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Wear your shirt with pride as the EPL starts going to court



One of the best statements I have read on this site since the end of the 10 year unbeaten run was that encouraging us all to wear the shirt with pride.

The 10 year run in which we were unbeaten in the league by Tottenham Sewage (a club renamed to coincide with the chants of its supporters) has been as glorious as the 49 unbeaten in the league.

I agree with the sentiment totally: when possible wear the Arsenal shirt with pride – especially as at this moment the EPL is starting its long awaited implosion.

We know that Man U and Liverpool are both desperate for money, and each money has begged for £60m.  And while we have to put up with the annual “Cesc is off” routine from tired hacks who can’t see through the bottom of the glass enough to realise that no one except a bunch of catastrophe theorists is listening, it is nice to know that Man U and Liverpool are now getting a bit of it too.  Gerrard to Inter anyone?

But there’s more.  I’ve been raising the issue of the problems at Birmingham City (the Team of Satan) for some time, and finally the dam broke as the  investment bank (ie Bank of Satan) Seymour Pierce took control of the Devil’s own club and can now put it up for sale.

The club’s semi-owner, Carson Yeung, failed to pay a £2.2m fee to the bank.  (He’s not really the owner, he’s just a very naughty boy).

Last month, the bank, the company chaired by Keith Harris and Orville, sued for money it said it was owed.  It went to court (as one does) and got a court order requiring the little boy to pay up by the start of the week.  Yeung however said his mum had defaulted on the pocket money front, but he was expecting a postal order.  (Sorry to non-English nationals, and those under 50, as I appreciate that is not making any sense, but those who remember Billy Bunter will know where I am going).

And of course we have not even started on the fact that West Porno United are suing Birmingham City and Birmingham are suing West Porno.

Meanwhile up the road at ramshackle Liverpool El Boss has said that when he guaranteed a top 4 finish he didn’t actually mean “guarantee” and he is going to stay and see out the rest of his astonishingly well-paid contract.

Apparently a Chinese investor is interested in buying out the co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett and keeping Benítez on as manager.  The investor’s name is… well.,,.. Yeung.



Liverpuddle are trying to find £100m to pay the banks, and another £60m transfer money to give to Billy Benitez.

It looks like lots of managerships are going to be up for grabs: Liverpool if Billy goes, Juve, Inter (the Italians don’t like Jose, and anyway they might get done for match fixing), Real Mad who are now so broke even the state can’t support them…

Which reminds me Wenger is off the Real Mad and taking Cesc with him, and we are getting Benitez.  Everyone happy with that?

Meanwhile the EPL is taking the government quango Ofcom to court, after Ofcom said that Sky should charge 23% less on its wholesale prices of football to Virgin and BT.  The very independently minded Sun, News of the World and Times (co-incidentally all owned by the same firm that owns Sky) have run the story that Ofcom wants to destroy grass roots football by cutting off its money.

Actually guys, the money goes to the players. Grass roots gets peanuts.

And here’s another thing.  Lots of readers (well four at least) have written to ask me what Kroenke is up to, as if I would know.

Stan has announced that he wants to buy the 60% of the St Louis Rams he does not already own – just when the Good Lady BS wants to flog her Arsenal shares.  What’s all that about?

Well normally I come on all definitive at this point and lay down the detail, and then when proven wrong, pretend I never said it in the first place.

The problem is with Stan is that he uses Delaware to hold his shares and wealth.  Delaware (and here I speak as an Englishman all of whose companies are registered at Companies House in Cardiff) is a bit like the Channel Island of Sark (which I know quite well because part of my mum’s family came from Guernsey).

In Sark there is no law or regulation covering the concept “company” and as far as I can work out it is much the same in Delaware.  You don’t report profits and losses, you don’t file annual accounts and so forth.  A bit like the British Virgin Isles too, where I believe Tottenham Sewage’s ultimate owner lives and where some of their money comes and goes.

Sark has a population of 580, and some estimates are that the average adult is a director of around 2000 companies.

Anyway, Delaware might not quite be Sark, but its off the beaten track financially, so maybe Stan can still lay his hands on enough to put in a bid for all of Arsenal if someone deemed undesirable is seen to be wanting to make a bid.

But my guess, which is not worth much, is that no one wants the BS Shares – if they are being sought, why hire a blood sucking vampire like a merchant bank to flog the goodies.

