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Imagine not winning the league for 20 years: how would you feel?

By Tony Attwood

Well, I guess if we had not won the league for 20 consecutive years you would feel a bit like… a Liverpool  fan I suppose.

This summer that’s the figure you would have to cope with, as well as dealing with the 25th anniversary of the Heysel Stadium riot.  Not a good time.

You would probably think, as Liverpool fan, “come on, 20 years is enough, let’s start pulling this together now,” and then remember that you came seventh in the EPL last time around and your two best players are openly being touted for moves to other parts of Europe, and you have just spent £6m paying off your manager…

You might also be expecting the owners to be keeping their heads down, what with the lynch mob and hub-cap throwers being out to get them, but that is not the way they do it in Liverpool.

Instead the owners have just announced their ticket prices for next season.  They did it very late – much later than that in fact – which probably has something to do with the fact that they announced a seven percent increase all round.  I suppose it is in part to compensate for the complete lack of Champs League football next season.

A big part of the problem, as we all know, is Tom Hicks and George Gillett who are like mini-Glazers having kindly given the club £350m debt.  What they also did was take the bank money that was to be used to build a new stadium (what was it they said – the work would start within a month) and spent on themselves.

Liverpool also have a cash flow problem.  They are the third highest paying club for player wages in the EPL up 18% in 2008/9, according to various stats.   Here’s what seems to be one generally agreed list of figures for salaries in the Premier League for 2008/9 with 2007/8 in brackets.

  • Chelsea – £167m (£172m)
  • Man Utd – £123m (£121m)
  • Liverpool – £107m (£90m)
  • Arsenal – £104m (£101m)
  • Man City – £83m (£54m)

Manchester Prefab have undoubtedly gone up a lot since then (having decided to pay Adebayor about £10m a year), but the Liverpool issue is the key one in that list.  Chelsea can pay salaries because they have as much cash as they want.  Man U just increase their debt.  Arsenal make a profit.  Man City increase their debt.  But Liverpool have a bank that won’t give them any more money. So how do people get paid any more?

Indeed we can open the question out further: what happens now for poor little Liverpool?

Hicks and Gillett have appointed an agent to sell the club, and their bankers (who now effectively have control of the club since the auditor made his report to the effect that there was severe doubt over the club’s ability to continue trading) have appointed an independent chairman to ensure that the sale happens.  He is also there to make sure that money is spent in no way other than on repaying the bank debt – on which the club defaulted earlier this year.

The chairman (actually non-exec chairman to be precise) is a Chelsea fan (how amusing) who keeps missing events at Liverpool because he is off watching Chelsea Prefab.

Meanwhile Rhone Group put in a £100m offer for 40% of the club but the deal was not accepted, and it all fell apart – the problem being for many buyers that such a deal would leave the Americans in charge, and would simply give money straight to the bank.  RBS is owed £237m and they demanded £100m of that back a couple of months ago.  It wasn’t paid and it is said that a six month extension on the payment was then given.

If that is so, then Liverpool are alive only until the end of this year.

But Hicks and Gillet will not walk out without money.   The money in question is the £300m they borrowed to buy the club, plus their additional spending of another £30m after that.

There was an effort made to cut the debt down last year, and it probably now stands at £237m.  But that doesn’t reduce the price the owners want, because the money they put in was their own money, and it was put it to shut the bank up.

Thus the question is – if you would like to buy a club that has not won the league for 20 years how much should you pay?  £400m would get rid of the  £237m bank debt, and pay back the £130m that it seems as if the Americans have put in of their own money (in total) to keep the club afloat, which means they could walk out with £33m profit between them.

The trouble is it looks as if the Americans would not settle for such a mere little teenzy profit.

The problem is, the only solution overall for Liverpool is to become the Arsenal of the North. They need a new super stadium that makes them big profits, they need a completely refurbished Academy (which as we have seen at Arsenal can take up to ten years before it starts producing results on a regular scale) and you need a board that will wait and take any victories en route as a bonus.

But Liverpool have entered a full period of decline, and no one much, apart may be from Untold (clever us eh?) was actually talking about a serious collapse of the club two years ago.

And it is not just £400 (even if the Americans accepted just a little bit of money each).   Let’s say they hold out for £450m.  Then there is another £300 to build a ground (allowing that some local hub cap company would buy the naming rights).  They you need money to buy a new squad, and money to start building up the Academy structure.  You might want a bit of world-wide scouting too.

So £450 for the club, £300 for the ground, £100 to cover other debts that pile up meanwhile, and all those nasty banker fees – and all without Champs League (not just because they are seventh in the league, but because of the new Financial Doping regs, which would prohibit entry into the Champs League during the refinancing period.)

£850m anyone?

Want to comment? Please read this first

Want more Arsenal stuff from totally committed absolute supporters?  Click herewith and enter therein (as it were)

Want to know where we came from, and if creationism is a valid topic for discussion in the history of Arsenal?  This is it.

Want want want? Well you could always read a book.

16 comments to Imagine not winning the league for 20 years: how would you feel?

