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Why the Prem League is about to go bust

There is a feeling in football that things really aren’t that bad.  In this article I will try to convince you that they are not just disastrously bad – they are actually far worse than that.  Football in England is about to explode.

I’ll start with something that we all know about: Portsmouth FC.  We all know of their financial mess.  But consider also the people who have been in charge of the club this season…

  • Sacha Gaydamak son of a convicted arms trafficker, himself charged with money laundering.  Known to be totally anti-gay, and very much wanting to publicise his view that gays should be shot.
  • Sulaiman al-Fahim.  No one ever knew who backed him or where any of his money (if there was any) came from.  He always said he was a good mate of Thaksin Shinawatra, late of Manchester City and Piers Morgan.
  • Ali al-Faraj.   The classic multi-billionaire who couldn’t raise a farthing, the owner of an EPL club who had “no interest in football”.   In fact he was so bored with football he handed over control to…
  • Daniel Azougy who was convicted of fraud.  He was a solicitor who was banned from practising for deliberately handing fake documents in to the courts.   And then we had…
  • Balram Chainrai – who was previously linked with the Gaydamak empire (see above) and Levi Kushnir, who seemed to have spent so much time sending companies into receivership that I think he ran his businesses from the court robing room.  This guy loaned money to Ali al Faraj which gave him links to two of the four above, but what he also had was a charge on everything in the club, which means that if the club goes bust he can get the lot and have Portsmouth thrown out of the league for not paying football debts.

In case you think that Portsmouth are a one off, consider Cardiff run by Peter Ridsdale who ran Leeds and created the “live the dream” phrase for football.  He denied there was any tax owing at Cardiff, and said he would challenge any demand from the Revenue, and then asked the fans for money for some new players, before saying oops sorry he was wrong there was a tax case, then paid the fans’ money over to the tax man, and the tax man said, “nothing like enough, sunshine” and they are awaiting their next hearing.  The Revenue want them wound up.

Palace have been in administration for a while now, and well, its Crystal Palace, not really a big team.  And Southend, well small time.  Except that smaller clubs have been going in and out of administration for years now, but the number is growing and growing.   But hang on, Portsmouth, Cardiff and Southend – that was one week in the courts.

So I pose the questions: why are the clubs going bust when they have all this TV money, and where does it all end?

First answer, clubs are spending so much on salaries now that they cannot make ends meet even if they get to the money spinning cup final – as both Portsmouth and Cardiff did a year and a half ago.

While Arsenal invested the profits from player sales, TV and the rest on the greatest world-wide scouting network in the world, on training facilities to die for, and ultimately the redevelopment of the ground, most clubs did none of this.   They blew every single penny they didn’t have on salaries.  In short, Arsenal’s expenditure gives us something that lasts more than a year or two.  Most clubs’ money goes out of the door before they have even got it.

But many people, on hearing of the ludicrous situation that Man U and Liverpool are in say, “How could this be allowed?”   It seems unbelievable as does the fact that a club that gets £40 million odd from TV etc, can turn that into a loss.

The fact is, no one has broken any FA, EPL or UEFA rules.  They have disintegrated within the rules.  Ali al-Faraj, Balram Chainrai, the Glazers, Hicks and the rest of them have made it plain that they are motivated by making money for themselves, and the EPL can’t do anything about it.

Which brings me to the second part of the explanation – the people.  I’ve mentioned the crew at Portsmouth, and we know the people at Man U and Liverpool and the way they act.  Is this how football is?

In fact this is how it is through most of football.   Remember my notes about Derby recently – how three men went in, raped the club, and now are (fortunately) in jail?

Did football learn anything?   Of course not.   Portsmouth were allowed to bring in Daniel Azougy, a convicted fraudster.  Notts County’s owners were always unknown and are now seen even by dear of sweet Sven to be a bunch of crooks with contacts in North Korea who got the simplistic Trust that ran the club to hand over all their shares for nothing.   And we still don’t know who owns Leeds or Birmingham City (and it is not the front man Cheung – he’s just, well, the front man).   We have clubs who are financially based in the Virgin Islands, and clubs owned by tax exiles.  We have clubs owned by men who lend the clubs money and then demand interest at way above market rates.

