article. Untold has been the one that has warned us for the sh*t.
    Many laughed at you and said we were fools. Oh well the usual stuff we now hear when we talk about the refs.

    But I really do believe that just as you are proven right after all those years, in a few years time people will have to admit that Untold was right about that other thing we have been covering since a few years. Yep, the sh*t we see in referee land…

    Just wait…and see…

  • Mick

    @Goner Michael
    The term deadwood is rude and insulting to any player whatever you consider his level of ability to be. You may think that certain players are not good enough and I am sure we probably would agree on a lot of them but to call them deadwood shows a total lack of respect. in my opinion.
    On your second point…
    ‘Only buy players who want to play for us’….
    Another nonsensical cliche I get tired of hearing. Presumably any one who signs for us wants to play for us, at least at the time they are signed otherwise they presumably wouldn’t sign. Are you saying that Wenger deliberately signs players who don’t want to play for us?

  • nicky

    The two words in this post that hit home, IMO, were “financial insanity”. A mighty monetary bubble was formed after the advent of commercial TV and its associated advertising (remember the “licence to print money”)followed by world-wide satellite broadcasting.
    All professional sports, to a greater or lesser degree, were the natural beneficiaries but football, being a global sport became the biggest recipient of the largesse.
    The immediate outcome was spiralling wages followed by increased ticket prices followed by increased wages et al.
    The introduction of the Bosman ruling materially altered the power in the game from club to player.
    The steady progress towards “financial insanity” has since moved on its way. Players’ contracts are no longer based on loyalty. Clubs renege on wages and fail to pay taxes.
    Ultimately, the “bubble” will burst, there can be little doubt of that. In what fashion it will come is difficult to foresee but it is pretty certain there will be many casualties on the way.

  • Mike

    A fair enough precis of the current plight of Rangers they appear to be gulity of cheating and no one should condone that! Milan – well maybe it could be the FFP but just maybe and I think more likely they have taken this opportunity to cash in on aging players and reinvest for the future, we shall see? Portsmouth, personally I feel sorry for them and I believe that the league should punish the men behind the club but help support keeping the club at it’s current level in order to keep the structure inplace …what happens if in these hard finanicial times 5 or 6 or 10 more clubs totter on the brink do they just sit back and ignore it all…. perhaps there should be some fund to help out clubs in times of crisis maybefinanced inpart by a levy on all clubs based on net profit…..if the FA/League aren’t careful the whole structure could topple! As for FFP and Arsenal, I actually think it is not FFP having an effect and the money clubs will find legal loopholes,trust me it is already being worked on. No I think things are as they are due to the economy and I don’t see Arsenal being in any position to buy any truly world class players for a long time. Oh and I would be careful about mentioning SIr Henry Norris and financial responsobility – you do realise he was behind many under the counter payments to bring top players to Arsenal for the first time, something which led to him being found guilty of in the early 30’s and he was subsequently disgraced ab=nd thrown out of football! He was also the prime suspect behind the “favourable” vote that saw us “promoted” to the first division from the 2nd after the end of world war 1, much to some other small north london teams chagrin!!! lol Norris it has been said either blackmailed certain individuals on the FA council or he “favoured” a few with incentives, so as I say NOT the type of man to quote!!

  • Mike..

    Oh and I would be careful about mentioning SIr Henry Norris and financial responsobility –

    Well, as the only person to have written a book on Norris, and as one of the three co-authors of “Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” (which of course has a lot of details on Norris’ take over of 1910 and the move to Highbury, and as the prime author of the Arsenal History blog which deals with Norris a lot, and as the chair of the Arsenal History Society, yup, I do know about Norris.

    It would take a lot of space (a book in fact) to write it all up, but here’s a few points:

    Norris paid all of Arsenal’s debts out of his own pocket in 1910, including debts that were not revealed at the time the club went into administration. This was not a 1 shilling in the £1 administration that was common then, but a total pay out of all debts. One hell of a statement.

    Second, he kept Woolwich Arsenal afloat in big and small matters. Here’s just one that we researched and found for the Woolwich Arsenal book. When Joe Shaw played his last match he was awarded a testimonial payment of the gate money. But it was a small crowd so Norris and Hall made up the difference from their own pockets.

    Norris paid for Highbury – the whole thing from start to completion of the original ground. True the builder was paid as money came in from matches, but the builder accepted the contract and got his full payment.

