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Clubs in debt: you ain’t seen nuffink yet

Trying to stay in touch with the financial morass that is the EPL, is tough.  In this article I am trying to pull together some of the latest facts, figures, and then conclusions.  I am hopeful that if there are factual errors these can be pointed out and I will produce an update a bit later.

Much of the info came from a newspaper report I was forwarded – and my apologies I can’t find the note saying who sent it to me or where it came from – but anyway, I’ve added some research of my own, and my own thoughts too.

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Chelsea – 6th in the rich list

  • Turnover: £190.0m
  • Operating profit: –£11.4m
  • Net debt: £511.6m
  • Interest payment: £0.7m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League under new regs: No chance unless the rules are manipulated in their favour.  So yes, no trouble.
  • What the figures don’t tell you… The debt has now become an investment in the club (ie shares).  But the problem is what happens to this year’s debt.  Does the owner create more shares for himself to make the club debt free again?
  • The crisis comes when Europe has had enough and says that the turning of debt into shares does not exempt the club from meeting Europe’s financial demands.

Manchester United – third in the rich list

  • Turnover: £278.5m
  • Operating profit: £91.3m – including the sale of Ronaldo
  • Net debt: £716.6m
  • Interest payment: £68.5m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League under new regs: No chance.
  • What the figures don’t tell you… Manchester IOU”s finances are so complex, being wound up in an stream of companies that seem to own bits of each other, that no one can be quite sure of what’s what.  The payment in kind loan interest was £26m taking that debt to £202m in the year, and the Bond money goes to pay off  £70m of that and the bank loans.   The owners are milking the club for millions which they are taking out for themselves.
  • The crisis comes in 2013 with part one of the bond repayment and 2017 when the rest of is due, along with the PIK loan.  The only solution under this ownership or any other is to take on even greater loans.

Arsenal – 5th in the rich list

  • Turnover: £312.3m
  • Operating profit: £58.8m
  • Net debt: £297.0m over 20 years
  • Interest payment: £16.6m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League under new regs: Without any problem.
  • What the figures don’t tell you. The club is paying down the Ems borrowing each year, so the debt is going.   The Highbury Square borrowing is down to 25% of its opening level.  The team is still incredibly young, and the youth policy is now providing new blood every year.  So finally the continual production line is there.
  • The crisis comes if the club go four years without being in the Champs League and the average attendance drops by 10,000.

Liverpool – 7th in the rich list

  • Turnover: £164.2m
  • Operating profit: £24.9m
  • Net debt: £261.7m
  • Interest payment: £36.5m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League under new regs: Not a cat in hell’s chance
  • What the figures don’t tell you… This is financial madness on a global scale.  The ground if full, there has been Champs League every year, and there is still no way to pay the interest due out of the profit.  The club is totally doomed.  There is darkness, nothing, darkness.
  • The crisis comes in 2010 because the banks want another hefty repayment.  Even if they can find another bank insane enough to give them a loan, that just puts it back to 2011.

Manchester City – 19th in the rich list

  • Turnover: £87.0m
  • Operating profit: –£34.2m
  • Net debt: £194.4m
  • Interest payment: £14.4m
  • Champions League: Presumably they are paying someone to get the rules changed.
  • What the figures don’t tell you.   Well, you know it anyway.  £117m just spent on players, and they are still not sure of a top four place.  The whole debt has now risen to £305m and is now called “equity” to play the UEFA game
  • The crisis comes if there is an uprising in the Emirates, or if the crowds of other teams are so abusive about Arab owners of football clubs the the Sheikhs go back to camel racing.  Since Arsenal has a contract for the sponsorship of the Ems we wouldn’t be affected.

Tottenham Hotspur – 15th in the rich list

  • Turnover: £113.0m
  • Operating profit: £18.4m
  • Net debt: £45.9m
  • Interest payment: £8.0m
  • Champions League? Yes, if Europe continues to take off shore funding reports on trust.
  • What the figures don’t tell you, is very much because the funding comes from a gent in the Virgin Isles where there is no disclosure of business dealings.   The Very Tiny Totts pay 7.29 per cent on £30m of its borrowings, but doesn’t have to repay until 2024.
  • The crisis comes if they can’t raise the cash for the 56,000-seat stadium and five star leisure complex in that most desirable part of town.  Would you lend £250m to a club £45m in debt already?  That means that there is no means of growth.  Will the Virgin Island owners keep forking out the money?