So, it is the habit of spending all the money on salaries, and it is the fact that the industry is in the hands of people who, to put it mildly, don’t have many scruples.

Now you might think I am exaggerating, and that it could not have got this bad without someone noticing.  I am now going to prove that it could – by comparing football in England to the banking industry in the US.

The collapse of the western economies started in the US with the collapse of a company called Long Term Capital Management, (officially LTCM but widely known as Short Term Crazy Banking).

This firm had available cash of $500m.  Unfortunately LTCM had leveraged itself  so much it owed $1.25 trillion.  ($1,250,000,000,000)

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, called in all the big  US banks to organise a rescue.   LTCM were too big to go down.   But the head of Bear Stearns – one of the biggest banks of all, said his bank was not in the business of helping out two-bit firms known by a set of letters.

The other bankers were outraged, and vowed revenge.  They bailed out the crazy bankers, and then waited.   A short while later Bear Stearns ran into difficulty and went cap in hand to the other banks.  They could have been bailed out, but the other banks were so mad about LTCM they utterly refused.   Bear Stearns was bought out for about 10% of its value.   The collapse of the economies of the West had begun.

The point of my piece is that organisations are not built on logic but on people and personalities, and in football in England we have a load of totally unstable personalities running the show, many of whom are nutters.   Some are like the leaders of Bear Stearns who think they can play God.  Some will never forget an insult.  Some are just idiots.  Some are crooks.  None of them do what is right for the game – they act on impulse, emotion, greed and hatred.

For goodness sake, even the England manager has been done for tax fraud in Italy, with another series of cases pending, and we have got another load of people (all innocent until proven otherwise) waiting for their trials.  The word “Arry” springs to mind.

Figures up to 2008 showed that the EPL clubs then owed £3.1bn.   That is in addition to the money that League and the FA owe quite separately.   And this with a £2.7bn TV deal.

The most successful club of that period – Man U, who won League and Champs League, lost £44.8m that year.  Arsenal is the only club to take on debt as a long term clear investment – the stadium and the redevelopment of the old ground.

And what did the EPL say at this time about all the debt around football?   “The debt levels are manageable.”

So let’s take a middle of the road club and see.

In 2009 Everton reported a record turnover of £80m and a £6.7m loss.   That loss was not because they made some one-off investment.  It is in fact the loss they make each year, year after year after year (except when they sold Rooney).  And they are not exceptional.   Villa, Bolton… look anywhere you like, and the clubs are making losses year after year.  They are simply propped up by people putting money in.

Unsustainable continuing losses are the norm.   Welcome to Short Term Crazy Football: financial suicide meets crooks and nutters.  Football is about to implode.

UNTOLD RUMOURS

It has emerged that Arsenal FC made a huge error when taking on their new ground at the Emirates.  Under ancient rights, people living around the ground had grazing rights for their sheep on the Highbury ground.  In order to avoid this happening, each year Arsenal paid the residents a fee in lieu of the right being exercised.  However since moving to the Ems the fee has been “forgotten” and now angry residents are threatening to buy a flock of sheep and let them loose on the Ems pitch.

Fabregas is going to Barcelona to meet up with his friends in a couple of weeks.  He will then return to London.   The Mirror (which is now at the very heart of the attempt to knock Arsenal) will say, “Fabregas on secret trip to Barca” and use it as proof of the forthcoming transfer.  (You heard it here first).

Lady Nina Bracewell Smith has given all her shares in Arsenal to her dog Hobgoblin.  “I have had enough of football,” said her ladyship from her luxury yacht off the coast of Somalia.  “Out here on the ocean, miles from anywhere, with just one ship sailing towards us and the men on board dressed like pirates…  oh shit…”

Fabio Capello has offered Arry Redknapp tax advice and guidance.  Arry is due up in court to defend himself over allegations that he has been doing me (as a UK taxpayer) out of tax that he should have paid.  Capello considers himself something of an expert on the matter after he managed to get away with only a £3000 fine for giving false information to the Italian tax police while he was manager of Roma.

