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Man City was 40% of the transfer window this year. What the hell happens now?

By Tony Attwood

We’ve often taken a little look at the finances at clubs such as Man IOU, Barca and the like on this site.   Swiss Rambler does the same, often in more detail, and recently did a brilliant piece on Inter Milan, showing how they too are facing an absolute financial crisis, and how their spending patterns are about to change, particularly as a result of the financial doping regulations.

And if you are a regular here you’ll be used to the mantra that Arsenal just about the only EPL team that are in profit, and meeting all the future requirements of UEFA.

However this has led to questions being raised (particularly by the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal web sites) about why, if we are making this profit, can we not buy this player, that player and some other player.

Obviously there’s a matter of judgement concerning players and their current and future ability, and I’m not going into that in this article.  But there’s also something else happening that I want to consider.

In a recent statement Arsène Wenger stated that this transfer window was the toughest ever, with very few deals being done.  I wondered how true that was, and if it were true, what the implications were.

In starting this little piece of research I began with the notion that if we look at transfers overall, things instantly get swamped by Manchester City, just as in the past the Chelsea buying made it hard to read overall trends because of their high levels of spending.   But various figures are now emerging that suggest something quite profound is happening in football – and it is going to have a huge impact on the whole of the game across the UK, and perhaps across Europe as well.

Figures from Deloitte, quoted in the Financial Times today, show that even with Man City’s buying and selling included, spending was down 22%.  The amount of money leaving the Premier League and going into other leagues was however over double last year’s total – which means a growing net outflow of money even when times are getting tough.

Deloitte figures also suggest that each season the transfer spending has been something in the order of £450m, for the last three years.  This year is was down to £350m.  Without Man City that would be around £235m.

And “without Man City” is worth considering because it seems unlikely that this bizarre club is going to repeat its crazed activities (and I write this before I know what on earth they are doing with their “25” list.)  As it stands Manchester City is 40% of the transfer window and won’t qualify for Europe.  If they want to qualify they are going to have to change their approach quite dramatically.

Speaking of the “25”, part of the idea of this revolution was to ensure that more was spent on locally raised talent.  If we take the transfer window just closed, then it didn’t really work.   Grant Thornton figures reported in the FT show that 16% of the spend in the transfer window went on what they call “domestic players” down from 36% last year.  (Actually as an aside, I wonder about domestic players.  Does it mean that they know how to do the ironing?)

But here’s the knock on. Traditionally smaller clubs have raised money by transferring players up the leagues.   But the cash moving around in the lower football leagues in England seems to have dried up too.

According to the Guardian, in 2009 Championship clubs’ paid out £41m and brought in £102m.  Preliminary figures for this year suggest that the Championship expenditure might be just a little over half of what it was a year ago, and the income down by two thirds.

Clubs in the Championship are fairly modest sized companies with turnovers around £10m a year, so this decline in income of sales from them to EPL or foreign clubs is very concerning.

There could be several causes – but taken with the figures from the EPL it would suggest that all told, when the EPL sneezes, the rest of football gets pneumonia.

And a rather nasty cold is what the EPL seems to have.

Of course the EPL is aided by the rise in the money it got from broadcasting last year – but then in Lord Sugar’s famous comment, all the clubs do with extra broadcast revenue is “piss it up against the wall in players’ wages”.  (What an elegant turn of phrase the man has).

The Guardian recently came up with another reason for the downturn in transfer activity – the banks don’t like it any more.

I was recently at a meeting (and on this occasion I can’t reveal any details because this has to do with my company, not just football tittle tattle), with some gentlemen close to the game, who reported to me that a substantial number of transfers are paid through finance companies.   So, the deal for a £20m player is done, which means paying £5m a year to the selling club.  Instantly the fax goes off to the finance company giving the details and asking for the cash.

The implication of this comes with the cost of the money. With the banks not touching football with a barge pole (and of course that is a generalisation, but nonetheless a valid one since a lot of banks have looked at the problems RBS has with Liverpool and are thinking, “we don’t need that”) the finance companies are able to charge more or less what they like.

