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How come everyone else spends billions and we don’t?

 Ordinary is Pointless

By Tony Attwood

I recently saw this post come through at Untold.

“yea ofcouese sell RVP for measly 15 mil to our greatest rival does make sense.How on earth anybody let such situation to build up in the first place…..now i am hearing song is about to go too….fk our self sustaining economy model.”

(Obviously I have printed it exactly as it was sent in).

The essence of it is the self-sustaining economy model of a football club that Arsenal pursues results in good players going to other clubs – most hurtfully our rivals.  And it is very hard for this model to deliver a club which can produce a championship winning side.

It is easy to think, at the moment, that we should be like Man City or Chelsea, because they won the big prizes last season.  But I would argue that success is not inevitable if one does follow the model of Chelsea, Man City, PSG, Málaga etc etc.  There’s a list of some of the other clubs that follow this route in the Billionaire Files (see foot of article for some of the articles from the series.)

Some of the histories of these clubs don’t make good reading – Málaga is obviously one, as their billionaire owner suddenly seemed to get fed up and has stopped funding them, which is why we just signed a brilliant midfielder.

And there was also one of the clubs where it was bought and given to the owner’s son as a play thing.  There is also the developing situation of what we might call “associated clubs”.  We find this with Watford Giampaolo Pozzo  an Italian businessman who is currently the owner Italian football team Udinese, Spanish club Granada and  Watford.

We should also look at PSG who are currently the laughing stock of French football.  They accounted for about 75% of the entire transfer window expenditure in France this summer, and have so far played two and drawn two.

My point therefore is not that the Arsenal model of ownership and management is perfect nor the only one.  Rather all models of ownership and finance have problems, and really the choice is how big a risk you want to take.

I believe there are three models that football clubs seeking to change can follow:  Self-sustaining, Billionaire, Changing ownership.  My argument is none of them is safe, but the self-sustaining model looks to me to be the safest for long term prosperity.

Just consider this list of clubs all of which have changed hands recently.  We all know about Chelsea and Man C because they are the most high profile, but consider also.  It is easy to say, Arsenal aren’t Blackburn or Rangers, but with the wrong ownership we could easily become like these clubs…

Blackburn Rovers – Venkey’s took them over to make them a leading brand in the Premier League.  They’ve been relegated, and the supporters protest daily.

Portsmouth – with five owners in 2010 the club descended into chaos, and are on the very edge of extinction, sitting in the third division and being run by administrators.

Rangers – I hardly need tell you… is in the 4th tier of Scottish football, and still with outstanding tax claims, claims that they issued false contracts to players, and unable to sign any new players for a year.  There will be more punishment to come.

Nottingham Forest – The Al Hasawi Family.  You tell me.

Notts County – the oldest league club was owned by a Supporters Trust who inexplicably gave the club away to Munto Finance, who brought in Sven as the manager before the club was sold it to Peter Trembling who sold it to Ray Trew after receiving a winding up petitions from HMRC.  What induced the Supporters Trust to give away their own club?  The promise of a quick rise up the leagues under a billionaire owner.

Cardiff  City Datuk Chan Tien Ghee and  Vincent Tan own the club.  They have promised vast sums, an expansion of the stadium and Premier League football.  Their first action was to force the club to play in red instead of blue.

Hull City.   Assem Allam  At the moment he looks like one of the good guys.  We’ll see if I am right.

Birmingham City.   In July 2007, Hong Kong-based businessman Carson Yeung bought 29.9% of shares in the club, making him the biggest single shareholder, with a view to taking full control in the future, and promised vast sums in transfer money.  But no new money arrived, the manager left, and the management brought in the ex-manager of Villa, of all clubs. Yes they beat us in the League Cup, but then were relegated before being given a transfer embargo because of unpaid debts.

Reading: maybe they too are owned by a good guy.  But it is hard to know because the owner is the son of Boris Zingarevich, and the owning company is  registered in Gibraltar (similar to the Cayman where the Glazers have Man U), so it is hard to say.   In the last financial year Reading made a £5m loss and the owner loaned the club £26m.   The question is, will the new owner, with no connection with this country, let alone Berkshire, be similarly inclined?

The move for Reading is part of the new phase of changing ownership.  No longer do people want the top names – rather they go for the lesser clubs.  Reading is costing about £25m.   Maybe they will move down to the League One and League Two clubs soon.