Capello could have faced a three-month jail term but struck a deal with the police and testified against his agent, who was jailed for 20 months.   We don’t know yet who Capello suggests that Arry could stitch up in this way, but the name Bentley springs to mind.

Commenting on this state of affairs an FA spokes person said,  “What’s tax?”

AND IN CASE YOU MISSED IT….

Why did Arsenal move to Highbury and not somewhere else?

Making the Arsenal. The story of how the modern Arsenal was made.  A must for every Arsenal fan with a sense of humour.

From Man U to Mansfield – how football is falling apart and what three guys have done to stop it.  Read here.

Coming up next… Billy the Dog McGraw in Porto.

Thank you for reading

Tony Attwood (who pays all his tax on time every time – I’d be bloody stupid not to writing articles like this).  2010

35 comments to Why the Prem League is about to go bust

  • IndianGooner

    The writing was on the wall for some time especially when the FA and the prem league did nothing during the takeover of ManU and Liverpool.

    The main worrying part for me is with majority of clubs and the prem league to go bust, what the hell is Arsenal going to do?? There wont be any teams to play against nor a league to play in. Whats the use of the Wonderful stadium, the training facilities and the players?? maybe then, the sheep grazing idea wont be a bad one after all… 😛

  • Sean

    The hugely patronizing ‘small time’ comment (they beat Man. U. two seasons ago) about Southend United is precisely what might save such clubs.
    Quite clearly, a club like them is better off in the lower two leagues than getting a fatal sniff of the big time.

    It’s the ones who want to be big time (I can’t think why……predictable results, ridiculous kick off times, ludicrous salaries, soul-less all-seater stadiums) who are more likely to bite the dust.

    Talking of predictable results…..that 4-1 win for Chelsea means 38 (out of 38) predictable results at Arsenal and Chelsea this season!!!!!
    Way to go!

  • well-endowed gooner

    Tony, isn’t Danny Fiszman a tax exile as well?

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Well, I guess maybe what’s happening at West Ham and Notts County is a start to try and change all this.

    Notts County’s new owners are not talking of Premier League dreams, which says they are realistic. They should get to League 1 and might make it to the Championship. Who knows?

    West Ham want to reduce debt and may need to spend 5 years doing so. Are there dodgy arrangements there or are the new owners UK residents, UK taxpayers and using corporate shells based in the UK??

    Maybe Mike Ashley, for all that he is hated by some Newcastle fans, is doing likewise? He put in his own money to that club. I guess the key question is whether he loaned it or did it as equity? I think he should see it through. No-one else put in £250m of their own money, did they?? Am I being innocent here??

    WBA seem to be well run, although you may know better. And Burnley’s chairman seems finanicially sensible too, doesn’t he??

    Maybe worth highlighting the clubs that are OK as well as the rotten apples, eh?

  • AGS

    WEG – I think that Danny Fiszman’s main residence is Switzerland, but I have no idea of his business interests in this country. As he also doesn’t take money out of the club either, unlike these other owners mentioned in Tonys article, it wouldn’t really be fair to tarnish him with the same brush. He has made a nice profit on selling some of his shares to Silent Stan of course, but until the takeover battle at Arsenal unfolds some more, we cannot know for sure what his intentions were by selling out to Stan.
    Great article again Tony. I personally think all will be done to get Portsmouth over the line this season (so the EPL don’t have to deal with the points issue), but once the season is over, they will go to the wall. Peter Storie is telling us more stories about potential new investors again, but that is just a delaying tactic more than anything and something to appease the fans.
    As EPL clubs are also set for another £25m per year windfall – due to the new Worldwide TV deals being negotiated (Scudamore said they will get £1bn next year as apposed to the current £500m that is split between all the clubs), then the EPL needs to think hard about bringing in rules that says clubs must use this money for the next few years specifically to clear their existing debts and get on an even keel, otherwise nothing will change and the clubs will just use this extra revenue to leverage themselves even more.