And what they like is not what the clubs like.  Clubs are starting to say, “no thanks” to the higher rates of interest they are being asked for.

Banks are also getting very edgy over the attitude of HM Revenue & Customs who are challenging the football-creditors rule again in the courts later this year.   If that rule is challenged then every club that goes down is going to result in a significant short-fall for every other club owed money.  As a result clubs will default on the finance company loans, and the price of football loans will go through the roof.

In fact the only EPL clubs that will be able to buy anyone are Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham (all with foreign benefactors) and Arsenal.

If the Championship is in trouble, then so are the lower leagues.  League One looks to have done ok, bringing in around £7m in transfer sales, while spending only £1.5m.   But again this is a drop by around 40% at a time when their costs (including wages) are still rising.

The hope that the lower league clubs had that the “25” rule would mean a greater demand for home grown players, has not been seen.

So what does it mean? It means that the transfer window was down on its knees.  Because of Man City it looked reasonable, but in fact it wasn’t.  When Man City rejoin reality and start planning for life in Europe, the transfer window will be seen to be edging along the floor.   There will be no help from Italy and probably less from Spain (although there will still be a lot of noise from that direction).

And it explains why various managers, including Arsène Wenger found it hard going to get the player they wanted, because the selling club couldn’t buy, because the club they wanted to buy from couldn’t get the player they wanted, and on and on.

In effect we are heading out of transfers as the norm in football, into youth policy as the norm in football.  Now, who is it that has a decent youth policy?

Untold Arsenal

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43 comments to Man City was 40% of the transfer window this year. What the hell happens now?

  • Richard B

    When you plan as gar ahead as Arsenal obviously do I don’t think thatt’s it’s unreasonable to assume that they saw all this coming. If the transfer market is going to collapse ( and that started when the ‘Bosman rule’ became en vogue) why should you pay £20m for a player who, at the end of his contract walks away for nothing or whose value plummets anyway given that there are so few clubs competing for his signature. Arsenal learned from the Wiltord situation some years ago and have since exploited the other side of the coin, most notably via Campbell and Chamakh.
    Arsenal make profits for all sorts of reasons but one of them is that they keep out of buying at the highest level and operate much more cannily at the low and middle levels. Those profits enable to Club to resist selling those they we don’t really want to sell (e.g. Cesc) and to generally keep financial decisions relating to the Club in its own hands rather than those of the banks or other outsiders.
    Maybe the transfer market will revive in some way in the future but I doubt that it will ever be as it has been. And maybe that will be a sensible situation for everyone.

  • Eirik

    i wish this club had less supporters

  • Paul C.

    Yeah, excellent summary Tony.

    The other key thing to remember is that City, and Chelsea until this summer, have always had plenty of money to make mistakes in the transfer market. Mistakes such as Veron, Deco, Robinho, Adebayor, Santa Cruz, Sheva etc etc. Those players all cost in the 15-30million range. People constantly say “Arsenal can afford a 30million player, so let’s buy one” but that does not take into account what would happen if we bought one of those players and they turned out to be a bust.

    Uh, perhaps we should look at Liverpool to see what happens when you do that. Hmmmm. Alberto Aquilani anyone? Think they could do with that 20million now (plus the wages they have paid him)? Hmmmm. Ryan Babel anyone? Think they could do with that 15million now (plus the wages they have paid him)?

    You always have to assume that 1 out of every 2 players you buy is going to be a bust. For every Henry there is a Jeffers. For every Vidic there is a Kleberson. For every Essien there is a Shevchenko. If that assumption is made, then it becomes very clear that Arsenal should not, under ANY circumstances, start going around offering 30million for players, even if we could afford one of them per season. What happens when they dont turn out well? Where do we find the money to replace them then?

    That is the part that many people dont seem to grasp.

  • GoonerVance

    Paul C.

    I think the people who say Arsenal should pay 30 million for a player assume that Wenger is a better evaluator of talent than Rafa Benitez and Mark Hughes.