So I see a danger with billionaires moving in – some may be wonderful some may not.  I see the same danger with other take-overs – too often they just don’t seem to be all that we would want them to be.

My point then is that all the models of clubs are dangerous, but at least with the self-financing model that Arsenal use, the club will keep going.  If our owner suddenly pulls out for whatever reason, all he can really do is sell his shares.  If the owner of Chelsea, Man City, Reading etc etc, pulls out, there is a chance of disaster, since the owner is funding the club.

No approach is perfect, no approach guarantees success.  Yes Chelsea won the Champions League, and of course I acknowledge that Arsenal have got no further than being beaten finalists.  But I suspect even the most ardent Chelsea supporter would recognise that it was close this time – and had they failed, Chelsea for all their spending, would not have got into the Champions League.

There is one final point that comes out of the comment I printed at the top of the page.  I have read it often in other people’s emails, and it basically says, how could Arsenal have been so stupid as to allow RVP’s contract run down?

All I can say is, had RVP been given a new 5 year contract a year ago, and had he accepted it, and then got injured we could have had people now saying, “how could the club be so stupid as to give a contract extension to such an injury prone player?”

In the end it is all about looking at the options and taking a gamble.  Portsmouth won the FA Cup and were then  refused entry to the Europa League because of their finances (if I remember correctly).  Rangers were dominant in Scotland, and look where they are now.

I guess if we were talking about dog racing, people would talk about doping of the dogs, and how Arsenal Dogs ought to be doped because the others are doing it.  In such a scenario I’d still argue that we shouldn’t.  In the real world we have financial doping, and I still argue that we shouldn’t do that either.

————————

Some of the billionaire files

Untold Arsenal

44 comments to How come everyone else spends billions and we don’t?

  • clarence wyllie

    It seems to me that arsenal appears to be operating like some Big Industrial Company rather than a soccer club. As they develop the players they are being sold at enormous profit

  • mystic

    Take out whether Arsenal sell players – afterall it is irrelevant to whether they spend – this summer they have spent on:
    Podolski
    Giroud
    Cazorla
    (maybe on loan for Sahin)
    (Wenger is suggesting another player)
    Not bad for a club that isn’t spending?

  • Richard

    When it comes to the basic logic of spending the question is – can a club recoup what it spends via prize money, TV rights and ticket revenues? If it can’t then there is no logic and the expenditure is only being undertaken in order to harm others rather than to benefit yourself. FFP doesn’t prevent the spending of money – just the excessive losing of money year in year out. Normal companies don’t continue to exist if they consistently make losses. Those that make money, if they invest correctly, thrive and grow and eventually end up as the winners.

  • Jon

    You missed out Leeds United – an earlier example of spending beyond means and a salient warning to anyone who thinks ‘big clubs’ are somehow indestructible.

  • GoonerPete

    In answer to headline – because we’re not fucking morons and want our club to exist in decades to come.

    The same can’t be said for the petrodollar clubs, and I for one can’t wait for a couple of them to implode on themselves. I have no sympathy for their “fans” either who have all bought into the buy it now model.

    Now off to read the actual article 🙂

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Clarence,
    What a brilliant idea, if only these pesky superstar players would play for free, then developing them up and selling them on would be a marvellous business.

  • bc

    The current strategy wont go on forever but you are not only re-building a team but have built 2 new training grounds as well as a stadium the strategy has to be conservative. the club is placing itself in a position to clear its debt as soon as the early settlement penalty periods have lapsed. the interest on the debt was reduced by inserting the early settlement clause. i still believe that with sahin on board our team will be improved on last season

    sahin>song
    cazorla>benayoun
    Podolskivela

    that is pretty much all the main changes. almunia bartley hoyte ozyakup have also left but hardly played anything over the last 2 seasons. who we sell over the next week and how we replace them will determine our season. walcott arshavin squillaci park chamakh bendtner lansbury eastmond all in the 25 man squad at the moment. whether or not they stay or go.

  • Goona Gal

    Q: How come everyone else spends billions and we don’t?

    A: Maybe they got one of those high interest rate credit cards.