Fulham

  • Turnover: £53.7m
  • Operating profit: –£2.1m
  • Net debt: £164.0m
  • Interest payment: £1.0m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League under new regs: If Chelsea find a loophole by converting loan into stock, so can Fulham
  • What the figures don’t tell you.. Fulham FC owe Mr Harrods owner £159m. However, unsecured, interest-free and with no repayment timetable.  £4.5m bank is owed to NatWest, at 7.11% interest.
  • The crisis comes in ?????   If Mr Al Fahed gets bored, dies, runs out of cash, gets deported, gets arrested…

Aston Villa

  • Turnover: £75.6m
  • Operating profit: –£13.1m
  • Net debt: £72.3m
  • Interest payment: £5.7m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League under new regs: No because the owner is paid interest on his loans, so can’t do a Chelsea.
  • What the figures don’t tell you… Hold Your Head has a £13m bank loan secured against the ground and a £10m overdraft and owes the owner £49.5m. These loans are repayable in full in December 2016.  Hold Your Head pay £4.1m in interest a year to the owner, plus £1.37m to the bank.
  • The crisis comes in 2016 when the owner’s bank loan is repayable because the debt is already just on the size of the turnover.   They could get more in the ground, they could get in the Champs League, but without, there is nowhere to go.

Birmingham City

  • Turnover: £49.8m
  • Operating profit: £13.7m
  • Net debt: £12.0m
  • Interest payment: £0.26m
  • Champions League?  Not with these finances and hidden owners.
  • What the figures don’t tell you, apart from the fact that we still don’t know who owns the club, is that we don’t know much about the debt either.
  • The crisis comes if the real owner (not Mr Cheung) turns out to be rather nasty.

Sunderland

  • Turnover: £63.5m
  • Operating profit: –£2.4m
  • Net debt: £48.8m
  • Interest payment: £0.7m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League. No
  • What the figures don’t tell you. They owe £35m to their parent company – no interest, no fixed repayment date.  Plus a £13.6 overdraft.
  • The crisis comes any time now.  The club was sold to an American this year, and he is speaking with forked tongue.  The summer could be very bumpy indeed.

Bolton Wanderers

  • Turnover: £52.3m
  • Operating profit: –£5.3m
  • Net debt: £58.4m
  • Interest payment: £3.9m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League.  No, but then…
  • What the figures don’t tell you.  It’s a disaster.  The club owes Edwin Davies £55.9m on which they pay 10% interest and have to repay a sizeable chunk on demand.
  • The crisis comes, either with relegation or because the owner has had enough.  This is the Villa and Man U model – owner takes money out.  Compare with Fulham where this does not happen.  Close the doors, walk away, its over.

Hull City

  • Turnover: £11.2m
  • Operating profit: –£9.2m
  • Net debt: £17.1m
  • Interest payment: £0.4m
  • Get entry into the Champs League.  Not a chance.
  • What the figures don’t tell you.   It’s all over.   The accountants said that if the Spitty go down they need £23m to avoid Portsmouthification.  If they stay up they need £16m.  Whist drive anyone?
  • The crisis is here, it is real, it is terminal.  There is no future.

Wigan Athletic

  • Turnover: £46.3m
  • Operating profit: –£17.0m
  • Net debt: £54.0m
  • Interest payment: £1.5m
  • Champions League?   No.
  • What the figures don’t tell you is that Dave Whelan is owed £39m.  It is interest free (how Aston Hold Your Head would like that) with no fixed repayment date (ditto). They owe Barclays of £18.7m, repayable on demand.   Oooops.
  • The crisis comes if the honourable Mr Whelan has had enough, or if the dishonourable Barclays has had enough.

