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Buying clubs in other leagues. Why it is happening, and where if leaves FFP.

By Tony Attwood

I have been pondering on this site for a little while exactly how Manchester City are going to comply with Financial Fair Play.  As we might expect, as FFP gets closer and closer so it seems that Manchester City are working on the problem to, and now we are getting the first inklings of what they are going to do.

Their initial approach has been to recruit people from Deloitte, the firm which worked with Uefa to set up FFP in the first place.  Among their captures are Alex Byars and Martyn Hawkins and it seems that they, or those around them, have come up with a new wheeze to allow compliance with FFP.

In its simplest form Manchester City either need more income, or a dramatic cut in expenditure.  The latter is difficult with their salary bill being higher  than their total turnover.

Arsenal upped their turnover (enabling the club to pay higher salaries) by moving stadium and incorporating the money-making club level into the equation.  But for Man City I believe there are worries in some quarters that if they expanded their ground (the cost of which would not be counted under FFP towards their losses, and so is a “good thing”) they would not sell out every match.

(When Arsenal contemplated moving to the Ems, they were able to look at the length of season ticket waiting lists, and also did the experiment of moving to Wembley for Champions League games.   Both convinced the club that regular sales of 60,000 seats were quite possible.)

Big attendances lead to more money, not just from the entrance fees, but also from the marketing that goes with it, and on the marketing front Man City are a long way behind market leaders Man U.  So they are looking for something else – some other way forwards.

And it seems that what they have come up with is a way of making money through buying up clubs outside England.

Now the notion of Arsenal fielding teams in leagues outside of England has been a theme of Untold almost from the start of this blog.

We have spoken about putting a side in the Scottish league, perhaps even building a small stadium and applying for a place in the league.  Or maybe just investing heavily in one of the clubs that plays for ever in the bottom tier.

There has also been talk of taking over a third division club in France or Spain, or indeed any other country that allows their own clubs to play reserve teams in lower divisions.

All this comes about because the rules in England mean that one club cannot own another, and so the very sensible system that operates elsewhere, through which players can get a taste for really competitive matches, and indeed play more games, has failed to grow naturally in England.

The idea of buying up clubs in other countries however has been growing.  One of the best known is that instituted by the Pozzo family who took over Watford, giving the club very strong links with Udinese and Granada.  Their approach however may be more about making money than about developing their clubs, for they seem to work by buying players from around the world, playing them in their different teams, and then selling the ones who turn out to be gems for big profits.  Getting Watford into the top League (as per Elton John’s tenure) doesn’t seem to me (as an outsider of course) to be on the cards.

To me, what the Pozzo’s have is in fact a model of football harvesting.  Good for the owners, but it must be fairly heart breaking for supporters of the various clubs.

Now it appears Manchester City are looking at the same issue, although they are going at it in a somewhat different and much grander way.

I mentioned that when I was in Australia last year I was surprised to see just how global their owners expansion is, in terms of stadium branding.  Now they want to establish not nursery teams, but rather “partner clubs” around the world.

The aim is always branding, and that is where the scheme is so different from the one some of us proposed for Arsenal.

The aim with the Arsenal junior side was to give more chance to control the development of young players, who at the moment go out on loan.  With Man C the aim is quite different, although not unique, for I do recall Manchester United looking at this some time ago.

Man City want big branding and big publicity, and so they are looking at countries like Mexico, China, the rest of Asia and the USA, with the idea of taking over (or forming a partnership with) a club in each country with the aim of making enough money to placate FFP regulators in Europe.

The story began to develop when Ferran Soriano (CEO of Man City) said he was looking at “new creative ideas and business models” to forge a “historic transformation” of Man City.

Under Soriano Man City have been expanding their commercial department and branding quite considerably.

But that is just a part of it.   Such an international array of companies running clubs in other countries will allow Manchester City to expand its approach in which people who work for the club are technically paid for by another company, not Manchester City.  That already reduces their expenditure a little, in terms of losses (which affects FFP) but that would be nothing when compared to what could be achieved through a worldwide net of companies, each reporting to different football associations, and each paying tax under different tax regimes.