  • indian gooner

    I think most gooners are sensible enough to understand the rules of this game. We are very aware that excessive spending can put us in peril.What we have a grudge against is the lack of spending and a continued acceptance of mediocrity as a goal. The problem with this club is more psychological and management related than financial according to me. Let me elaborate.

    a)Wenger decided 7/8 years ago that we would be moving homes and thus adopted a strategy of grooming youngsters who would gel well and fight for the club and each other, as a prudent plan to handle the loan on the Emirates. The psychology behind this can be seen even today with Cesc and Pique. They both wanted to get back to barcelona for two reasons- familiarity and success. These are strong motivators for humans. We want to stay in environments that are familiar to us and give us success. But when our current environment doesnt give us success, forget loyalty, brotherhood etc, we rather go for success. Thus the exodus from our club. If our club was as successful as barcelona i doubt cesc would have wanted to go back this early.

    b) Accepting mediocrity as OK. Wenger has done this innumerable times in the last 7 years. Clichy made repeated mistakes as a left back which were not corrected.Almunia fumbled match after match and nothign much was done for an entire season. Mediocre players were brought in to replace/preferred over class – silvestre,squillaci,chamakh.park, almunia etc, when the likes of shay given,vander vaart etc were not signed even when they were available for cheap coz “it would kill denilson, fabianski etc”. This breeds discontent amongst the classier/better players that they might be better off elsewhere. I can bet that szczesny would have left us if he hadnt been given that chance which made him the No.1 for us today.

    c)Winning is a habit and so is losing. Wenger has accepted losing as a habit by admitting that we cant compete with the likes of chelsea and mancity. When we were 11 pts ahead and eduardo lost his leg, we went on a run of losing and drawing games. An astute manager( pep guardiola doing his inspiring video before CL finals) would have inspired his team to fight for eduardo. All wenger did was to watch them capitulate and later give an excuse that they were “mentally scarred” after the leg break.

    d)Versatility and the lack of it- I have noticed that most barca players-attackers or defenders are well versed in their complimentary tasks.An attacker can defend and a defender can pass and score like an attacker. Most of them are two footed too. This versatility is missing from us.With the exception of RVP( who is now gone), we have no player who can play well with both feet. This leads to slowing down attacks, mispasses in dangerous regions around the D( remember djourou(?)’s clearance + eboue’s pathetic pass during our match with barcelona when we got murdered?), concession of penalties, attacks being one dimensional( “he has to end up passing to his right since he cant pass to his left when running”-ex: rosicky and his classic right footed curlers) and on and on. If this versatility is drilled in our youngsters, the next batch emerging will be better prepared. Also the need for this versatility has to be drilled into the heads of our players.

    e)Not signing players when needed-Most of us are happy with decent players.We are not interested in marquee signings to boast or show off. But in important times, signings were neglected. The injuries to wilshire and cesc could have been better managed if they had not been overused( due to lack of good cover). Instead dross was paid way over the top-how squillaci got into our team is a mystery to me.

    f)Winning atleast one trophy would have released a lot of nerves that have been built up over the last 7 years. we had chance after chance in carling cup, FA cup and even the league but AW pissed away trophies(“I wanted to show them that they could win without Arshavin”-after the FA cup semi which we lost,”how can i tell them they are not good enough for the finals if they got us there”-for playing an entire team of youth against chelsea in carling cup finals,which we lost.etc..etc).

    Now the goose is cooked and it is time we atleast make good signings( to hell with those that want to leave) and replace the players that are leaving and really engage the services of a motivational speaker/psychologist to handle that side of the game.

  • Gunner4evr

    That is why Arsenal will never win the epl under Wenger. The fm is deluded if he thinks his youth project coupled with ffp will propel the gunners to glory. It hasn’t happened and he has seen belatedly it must be supplemented by experience.
    Hopefull this season the gunners can finally challenge. The only question mark is the dodgy defence. Fix that and maybe the gunners could be a serious threat.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I’m amazed at all the people who can see into the future and yet are so skint that they are griping on the internet about their football club rather than buying the club and fixing things themselves.

    If I could see the future as well as some people claim to I’d be richer than Abramovich.

  • Odhis KenyanGunner

    @Indian Gooner. Why dont you just do yourself (and us) a massive favour and quit, uh?! Because surely at that rate, you might just have a massive heart attack! Its pointless, really, for you to remain a gooner. Its ironic

  • Shade

    Spot on mate! This must be the most sensible arsenal blog site I’ve seen.
    U r right… the billionaire model does have its flaws. But the only way i see this truth being universally accepted is when a team like Chelsea, Man City or PSG falls! Till then people would still want their team to be bought by a billionaire I’m afraid.