  • Hartwick89

    Tony,

    The thing that fascinates me is the UK government’s willingness to observe the corruption and then to compound every problem with football by making sure they get their fair share via taxation. The incredible thing is what has the UK government done to deserve such revenue from taxing. What is the rate anyway? 50-60%? So I would be extremely pissed if I were a fan of Portsmouth if I looked at my debt and then looked at the tax bill and saw that each club could probably relieve some of their debt if the tax bill wasn’t so high. As well, look at the british tax on players salaries. Again what has the government contributed to Arshavin’s skill sets? So why should they get half of what he makes? It’s a bit unfair. Imagine if the solution of the league problems with debt were solved by a tax break on players wages (which would allow teams to pay less and players take home more) and a tax break for the team soley to be used to get debt under control.

  • tim

    Hi Tony — Great article. The EPL is exactly like the US financial system! Unless the rules are changed, there will only be more crises in the future.

    One minor suggestion: the corrupt cronyism of the banks and the Federal Reserve is a metaphor you can work with. This would only strengthen your argument.

    In particular, you could focus on the corrosive influence of a bank named Goldman Sachs and its ties to the US Government and Federal Reserve. Goldman has been widely criticized for its role in starting the financial crisis, in covering it up (i.e. with Greece), and then with profiting from it thanks to the U.S. Govt’s bailout.

    My question is, would Goldman Sachs be Chelsea or Manchester United? And would Henry Paulson be Roman A. or Alex F-word?

  • I think I am going to give up irony in football articles as it always seems to bounce back. What I was trying to say about Southend was exactly what I was trying to say about Derby in an earlier piece. And indeed it was meant to be a central theme of my article…

    The supporters of bigger clubs do often look down in a patronising manner on smaller clubs, and when they go bust or are taken over by criminals (as with Derby) or gentlemen of highly dubious intent (Notts) people ignore it because they are smaller clubs.

    I keep mentioning clubs outside the EPL (see for example my wholly supportive comments about Mansfield recently, and the mentions of such clubs as Chester, Bournemouth and many others who have had their troubles)and keep trying to make the point: if these clubs continue to fail at such a speed, the whole game with collapse.

    To me, the issue is the fact that the collapse is all around us, from foundations to the highest level, through economic mismanagement and disorganised gangs of criminals, and we are sailing blind towards the edge of the world.

    Who do we play when everything goes bang? Either we end up in a version of the Scottish league with a handful of giants and lots of smaller teams, or else we play in a Euro League.

    Tony

  • Hartwick89

    Tony,
    Sean is irony for EPL hater. He hits on this site just to be nuisance. Don’t be fooled by his exploits. Apparently he loves the English third division. It is more exciting! I bet he could find a third division website if he looked hard enough! Then he could write back and forth to another EPL hater.

  • walter

    For a moment I was thinking you were starting with a rumour Tony.

    “Sacha GAYdamak son of a convicted arms trafficker, himself charged with money laundering. Known to be totally ANTI-GAY, and very much wanting to publicise his view that GAYS should be shot.”

    He must hate his own name I think. 🙂

  • 'holic

    Good work as usual, Tony. Thought-provoking and chucklesome at the same time. That’s a gift.

  • Sean

    Hartwick
    Dispute the ‘predictable’ stat of 38 games?
    Don’t think that the stranglehold of the Bore Four and the predictable position of all 20 teams in the table has a hand in the sorry state of the game today?

    This Saturday….
    Arsenal v. Sunderland is a home win.
    Even ten years ago that might not have been the case.

  • walter

    I really can’t understand why the FA just sits there and looks at things and does nothing.
    I’m not saying that they should make a rule that forbids teams to make debts. It is part of doing business to lend money for investments. But from the moment a team does not pay their debts or the intrest on the debts they should be deducted points or be put down to a lower division.
    They should also make rules to prevent Chelsea and City scenario’s. This could be making rules that you can only buy players from money you earned as a club. If there is a rich man that want’s to give money to a club he could but only for example to invest it in a new stadium or training centre but not in players.

  • walter

    A lot of MU or Liverpool fans have the feeling they will be bailed out if things really turn bad. I don’t know if this is like the hope of someone to be hanged that the rope they will use to hang him will not be strong enough.
    Who would save them ?
    The FA ? They would make a precedent and this would mean that all the other clubs can ask the same treatment. I even don’t have a clue if the FA has so much money.
    The governement ? The same thing will the governement burn its fingers to save a private organisation ? They did for som banks but banks are a vital part of the economic system but the world will not stop turning if a football club goes bust. Even not when it is called MU or Liverpool.