It would allow, for example, a profitable club in China, to employ staff who work in Manchester as “consultants”, thus taking them off the club’s books and so reducing the losses.

This route has been travelled before, not least by our neighbours Tottenham Hotspur who were owned by Enic, registered in the Bahamas.  Enic built up investments in a portfolio of clubs including also Rangers, Vicenza, Basel, AEK Athens, and Slavia Prague. from the late 1990s.

Having initially gained control of Tottenham from Alan Sugar, and made Daniel Levy chairman, Joe Lewis and Levy (who between them owned 52% of ENIC) bought out the other shareholders.

However in order to get total control of Tottenham Hotspur ENIC needed more funds so at that stage changed the operating model and sold off its other football clubs.

So what next?  Feeder clubs (as Man U have had with clubs like Royal Antwerp) are one thing – their aim is to develop new talent for the main club.  But setting up partner clubs in order to spread the brand and change the accounts so that FFP regulations are met, is quite another.

I wonder if those running FFP have any answers to this.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

63 comments to Buying clubs in other leagues. Why it is happening, and where if leaves FFP.

  • Rolee

    There you go again getting facts wrong Tony. The salary bill is not higher than turnover. This obsession you have with City is very unhealthy but if you insist on writing about City then at least get your facts right.

  • Theo Van Nasrigone

    Rolee, you may be interested in reading http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/may/23/premier-league-accounts-profit-debt
    Man City Turnover £153M Wage bill £174M

  • ClockEndRider

    Rolee,
    Please state sources. The last time I looked salary was above turnover at City.

  • Rolee

    Theo, them financial figures are a year out of date.

  • Rolee

    Clockendrider, MCFC.co.uk for the latest financial report. Numerous media outlets carried the financial report, I’m actually shocked Tony missed it considering his obsession.

  • Ian

    So are you saying it is wrong for City to do this? Good on them for trying to get around this unfair FFP. If we really want to prevent clubs from going bankrupt, then lets put all the money into a pot and share it evenly. Then we will see just how good some of these Managers/clubs really are. Unless of course clubs just want to keep their advantage over other/smaller clubs?

  • Ted Hughes

    The last line: ‘I wonder if those running FFP have any answers to this.’ says it all.

    This has NEVER been about ‘fair play’ it’s about stopping City & what happens if City use the exact same methods other clubs have used ? Well it was ok for other clubs but if City are to do it, we’d better put a stop to it.

    Pathetic.

    All your precious rules have done is allowed Ferguson to buy another title by clipping City’s spending for a season.

    There is no chance of stopping the growth of MCFC. Sooner or later, the club’s turnover & profits will be bigger than everyone elses because the scale of the opertation & the expertise involved is bigger than everyone elses.

    But you applaud as the American cartel pass rules to help them take money out of football in our country forever, just because you can slow us down for a season.

    You should all be proud. Now lie in the bed you helped make.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rolee,

    I cant find it on the MCFC website. So please could you link to it specific.

    But I googled it and have found that the club has paid £201.8M in wages and had an own income of £200M in the last accounts.
    Of course how much of that income was real and how much came out of the owners pockets is another thing..

  • WalterBroeckx

    all together now: other peoples money, must be funny, it’s a rich man’s world 😉

    Ted Hughes, I bet you were in arms about the £62 you had to pay to come to the Emirates. Well that is the way clubs have to operate to stay competitive with the rich boys plaything clubs.

    How much did you charge the Chelsea supporters? £59? I think that is what you charged the Arsenal supporters earlier this season also.

    Yep those £3 make the difference….

    Where was the outcry in the media? 😉 I missed it.

  • Rolee

    Walter, you’re not very good at googling are you? Here you go, http://www.mcfc.co.uk/news/club-news/2012/december/mcfc-annual-report-2011-12

  • Ian

    So the vast majority of supporters of FFP are all concerned about the financial welfare of other clubs not about keeping their own clubs financial advantage over the same clubs?? It’s nice to know you all care!

  • WalterBroeckx

    The same goes for the ones who are against FFP rules Ian.

    One could put money on it that most City supporters and Chelsea supporters would be the most in favour of FFP rules if it would have been other clubs who had had the visit of the money man.