  • Sandeep

    Exactly if every premier league spent beyond their means just to get a trophy….then presumably 16 of the 20 would get into bigger debt…..just to win one of the 4 trophies.

  • rusty

    @indian gooner,

    Yea, clearly the reason Wenger should go is that the team failed to win the league after Eduardo’s leg break. And clearly Eduardo, Ramsey, Diaby, and Sagna (twice!) aren’t fit to wear the shirt because they didn’t return to form their first game back after their respective leg-breaks. There are squad-management concerns, and then there is your comment.

  • UMOH EKWO

    Some fans have said it all. Arsenal is run like a commercial enterprise and not a football club. Nobody says money should ridiculously be splashed on players as some teams do. Personally, I will not support the purchase of any player no matter how good for up to 50m pounds. There are however, many good players that can cost 50% less and make valuable contributions to the success of any club. Things should be balanced. Let players that are not good be let off while new ones are brought in. Let the star players be sold at certain ages but the money should be reinvested in near similar quality. Let all the departments of the game be made to have options in case of injury, suspensions or loss of form. Things are not happening at Arsenal this way. The team is never balanced. Every season, we have challenges in the defense beginning from January. Nothing has been done to the defense so far. If we are faced with the same situation this season, we will have no solution. This is why we shall contunue to criticize this model. It is just profit motivated.

  • good article but several mistakes which you really shouldn’t be making.

    Birmingham did not appointhe ex-Villa manager. Villa appointed the ex-Birmingham manager.

    Portsmouth won the FA cup and then enjoyed a season in the FA cup. I distinctly remember them playing AC Milan.

  • createstrain

    hhmmm what shall i choose?

    billionaire model?

    Pros: almost instant success, challenging at the very top, being able to lord it over the lesser fans at work etc, buying the top talent around the world with a bit more of that lording stuff, excellent football on display depending on the manager.

    cons: success isn’t certain, the chance to see young talent develop is limited, apart from other doped clubs nobody respects your achievements, you may not respect them yourself deep down, having a lording mentality will turn you into a prick, because the philosophy of the club is based on superficiality the culture suffers, very little or no history, not a lot of money to put into infrastructure as the players selfishly get the bulk load of the cash, the owner does one and you start praying for a like for like owner or the rapture.

    Arsenal?

    Pros: watching talent evolve into world class talent, excellent football on display, brand spanking new stadium and training facilities that benefit more than just the first teamers, challenging at the top, the reserves, AFCL, financial stability so my kids kids will have the choice of being able to lord it should they choose to, imo the best culture in football which enhances the experience greatly, i.e. the vast range of intelligently written blogs that get what we and football should be about.

    cons: none…. just kidding. yh we might not win a shiny pot cos players backstab us along with the corrupt pgmol, its harder to get world class players at the moment, being surrounded by the mindless who get there info from the tabloids, motd and le cockerels (who are eating humble pie disguised as ‘there doing what we’ve said for years’ with the odd sly dig).

    tough choice, i’ll sleep on it.

  • TJ

    There is one additional issue: should a football club focus on profits for its owners or glory for its supporters. Arsenal shareholders have made hundreds of millions in profit over last 7-8 years as the share price has increased significantly. Arsenal’s share price in 2004 was 2000 GBP, today its 16800 GBP. All the shares were worth 200 million, now they are worth 1 billion. So if Peter Hill-Wood owns 20% of Arsenal, then he has made GBP 160 million in profit, he can bank this profit today if he sells the shares to Usmanov, but probably he is looking for more. The revenues have gone up consistently every year, the operating profit is among the highest in the world. Forbes valued Arsenal at 1bn, same as Barcelona. So why is Arsenal not able to compete with Barcelona or Manchester United for player salaries or transfer budget? The reason is simple – the owners of arsenal are looking for profit and not trophies. And that is why they have repeatedly ignored Usmanov’s offer to invest money to buy players.

    And Peter Hill-Wood supports Kroenke and not Usmanov because Kroenke is more a businessman and after profit than Usmanov who probably cares less about profits.

    Is Stan Kroenke looking for trophies or looking for profits?

    Does it make more sense for him to spend less and just stay in top 4, or spend more and try to win the league? Perhaps the additional investment in players does not justify the return you get from winning a trophy.