    Some rich person(s) may step in but they will have to face to pay the huge debts so they may not be that tempted to buy a club loaded with debt.

    I really hope MU, Liverpool and Chelsea (when the Russian has enough) will pay the big and ultimate price and go down like Leeds did. Maybe then the FA, UEFA and Fifa start to act and make some rules to end this situations;

    Great article Tony.

  • Hartwick89

    Sean,
    Are you trying to be clairvoigant? Let me ask you did you pick the Sunderland vs. Arsenal fixture earlier in the season? How about the 6L column? Stick with the third division its more complex!

  • Re the Third Division thing, I have to say I really do appreciate fans who stay with their own club no matter what league they are in. I come from an Arsenal family (parents and grandparents) and lived near the ground, so I am Arsenal, but in my travels got to know people who are utterly committed to their own local team, and that is terrific.

    What I can’t stand are those people from Cornwall and Devon who have no connection with Man U but who proclaim themselves Man U supporters.

    I really do admire what Mansfield has done, and the activities of two clubs near me – Corby Town who in a series of promotions have made it to the Conference North on crowds of about 50 and a ground that is pitiful. And Rushden and Diamonds who have a wonderful ground, and have survived the pull-out of the sponsor who did generously donate the land and build the stadium. Not so keen on Kettering, with their endless squabbles with the local council, and the coming and going of odd ball managers like Gasgoigne and that TV racist whose name now escapes me.

    Personally I think we should all go and watch Mansfield once a season just to celebrate the way they are putting their club together.

  • Gareth

    Commenting on this state of affairs an FA spokes person said, “What’s tax?”

    Pure brilliance ^^

  • Hartwick89

    Re Third Division;
    I agree. It’s where the roots of love football begins….Though Sean is a funny mate he always is cutting up the EPL. You probably know that then….I have nothing against third I was just trying to be funny… Oh well should say sarcastic my downfall.

  • Hartwick89

    Sean,
    By the way look at your Avatar. We must be related!

  • GregorFC

    Apparently Arsenal aren’t safe from the financial troubles either Tony. Have a look at this blog and comment as you deem necessary. http://arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/arsenal-going-broke/?

  • AGS

    Hi GregorFC
    I’ve just read the blog you have linked, but a lot of what the writer is saying seems, to me, to be scarce of real facts and is simply D&G posturing as per usual.
    1. Arsene has stated himself that there are maybe 5-10 players in the world that are out of Arsenals reach, but that they are in the market for everyone else. Giving Arsenes prudence when quoting on financial matters, I doubt if he would say this if behind the scenes the club was skint.
    2. Arsenals seasons tickets are high on face value, but season ticket holders at ManIOU pay just as much because they have to compulsory buy all CL and cup tickets and have no choice in the matter (someone correct me if this is Arsenals policy too but I don’t think so). Plus there is still a sizable waiting list for Emirates tickets despite the recession so stadium revenues should be fairly nailed down.
    3. Usmanovs idea to issue new shares to raise £100m was served by self interest in most likelihood and a plan to increase his own shareholding against Silent Stan. Arsenal still did him the courtesy of having a financial firm look at the proposal and their conclusion was as expected, that it would have little impact on the debt and current situation against Arsenals current payment terms.
    4. As far as the sale of flats on Highbury square is concerned, didn’t that mean Arsenals last year turnover of £300+m was the highest ever recorded by a football club? True, a third of the flats were yet to be sold as per the last accounts, but many were under offer and the club was confident that nearly all would be gone by 2010/2011?
    5. The only thing that lets Arsenal down at the moment is it agreements on shirt sponsorship with Nike and with Fly Emirates. This are a pittance compared with the deals enjoyed by ManIOU, Chelsea and even Liverpool (£80m over 4 years with Standard Charter to start next season). Arsenal have already commented on this and their willingness to try and review the situation, so if things do change in the next year or so, then we could expect at least another £20m per year flowing into the club as we would have no problem attracting sponsorship on a par with the others IMO.
    6. The tax issue will be hitting all the clubs the same, and even new contracts in spain are now subject to 43% tax, so it will be an issue for everyone, but as long as Arsenal maintain a good wages to turnover ratio, the impact shouldn’t be too severe IMO, plus Arsenal have a very good pool of saleable assets. Most of the reserves and youth players would command £2-3m transfer fees, and Arsenal have sold players like Muamba and Bentley on regular occurances over the years so could do this again if needed and still be strong

  • Paul C.