  • heavyriffs

    City’s revenue for the 2011/12 season, £231m, 7th highest in the footballing WORLD and an increase of 52%. The Etihad deal didn’t start till 2012/13 season, new kit deal doesn’t kick in until 2013/14.
    We’re sitting pretty, dry your eyes.

  • Rolee

    Walter, these FFP rules will work in City’s favour because thanks to the investment ( which was so aggressive because these rules were coming ) by ADUG we are now in a position where revenues can be maximised and we get to play with the big boys. I still think these rules are bad for the game though.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rolee,
    or the MC website is not as easy to access as should be?

    I I want information on such a thing I would expect it to be in the “the club” part of the website. Like this http://www.arsenal.com/the-club And then you can find the financial results of many years

    I couldn’t find it there at the City website. While I am typing this comment I had access to the Arsenal accounts of the last 8 years and in another window the link is still waiting to get fully downloaded at City.
    At the MC website you have to know in which month the results are published to find them.

    So maybe the MC webmaster has some work to do. Or they are not proud about it and dust it between the rest of the news a bit? 😉

  • Rolee

    PMSL, this quote is taken from one of Ian Herbert’s pieces in The Independent ( Tony will know who he is because he’s more or less plagiarised his latest piece on City above ) ;

    “over the past two seasons, but they were top of the league of websites for clubs competing in the 2011/12 competition, based on an independent assessment of usability, design and quality”

    So, tell me Walter, is it the webmaster that’s the problem? or, do you need to look a lot closer to home?

    Thanks btw, you gave me a really good chuckle there.

  • Adam

    As long as a person doesn’t own more than 30% of a premier league club they can then also own up to 49% of a club playing in UEFA competitions.

    This, as far as im aware is the only situation where a part owner of two clubs could meet in competition.

    This highlights the differences between the rules governing football across Europe.

  • WalterBroeckx

    After switching to another software I managed to open them ah.
    No wonder we can’t find newer numbers when you have to go through all that trouble to find them and to open them /)

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rolee,
    then it is the problem of the club as they don’t want to make a separate section where people who are on the look for such things can find them.

    By the way the Arsenal website and the MC website both have the same things I don’t like. Things popping up when not wanted…

  • Piers Falowcherry

    Regarding the Pozzos and their stewarding of Udinese, Granada and Watford, I think you’ll find that many of the fans of those clubs are quite content with the respective and collective ownership(s). They’ve owned Udinese since a low point in Serie B in the mid 1980s, developing it gradually into, if not a big club, then one that for the last two seasons has made the CL playoffs (remember Natale’s perfomance against us two years ago – he’s been there for years). Granada, more recently purchased, quickly achieved promotion from the Spanish 2nd division but have yet to pull up any trees in La Liga.

    As for Watford, well they were owned by a liar and serial bankrupt and could well have gone to the wall before being bought by the Pozzos. By all accounts they are playing some of the best football seen in the Championship and moved last weekend into one of the two automatic promotion positions. They may still be undone though: not because of the Pozzo situation, ironically, but because of the loose attachment to regulations and direction of cash flow favoured by the previous regime.

    Little of the above should be countenanced by Arsenal and its fans since it is one of the top clubs in the world and, despite high profile departures of late, is not seen as a sell-to-survive operation. For smaller clubs seeking a sustainable approach while sitting at the top table, the Pozzo apporach is surely preferable to the pervasive reckless spending followed by crash and burn cycle that has so nearly seen the destruction of many clubs. You only have to see the horrendous debts being rung up (yet again) by several clubs in the Championship to see how lessons haven’t been learned.

  • Tasos

    @Rolee

    Man City’s commercial revenue has almost doubled from last season.

    How much of this improved commercial revenue is thanks to your clubs £400m, 10 year agreement with its sponsor Etihad?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rolee,

    could you elaborate this sentence a bit?

    “I still think these rules are bad for the game though”.

    Remember in your reaction that you have to also tell me why 90% of the other clubs in Europe are happy with it and tell me why they are so dumb.