    The reality is that the club is run by businessmen who want to make money and that is their primary motive. Now they sugercoat this by talking about self-sustainability and a lot of fans buy it.

    Now there are lot of people who are not trying to make a profit, like Abramovich or the Sheikhs of Man City. As far as Arsenal fans are concerned, that is a much better option than Kroenke. Or we should try a model where the club is owned by the fans. We should at least try to get to a model where the club’s finances are self-sustaining but profit is not a motive. As long as Kroenke/Peter Hill-Wood are involved, they will always sacrifice success on the pitch for profit and we fans can complain as much as we want.

  • Gunner4evr ,which planet do you come from? Better change to Gunnerwhoknowsnothing. You wana bet? Arsenal have never won EPL under Wenger! Probably you come from hell(KINEGE)

  • I do agree with any company aiming to make a profit, i always did and the bigger the better.Problem with football teams like Arsenal is being perceived to spend whats truly available and aiming each time to bring in a better replacement. I personally don”t think after losing Cole Ade Toure Nasri Cesc Clichy and Rvp we replaced with better, yes good poss creating a more balanced team, but not better.
    Without wishing to be negative i do get the impression we only try to spend the amount we get from selling, how many players have we sold for over 20mil and whats are biggest signings to date. 4 i believe and Arshavin 15mil

  • nicky

    A great post which should be digested by all who study the progress of our national game.
    I make no apology for repeating the warning which Tony gives, namely “If our owner suddenly pulls out for any reason, all he can do is sell his shares. If the owner of Chelsea,Man City, Reading, etc,etc pulls out, there is a chance of disaster,since the owner is funding the club”.
    A timely reminder to those Gooners who advocate Usmanov and the abandonment of sustainability.

  • Matt and everyone

    Sincere apologies for my errors. I had written and checked up details on most things, but then other things in life took over and I didn’t check the final bits. Really sorry – stupid errors. Too much haste.

  • shaft

    The main reason we are even asking this question is because we haven’t won anything in seven years. Even when we were winning things we still didn’t spend as much as much money as our rival.

    Project youth was a good idea in theory. We had just moved to a new stadium and it made financial sense. Even from a football point of view we were going to build a team that was going to be together for years and team work and unity were the fundamentals the team was going to be built around.

    After the CL final in 2006 when our established players started leaving Wenger didn’t sign proper replacements not to hinder the development of his young players and also not to disrupt the team spirit. This was particularly unfair on the “better” players and that’s why they started leaving. This happened from Henry all the way to RVP. The kids he was protecting had eventually done one.

    My point is that even with limited cashflow we have bought decent players in that time. Being so fixated on project youth is what cost us, and not the billions that we dont have to spend.

    The future is bright, not because of who we bought this season but because Wenger has acknowledged the project has failed and is back to doing what brought him success in the past.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    It’s the lack of simple business sense that undermines the spend some money arguments. Where are these £25 million players who we can buy that City/Chelsea won’t spend £35-50 million on? If the transfer market operated the way people who advocate splashing the cash want it to, Messi would be the first £150 million player.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Indian Gooner,

    I love your write up in that one can see your arguments, respect them but still disagree with both with them.

    For example, over the years and even now, most Gooners who disagree with Arsenal’s direction in the past 7/8years have not done so in such mild and agreeable language as you have done but in extremely colourful and abusive language that labels any who voice a dissent as, at the very least, a moron. Of course, in fairness, UA had challenged them at every step and in poll after poll their views never became the majority opinion of Arsenal fans.

    As to the detail of what irked in the new Arsenal direction of 7/8years which you identified as “Wenger’s lack of spending and continued acceptance of mediocrity as a goal”. I see on your part, a mix up between “cause” and “effect”.

    Wenger didn’t just decide to stop spending; the club simply didn’t have as much money to spend as previously because of the decision to build a new stadium. Thus, Viera coud be quoted in that period as saying that while the club, in his view, needed £50m+ to invest on new players as the double cup winning generation was fading away, Wenger told him that he had £25million to invest. The “cause” of the shortfall was the Club’s decision to build a new stadium and its “effect” was that Wenger lacked the funds to keep his team on par with its key competitors for trophies. All else you wrote (without prejudice to the veracity of their details or the possibility of different interpretations)arose from Wenger’s strategies to adapt to this reality.