    You sell those fans short. They’re not saying, “We should buy a 30 million player”…they’re saying, “Just imagine the kind of player Wenger could buy with 30 million”

  • gulp

    @Paul C we have lived for a long time in a society where everything is for sale. Where you can buy happiness on a credit card. Its hard for ordinary people that live this way to understand the concepts of sustainable economics. How can you expexct anyone that lives on “plastic happiness “to understand that running up the dept for “short time fun” is not the way forward?

    People like that, happily running up huge debts in their own life, has such a small grasp of economy that actually trying to understand the financial mechanisms on such a large scale as Arsenals is just beyond their comprehension.

    Arsenal is a milti billion buisness and directly and indirectly creat a lot of work places pluss generates alot of emotion, not just in England but around the globe(merchandice, scounts, players, players families, fans etc). They as an employer and a “religion” has a obligation to run economically sound. COs if they went bust the implications would be huge. NOt only ecomonically. Wenger said he met a guy in Africa which relative had taken suicide over one of the games we lost last season. If that makes one man commit suicide imagin how many would do that if the club went bust. IT would be an emotional mayhem for millions of people plus a economic ruin for alot of families.

    Arsenal has a responsibility as a employer, buisness and “world society” and they take it serious. THat is how good buisness owner run their buisness.

  • Paul C.

    GoonerVance – Did anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, think Sheva was going be as big a bust as he was? Some of us may have thought he was on the way down, but the way he completely fell off the earth was stunning. And when you say “Just imagine the kind of player Wenger could buy with 30 million” do you mean the same Arsene Wenger that bought Richard Wright? The same Arsene Wenger that bought Francis Jeffers? Jose Antonio Reyes? Cygan?

    EVERY manager makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect. You dont how a player is going is settle into a new city (as was the case with Reyes), or how his family is going to settle (Maschareno leaving Liverpool because of his wife), or how the player will get along with new teammates, or injuries, or whatever. It is not always an issue of talent. So you can be the finest evaluator of talent in the entire world and still buy players who turn out to be busts.

    You have to assume that 1 out of every 2 buys you make will be busts. That is a rule and always has been a rule in my 30 years of following the game. If you are lucky you occasionally get a streak where you get a few in a row correct. Great. You’ll probably win the League shortly afterwards. But you still have to assume 1 out of every 2 buys will be a bust and budget accordingly.

    You simply CANNOT base your transfer budgeting on an assumption that “AW won’t get it wrong”, or even “AW will get it right more often than wrong”. That is an AWFUL way to run a business.

  • Paul C.

    GULP – yes, yes and yes. I agree on everything you say.

  • Paul C.

    GoonerVance – I should add that this is why AW will not, under ANY circumstance, pay more than he thinks a player is worth. He knows himself that there is a huge possibility that the player will not work, that he will hate London, that he will get in a fight with his teammates, that he will end up a drunk. So AW sets a price in his head that players are worth and will not go above that, no matter what. There are very few players that AW would consider paying 25-30million for. I would think that the list would be 4 or 5 names long. Those names would be obvious.

    However if you asked other teams, and managers, their lists of players worth 25-30million or more would probably be 25 or 30 players. Just look at this summer. Was Yaya Toure worth the money City paid for him? Could he EVER represent value for money for Arsenal?

    So if AW is such a shrewd evealuator of talent, shouldnt we trust him when he says “these players are not worth it”. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot say in one sentence “AW is a shrewd evaluator of talent” and then say “he should listen to the fans and spend loads of money on player X”.