    Gregor,

    That Robert Peston article was shown to be bogus last year when it was published, it is more of a commentary on the blog that featured it after all this time. Peston based his entire argument on a prospectus produced by Lazards, which was acting as a banker to Usmanov, who was trying to convince people that Arsenal should do a 150million rights offering to increase his power within the club. Now, if you have ever worked in syndication at a major Investment Bank (I have) then you know that the prospectus’ are prepared in order to present the most one-eyed view possible in order to sell the issuance. That is why the banks get paid the money, because they create a particular story to sell the offering.

    Arsenal’s revenue is NOT going down. In fact, Arsenal have just begun to tap into marketing and merchandising avenues under Gazidis. Compared to Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool we are very, very under utilized in this area. Gazidis himself has put together a whole new team to exploit this area and feels that revenue can be increased 25% because of it. Lazards got it wrong with their revenue estimates for 2010 (spectacularly wrong, completely and utterly wrong)and the report conveniently forgot to mention that if Arsenal’s revenue decreased for the reasons given (tax changes in the UK and rising wages) then so would every other clubs in the UK. And Arsenal and Chelsea have roughly the same ticket prices (Chelsea do not have an equivalent of the Club seats at Arsenal, which are premium seats) as premier London clubs. Finally, Arsenal WILL make a profit from the Highbury Redevelopment, as revealed in their last accounts. Peston’s article was done prior to the last set of accounts being published, when people still thought that the property crash would lead to Arsenal losing money on Highbury. Lazards assumed that as well. In fact, the Highbury Redvelopment is now almost completely sold, and what has not been sold has been leased out. All of this was pointed out months ago by many people and many criticized Peston heavily for his article, arguing it showed an extreme lack of research and naivity at being suckered in by a prospectus.

    One of the reasons many of us love Tony and this site is that he actually researches things prior to posting them. He has an understanding based on knowledge. He doesnt just google articles that will support his view and post them without any regard for whether they are factual or not, as the blog you have referenced obviously does (and the fact they are using such an old report is unbelievable!!!!).

    Does that answer your question?

  • Goonerman

    Re Portsmouth – I came across these figures recently and wonder how on earth have Portsmouth got themselves into this mess. I am naive re fiddling a football club but surely someone at Portsmouth has had their hand in the Till:

    Defoe cost Pompey £7m, left for £15 m.
    Johnson cost £4 m, left for £18m.
    Muntari cost £7m, left for £12 m.
    Diarra cost £5m, left for £20m.
    Distin cost free, left for £3m.
    Yakubu cost £2m, left for £7.5m.
    Benjani cost £4m, left for £7.6m.
    Matt Taylor cost £400,000, left for £3.5m.
    Crouch, Kaboul, Kranjcar left for what they cost.

    The small matter of £57.2 million Profit

    Any thoughts?

  • GregorFC

    Thanks AGS and Paul, very good information there. I didn’t realize that the Peston report was that old, and if I had, I probably wouldn’t have even brought it up. I did kind of figure that the report was based on the fear mongering that Usmanov has used to try to increase his power within the club (and has so far failed miserably!!). I picked that blog article up on NewsNow, and it just reinforces the need to be selective when reading ‘news’ about our great club. Thanks again, and long live the Arsenal!!!

  • LRV

    The football Association in this country are not serving the interest of football and football fans. Greed and corruption has tied their hands so tight even their eyes have lost focus. However, if they can start acting now, maybe we can still avert total collapse.

    As for the link posted up there; I have always said there is more danger to Arsenal from her own so called fans than from anyone outside. Imagine writing fallacies in the guise of fact on your blog about a club you claim to love?

  • Finsbury

    Up and down the City Road
    In and out the Eagle
    That’s the way the money goes
    Pop! goes the weasel.