    In this light one accepts your accusation of creeping “mediocrity” in the squad. However, again, this is an “effect” of reduced investment. the club clearly expected that we would be weakened, relatively, in our competition for trophies – as the price to pay for the new stadium. This is a reality dictated by the club’s sustainable financing model. it didn’t arise from a new found love for mediocrity on Wenger’s part.

    Of course we must accept that new factors came in in the period that accentuated Arsenal’s disadvantage (i.e. new and aggressive billionaire model clubs entered the market in the form of Chelsea and laterly, ManCity).

    We can also accept that Wenger perhaps cut too deep or relied too heavily or too quickly on the Youth model developed both as a long term strategy and as short term plan to see us through the low-cash-flow stadium-build phase. We can also accept that he handled on or two player transfers poorly or prematurely to the disadvantage of the cup winning potential of the club in later seasons during this phase.

    However, we must recognize that Wenger was acting on situations LIVE; whereas, the rest of us have the benefit of 20/20 vision in our respective roles playing as (what Americans call) “Monday Morning quarterbacks”.

    Equally we must also accept that with what he had to work upon, Wenger did us proud by playing in a EUFA Final once; coming second in the league twice, reaching quarter-finals or better in Carling cup 3/4 times and never failing to qualify us for EUFA.

    Wenger’s stock is very high among his peers (though you will not believe that if you asked a certain Tony Pulis) and more so among club owners especially for the great job they all see that he has done for or beloved Arsenal in the period we fans had moaned the loudest. They know; they just know that Wenger didn’t suddenly become a pathological penny pincher and a lover of mediocrity but see a man consistently punching well above his weight season after season – in spite of his telling financial handicaps.

    This is all the more reason you can look to the future with better confidence because, now, it is clear that the handicap has eased off significantly. The old, wily astute and goal driven Wenger has returned…just see what he has done and is still doing in this summer’s transfer market.

    a. He has done better (than Chelsea or ManCity) selling players he wishes to sell or see that he cannot keep in the team on the club’s terms.

    b. He has done brillantly getting comparatively top class players as the billionaire clubs but at 50% the price they tend to pay.

    c. To date, 2 regular 1st team players have left but he has brought in at least 2 seasoned and reputable player options for their respective positions.

    Not the mark of a mediocrity lover by any stretch!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Arsenal’s current business model is a mix of all. Our club is owned by not one but two billionaires. However, the board has decided to avoid paying dividends in order to pay back our debt, but this decision can be reversed at any time. Once the debt is paid, there is no guarantee that money will not be taken out of the club.

    For now, Arsenal’s only difference with Chelsea is that Roman is a billionaire that makes emotional decisions, whereas our billionaire is a real businessman who is only in it for the money. Which is better? The fool or the stingy merchant?!

  • Stuart

    @ gunner4evr
    Gunner4evr since when ?

  • I am not in agreement with the polarised argument between Gazidis’ ‘self sustaining model’ and Man City spending billions.

    We do not need to spend as much as City to truly compete for the title. We make profits every year and have a substantial cash / investment reserve building up from these profits. We could have afforded to spend a net £20m extra every season for the last 5 years and still been in a comfortable position. Hardly Man City levels of spending, but enough to have added 3-4 world class players over the period.

    That level of investment may well have been the difference between constantly falling short and actually bringing home a trophy or two – who knows.

    The poster you are referencing in your article clearly did not articulate himself very well, but he is not saying spend billions.

    We need to strike a better balance – a sustainable model does not mean large profits every year. We just need to be able to cover our costs and make a small profit.

    Gazidis is looking at changing the wage structure at the club – rightly so. We have got into a situation where too many third string players are paid too much money. The wages issue is the other side of the problem. We can actually afford the transfers in my view, but getting players off the books has been a problem.

    So, spend £20m a season on new players and slowly rid the club of the poor performers on large salaries.

    Funnily enough, I think this is exactly the approach we are starting to adopt. I hope so, because if we just stretch a little further instead of being ultra conservative, we might well be challenging for title again soon.

    Lets not make the debate about Arsenal’s mode or City’s. There is clear blue water between the true strategies and plenty of room to sail.

  • bob

    Sammy the Snake,
    When will the stadium debt be repaid in your view? 6-7 years was the best guesstimate hereabouts over the last few weeks.

  • bob

    Tony,
    Same question: when will the stadium debt be repaid in your view?

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony, to update your Reading FC dossier!