  • Rolee

    Any rules that discourage investment in an industry are bad for that industry. It’s as simple as that Walter. I can’t speak for other clubs but I can tell you that City are in your 90% as they were one of the 13 PL clubs that ratified UEFA’s proposals. Did you also know that City CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak is a very vocal advocate of a salary cap across football in Europe? Of course you didn’t because its obvious you let yourself be influenced by the British media’s inane ramblings.

  • Rolee

    Tasos, as HeavyRiffs has pointed out above, the Etihad deal is not included in them figures, besides the figures involved in the deal are not yet available for public consumption. The figure of £400 million over ten years is just speculation, again started by the great British press.

  • heavyriffs

    @Tasos

    As per my previous post, that most recent revenue figure had nothing to do with the Etihad deal, that only kicked in for the 2012/13 season.

  • Adam

    I don’t think Manchester city are the problem or its supporters.

    The problem is the owners and their ability along with a few others to throw open what have been closed doors to the elite of Eurpean football.

    Again we see investors skewing what should ultimately be a fair competition, which it never has been, and that needs addressing.

    Should City’s and Chelsea’s owners be stopped from unlimited spending? YES.

    Should they be stopped from competing with Manchester United and Real Madrid? NO

    But all that is happening is that a few more clubs will enter this elite clubs league and the rest of footballs clubs will never stand a fair chance.

    Keep your club loyalties for match day. Support fair football now while the rules are being re-written.

    Just to show you how crazy football is, The FA announced £150million will be made available for grass roots football in England to improve pitches & changing facilities, England has a population of 62 million souls. The premier league spent £490 million in the 2012 transfer windows alone.

  • Rolee

    The problem is Adam that these rules were proposed because of the levels of debt across football in Europe but somewhere along the way they became skewed as those with influence, ie the G14, stuck their oar in and manipulated the powers that be to draw up rules that would give them a financial advantage over the rest. There is nothing fair about these rules, therefore I for one will not be supporting them.

  • Adam

    Then what do you propose. allow investors to keep pouring money in to a select few clubs and I include all benefactors in this.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rolee,
    how can I be influenced by English media when I don’t live in England and I never (unless I get a link to an article) read those English media?
    As I live on the continent I mostly read continental media.

  • Rolee

    It’s not easy Adam but perhaps if owners were obliged to spend a set percentage of annual spend on infrastructure and at grassroots it may benefit the sport as a whole. A salary cap would be another way to go. The prize money on offer from CL could be distributed more evenly, if that had been implemented at the beginning we wouldn’t see such massive disparity between the haves and have-nots. They have to be able to come up with rules that don’t discourage investment in the industry.

  • Rolee

    Walter, this piece is plagiarised from the English media.

  • Tasos

    @Rolee

    FFP as it stands is only the starting point.

    BTW I notice Uefa have recently added a ninth sanction to their rules.

    “The withdrawal of title or award”

  • Adam

    But thats exactly what the premier league has just done. Stopped the invetors of yourselves and Chelsea while allowing the smaller clubs room for investment.

    Yes they have reigned you guys in but it is needed.

    The bigger problems for me are getting these rules established across Euopean football.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Tell me Rolee how many City fans condemned what happened at Chelsea a few years before it came your way?
    Mmmm maybe a bad example as anything what harmed Utd could be seen as good by city fans. 😉

  • Rolee

    I didn’t condemn what happened at Chelsea, I just thought lucky buggers and good luck to them.

  • Adam

    Salary cap would do the trick, but we have been down that road before and it was abolished in the 60s.

    How to implement something which has already been to court is troubling?

    This is not going to be solved overnight, but will be a long drawn out process which we are only at the begining of.

  • Rolee

    Adam, it wasnt needed in City’s case, the long term goal of Sheikh Mansour is to make City a sustainable club that has the capability to compete at the very top. To do this he had to speculate to accumulate, the reason the investment was so large is because of the disparity created by the CL cash cow which meant such it was needed to compete and the reason it happened so quick was because he knew these rules were on the way and he had to establish the club among the top earners before the drawbridge was pulled up.

