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Liverpool tickets cheaper, Wenger signs, Big commercial deal finally arrives

By Tony Attwood

I’m not a natural Daily Telegraph reader, but I have to admit they seem to be ahead of the game at the moment.

While I am not sure about their certainty for the Draxler move, they seem to be revealing stories faster than most outlets – and were certainly the first to say that Arsenal had agreed to make the FA Cup match v Liverpool a Category B fixture.

We know that when Manchester City made a fuss about the price they had to pay for tickets, the tickets they could not sell were instantly snapped up by Arsenal fans – and there’s no doubt that had Liverpool fans also failed to take up their compliment of tickets (or indeed if they still do) Arsenal supporters would have been overjoyed to take up the surplus.

Indeed with the number of Tottenham fans being reduced on orders of the police who feared problems (which did emerge with the throwing of objects at the ambulance crews) their concerns were justified.   As long as Jamie Carragher is not allowed within coin throwing distance of the pitch, everything should be calm in this game.

But anyway, the Telegraph says that Arsenal has given in, and a B category it is.

Because most tickets sell for most games (although you might recall I couldn’t sell my ticket for the Tottenham game) the Telegraph commentary about Arsenal “having already endured a huge backlash against prices at the Emirates in recent times” can be taken with a pinch of salt.  But there’s no doubt that the deal will help the supporters from the north who seem to make such a fuss about pricing.

I might have got this wrong, but as far as I can see it won’t help Arsenal season ticket holders though, because the game is already included.   We’ll still be paying for the Bayern game, and I can’t see that one being reduced in price.

And of course much of the problem around FA Cup games is out of Arsenal’s hand – the playing of matches at bizarre times like late saturday afternoon and Friday evening helps no one.

One comment from the Liverpool supporters is of interest – that, “Liverpool fans have already been charged 72 per cent more than Everton for the league matches that have been played this season and we believe that this is completely unreasonable.   Coventry’s FA Cup tickets were priced at £25.50 and we would request that tickets are priced in the same manner. Similarly, in the event that this match ends up being replayed at Anfield, that a similar arrangement is reached with our ticket prices.”

Well, ok, maybe there is an argument.  Neither Liverpool, Everton nor Coventry get into the Champions League much, so perhaps they should be treated the same.

Moving on the Telegraph also gave us Arsène Wenger’s new contract before the rest, and added that he will, naturally, have “full autonomy to preside over the largest transfer budget in Arsenal’s history”.  Perhaps they still think that they are right with the Draxler story.

With all this news, Ivan Gazidis has been busy, also announcing the £150 million five-year kit deal with Puma; “the largest in British football history.”  To put it all in context the current Nike deal dates goes back to 1994 and has been worth “around £8  million over each of the past seven years.”

Of course all deals get upgraded and updated, but the Telegraph reckons that other current kit deals include

  • Man U: £25.4m a year
  • Liverpool £25m a year
  • Barcelona: £27m a year
  • Real Mad: £31m a year.

The paper says that it will be “part of an eventual yearly increment in Wenger’s spending power of £70 million.”

Can you imagine what the AAA will do if he doesn’t spend it all?

The paper’s latest speculation is that if Draxler doesn’t join now he will certainly come in the summer, with an £80m budget available, and there will be contract extensions for Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky.

I think this is all related to the new approach for the academy teams, which I commented on earlier today.  Those teams may not be doing well in their leagues, but they are in the much more prestigious cups, which suggests that players are being accelerated to the first team far faster than we used to see, and then “loaned” back to the under 18s and under 21s for the cup games, while players who are deemed not up to scratch being moved on much earlier than was previously the case.

In the midst of all this there was this lovely comment from Ivan Gazidis….

“We get criticism along the way, we don’t do everything right but, if you look at how the club has progressed, not from outside benefactors or state funding, but the efforts of people who love the club, when we do achieve success it will be incredibly meaningful to everyone on this journey.”

I love that “not from outside benefactors or state funding.”   He could almost have been reading Untold.

Which brings us to FFP.  If Man City are not reigned in by FFP and Uefa duck out of the confrontation with the club over the manipulation of figures from the very much not-at-a-distance sponsor, then Arsenal will need every penny to keep up with them.

And that takes us back to the reduction in the cost of the seats.  There is, after all, a relationship between the total income and the success of the club.

As Mr Gazidis said, “We have been explicit in saying we have been very dependent on ticket prices.  More globally for football, what we hope to see is more responsible spending. If that happens and we see a more rationale environment, that takes the pressure off the tickets. We are looking forward to Uefa introducing FFP. We are healthy sceptics. If the spending is under control, it opens up possibilities in terms of the relationship we have with our fans.”

And I’m also tempted once again to refer back to my commentary a couple of years back when I suggested that Swiss Ramble’s analysis was accurate in terms of numbers, but omitted the fact that Arsenal were going to get a marketing boost in the coming years which would help a lot.  But no, that would be boasting.

Coming next: Southampton preview

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16 comments to Liverpool tickets cheaper, Wenger signs, Big commercial deal finally arrives

  • Geoff

    Love the quote “Neither Liverpool, Everton nor Coventry get into the Champions League much, so perhaps they should be treated the same.”. Just remember that when Liverpool are in it the usually win it. 5 times. How about your silverware trophy?