Stoke City

  • Turnover: £11.2m
  • Operating profit: –£7.8m
  • Net debt: £2.3m
  • Interest payment: £0.5m
  • Champions League: Do we really want all of Europe’s top players out with broken legs?
  • What the figures don’t tell you. They claim they are debt free but actually owe a fortune to Peter Coates, who owns bet365 (remember that if you gamble and didn’t like the assault on Ramsey.)  It looks like he doesn’t take any interest on the loan.
  • The crisis comes when Bet365 goes bust because football is disgusted with the Stokian tactics.

Everton

  • Turnover: £79.7m
  • Operating profit: £6.3m
  • Net debt: £37.9m
  • Interest payment: £4.1m
  • Champions League: No
  • What the figures don’t tell you.  They lose money every year except when they can sell a Rooney.  They have borrowed £27m against future ticket sales at an insane 7.79% When that has gone, then what?  They were dependent on the new stadium, but now can’t find the ground, can’t find the money, and next year’s income is already spent.
  • The crisis is here, and there is no way out.  Close the door as you go.

Burnley

  • Turnover: £11.2m
  • Operating profit: –£8.9m
  • Net debt: £11.9m
  • Interest payment: £2.7m
  • Champions League?  Well it doesn’t really matter does it?
  • What the figures don’t tell you.   Seven directors have lent £6.67m to the club and can have it back at any time.   The debt is bigger than the annual turnover.  A basket case.
  • The crisis might be postponable.  If they have clauses in the contracts that say that everyone goes to half pay upon relegation this could be the solution.  They make a profit this year, and pay off a bit of the debt.  Otherwise they tumble to the Weetabix Northern League.

West Ham United

  • Turnover: £71.6m
  • Operating profit: –£32.8m
  • Net debt: £114.9m
  • Interest payment: £3.0m
  • Get a licence for the Champs League under new regs: quite irrelevant, although they didn’t for this season.
  • What the figures don’t tell you… If you owe more than your turnover you should be put in a crate and shipped off to Titan.  West Porno owe money to five banks, and if they turn you down for the next round (as they have) you are really in the muck.
  • The crisis comes in August 2011 because the “club” is already in breech of its loans which is why the five banks want out.  If £35 doesn’t show up, that’s the end.  The porno merchants would get some real estate.

Portsmouth

  • Turnover: £70.5m
  • Profit: –£17.0m
  • Net debt: £57.7m
  • Interest payment: £6.6m
  • Champions League:  Hey ho
  • What the figures don’t tell you:  Administration, and the Revenue smell a rat.  And that’s not Harry Redknapp, or the other two ex-Portsmouth men who are due in the dock this month.   What we all want to know is, where did the money go?
  • The crisis has been, and its downhill all the way.   Southern League?

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  • Turnover: £18.2m
  • Operating profit: –£1.6m
  • Net debt: £13.0m
  • Interest payment: £0m
  • Champions League.  No
  • What the figures don’t tell you…  Steve Morgan must be the envy of Aston Villa since he is owed £13m but doesn’t charge any interest.
  • The crisis comes if Steve Morgan goes.  He is not totally Wolverhampton since he tried to buy Liverpool, but was turned away at the door.

Blackburn Rovers

  • Turnover: £50.9m
  • Operating profit: –£6.8m
  • Net debt: £20.3m
  • Interest payment: £0.8m
  • Champions League?  Not in 10 billion years.
  • What the figures don’t tell you is that they are on the very edge.  The inventors of rotational fouling have a £20m bank debt, and the estate of Jack Walker doesn’t seem to be paying up any more.
  • The crisis is very real and it hits in May 2012 when the £20m loan is repayable.

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Other Untold financial stories

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The sound of a billion fans saying “Ooops” as football destroys itself is copyright © Untold Arsenal 2010.

28 comments to Clubs in debt: you ain’t seen nuffink yet

  • Absolutely tremendous article. Thank you.

  • As always, I should add, I’ve been lurking for a while, but writing such as is found on here should be prasied

  • songremainsthesame

    i promise to win a shitload of cash from bet365.

  • LRV

    Fantastic, Tony. However, can someone throw a light on this “rich list” of which Arsenal is 5th and Chelsea is 6th? What criteria were used to come to this listing?