  • Adam

    Yes and I agree, But all thats happened is it now costs £1billion to break in to the elite clubs list. How the hell are Leeds United going to be able to break in? Or say Nottingham Forest.

    What has not been addressed properly since the late 1800s is the ability of investors to warp the football industry as a whole.

    I have no issue with City competing, but your owners have raised the bar so high now it has made it impossible for other clubs. The clubs im talking about are the ones in the Championship who have the fan base and potential to mount a challenge up the pyramid.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe a simple solution for all clubs and supporters who want to reduce the gap could be to no longer play in the CL? 😉 So there will be no more reason to invest so much money.

    Ah but investing money is good for the industry…. So how do the fans in the stands profit from this “good investment in the industry”?

  • Adam

    A very simple solution is the Transfer of a players registration fee cap, and the banning of outside investment going in to the acquisition of players registrations along with the banning of third party player ownerships.

  • Rolee

    They haven’t raised the bar Adam, they are paying salaries in line with Barca and Real Madrid who they are competing against in Europe.

  • This article is utter rubbish you know nothing about Manchester City’s finances. Look at your own club for lack investment before point the finger at others. FFP will not be implemented because it is against EU free trading laws no matter now much Platini has tried to influence Brussels it has all fallen on deaf ears. The most important point however that mcfc will break even by 2015! with all the new investment on the horizon
    (new kit deal with nike 80 million pounds comes to mind)
    So to sum up MCFC are fine and Arsenal’s board need to give Wenger money to spend otherwise no CL or fans paying £1000 per season to watch crap 17 french kids. Stick to bitching about Arsenal

  • Stuart

    Ted Hughes

    re : “All your precious rules have done is allowed Ferguson to buy another title by clipping City’s spending for a season.”

    Is that as opposed to allowing City to buy the title?

  • Tasos

    @Rolee

    “There is nothing fair about these rules”

    I disagree.

    The general consensus is that FFP has been welcomed in the lower leagues of English football.

    BBC Radio London recently dedicated a show entirely to FFP.

    There are really good interviews with Steve Parish of Crystal Palace (11mins) and Matt Porter at Leyton Orient (27.30 mins). In the interview Matt Porter explains what life is like under the new regulations and describes the FFP rules “probably the best thing to happen to lower league football in the last decade”.

    http://www.spreaker.com/user/4587739/radio_london_949_10_oct_2012_trimmed_mp3

  • blueshy

    Waleter bollocks………..give it a cockney rest! there is more to life than your pathetic boring obsession with city!!whatever happens to city you still shite and not going to win anything in the next 5 years! It’s morons like you make us hate londoners even more.

  • Adam

    Rolee, I think I need to explain myself clearly. The example you use is exactly what I have been alluding too. The rules across European football are not universal.

    You already know Barca and Madrid negotiate their own TV deals so the money they receive in relation to the other competing La Liga clubs is skewed and not fair competition wise.

    Therefore City and Chelsea have adapted to a lopsided industry. Which has raised the bar in England for teams just below ours in the pyramid. Where in the 90s a small investment could yield positive results we now see exorbitant amounts needed to just survive?

    It is also Barca and Madrid that need to be reigned in for the integrity of the sport.

    As I said earlier the rules that govern European football are skewed and need aligning.

  • Stuart

    Tony,

    This is something I had brought up at one point.

    What is to stop ‘wealthy benefactor A’, who happens to own ‘Premier league team B’ from buying ‘lower league team C’ and pumping billions into them to buy all of ‘Premier League team B’s’ under achievers/close to retiring/failed to make the grade academy players at extortionate prices and therefore putting a huge capital injection into ‘premier league team B’?

  • WalterBroeckx

    blueshy,

    And then to think I am not from London, don’t live in London… 🙂 🙂 I just support a London football club since 1979. Does that qualify me to be considered a Londoner? 😉

  • Adam

    The Football Association bans dual ownerships of clubs in England.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I don’t really have any problem with owners putting money into clubs per se. Football has never been worried about equality across the board. If my owner puts in less money or pulls out more money than yours, that’s my problem. I do worry about what could happen to the clubs if the (single)owner pulls out. I like how the Bundesliga dictates that supporter associations must own 50%.