    Anton Zingarevich, is the son of Boris, who has very obvious links to the upper echelons of the Russian Government.

    Anton back in the nineties, was a student at Bearwood College, Reading from 1998 to 2000, according to his former head teacher, Stephen Alano. While at college, Anton Zingarevich would attend matches with other students at Bearwood.

    Cloak and dagger, as Boris requires a visa (?), so the deal was stitched up in Milan.

    It is all above board, so far. IF Arshavin is transferred, it seems more like Reading FC?

  • bob

    Shakabula Gooner,
    When will the stadium debt – the cause of our situation in your analysis – be repaid in your view? What will you look for as a result until then? and after that? Any specific guesstimates are welcome.

  • arsenal george

    it shocks me to hear arsenal fans defend what is happening to our great club…its all about money for our rich owners…wake up we just sold our best player to our arch rivals…..we have become a seller club…what a shame what have they done to our team

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Bob:
    I don’t know when the stadium debt will be fully repaid. The Swiss Rambler or Tony should have better info on that. However, I get the impression that from last season onwards, the debt had been restructured or a substantial portion of it had been repaid to become less of a looming and risky burden for the club.

    As a result, just as we have had at this transfer season, I expect us to be more proactive in keeping our first team well supplied with players who can compete on all fronts and sustain the competition as to increase our chances of winning things.

    However, Arsenal, under Wenger, will always approach this challenge differently from Mancity or chelsea coaches because Wenger is more wily as a negotiator; has been accumulating and training Youth talent for a while now and is not afraid to give Youth a chance and has a knack for solving his footballing problems in unique out-of-the-box ways.

    My guestimate is that from this season onwards it will not be easy to dismiss Arsenal’s chances for winning the domestic cups it is competing for anymore. However, as I expect that we may not fully gel as a team until late September/early October, the points we drop in the period may put us at a disadvantage this season.

    I expect us to soon return to having a stable squad that is not easily poached from by our billionaires and that only requires a few new faces each season – as used to be the case before 2004.

    I also expect the wages for our best players to creep until it matches what the billionaire clubs pay theirs – just as, in the past, Arsenal had no problems matching what ManU paid its key players. This is the area where the billionaire clubs currently have massive advantafe over us: despite our disappointment as Arsenal fans, the £20m+ premium manU could offer RvP over the next 5years make the great difference between our keeping him and his leaving. However, this creeping new wage structure make take 3-5years to happen in order to avoid a domino effect on wage inflation. Pity RvP didn’t have all that time anymore on his side(smiles).

  • Richard

    @Indian Gooner.

    What if the situation at Arsenal for the past 7/8 years was the intention from the very beginning? What if the idea was to develop players and sell them off at a premium? What if I told you, some clubs would like to be in Arsenal’s position but they dont have the guts to pull it off? What if I told you, the club estimated they could pay off a chunk of their debt by being competitive with fringe players mixed with a few old hand, and young guns who when they mature are then sold off at a profit? What if I told you Arsenal’s model would have also won things if not for Abramovich appearing after the decision was made to build the stadium and splashing the cash at Chelsea? What if we ask Tottenham and Liverpool why they are unable to get a loan and build their own new stadium? I mean it should be that easy but unfortunate they’ve been planning to do so for a couple of years.

    Shine your eyes.

    They see the Arsenal model and know it only takes a genius to pull it off. Show me one person that predicted if we sold Fabregas and Nasir last season and played without Jack Wilshere, we would finish 3rd? To be honest I didn’t. But they would never praise Wenger for that.

    Let us out the last seven years behind us. I always say to my Arsenal friends, we weathered through the rough seas for seven years and survived. We did not win a trophy but we were not far from those who did. Imagine if during these harsh period we had to play in the championship? We rubbed shoulders with the elites in Europe while paying off our debt. If you’ve ever maxed out your credit cards and then successfully paid it back in full you will likely understand. You will know that you are bound to make sacrifices knowing that it is all for the better.

    It was seven barren years, is there a chance we can ride on the achievement of last season and move on. The club has finally got rid of most of the key players we relied on those barren years and these new players would not be affected by the negativity surrounding the club.

    I rest my case. Arsenal to win the league this season.

    NB: If we all support the club with optimism, we would lift the players up when they are down. If we continue with pessimism, then we will get the same result as the past 7 years.