  • walter

    Scaring numbers, Tony… that is if you are a fan from one of the other teams.
    And we can sit back, relax with no financial worries, enjoy our great football, enjoy our youngsters coming through, and hey we are in the middle of a title fight if you still remember this after the Ramsey injury.

    Yes, it is great to be a Gooner.

    A nice end of the day I would say.

  • Clerkenwell Gooner

    Hi Tony

    Useful data. Jesus, the whole Premier League is f*****.

    However, this blogger isn’t convinced of the transparency of Arsenal’s recent 6-month accounts viz.

    I just spend an hour reading Arsenal’s 2009 financial report and with all the financial wizardry they are doing it looks like Goldman-Sachs is in charge of our accounting — and I don’t mean that in a good way. The report raises more questions for me than it answers.

    * Football turnover went up £18m but profits from football increased only £200,000
    * Property sales went up £73m from last year, yet profit from that only went from -£3m to + £5.6m
    * Exactly how much money player trading generated or lost is obfuscated beyond belief. At one point, they actually claim that Arsenal spent £41m buying players in 2009. At another point they claim that Arsenal generated a profit of £23m from player sales. And at a third point the accountants say that Arsenal spent £20m on players in 2009, which they then subtract from the £23m number above to get a grand total of £2.9m in total profit on player sales.
    * And the thing that sticks in many people’s craw is an undisclosed expense called “other operating costs” which shot up from £46m to £55m. They explain the increase as retail costs, utilities, staging the Emirates Cup, and currency exchange losses but the thing a lot of supporters want to see is an actual breakdown of those costs and not just some glossed over explanation of the increase.

    It’s a really huge report, with some conflicting data and while I’m willing to concede that I might just be a bit thick I also get the distinct feeling that the board is not being entirely forthright about some things. What exactly they might be hiding, I don’t know but there is something strange about this report. I can’t quite put my finger on it, maybe one of you smarty pants who earn 2 to 3 times my salary and can kick my ass if I lived in New York could read the report and tell us what you think?

    Unable as I am to add 2+2, I bow to your superior facility with figures.

    Whaddya think?

  • lordgunner

    i don’t think the chav and Man city are not really in trouble for now thank to very rich owner.
    i doubt uefa ban them for that if not all italian team are doom:inter ,AC Milan ,Juve are own and bankroll by Moratti,Berlusconi and Agnelli family .the rest of the Italian is near bankrupt.
    Spanish team have always over spending and always save by some strange miracle (Madrid style).French club rely on foreign team spending big in their player to cover any debit.except bayern,most of the team in Germany are in trouble.
    i really don’t know how uefa gone set up the rule.But Platini dream if he gone ban Billionaire own club .You always have Rich own club,Platini know more than anyone because thank to a very rich family he play for juve.

  • And the thing that sticks in many people’s craw is an undisclosed expense called “other operating costs” which shot up from £46m to £55m.

    ************************************************************************
    Well, this can be medical insurances, bonuses, player agents’ fees, signing-on fees, recent players’ contract extensions with payments on their commercial rights and image rights to their off-shore companies setup in off-shore tax-free shelters.

    Plus Gazidis’ team of operating revenues to setup marketing and business development projects off-shore.

    Interestingly enough:
    Where is the cost of setting up Hale End Academy, charity projects, COlney Training grounds and medical facilities operational staff, PHW & Gang’s operating expenses, Emirates Facilities Management and Upgrading operation expenditures.

    tehre are also many other operating expenditures liek our Global Scoutign netwroka dn eprhaps, providing financial supports to our affliates oversea as “seed money” to promote the “Arsenal” brand-name.

  • Thanks for the list.
    Extremely informative and saved moi hours of research works.

    And it proved that there are plenty of savvy corporate predators feasting on the cash cows of a Premier League.

    It is really a well-run junk bonds operation with those owners and consortiums buying up a club, and then promptly loaned them money with interest rates of 7% to 12%; which is way better and lots safer than bettign on a volatile stock-market.