    As for debt. If a club wants to go into debt that’s their business but then change the laws of the land so that the players and whatnot get paid last AFTER the people that provide the first aid, the street cleaning and what not. What should the FA or the UEFA’s role in this be? The problem is that if a big club goes under their unpaid debts could cause a cascade of foreclosures at other clubs. For this reason only, debt be curtailed or all transfers and payments must be paid UP FRONT.

    An owner should only have money in one team in any competition be that the Premiership or the Champions League.

    All financial reportings should be 100% transparent to help fight against criminal involvement and avoidance of debt issues and to avoid adherence to international football and labour regulation. Therefore no club should be registered in a tax haven.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    avoid avoidance of international football and labour regulation…must re-read posts ;(

  • Beavis I think that your argument would have a little more credibility if you said how the EU has handled football and placed it, along with other sports, outside of the general rules of competition. Or perhaps mentioned the EU declaration that the original rules it laid down vis a vis competition in sport have been violated by recent trends. My article earlier in this series covers a few points that you may not be aware of.

  • americangooner

    Man city fans surely are funny cause in their world, only arsenal charge £59 to away fans & play their first choice of 17 french players. That or beavis is mistaking newcastle for arsenal.

  • Florian

    @rolee:

    “they [ManCity] are paying salaries in line with Barca and Real Madrid who they are competing against in Europe.” – See more at: http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/27571/comment-page-1#comments

    Competing? Last time I checked, ManCity had yet to record a win in the CL, never mind getting out of the group phase.

    No, the reason for paying high salaries has nothing to do with European competitions, so stop using that argument. There will be quite some time until City becomes competitive in Europe.

    Actually, paying high salaries has everything to do with attracting players to the club, as City have not much else to show for. They certainly had nothing to show for when they started spending that ludicrous amount of money. But what City has accomplished (together with Chelsea) is called inflation, which was not a problem less than 10 years ago. The effects are of course the diminishing value of the coaching staff, as they can hardly make a difference at this level, and second the underdevelopment of the local talent, as they see their opportunities for top-level football reduced since it’s easier to buy than to build. That’s what needs to be addressed in the medium and long term. Otherwise we might as well stop watching the competition since the result is pretty much known already.

  • M18CTID

    “Getting Watford into the top League (as per Elton John’s tenure) doesn’t seem to me (as an outsider of course) to be on the cards.

    To me, what the Pozzo’s have is in fact a model of football harvesting. Good for the owners, but it must be fairly heart breaking for supporters of the various clubs.”

    I can’t be bothered to point out the inaccuracies in the article regarding Manchester City because some fellow blues have done that already so I’ll refer to the quote above instead.

    Seriously, did I just read that correctly? At the time of writing Watford currently sit 2nd in the Championship table and are well placed to make a final push for automatic promotion. Far from being heartbroken, I’d imagine their supporters are currently over the moon. Similarly, Udinese have enjoyed good times over recent years, and got to within one game of qualifying for the CL group stages. As for Granada, well in 2011 they returned to the top flight of Spanish football for the first time in 35 years.

    So to criticise the Pozzo ownership model by inferring that the fans of those 3 clubs aren’t getting any enjoyment out of it (when they clearly are) is bizarre in the extreme.

  • Blueboy

    Wow another anti city blog from a Gooner! Not seen one of these before!
    Best qualify for the champs league Gooners else FFP will mess you up!

  • GoingGoing Gooner

    Wow, another city troll on a Gooner blog. Not seen one of these before!

    Best qualify for the FFP, Citeh else the champs league will mess you up!

  • It's Grim Oop North

    Hello again Walter and Tony 🙂

    I think the lesson to be learnt from this article is, where there’s rules and regualtions to hamper competition, there will always be a group of people finding a way around them, and if they happen to be stinking rich and highly motivated, they will play this game as seriously as the sport on the pitch, if not harder.

    The evidence is becoming irrefutable with every month that goes by, that Manchester City will comply with FFFP regs, and even welcome them as a means to remain at the top of world football, at the expense of clubs who have failed to grasp the basics of football management, like the Arsenal and Liverpool – and before you blow a gasket, kindly reflect on all those embarrassing cup exits against minnows, and league performances which leave both clubs facing another barren season.