  • EAC3

    I doubt very much that it will happen but reprinting this article in the first Arsenal programme next season would help to persuade the non believers that the AFC business plan is the only one in town.
    My only concern remains is to whom will Lady BS sell her 15%
    shareholding…Stan K and or the Oligarch could lead us into the world of debt and destruction which is destroying other great clubs…any view on what will happen next?

  • kenyan gal

    I’ve been telling pple in these parts of the world that i would rather have Arsenal around annoying me by not winning trophies for 5 years and be sure Arsenal will be around next season and the one after that, and many more to come (preferably winning it every year) than be a worried Liverpool or ManIOU fan especially the Merseyside RED, wondering if my club will still be around. That must suck for them!

  • Ole Gunner

    shhhhh! You’re not supposed to mention Liverpool. It’s not in the official manual.

    Arsenal have not won anything for 5 years. That’s the official chorus to be repeated ad infinitum.

    Previous choruses that were repeated ad infinitum

    2009- Arsenal have won nothing for 4 years.
    2008- Arsenal have won nothing for 3 years.
    2007- Arsenal have won nothing for 2 years.
    2006- Arsenal have won nothing. Yippee!

    You have to say this to sound to fellow morons that you are knowledgeable.

    In case you’re in doubt, if any other team has won nothing for any x number of years….

    DON’T MENTION IT:

    The propaganda is about Arsenal.

  • Richard B

    On the subject of the timing of ticket price announcements I saw no comment anywhere on why Arsenal announced that season ticket prices would be frozen way before they needed to and way before it was certain that they wouldn’t win the league. Might that have been to put even more pressure on those clubs who are desperate to increase their prices in order to try to pay off debt but were put in a corner by an early Arsenal satement?

  • Ryan

    Good article as usual. It’s going to be very hard for Liverpool to do an arsenal without losing a decade or two along the way.

    Ole gunner I don’t see what you’re getting at? Would you rather fans were glad that we haven’t won anything for years just because other clubs haven’t won anything for longer? If you think being upset that we haven’t won anything recently is a bad thing then I literally think you may misunderstand the meaning of the words ‘football fan’. Seriously that comment is just bizarre. Damn those arsenal fans who are unhappy when we lose!!!

    Lol?

  • Ryan

    And ole your example of not mentioning Liverpool is a bad one because since we stopped winning things they’ve won the fa cup and cl lol. If you want to talk about clubs not winning trophies for a long time we’ve never won the cl or European cup lol.

  • AaronGSi

    Ryan. I think you may have misunderstood what Ole Gunner is saying, and I don’t think his comment is that bizarre at all really. As you must be aware, the media is constantly screaming that Arsene is under more and more pressure because Arsenal haven’t won anything for 2-3-4-5 years (referring to the EPL title and domestic cups 99% of the time), yet the same media very rarely mention that Liverpool have not won the league for 20 years (not with anywhere near the same negativity anyway). Ole was just reminding us of the general anti-arsenal conspiracy that seems to prevail across most of the media. Please don’t pull him down for that.

  • walter

    And if we keep in mind, as Tony does, the fact that Liverpool ar alsmost bankrupt and we are the only team that don’t have to adjust anything to be okay with all the new rules we can feel very relaxed.
    Liverpool fans are facing a grim time and it could keep them for many years without a win in the EPL.
    And we as Arsenal fans, we can sit back, enjoy the ride and now that with years to come we will be ready to face any challenge both financially and also on the field. Because despite all the negativity that we had to face in the last month of the EPL it was only because of an unseen injury crisis that we lost it then. But even with all the previous injuries we had to key players like RVP, Cesc and Gallas we still had a very good chance of winning the title with our “lightweight, not good enough team”.

  • Ryan

    Hmm ok I thought he was saying he’s tired of arsenal fans saying it (which would be bizarre). The difference is we have a very recent history of record breaking success, some of the best players the premiership has ever had, regular league and cup success, double success and we’ve gone far and reached finals along the way. Essentially since wenger came to our last fa cup we were top draw most seasons and won a LOT and when we didn’t win we were usually second in the league for example. To compare Liverpool with us is totally unbalanced. Liverpool haven’t been consistently winning the league or coming close for two decades now, so if they win nothing it’s less remarkable. Arsenal were a powerhouse and had in the invincibles a literally record breaking and legendary team and have virtually overnight turned baron. It would be more accurate to compare arsenal now with Liverpool in the mid 90s and I’m willing to bet people were talking about their underachievement too.

    As much as arsenal do take a lot of crap from the media I see a lot of the time people are a bit selective in their memory. Like I’ve seen double page spreads talking about the demise of Liverpool and man utd. Similarly I’ve seen the media talking about how arsenal were good when they weren’t and that we always play amazing football when we don’t. I DO think we get treated worse than the rest but I always here it being said whole the media hate us so much more than the rest when if were honest all clubs get attacked. For example we complain about the media chasing our stars out the door and foreign teams tapping up our stars (fabregas viera etc etc)….. Christiano ronaldo anyone? Happens to everyone.

  • Ryan

    I should add you have to forgive my typing, I am using an iPod which is a pain in the ass

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Look, you shouldn’t be looking sane buyers looking to make a profit.