(Incidentally if we have any readers on Sark or Guernsey and you can update me on the economy of either island, I am always pleased to receive information.  I know the Sark Lark (don’t worry about it if you don’t know) is long dead, but current info is worthwhile, especially with our esteemed teams like Leeds United having so much to do with matters just across the waves in the equally independent Jersey.)

So that’s it.  Birmingham, like Rangers in Scotland, have been taken over by a bank. Most of the EPL won’t qualify for the Champs League in two years.  Liverpool need £100m, and both Liver and Man U are struggling for cash.  The EPL are suing a government quango, and still think they will “force” Uefa to drop the “benefactor” rule and so keep Chelsea and Man C in business.

And we haven’t even got to the financial problems at Villa, Everton, and well, most of the rest of the league.

Quite fun really.

Tony Attwood

PS: What about if Kronke runs out of cash and Usmanov buys more shares? Usmanov has 41%, and makes a bid for the rest.  I doubt that many will sell up, as the price is now dropping.  So he’s a minority shareholder, and the board can still do their stuff.

PPS: I may not be accurate but at least I try to make it jolly.

Other stories

Read the book – it really is very amusing.

16 comments to Wear your shirt with pride as the EPL starts going to court

  • Paul C.

    Tony – one question, I have seen in a few of your posts that you say that Barca are in debt. Where does that information come from? I have checked Barca’s accounts and they have no debt according to their accounts. According to their last annual statement they have paid off 35million of debt in the past two years and now operate debt-free. They say that, along with Arsenal, that they are one of the few football clubs outside of Germany to have a self-sustaining model. Where did you find the information that Barca are in debt?

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I don’t really blame EPL for suing OFCom, because BT et al aren’t sports channels, they’re looking for product and they tried to use competition laws to get it cheaper. Now if they had bid for FA Cup rights, England rights, CC Rights etc and were priced out, well that’s one thing. I’m neutral about the case, but I can see where Sky are coming from…….

    Carson Yeung: apparently he used Seymour Pierce for the first, failed coup attempt. He used someone else when he finally did the deal, so he thought a success fee wasn’t necessary. Yeah, he’s lost a court case, but it’s not like they did the job to the end and he refused to pay. Again, I’m not sure who’s right, but I can see why Yeung was a bit miffed……not saying he’s not a naughty boy though…….

    I must say I’m most amused that at precisely the time I said that ‘the italian mafia wanted Ancellotti to win the EPL because no italian manager would win Serie A’, Jose starts losing and Roma and his old whipping boy Ranieri are now leading going into the final furlong. And Roman’s boys suddenly started winning games and getting dodgy decisions. Can anyone write a Harry Potter script where he sues the Italian mafia for match fixing??!!

    ESK is probably sweating LBS for her shares as she perhaps opposed a sale when Dein was ousted? Pretty clear that she disappeared as soon as Gazidis was hired……perhaps she will sell to someone who makes ESK seem poor?? Dunno about that either………

    Delaware: the point is there’s no point in being called ‘Silent Stanley’ if all your competitors can pore through your published accounts and see what you’re up to. I used to read 10k and 10Q statements lodged by US companies listed on Wall Street and details make UK reporting seem scrimpy in comparison. Fine if that’s your cup of tea. Perhaps it isn’t ESKs? On the other hand, it’s probably a good idea not to be running drug money through a franchise, so a few independent auditors are probably a good idea……not saying he is, but you wouldn’t be surprised if one owner, somewhere in the world, followed that route…….

  • Phaze

    I just really really felt that times like now are what “support” is about, the amount of Sp*** fans I saw come out of the woodwork in their shirts today was typical of that lot.

    The song “You only sing when you’re winning…” comes to mind!!

  • walter

    Yes Phaze, it is after games like that, that one has to give and show support to the club.
    Being a fan when you win is easy, it is in days of defeat that the true fans show what they are made of

  • walter

    Paul C, I just have done some research on this and found this article that appeared in the Dutch press and as Johan Cruyff is half Dutch half Catalan the Dutch press keeps a close eye on Barcelona. I translated it and it goes like this:
    If you count all the titles this meant that Barcelona received some 110.000.000 euro in prize money in their most successful season ever.
    Yet Barcelona has more debt than the previous year according to financial director Joan Boix on 28/01/2010. The Catalan club has a debt of 260.000.000 and that is 10.000.000 more than the year before. Thanks to the sale of a piece of land for the sum of 15.000.000, the second semester was concluded with a profit of 8.000.000 on a turnover of 223.000.000 euro.