    Success on the pitch is all, something is wrong when given the opportunity to spend the “warchest”, hardly a penny has been invested in playing squads, despite the whole world seeing deficiencies.

    Soon enough all those foreign fans and tourists will abandon the Arsenal and Liverpool for the latest, cup winning teams like City, then FFFP will work against them, not for.

    The new TV revenue kicking in next season will allow lots of teams like Newcastle etc.. to compete for players that Arsenal could do with buying, so by failing to invest this summer just gone, and in the January window, an opportunity ha been lost, possibly which will not come along again for a very long time.

    If Spuds give you Gooners a footballing lesson this week, then you really will have hit a new low point, continuing on this downward spiral which will take some reversing.

  • So, Grim Reaper, when Arsenal lost to Walsall in the third round of the cup that was a low point in the club’s fortunes. We were the league champions, and then it was all over…

    Hmmm… next thing you know, our manager dies, and we go on to win the league twice more making three in a row.

    Not quite sure your logic always follows. If you really want to know about Arsenal’s disasters in the FA Cup, and League Cup, take a look at http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/archives/5446

  • It's Grim Oop North

    Pah,

    that’s nothing Tony, we’ve been dumped out of not just the Prem, but the Championship before now, never mind some two bit tin pot vase (except when we win it, then it’s the best thing since sliced bread 🙂 ) – that takes dedication to the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, you’ve got a long way to go before you get the bragging rights in that argument.

    Why do I feel a sharp pain in my lower leg region all of a sudden 🙂 ????!!!

  • duduspace

    Is the Grim reaper also aware that Arsenal’s commercial revenue is set to increase by 30m from the second half of next season?

    We’re also still looking out for what we will get for our new kit deal but if my calculations are right, Arsenal is set for an increase in annual cash flow of between 40 – 50m per season from next season. Does that look like a club that has missed the boat to you?

    Why do people think there is a lot of sudden interest in buying Arsenal? we are now having ‘unnamed’ groups making a lot of promises in the Sun and the Mirror. A lot of people have their eyes on the cash pile at Arsenal which is set to increase even more.

    I dare say that anyone who wants to buy Arsenal now is not doing so for Altruistic reasons.

    @Tony
    I’d like to send in an article, please confirm how I can do this through my email address.

  • Mike T

    dudspace.

    You say

    I dare say that anyone who wants to buy Arsenal now is not doing so for Altruistic reasons

    Nail on head and dare I suggest that is why Kronke. wont sale. He in reality is looking at a huge return on his investment

  • It's Grim Oop North

    I don’t for a second believe all this “Arab consortium” nonsense being fabricated in the media exists, it’s not how they do business, and is far too convenient for Usmanov’s agenda.

    Nor do I believe Kroenke will do anything other than continue to milk the cash cow which is Arsenal PLC until the day he shuffles off this mortal coil.

    The reality for Arsenal going forwards from my perspective is that they will continue to emulate Kroenke’s other sports “franchises” – middle of the road, steady earners – until the fans have had enough.

    The extra TV monies next season will be proportionally equal to all the competition, but eaten into by loss of Champions League revenues, at least £20 million, probably more on recent season’s performances getting past the group stages – so again, competitors with a greater willingness to invest, such as perhaps Spuds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sunderland, Everton, will take those players normally destined to the Emirates, or drive up their prices and wages.

    Arsenal need to spend big to become competitive for Champions League, and domestic silverware, it’s as simple as that, and with the current regime stubbornly keeping the warchest locked down, (if it exists at all), then I expect the continued downward trend of results on the pitch to continue, possibly leading to a meltdown similar to Liverpool’s if a change of management is implemented.

    I think you lot are rather paranoid at times, but I do agree Wenger should stay, he should just fight for the right to spend to compete (behind the scenes by all means, no one should wash their dirty laundry in public), and if he doesn’t, then more fool him, and he should go if the aim is to compete at the top – it’s becoming questionable he really is interested in anything more than fourth place the longer he fails to improve the squad.