  • John Stanton

    An excellent summary. Thank you.
    Personally I would prefer to be part of a club that only spends what it earns, has a realistic turnover to wage bill ratio and favours bringing players up through a rigorous and demanding youth academy than spending the billionaire owner’s spare cash.
    I believe Arsene has grasped what most EPL managers are ignoring, that unless your club is financially self sufficient, the choice is between being the latest status symbol for the nouveau extremely filthy riche (and for only as long as the owner retains interest) or “Redknapped” into administration.
    And whingeing about not signing this or that player for millions, ignores the fact that the liquidity crash has hit the transfer market in the same way it hit financial credit. The players simply aren’t available. Generally clubs will not let their better players go unless a cheaper or preferably better alternative has been lined up,(eg Konchesky for Masherano)
    In the meantime we have a goalkeeper who only two years ago was being touted as an England possibility. He is better than most EPL goalkeepers and better than the Anti Arsenal Arsenal blog sites acknowledge and now needs the club’s and our help and support. Oh and if Barca can win everything with Valdes why can’t we with Almunia?

  • korihikage

    Tony,

    do you by chance know how spurs get their money? because every season, they have been spending alot. not as much as chelsea and man city, but still alot. they are like liverpool, paying a lot for very average players. but they spend a lot.

    i would like to know if we are seeing another leeds united in the making, albeit without reaching the champions’ league semi final.

    and how is it that liverpool, in such debts, can still afford to spend so much?

  • walter

    Another great article today Tony. I think if it wouldn’t have been for City the crisis that Wenger was talking about some time back is starting to hit football now.
    But now the numbers still look at bit nice but maybe things will get even worse in the next months.

    I also agree with what has been said by Paul C. I would have had nothing against a new keeper but the money Fulham asked for a keeper in the same categorie we already have (shwarzer+almunia imo) was to much. Given that I have seen Schwarzer do rather a few big errors in the recent past. (Arsenal-Fulham anyone…)

  • Gf60

    Seeing Liverpool being frequently mentioned:

    They are effectively owned by RBS.
    It is for sale and the sale is being run by Barclays.
    If debts are not settled by October, the future of the club is uncertain.

    Discuss the merits of Standard Chartered sponsoring the club 😮

  • Terence McGovern

    Tony I think there are greater implications for the transfer windows if HMRC is successful in its challenge, than financial institutions being less enthusiastic about financing a transfer.

    In the event of the challenge being a success The taxman will also get pre-emininence over other football clubs. In a sense the selling clubs often finance the sale of the player that they are selling by giving credit in the first place.

    I would imagine that clubs would be loath to do this if there was a risk that they had a reduced chance of them getting paid in the event of administration occurring to the buying club.

    Imagine if you will that Liverpool fail to find a buyer, suffer administration but the Taxman gets in there first. It could be quite a tangled web to get through to see who owes what to whom.

    I have always held the belief that the buying club should always be required to pay the full amount up front with no exceptions. That way clubs would be forced to live closer to their means. As it stands the situation may already exist that most clubs are owed and owe themselves in turn vast sums. One going bust could bring the whole house of cards down.

    The added benefit of having to pay upfront would be that a club like Barceloanus wouldn’t be able to come near us for Fabregas without £60,000,000 cash in hand which would allow us to buy a ready made replacement of our choosing rather than us getting £10,000,000 and some spanish promises forcing us to potentially have to finance a deal for another player.

    This system would give us a dominant position in the transfer market when Man City and Chelsea are forced to put the brakes on or risk being excluded from european competition.
    It galls me that We are still owed money from Barca for both Hleb and Henry.

    If they want our players so bad let them cough up the full amount or be sent packing. Let them bitch in the media and we could publicly ridicule them for being broke and holding the begging cup out trying to buy Armanis on layaway plans.

    One assumes though that their ilk offer higher amounts s long as they can pay it over several years.

    Sometimes I wonder if the board have been far too lenient in the past on these matters. Arsenal always seem to be concerned with causing any offence when in return all we receive is disrespect.

    Public humiliation would soon shut up all those player quotes from spain regarding our captain.

    Thought for today:

    There will be many posting today in an irritatingly critical and illogical manner. Try to remember that there is an intelligence gap between them and us.You can’t meet them in the middle with rationale and going any further would be sinking to their level.

  • walter

    Terrence I also find it very hard to take that we have allowed Barceloanus that much time to pay for Hleb and TH. I do hope the board will never do such a stupid thing ever again and if e club comes for a player we should tell them that they have to pay the full sum on cash NOW.