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Tony,

    Another quote from the Telegraph this morning, looks to be by their main man on football – Henry Winter who is normally not terribly positive when reporting Arsenal issues.

    “Arsenal employ one of the best creative footballers in the world in Mesut Ozil, one of the most inspiring centre- halves in Per Mertesacker, some of the leading young English talent in Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, a strong centre- forward in Olivier Giroud and one of the most improved goalkeepers in Europe in Wojciech Szczesny.
    They nurture some of the best kids around from Serge Gnabry and aged ion Zelalem to Dan Crowley.
    They boast a great stadium, a well-equipped training ground and a colossal new kit deal. After eight trophy free years, things are increasingly in place for a realistic push for silverware, this season or next. The man who has guided Arsenal into this good place, Arsene Wenger, will not need too much reflection ahead of his new contract.”

    Well I never! With the exception of the single eight years without a trophy comment which he immediately followed with a positive, this is without doubt the most positive articles I have read in the Telegraph for years. I have been known to rip the whole sport section into pieces in anger at their normal Arsenal reporting.

    I hope that maybe this is a further example of a shift in attitude from the media.

  • everybody loves a winner

  • jambug

    Andrew Crawshaw.

    I would like to think so but alas I cant see it happening anytime soon.

    The likes of the SUN and TalkSport are not easily going to give up there place on the gravy train.

    It just doesn’t benefit the media leeches to see Arsenals financial model succeed.

    Nope, I just cant see this constant Arsenal/Wenger bashing going away anytime soon.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Jambug,
    You are probably correct, but we should still celebrate successes wherever we get them both on or off the pitch and, believe me, a positive article or two from the Telegraph is worth celebrating as much as a solid win against Southampton tonight.

    COYG

  • Rantetta

    Excellent article, Tony.

    I don’t trust the Telegraph’s reporting of Arsenal. I’ll certainly have to take their “Cat B” Liverpool pricing thingy with a pinch of salt. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time some media outlet makes summat up just to stir up the shit, would it?

    Surely no paper would make up a story about ticket prices being lowered – just so that when it doesn’t happen – said paper (and all the rest) can say: Arsenal reneged….

    Nah, that’s fanciful, innit?

    I hope the Telegraph has reported accurately this time.
    Ha ha.

  • Mick

    ‘Indeed with the number of Tottenham fans being reduced on orders of the police who feared problems (which did emerge with the throwing of objects at the ambulance crews) their concerns were justified.’
    Is the coin throwing still being investigated, it seems to have gone very quiet on this front. Or is it being allowed to wither on the vine? Does anyone have any info on this?
    Regarding the slightly more positive reporting of Arsenal, I get the feeling there is a lot of covering of backs going on, just in case Arsenal do go on and lift the title. After all if we were to do it they wouldn’t want to look completely foolish would they.

  • finsbury

    A Liverpool fan(?) used to sing this song on TV every weekend:
    “Surprise, surprise, the unexpected hits you between the eyes
    The unpredictable, that’s the surprise you see, surprise! surprise!”

    AFC vs Liverpool on the Sunday, three days before Bayern.

    from @_the12thMan twitter:
    Arsenal, for the 5th time this season, have had a cup match moved by TV producers to the detriment of their chances of success

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @finsbury

    Perhaps but there will be an element of Arsenal supporters and administration that will be happy for the extra exposure on the telly…at least the Bayern match is on Wednesday.

  • finsbury

    GGG
    One kick at 12.45/13.30 on the Saturday,
    And one at 5.30? Still on the telly and more importantly no favouritism of one club over another

    A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, Away goals and all kinds of things such as regulated kick off times were introduced to regulate fairness as best possible. Why the change in mentality now?
    Is the game more fair then it was in the fifties?

  • Mike T

    Tony

    Yep read the article re the kit deal in the Telegraph. Yep its a good deal but they seem to either ignored or missed Chelsea’s new deal with Adidas

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2346083/Chelsea-agree-record-300m-kit-deal-sportswear-giants-adidas.html

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @finsbury

    The issue often is that the FA in other jurisdictions often move matches to enhance the chances of their representatives in international competitions whereas the English FA doesn’t care and bows to the whims of Sky or whoever has the current contract.

  • jambug

    Mike T

    Perhaps the Chelsea deal just didn’t stand out due to the fact the Russian had already bank rolled the Club to the tune of A Billion quid already. I mean, what’s £30 Million a year when Chelsea have an average net spend on transfers of around £50 Million a year already.

    Just a thought.

  • Mike T

    jambug

    Nah its just poor reporting!

  • John

    It’s a huge deal for arsenal utd will be signing a 70m a season kit deal soon and still lead the way on the commercial revenue but we are improving the emirates deal really f**ked us I know they had to be done (well the original shareholders could have been ask to inject cash for the stadium build but that’s for another day) …. We also have to remember that arsenal were operating at football loss having to sell players to generate profits. With this deal the shirt emirates deal and extra tv money the club should now be hitting profits 20-30m or in other words a quality player each year

  • Linz

    Well City are getting 166 million worth of sponsorship each season,and PSG over 200,so unless UEFA does something about it via FFP (if they can) we will still be miles behind financially.Incidently United get a share of the shirt sale profits so the actual figure they earn from their kit deal is nearer 50 mill a season.