    In terms of backhanders and the like, Norris was accused over the Voysey affair, but the evidence and information was very doubtful indeed, and Norris was not actually in the country when the alleged payment took place. Norris was accused by the Mail of taking the £150 from the team bus sale himself, he sued the Mail and lost, and was then banned from football for life (just like Herbert Chapman before him). According to the only contemporary volume that deals with Norris’ money matters he was not dishing it out, but rather holding it back.

    The fact is that Norris and the FA/League had many run ins because prior to the first world war Norris was a journalist who sought to expose corruption in the League, and the League hated him for it. It was he who exposed the Liverpool corruption scandal in 1914, which the League dismissed instantly. It was only when Liverpool were found so obviously guilty in 1915 again under pressure from Norris that they backed off a little.

    Most of the Norris tales are inventions – and just as a final knock at what you say, Norris left football in 1927 and was not involved in football in the 1930s

  • Mike, in regards to the issue of Arsenal’s promotion of 1919 there are several articles on this in the Arsenal History Society site, and you’ll see that it was the expansion of the league and the Liverpool corruption issue that was at the heart of the matter.

    AISA is publishing its third booklet on Arsenal’s history, which in fact deals with 1919, at the start of the season, so if you are a member of AISA you’ll be able to read what really happened, rather than the vague stories that circulate.

  • Walter, as always you are too kind.

    I think that the fact that the site has now just achieved 750,000 hits in one month for the first time, shows that people do like the brand of investigation that we bring to the game.

    Tony

  • colario

    Congratulations on having 750 000 and 1 hits in one month. Great blog by the way. 🙂

  • Tom

    What a wonderful article – intelligent, thought-provoking and very well written. Oh, and your response to Mile was wonderful! Polite and respectful, yet devastating – sorry Mike, who was to know he was an expert who had written books on the matter!

    I do worry about the reality of being able to implicate FFP. The major problem will be the number of clubs who will not manage it. The likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan have all been running with large debts in recent years, but backed by their governments, it hadn’t been an issue. Now of course with the problems in the Italian and Spanish economies, these clubs are suffering, and have little chance of meeting FFP. So it is not just the oil-rich fake clubs that are not going to meet FFP. And so what do we expect to happen? Ban them all from the Champioins League? What else can be done? A warning? A fine? All meaningless. I fear the likes of Man City and Chelsea know this and therefore know that UEFA is toothless.

    I fear our rock that we hope will come good may not be as watertight! The problem is that clubs can run at huge losses if the value in the club increases. Man Utd, for example was recently valued at over 2 billion. Ten years ago it might have been worth 100 million (I confess to guessing this stat), when the Glazers bought it it was worth 800 million (that one I’m pretty sure about!). Add the fact that oil and steel magnates are prepared to take losses when investing in football clubs as it is a much sturdier investment. Wait for the price of your oil, gas, steel or whatever to go up and reinvest in sturdier companies before the prices drop. Against all this, does FFP have a chance?

  • Tom

    I should clarify about the rock being watertight. It’s not that we won’t be a well-run ship, it’s just that it won’t matter when it comes to what matters – winning things. Having a club in the black is great for Kroenke and Gavidis, but we, as fans, may have to accept that challenging at the very top and winning trophies is no longer our future. God, I hope I’m wrong!

  • Tom, I share your worries about FFP. A couple of years ago AISA had a meeting with a very high up guy in Uefa and I asked him directly if Uefa had a team of lawyers and accountants at the ready to fight the FFP breaking clubs, and he said no. Just that, no. And that was when I feared the worst.

    But, I do perceive some awareness of FFP in some clubs, and I think there is a feeling that no one will get thrown out of Europe in the first few years, so they have got a bit of time left, but ultimately sanctions will come in. Although it is only small fry, Uefa is already stopping some clubs playing in Europe. Remember Portsmouth didn’t get a place, Besitkas are out (I believe) for financial irregularities, Rangers were out even before they fell out with the SFA,… so there is some teeth.

    On Real Madrid however matters are more complex. They show a profit each year. Now the question is, do you believe it? But certainly if a club show a profit in their audited accounts, FFP can’t touch them. Real Madrid’s only problem is that their bank might go bust.

  • Gooner jack

    Tony, as always the best gooner blog out there!

    I just wanted to float an idea; wage capping for players? This wouldn’t have to be contract by contract, but instead giving clubs a fixed maximum wage budgets. IMHO this would be much fairer and effective than the current FFP proposal.