  • Paul C.

    Goonerman – that does indeed look very, very suspicious. One thing I would say is that a lot of those transfer figures are to be paid in instalments (Diarra for example was only 3 or 4 million down initially if I remember) and therefore wouldnt provide Portsmouth the money to pay current wages. Also, in the case of Diarra we (Arsenal) got about 25% of that transfer fee as a sell-on clause so once again Portsmouth would not have seen all the money. I wonder how many others were like that as well?

    From what I have read about the Portsmouth situation it is all about wages. The wages were just far, far too high for a club drawing 20,000 a game on the South Coast (London might be different with higher ticket prices). I wouldnt be surprised if a lot of those profits from transfers have already been eaten up by wages.

  • Goonerman, I don’t know what has gone on at Portsmouth but if you look at the list of people involved in the club in the past year, and their histories as crooked lawyers and arms dealers, I think on that basis I could make a guess as to where the money went.

    Because the Glazers have gone public trying to get money we know that they pay themselves a fortune in management fees, one might guess the same with Portsmouth.

    But before the arms dealer comes and does my head in, its only a guess, squire, I know nothing, and I promise not to tell any…

    Ouch…

    Stop that….

    Ouch….

    Oh bugger

  • anaconda

    I don’t know about Portsmouth, but in his ‘Appy Southampton days, ‘Arry got a slice of all transfer fees they received. Is it wonder his clubs always have so much transfer movement?

    In Pompey it was also about bonuses. David James wrote in the Guardian that it later turned out that bonuses for players (+management I presume) for winning the FA Cup in fact totalled more than the revenue they got from it.

  • Michael the "gooner"

    A great article Tony.
    Regarding Pompey,where do we think all the money has gone.Good old Arry has had his fingers in the till.He is not alone!.
    How can Peter Storrie not get any blame on this whole matter.He has been the chief executive for all the time these problems have existed.
    The higher the transfer fee,the more Arry,Storrie and Mandaric made.It is my understanding that this is the reason they are in Court.They were paid a percentage of any transfers out,but,they did not tell the good old taxman.How he (Arry)had the balls to say on TV that he is at a loss why Pompey are in trouble is a joke!

  • Clerkenwell Gooner

    What about Fulham? I remember all the stick Al Fayed got when he took over the club from ?Ernie Clay, there was a lot of fear about he just wanted the riverside location for the value of the land, and was going to drive the team into the ground, a lot of it based on racism in my view.

    And now, what 20 years later, Fulham are doing well, have a brilliant manager, and could even be in contention in Europe, while the big guns like ManU are in deep trouble.

    For a number of the above listed, however, it seems the issue is about the land on which the grounds stand, which is likely to bring more profit to certain parties as a supermarket development than for the venue to continue as a football club.

  • AGS

    There’s an issue with the land around Portsmouth as well CG so your comment at the end there does carry some weight. I’m sure that Gaydamak fella owns most of it surrounding Fratton Park, which could well be why he has deliberately run Portsmouth into the ground – so that he can sell on the land to a developer who won’t have to worry about a football club parked right on it. I’m sure the land is worth about £40m as it stands so he would make a tidy profit if it could be developed without Portsmouth FC in the way.

  • Leo Ayi (Nigeria)

    I am not in support of this because we ave played too much games in the Premiership than any league, considering that we play in the Champions League, Premiership, FA Cup, Carling Cup and you still expect the team that comes up fourth to still play the Europe playoff which will qualify him to play or be grouped in the Champions League group stage.

    This Idea is ridiculous, let us examine this very well. The style can’t be welcome. Let us respect the No. of games we play in the Premiership.

  • Sean

    Hartwick
    ALL 38 games played at AFC and Chelsea this season have had predictable results this season (I’m claiming the two Everton draws).
    Der.
    You dispute that?

    Too complex for you?

  • Sean

    May I add that EXACTLY the kind of game this Arsenal team loses IS a game up north against the also-rans in the Premiership.
    Sunderland, Stoke City, Burnley, Hull…..I wouldn’t put money on Arsenal to beat any of them AWAY from home (especially the youth team).

    At Home?
    Virtually a certainty…..look at the stat!