    I think I have read somewhere (so I am not 100% sure of this) that Arsenal is one of the clubs that does pay their transfers in cash at the moment they buy the player. If this is true we should ask the same of the other clubs.

    And this is something that I would blame the board for if they don’t do this in the future.

  • An insightful post Tony. And i wanna answer the question that you have posed at the end of ur article.

    ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL

  • Keith

    Tony – I read the otherday that Man City will be trying to avoid the impact of amortising by simply paying in cash and accounting for this in the current tax year thus reducing the revenue loss over the coming years in their attempt to try to break even to meet the new CL financial rules & are spending on hotels/restaurants near the stadium to supplement their P&L account!

    Can a team avoid amortisation, if so it kind of explains Man Citys approach but it will still mean they cannot keep propping up the transfer system for even in the relatively near future as their extortionate wages will impact their P&L accounts as there are only so many people in Manchester who can afford to eat out regularly!

  • Marc

    I do find it amusing that Inter Milan are now going to have to adopt a more sensible financial position on transfers and have just signed Benitez as manager. A man who would happily swap a £20 note for a £9 note.

  • Arsene Apprentice

    The day of reckoning is upon us I see. Kind of like the inflated housing prices that eventually bottomed out. This is an excellent post because we see through the data that clubs are stuck between purchases a year ago and the current economic climate. I think that valuations of players by clubs just about 1 year ago were too high. Unfortunately, for the clubs who purchased those players they are at a loss. Naturally, what needs to happen is valutions need to come down in order for the market to keep steady. But, with the clubs like Chelsea, Citeh, & Tinies they will get the deals. At the end of the day I like our position and frugality. We don’t over spend and buy players who will bankrupt Arsenal. I oppose any sort of financing. It is giving away liberties of the clubs. Cash is king.

  • super sam super sam

    tony, walter. after reading the latest inspiring post on le shit, i wandered over here to catch up on more of the usual AAA news.

    really, what kind of shit is that

    it’s not too hard to find a good blog that respects what arsene does and yet they desrespect not only that, but fans that have different opinions.

    i don’t know if you’ve tried tony, but you should try and do a piece with them. i know it’s not your style, it’s not mine either.

    but the divide between some gooners runs too deep, at least on the internet. and on the web le grove would be a good place to start becoming friends again! just a thought! one of their bloggers would probably say i was gay for suggesting it!

    as for the article, not only did wenger predict it would happen, i thought he dealt with the slow market quite well.

  • Paul C.

    Arsene Apprentice – at the end of your post you hit the nail on the head – CASH IS KING!!!!!!

    We had 100million in cash at our last accounts and that ,oney is just sitting there for that proverbial rainy day down the road. No matter what might happen, we are well equipped to handle ANY economic eventuality.

  • damon

    Tony, has there been more players moving for free on the bosman rule? and have there been more loan deals than seasons before. If they are both higher than they have been, maybe that could be a factor in lower spending?

  • AaronGSi

    Great article as usual, and good to see Untold on the ball again with a good factual piece of writing on a very important subject.
    Just to add my take on the comments that have appeared – I too am extremely happy that Arsenal take the approach that they do, and in doing so protect the long term stability of the club for future generations. I can understand some of the frustrations of my fellow fans, in that they may be have wanted AW to add another couple of players, and maybe a big name signing or two. But our squad is already very good and with a bit more luck than last year, we’ll get it right at last. Plus, if we look at the clubs transfer activity as a whole, then it has actually been quite busy, with several youth prospects also signed (and another to follow in Sept – a young Japanese midfielder called Miyaichi by all accounts). How many other clubs have been actively recruiting in their youth ranks this summer too? Not many at all it seems, and certainly hardly any in the EPL. So the future is looking very bright in my eyes.

  • Terence McGovern

    I am philosophically opposed to having anything to do with those oxygen thieves at Le grove.
    Besides making fun of them is always too good to pass up.

    See I just did it again.
    Never gets old.