    Where else can you have a solid lock on an safe investments with a steady cash flow from TV rights, commercial rights and a captive custoemrs with herd mentality, come what may, and they will loyally stick to that brand-name.

    And if they got lucky, they can sell it off to the next sucker and reap a handsome capital gain of 50% or more within 5 to 10 years.

    As long as Scudamore & gang continues to grow Premier League – especially emerging GLobal Market had just grow and quite virginal – I can see Scudamore & Gang will work closely with Blatter and Platini to grow this cash cow into auroch-size for the next 5 to 10 years.

    Prem League and UEFA are in fact a monopoly with a captive customer in the Global Market, and is in a class of its own and pullign steadilya way from its competitors in Italy, Spain and Germany.

    Like a Ponzi Scheme, as long as Prem League continues to grow, and TV rights and commercial rights are able tos ervice those owner’s loan paying 7% to 12% annual interest, I don’t see thsi status quo will change for the next 5 to 10 years.

    Like IBM dominaitng 80% of the market in the 80s, Prem league will continue to dominate the Global Market till a serious competitor – like WIntel – emerges to challenge Prem league.

    But then in 5 to 10 years time, Prem league may evolve and morph into Pan European league to sustain this present growth to see-off future competitors!!!!

  • Psst..pardon the spelling errors,..but Tony, can’t you have an “EDIT” command where I can go back and correct any spelling errors?

  • well researched, thought provoking post.

    top marks.

  • Aussie Jack

    From what you say Tony Arsenal will be Premiersip Champions for many years to come being as there will be no one to play against.
    Maybe we are looking at a Euro League after all and the English can do their own thing.

  • Seeing is believing if UEFA intends to phase in this “financail ruling” in 2012.

    Guess what is going to happen?

    Real, Barca, Chelski, ManLeeds, Liverpool, Abu Dhabi City, et al may threaten to form an Abu Dhabi Pan-European League worth £1-billion of prize money …..

    And CITEH will play their home games at Abu Dhabi Sports City or Dubai Sports City; plus Chelski will make Moscow their home ground…

    And it will be run the way of bernie Ecclesstone’s Formula One Grand Prix, with turnover in the region of maybe £1 to 2-billion.

    You think UEFA will have a leg to stand-on with 10 of European marquee teams threateningn to boycott UEFA CL Cup and setup their own tournament?

  • Great article Tony – a refreshing read.

  • Aniruddh

    Can the injury to ramsey be related to a betting scam as bet365 may have given over the top odds against arsenal and may fear a huge loss if arsenal do win the title, just a thought as I confess I do not understand betting
    can someone explore the possibilities?

  • Mahesh

    I don’t think anything will happen now since Rooney said he is ‘not that type of player’ 🙁
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZyRqEXGoLo&feature=player_embedded

    The accident is officially buried… grrrrhhhh…

  • IndianGooner

    Nice analysis as usual, Tony. Correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t the latest half-year financial report of Arsenal mentions that the total debt of the group is only £203.6m(By 30 November 2009, the Group’s total net debt had been reduced to £203.6m (31 May 2009 – £332.8m)). I just want to know whether you used the latest half year report the the last years full financial report as the basis? And also whether the £297m you mentioned includes the interest payments as well(If I remember we need to £22.5m as payment every year until 2024 for the loan taken for the construction of the stadium).

    LRV, My guess is that the “rich list” is based on the revenue a club generates during a year. I guess it only looks into the footballing revenues and not others or else our would have been more(Wasn’t our total group revenue more than £300m last season?).

  • On the figures, these come from the annual reports, and I would put in the caveat that I have often not used original sources, but lifted from what seem reasonable newspaper reports.

    Two points on that – I can (and will) correct errors and issue a new version in a short while with updates (that’s the great thing about the internet) and I also have a day job so sometimes the time for getting all this together is a bit tight.

    The rich list is the Deloittes annual analysis of the richest clubs in Europe which is a misnomer since it focuses on revenue.

    In terms of the detailed analysis of Arsenal raised above, having read too many company reports in my life I would say that what is being reported there is the same as any other report. (When I was chair of a plc much smaller than Arsenal plc I found difficulties understanding our own annual report, and I was there every day running the show).