    This would have two important effects. Firstly it would create a much more even playing field, with clubs success being not based mostly on just financial investment (this would obviously not be advantageous to arsenal, but I believe it would be for the sport). Secondly there is a strong possibility that, proportionally, it would drive more money in the game into transfers, which means more money trickling down into lower leagues and grass roots football.

    The most common argument against this is that it’s the players that are responsible for giving us games to enjoy and therefore deserve to be the ones benefiting from all the money currently in the sport. Firstly I’d say to that, that us the fans are just as important as the players, because without us they’re just a bunch of lads having a kick about. Secondly, does anyone really deserve to earn a quarter of a million a week? Thirdly, and most importantly IMO, this would allow ticket prices to be driven down, something that really needs to happen!

    This isn’t a new idea, this used to be the norm. IMO it is the removal of wage capping that has really led to the utter corruption of our beloved sport.

  • Gooner Jack I wonder if there isn’t a legal problem here. If it were applied then it could be seen as restraint of trade and against EU rules – since EU rules are very clear in that you cannot as employers combine together to hold down wages.

    That would therefore need an EU ruling that football should be exempt. Not impossible, but a long term issue, and the EU might well argue that what with this little economic crisis going on they have other things to worry about.

    But you have got me thinking – I’ve not seen this suggested before, but how about if we took your idea and did it by club rather than by player. We have the 25 player ruling, so why not the £50m a year salary per club ruling? Maybe that would break the rules too, but I quite like that.

    Problem is, as the bankers show, you can rape an economy and then pay yourself a bonus and the government simply says, “look here’s that naughty comic who is not paying his full taxes”. Enough to make me spit.

    Spit.

    Tony

  • Ong Bing

    We need a next few years to pay our debt. After that, we can have a lot of money every year to compete in transfer market and increase players wages.

    That time we will understand what the mean of “sustainable”.

    Seri A already dying for a few years, the club not make money, mostly they lost, the owner inject the money to the club.

    One of their problem is they can not generate much money from tickets.

    The problem in Spain is different, Barca and Madrid take half or more TV rights.

    Look at transfer market this year, so so quiet. I don’t know is because of FFP or crisis. Robin chooses the wrong time…

    Arsenal is in good position now, if we can hang up for a few years, and every years play in Champion League, the future is bright, so so bright. Oiks me!

    Can we do Dortmund this year? Please… And not in goals different please…

  • Stuart

    Gooner Jack,

    I’d love for that idea to be implemented, lets say clubs are limited to 45% of turnover as a wage cap and you could even throw in that it excludes players under the age of (x)

  • elkieno

    Excellent article once again, I grow tired of saying that, only joking it makes a real different from wat I hear on ‘le grow up’! I don’t go to those sites, not cos I don’t agree with them at all, but cos they are so depressing and can’t actually see a positive side if the coin, oh well I feel sad for them to live with such hatred of the team they support, probably a mental problem to always be unhappy. The second most common thing for the complain about is the weather I bet!
    Anyway I digress, I want to add that Rangers didn’t have a billionair in charge like the other teams in ur billionaire articles, (as far as I know anyway). So it shows that having a sugar daddy or not if u spend wat u don’t have, your in trouble! But we people (including me) get credit card, borrow and then have to live from paycheck to paycheck, paying off debt, then borrow that same anout of money and on it goes like thus until something happens and banks call in debts, then it’s downhill from there. Why do the AAA not see this? They must think we make some profit so spend it, but it’s not that easy I suppose.
    My mum lives payday to payday, we all hate it and wish we had some money to buy her a house/flat to live out her days, but that not gonna happen unless lottery comes along. So it would be good to have some backup money for this emergency. Arsenal do have this backup money for when shit hits
    fan, that is why we don’t go mental with the first media promoted player for 30million every year!
    So many lessons to be learnt from the small world we live in, just increase the money being spent and apply to the football world.
    I just woke up with baby hungry so am I just talking crap?

  • ARSENAL 13

    @ Tony…. nice one again.

    Wage cap…..interesting. Recently I came across an article in a news paper (in India) about the wage policy of BCCI (Indian cricket board). I like that idea very much. Based on the previous (years) performance, the players are categorized into different slots. A, B, C, D (lets say)… A earns the highest, and D the lowest.

    I think Premier League should do the same for its players. Players should be categorized based on their performance the previous year. There should be performance incentives and penalties, such that the best performers earn the same amount irrespective of their group. AND all clubs should be obliged to pay exactly that.