  • Ed

    what i dont understand is why people say Arsenal is run like a business as though it is a bad thing??

    surely considering the revenues they make and the costs they incur (salaries, marketing, matchday security etc.) then it has to be run as a business. you can’t expect them to just pay hundreds of thousands to employees (players) and not have any money to pay… that is how football clubs go bankrupt. if fans want a pure football club, then support an amateur team which doesnt need you to pay to watch and doesnt need to pay their players… then they would be complaining why they are not competing with the best every year for the Premiership.

    these people really need to think about it for a moment… every team is run as some sort of commercial enterprise. any of them play in a 5-a-side team on saturdays? how much does it cost to book a pitch? how much do you have to pay to play? how long will your team carry on without a sugar daddy if your players refused to pay the money to book the pitch?

  • ARSENAL 13

    @ Tony…

    m not well educated about this shares thing. Arsenal shares are owned by a few people. For now they are not paid dividends. AND lets assume that when we are debt free, they start getting their dividends. Can they gobble a big chunk of our profits as dividends????? OR Is it possible for them to do a Glazers?????…. With the limited knowledge I have, I dont think its possible.

    Stan could do it though. BUT looks unlikely.
    For Stan ARSENAL will be a big asset. A company worth billions under his fold.

    I like the idea of one big share holder. A stability in ownership is attained. If we had multiple small share holders, then the fight for the control would never have ended.

  • Gunner4evr

    When ffp kicks in,Arsenal will be able to take advantage.It’s easier said than done.For the last 7 years,the gunners have been unable to compete.
    The big clubs will still be spending money. It’s very easy. Their owners could under the guise of sponsorship deals pour millions into the club.That will be treated as income.
    It will be interesting to see how Platini will deal with such scenarios. My take is it will be back to square one.

  • @ Tony and Nicky in particular (but also to all others)

    Oxford United was facing closure in 1982 due to debts(!), and Robert Maxwell stepped in and rescued the club.
    In 1983-84 they were promoted Division 2, and the following season were promoted to the top flight, Division 1.
    In 1986 they won the League Cup.
    In 1987 Maxwell left the club.

    When Maxwell died* in 1991, his personal estate – including the club – became insolvent.

    The club was bought by a new owner.
    In 2005-06 Oxford United were relegated to the Conference National after 44 years in English League football.
    They returned to the Football League for the 2010-11 season.

    *Maxwell disappeared from a yacht out at sea, body never recovered. ‘Death’ presumed to be suicide.

    Good post as always, Tony.

  • Shard

    I agree with the cynics regarding FFP. But I don’t think FFP will have no effect. It will have some effect. It won’t always work fairly and equally (nothing ever does- especially under UEFA) but it will have SOME effect.

    In any case, my optimism for Arsenal isn’t based around FFP. As Shakabula points out, our revenues will grow, and we will gradually start increasing our wage and transfer outlay. It won’t happen overnight, and in any case, if it’s a pure battle of the purse we’ll never win with the oil rich clubs. Yet, ManU compete, and there is no reason we can’t reach close to ManU’s revenues..EVENTUALLY. Gazidis, Fox and the marketing team are much maligned, but I think we’ll see them have a major impact in the years ahead. Kroenke’s know-how in sports will help as well.

    We’e never been right at the top of the food chain as far as football clubs are concerned. ManU were always ahead in England, and Europe was, even when I started supporting the club, an exotic place, where we’d feel lucky to not lose to Bayern or Juventus. We look at these clubs not with awe or trepidation anymore. That’s because we’ve progressed. Our ‘brand’ has grown more recognisable and familiar around the world. Trophies might be missing, but I’d argue that people who watch us know the unstated handicaps we face, and the lean years might well have built up a more hardcore, loyal fanbase.

    I’m largely encouraged by the sort of players coming in since last season. Because it shows that the club feel confident enough to invest in players for whom they might not get as much resale value (on account of their age) That might just help us push on to the next stage as a club.

  • bob

    Arsenal13,
    I might have missed it, but when did fight for control actually end?

  • ARSENAL 13

    @bob….even if Usmanov reaches his 30% he can only be a member of the board. The controlling rights will be with Stan as he is the single largest owner.

  • ne

    Nice one Tony is insightful. Well the only league that still competitive enough and untapped by the billionre is the Bundesliga. Have Arsenal been in a league like that, we would be a success with our self sustaining model. I love what Dortmund had achieve