    So any implication that the other figures are ok, but Arsenal’s are skewed is not reasonable – there are massive complications in all reports and I am reducing huge tomes to a matter of lines.

    The key issues are –
    a) what is the debt and how do they pay it back
    b) is there a chance of profit in the future
    c) what do the auditors say
    d) are they making a profit or loss

    I would also add, any business that is utterly dependent on one person has an extra load to carry – just in case he is not there.

    Thanks for the kind comments about the piece. For the next edition I will try to add anotehr section “Redeeming features” = for example reflecting that Villa have spent some of their money on a training ground and facilities for supporters.

  • critic

    i read somewhere that utd can play in cl bcoz they are profit making club even if they are in debt.

  • Critic – I really don’t think this is right. What outraged Platini and what started this whole thing was the Chelsea Man U Euro Final when papers around Europe ran the story that the combined debt was well over a billion euros.

    It is debt that annoys them not profit. Loss is acceptable because it comes and goes, and because they don’t want to stop clubs investing for the future – ie make a loss for a couple of years but come out of that with a youth academy and brilliant training.

    But what scares the shit out of them (and quite rightly) is this philosophy that you can build up debt after debt after debt and just go on, and still parade yourselves as champions of Europe.

    The fact is that if all the debt free clubs get knocked out in the quarter finals, and the debt laden clubs win – this is a dreadful message – and football is very alert to its image.

  • Clerkenwell Gooner

    Thanks to all for the clarifications.

    I’m very mistrustful of company reports generally (think WorldCom, Enron, Northern Crrrrock) and have always been told to read them starting at the back page through to the first page, so you read the qualifying footnotes first, the stuff that the company basically wants to bury.

    I extend this wariness to everyone, incl Arsenal, especially with someone “fit & proper” like Usmanov now in the mix, since the timing of the property crash is unlikely to have been in the Club’s favour, and it’s interesting to note divestment of ?land assets now (they probably expect property values to fall further, as do many of us).

    Of course, it helps Arsenal that Wenger is and always has been such a demonstrably moral person (the bribery scandal in the French league OM/Monaco/Bernard Tapie) and is economically literate (degree-level qualification).

    What I find interesting is that for all the alleged difficulties between Wenger and Michel Platini (?something to do with Wenger’s relationship with Mike’s dad, Aldo), they’re basically on the same page on the matter of overindebtness as a disqualifying factor for UEFA CL.

    Bring on the level playing field!

  • Richard B

    Interesting comment in The Guardian this morning regarding the Glazers likelihood of selling Manure relates to the fact that broadband broadcast rights may well be worth more than clubs themselves in the not too distant future. This will be of little use to clubs if they cannot draw much of an audience and of no use if they are tied in to Sky. But in 5 years time? The Guardians evidence for this assertion comes from the US experience.
    And who owns 50% of Arsenal Broadband? Our American friend Silent Stan.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Tony

    I think you’re being a bit unfair on Burnley as the income figures were for 2009 when they were in the Championship, when this year and two to come, with skyfalling payments if necessary, that will be hugely higher. So their debt is manageable and they decided, on a point of principle, NOT to go bust in the EPL. A quick ‘sorry’ to Chairman Kilbey might be in order………

    The Toffees would easily reduce their debt if necessary: they could sell Yakubu, Saha, Rodwell, Baines, Jagielka, Arteta, Cahill et al if necessary and raise a minimum of £80m and quite possibly more. So you’re being a bit naif, there. They won’t sell them all, that’s for sure. But in a debt reduction situation? They’d be debt free, if they needed to be…..

    Ditto ‘Hold your Head’. Milner? £20m+. Young? £15m+. Agbonlahor? £12m+. Delph in a couple of years? £10m+. They could reduce wages by ditching Carew and Dunne who would find other jobs easily. So I don’t think they’re in terminal decline. Not Arsenal’s finances, but not a basket-case either. Mr Lerner is playing a 5 year game with O’Neill, then he’ll decide what to do.