  • GoonerVance

    Fair enough Paul C, but living in fear of failure whether in day to day life or in a business won’t get you to the top. It’s all well and good to save for that rainy day, but when the goal isn’t to just survive but to win the league there are more than just 1 or 2 teams Arsenal must overcome. Are we waiting for everyone to have a rainy day at the same time so that Arsenal can come in and pick on the rotting flesh, or do we believe Arsenal can win the title now?

    If you asked me today can this Arsenal team win the league I would say yes, but it would require many breaks for Arsenal. Breaks like staying injury free, other teams at the top under-performing, etc. Waiting for this financial crisis is just another break Arsenal must wait for in order to compete, it’s basically admitting Arsenal can’t beat the top teams in Europe unless those teams are at a disadvantage, but at least we’re doing it within our means.

    I understand being in the black is important and in a perfect world that is how every business, team, and individual would operate, but every company, team, individual has debts and uses credit, and sometimes in order to get where you want to go you have to take risks in the face of those debts. Do you think this world is really going to turn into a world where everyone lives within their means? Both the European Union and the United States are keeping their interests rates low in order to get liquidity back in the market. People want the world to get back to where it was 5 years ago, and while in the current environment being in the black seems like a shrewd move, once the banks start lending money again players will be just as expensive and the big teams won’t have a problem taking on larger debts in order to sign them.

  • frankbuch

    with a better defence hopefully around him Almunia could improve- but is it the defence’s job to give the keeper confidence, or the reverse? Rip van Winkle Wenger finally woke up last May and decided he’d had enough of our two goalkeeping duds- hence the £2m bid for Shwarzer.To have that refused by Fulham and then to return with apparently an identical offer last week, was absurd and pathetic. If Shwarzer was the target, at least raise the offer by an amount equivalent to his pay rise, ie £1m? To attempt brinkmanship near the end of the transfer window was always risky and then when Stockdale was injured, was inevitably refused. Wenger’s inability to address this key position will almost certainly cost us again. He’s had 3- 4 years to sort this out and failed dismally. His greatest fans will say “he’s tracked the French and Russian keepers, they wouldn’t sell, the fee was too high, etc”. But this is rubbish- the funds are available- he just refuses to pay anywhere near market rates. This negligence will undermine us again I fear. In big games, you need a calm, reassuring figure at the back that the whole team believes in,not a nervous kitten(s) who’re still learning their trade. I agree that we should all get behind the team, including whoever’s in goal,no booing or early pantomime cries of “it’s behind you” as I heard against United last season! My enjoyment is contingent on the team being given the best possible chance to be successful and Wenger, by his crass mismanagement, has undermined this yet again. We do not take the FA cup and Carling Cup seriously and as for the Premier and CL- our overall defensive acumen is still not good enough against the best. I do feel deeply disappointed and let down by him once more.

  • sweeta

    I must confess: throughout this transfer window I have lived under Arsene Wenger spell! His metronome…like a lullaby with its slow movements back and forth…back and forth. Time is almost at a standstill, back and forth… back and forth. Everyone is still young and promising back and forth…back and forth. Thus hypnotized, I even wrote dreamingly on these pages wouldn’t be nice to get Ibrahimovic from Barcelona on loan or in some other way and had a real nightmare seeing Liverpool featuring Mascherano and Meireles together in the midfield! Then I woke up! Arsene! Son of a gun, there is a living, fast moving, fast spending world out there! Who is this inexpensive Chamakh you sneak into the team? The guy doesn’t handle ball well, doesn’t shoot well and can’t think or run fast! And why in the world Clichy, Fabianski, Denilson, Rosicky, Vela and van Persie are still on the team’s roaster? Why you and your staff have not done some work at marketing them and replacing them with a new blood full of true promise? And why are you, Arsene, did not respect the wishes of Fabregas and let him experience his life triumph of returning to his old school in all found glory? Arsene, you too must have been under you own spell if you thought that after all that you will be able to extract from the lad the top performance he is capable of ! Arsene, wake up ! There is a lot of work to be done for the next transfer window.