    You need to sell the club as a brand to hate Sir Alex. And that Yorkshire mob owned by the tax exile. And to make up disgusting songs about Wayne Rooney to match the one about Fernando Torres. That sort of thing.

    Or to cut a line with Carragher to sell drugs in his nightclubs.

    And to help Frank Field make people want to work by making the prices for the unemployed three times for those on the minimum wage, which will elicit £10m in sponsorship from George Osborne so long as you stuff some ballot boxes to allow the Tories an MP in the Wild North West.

    Not to mention going into business with President Berlusconi, whose in an exactly similar position in Italy and who can tell you the worth of hiring an ex player with little managerial experience in turfing J. Mourinho out of Italy.

    A long list of dodgy potential benefactors include:

    1. Mr Big Man in West Belfast’s drug wars.
    2. A Turkish police officer who thought LFC fans were nicer than those from Leeds.
    3. A dodgy shipping magnate from Genoa, a port on a west coast whose football team aren’t exactly the best right now.
    4. The owners of the San Fransisco 49ers, who were brilliant in the 1980s and useless since.
    5. Piers Morgan, who needs some people who hate Rupert Murdoch and SAF to come on his new show at CNN and he can’t afford to buy Arsenal just yet to get the Gooners on instead.
    6. Mohammed al Fayed, as he likes Roy Hodgson.
    7. Bill Gates, as he’s decided to hand back all the money he took from the world before he dies, and hence LFC is a good outlet for a lot of it as he needs to pop into the Tropical Disease Research centre on Merseyside to check up on more important things.
    8. Kim Jong Il, as he needs some more bad publicity in the West and annoying Sir Alex seems a good way to go about it.
    9. Luca di Montezemolo, as he fancies a team which plays in red which won more than anyone else but isn’t winning right now. He’s going to hire a ruthless German to change all that.
    10. Fernando Torres’ dad, as the amount he could afford to pay is about what the club is worth right now.
    11. Tony Blair, since he knows how to wreck far bigger institutions than LFC. And his wife’s from there. And the Labour Party used to think that Red is the Colour. And he thinks he can handle Americans that the rest of the country want to be hung, drawn and quartered….

    On the bench:
    12. President Ahmadinejad, who thinks Iran can enjoy footballing nuclear weapons if a Russian Jew can.
    13. The Pope, as he’s tired of LFC fans not coming to see him in Rome for so long, so he’s decided to come to them instead.
    14. Jack Warner, since this is the only way that LFC will get a new stadium in time for 2018 and the only way that the wages will be brought under control, since he simply won’t pay them if they go on tour in Germany.
    15. Sir Ian Botham, as he doesn’t do his charity walks alone and he’s quite used to finding an Aussie snarling at him when he doesn’t kiss his ass and die.
    16. SCW, as it’ll take until 2012 to conclude the sale the way things are going, LFC will be in the Championship by then and he’ll not be needed for the Olympics any more. And he likes football a lot. So long as ‘Arry isn’t the manager……
    17. Beckham, Dalglish, Owen and Capello. Because they fancy a ‘good project’.
    18. President Berlusconi, as Scousers will protect him from the Italian lawyers for life if he wins them the Premier League and the Champions League again.

    Martin Broughton hasn’t paid me anything for this.

    And nor has Tom Hicks.

  • Ole Gunner

    Ryan,

    Since the chorus of ‘Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in x years started’ 5 years ago, I am wondering why they didn’t for example start writing in every article, every commentary, every Talkspite programme that Liverpool haven’t won anything in x+1 years. Afterall the FA Cup win was 1 yr after Arsenal won the FA Cup. Since the refrain started already years ago with Arsenal, isn’t it about time they started saying it with Liverpool?

    Or even better, saying it about the Spuds who haven’t won the league in colour.

    I’d love hearing in every single mention of Tottenham; “Tottenham last won the league in black and white”. How about that?

    My point was obvious. I was hoping it’d be obvious to you. The Arsenal haven’t won in x years meme is stupid braindead propaganda. Anti-Arsenal propaganda.

  • Finsbury

    No mention of David Moores (yes, he was related to the former Everton Chairman…interesting fact…)in that clueless screed from Rhys above. Moores was the person who sold Liverpool to their current owners.

    He made a profit, no doubt about it. Oh yes.

    I remember his noble words about his fair club, as he signed some blotted papers with his other hand. His words were hard to make out, he seemed to be choking on something, but I think this is what he said:

    “The new stadium isn’t important, it’s the fans that count.”

  • Sean

    If this web-site is still up and running in 2024 maybe you could tell us, ‘cos at the moment Arsenal are no nearer winning the league than England are the World Cup……and didn’t Liverpool win the ‘Champions’ League a few years ago?

  • Finsbury

    Yeah, well AFC won the league a few years ago too.

    Unbeaten.

    Beat that.

  • Sean – the problem with commentaries like that are that they have no evidence, no theory, no facts – they are just statements. If you would like to explain exactly why and how Arsenal can be compared with England that would be interesting, but I suspect it is going to require a big piece of paper.