    Wage cap ……is very difficult to implement, but not impossible. Premier League is doing a nice job when it comes to distribution of TV money.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Tony – interesting article and great comments too on here. The warning bell for football’s financial problems keeps ringing louder and louder.

  • Gooner S

    A nice Sunday morning read!..A cautionary tale. I’ve enjoyed the series of articles related to this subject matter.

    You make a good point that all organisations/businesses make mistakes. This is true. The trick is not to make as many as your competitors and capitalise on the good things or opportunities that come along.

    I replied to a Gooner post the other day (“are we fans or muppets?) that Football fans aren’t entirely rational in their behaviour or opinions….I include me in that as well at times.

    The dissapointment of not winning a trophy for a number of seasons and the banter that comes from those who have, and even from those that haven’t (in the case of Spurs fans)causes frustration and discontent. It’s made a story of by the press and that feeds the frustration even more from the fan base.

    I know a few Man City fans and if you have friends that are City fans you can’t begrudge them their moment in the sun but, and this is interesting, they are under no illusions that they expect it to come crashing to the ground at some point. Their view on Arsenal is that we are trying to do the right things in the right way and eventually it will pay off. It takes patience and discipline, in the face of competition such as City, Chelsea etc, to continue on this path. But Uefa and the national associations have to come through with FFP and give it some teeth. Otherwise your points about the SFA in relation to Rangers and their allegedly dodgy contracts would apply just as much to Uefa and the FA (in the case of the FAPL).

  • Gooner S

    Interesting comments about wage capping as well from @ Gooner Jack and @Arsenal 13 and reply from Tony.

    Are you all suggesting making Fantasy Football a reality 🙂

    In principal I disagree with this. Any business should be free to spend the money it earns in anyway it wishes – assuming it’s legal of course and that they have the money. So if they wish to splurge on high wages, so be it but it wont be sustainable in the long run. Why distinguish between Football and say W.H Smiths? Why make football special? More to the point why not regulate other business such as those within the financial sector or other forms of entertainment.

    Life isn’t equal and neither is football….that’s what makes it so interesting and a challenge.

    That’s the most capitalist thing I have ever written. I’m going to go for a cold shower and a lay down now 🙂

  • Stuart

    Gooner S,

    Interesting thoughts there. It’s a tough one and I can see the argument from both sides however, I think the Premier League should have a right to a say in how clubs are run as they are effectively operating under licence and risk damaging the brand of the Premier League if they go under. The Premier League are also duty bound to protect the image of the other clubs competing.

  • Mandy Dodd

    It is starting to happen, as predicted by many on here. Rangers, Pompey are the start. A club in Spain had a shed load of money pumped in by an Arab prince last summer, for some reason, the benefactor got fed up and the funds dried up. According to an overwhelming number of sources, we are about to buy the best player from this club, at a price less than Liverpool paid for Downing and Henderson. let alone Carroll. As ever with supposed transfer targets, caution is needed until an update appears on the official site, but the point is, clubs are suffering, and will increasingly likely to have to offload top top talents for 10-20m, as opposed to 30-40m plus. We are primed to take advantage, as we have done already this summer, the phase Wenger has been waiting for is now upon us.

  • asd

    The problem with FFP is the problem with the euro zone. If spain or Italy should fail, it will affect the Germans who have their house in other.
    The second this is FFP would put a premium on younger players.
    Cesc,Clichy,Miguel,Toral Harper,Eisfield would not be as cheap as they are now because clubs would have to rely on youth.
    Jack wilshere and Gibbs are the only players who were with us before they turned 16 to have made it to the senior team.
    Also remember that Italian clubs and Spanish clubs can sign teenagers from South America while English clubs can’t.

  • mike collins

    Tony
    I completely agree with Walter about your points. Even from far off Halifax Nova Scotia now this type of analytical article is what I love about this blog. Mind you as a retired Economic Historian I suppose I am a sad enough person by lapping up the economic details. I also pretty much agree with Gooner S. I know loads of expat. english who support all kinds of clubs. And although they may glory in the latest vistories they are all pretty much fearful of the future if that funding dries up.
    Having lived in the Middle East for a number of years one good riot on the street could see much of that Arab funding return home. It is just not sustainable.
    But what do I and the great Mandy Dodd know, I mean we are poor creatures who are red and white to the core. But then all the others apart from Everton are just lower league teams having a temporary mement in the sun.