    I must say that the same figures circulated on various news and press agencies and also other websites in Holland and Germany.

    In those country’s who have stricter financial regulations they consider this as outrageous and something that should not be tolerated.

  • the DUDE

    Tony-You Rock man. Always enjoying your articles from here in Nashville, TN. Are you gonna be posting articles about England and the World Cup? Please do! You should follow the schedules of the players-No off season for Tony in Euro or World cup Years!

    keep up the good work.

  • Chris G.

    Untold Arsenal is the best Arsenal blog i have read since entering the blogging atmosphere, about a year and a half now. I have never commented but felt i had to tonight. I must say that Tony is doing a fantastic job along with Walter and others. 1 question i have Tony – or anyone else that wants to comment- what would an Arsenal take over by Stan mean for the club? I’m 19 years old so stil learning. How would the best manager in the world Wenger deal with his policies? Does he change them?.. Once again thank you untold for relieving me of some the sh@t i read on other blogs. ( le grove )

  • Alex

    Kronke won’t spend any of his own money buying the Rams. Tim over at 7am Kickoff does a great job explaining how that purchase will work.

  • Chris – I think a number of people who regularly visit this site have a problem with the single owner idea.

    First, he could follow the Man U / Liverpool scenario in which case he would be bust

    Second, if following the Abramovich model he could just lose interest – as Abramobich did for a while

    Third, if the club becomes dependent on his money, they we are all in trouble if suddenly the tax authorities get him for doing something nasty, or another of his businesses collapses, or he is arrested for terrorism, or he is killed while his plane is flying over Iceland or anything.

    It is a very dodgy approach in the long term. Arsenal started out with this approach – Henry Norris owned virtually every share in the club when the modern Arsenal was founded in 1910. But over time the ownership has fragmented and I think that’s good.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Hi Tony..

    I think that most of us sane supporters feel really proud that Arsenal lives within its means. And when people want to do the things the right way, they say it the Arsenal way. We just worry that someone might come and take away the money like Glazers or pour money like Abrahomwich. We all just want it to run the way it does with wenger as incharge. Even if we dont win trophies, I know that we never tried to buy those trophies.

    Frankly its the way in which this blog supports everything right at Arsenal that I come and read each post and each comment many times a day.

  • Chris G

    Thanks Tony.. i think myself along with many arsenal fans are happy with the way this club is run now. Would you say a takeover is boud to happen?

  • Gf60

    Tony
    I do hope “as Abramobich did for a while” was a slip of the finger. Nice name though.

  • Paul C.

    Walter – yeah, I saw an article that stated 350million as well, but when I checked the actual financial accounts of Barca, they stated they were debt free. Which do you believe? The media or the financial accounts?

  • walter

    Paul C,
    Well if the financial accounts would not be true then this would mean a criminal offence I think ? But don’t know if this is the same in Spain or in Barcelona ? Maybe they are allowed some freedom to arrange some things ? Would sound strange to me, but who knows.

    In the media they said that the financial director gave some comments and this would give the media some credit…BUT… you cant trust the media as we all know to well.

    On the other hand the media that brought this news were not of the “sun-type” of media. Just because I think they never have heard the word financial accounts over there (at the Sun)…

  • anaconda

    This Barcelona debt thing was also in Reuters. The figures are based on the studies made in University of Barcelona, the author was professor Jose Maria Gay. There is very little of this around in English, but those who can read Spanish or Catalan may be able to find out more.

    Anyway, here is the link to the Reuters story.

    http://football.uk.reuters.com/primera/news/LO93713.php

    About the accounts; remember that Liverpool football club and ManU football club are showed to be profitable by their accounts. The debts are in the parent (or holding) companies.

    It’s funny how the mainstream media was just praising Yeung and his money, while those who looked into it, like this blog, knew that there was much more to it. None of the so-called journalists did any inquiries of this. Although someone like David Conn has had shitloads of work in covering all the crap around Pompey and ManYoo.

  • anaconda

    One think I do not understand is how these Serie A clubs are going to fund their purchases? Their new colllective tv deals will mean that the income for top clubs will diminish, their match day revenue is really small, and commercial revenue is not that good either. Of course, they are to extend funded by the owners, like de Laurentiis, Agnelli, Moratti, Silvio B and so on. I think AS Roma is one of the few bigger clubs who aren’t funded by their owners (The Sensis, current chair is Rosella Sensi).