    West Ham are a seller this summer, we all know that. Their biggest saleable assets are Green, Upson and Cole. Selling all of them would reduce wages and bring down debt to, say, £90m that way. Gilbert and Sillyman aren’t fools, you know. They’ll go back to West Ham’s way of nurturing youth and selling on to pay down the debt for 5 years, then they’ll try and kick on. If all else fails…..

    I dunno how much debt Arsenal were in before they raised the Emirates cash, but it was no less than Spurs…they had upfront costs to clear the site and they took most of the Emirates cash upfront to pay off the builders. Emirates had Edelman by the balls and squeezed gently to get a good deal. That’s life…….we came through it. Just. If we’re being nasty, we could say Arsene lost us £50m by pleasing us all in keeping Patrick and Thierry for one more season…….as we’re not nasty, we thank him for thinking of us and keeping his star assets. The tiny Totts certainly enjoy interesting owners on the Caribbean beaches, but they won’t go bust next year……

    Much of the rest of it I agree with you.

    Lesson: Arsenal are the best run club in the EPL. Man IOU are the biggest cash cow which is bled dry by those lil’ ol’ darlin’s the men in glass houses. Creationism is rife in the accountancy profession and Roman and the Arabs will be like two Tour de France teams claiming to be EPO-free. Whilst dumping the financial needles, drips and canisters in some suitably faraway binliner before les sales flics de futebol stick their nose in where it’s not wanted.

    What you might want to ask in this age of ‘austerity’ Tony, is this: what is the net outflow of cash from UK plc to ROW plc as a result of all this?

    Dunno, but I’d be surprised if cashflow was net in our direction….something to think about, perhaps??

  • Abhishek

    hey why cant the fans of Man U kick the Glazers out by just not attending the matches till they go out. If thats the case I am sure that these money guzzlers will have to leave the place.

    I guess 2-3 matches would be enough to convey the message and they should ask them to leave by this summer or else they would do it again.

  • I will be doing an update when facts like this, which got lost as I was simply trying to get the whole EPL thing together, can be brought in. So that can go in the new REDEEMING FEATURES bit.

  • Paul C.

    Rhys – good points but your comments about Villa, Everton and WHU just prove the general theme that the only way these clubs can ever hope to clear debt is to sell assets. And selling assets just gets them back to square one.

    I would however agree with you that every few clubs are likely to actually go bust because that selling option remains. However something to remember is that when a club is a known seller, other clubs can take advantage of that. The prices you quote for players may be completely different if people knew the seller neede to raise funds.

  • Bob

    Hello again Tony – another interesting, thought provoking article. I have a question though – what is the difference between Arsenal financing a new ground, which will increase future revenue and help repay debt, and Villa financing a new squad, training ground, Stadium Extensions and goodwill, which will do the same? Villa saw a 26% rise in operating revenue 2008/09, and further growth is expected in the next accounts. There is huge scope for growth at the Club, mainly due to the poor management prior to Lerner. Many fixed costs, such as the £13m on a new training ground, will not be required every year. Wouldn’t you invest in any business you purchased to ensure future growth?

    And the interest rate being paid is 2.5%. If Randy was solely interested in making a profit, do you not think he could do better than that elsewhere? The loan could be restructured overnight to allow it to meet the UEFA proposals. Lets not forget – he used to run MBNA, so knows a bit about finance!!!!

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Paul C

    Agree with you about prices dependent on forced sale/choosing to sell. I’d be surprised indeed if a bank forced a club to sell in one summer as, you’re right, redeemable prices would drop off sharply.

    But last time around EFC cleared their debt by selling Rooney for £30m, so they would look, I guess, at a 5 year debt reduction situation if that was their way of doing things. Moyes tends to buy well, so he may be able to wheel and deal to EFC’s benefit…….

    I think G+S want to go to the Olympic Stadium as a way to reduce debt – problems there as IOC legacy says athletics. A compromise may exist.

    ‘Hold your head’ may be on a ‘3 years to top 4 or regroup’ is my take on it. You need to speculate to get into the ECL and, to be fair to Lerner, he’s been prepared to try. Martin O’Neill might be asked to ‘do an Arsene’ by creating returns on a few players to balance the books.