  • sweeta

    I would like to remind every one here of this – “No man is bigger than the Club”. It’s not “no man is bigger than the Club but-“, nor is it “no man is bigger than the Club except-“, n is it “no man in bigger than the Club unless-“. It’s “No man is bigger than the Club” – period.

    In other words, no player – be he Eddie Hapgood, Liam Brady, Tony Adams, or Thierry Henry – is bigger than Arsenal. No manager – be he Herbert Chapman, Bertie Mee, George Graham or Arsene Wenger – is bigger than Arsenal.

    And by the same token- no Director – be he Sir Henry Norris, Samuel Hill-Wood, David Dein or Dan Fiszman – is bigger than Arsenal. And that means no Board – no matter who is on it or what it has actually done – is bigger than Arsenal.

    To question the Board’s practices is not to question Arsenal Football Club. It is no different than questioning Denilson’s effectiveness as tracking back as a holding midfielder, or Arsene Wenger’s defensive tactical nous. The Board are men – or women in Lady Nina’s case – and no different from you or I in that regard, and certainly no different from the players or managers in that regard. To question them or their policies – if it comes to that even – is not some attack against Arsenal Football Club in any way. Arsenal Football Club is bigger than its Board.

    To sign this petition is not an act against Arsenal Football Club. Its not even an act against the Arsenal Board, or the Board’s policies. It is a statement for more candor from the Arsenal Board about those policies, and if and how those policies benefit Arsenal Football Club directly on and off the pitch, which is a concern we all share despite our at times deep differences.

    So

    -If you are concerned with whether we have as much money as we are being told you should sign this petition

    -If you are concerned with how we are spending the money we have you should sign this petition

    -If you are concerned with who actually decides how much we can spend and how you should sign this petition

    -If you are concerned our lack of spending could knock us out of the top four you should sign this petition

    -If you are concerned with whether the manager should have been given a new contract because he has lost the plot you should sign this petition

    -If you are concerned the manager has been unfairly made a scapegoat by the Board you should sign this petition

    -If you are concerned the Board is acting in its own interest ahead of the club’s you should sign this petition

    -If you are concerned about the club being sold to owners like the Glazers or Hicks and Gillette putting their debts on the Club’s books to buy it you ABSOLUTELY should sign this petition

  • Arsene Apprentice

    GoonnerVance,

    Now that’s the type of thinking that get’s us in the heap we are all in…

    There is an old saying pay your debts… And, you will be provided your needs not wants..

    Arsenal are on the right track. We are in a stadium which will will help furnish costs needed to improve the organization. We have bought out of necessity over the past three seasons.. And, we are now beginning to promote within…. The next phase will be

  • Arsene Apprentice

    stability within economically and the start of the trophy pursuit. All without compromising the structure.

  • munawwar

    mancity can enter the champions league. but the owners have to pay hard cash for it. which they will. and will get in.

  • munawwar

    i think i saw somewhere that if they cant balance the books then the owner has to pay hard cash or some shit like that… which man city will.. they dont give a fuck! they just want a meaningless pursuit of a trophy which they will never ever win! its so stupid… with all this money they are wasting they can help the people affected in the pak floods!

  • walter

    And to think that at the end of May we will see that all that money has brought them nothing.

  • kiwigooner

    Have been keeping an eye on Sky, players in and out. Without doing an actual count the vast majority of movements in and out of the EPL have been
    Released
    Loaned
    Free Transfer
    then
    Paid transfer
    Although this is just anecdotal evidence the chickens are coming home to roost.
    Ironically if the 25 Rule inflates home grown prices, I would imagine more money will be spent overseas to achieve ‘value’.
    Great post, oh what must the feeling be like to have a few bob when everyone elae is broke.!!
    When HMR&C become preferential creditors as they seem to be in most other situations, there will be a flood of chickens….

  • I’m surprised no one is mentioning the situation at Man Utd. The only reason they are existing right now is because of the huge merchandising deals they have. With debts of close to £1billion, the lack of those deals would simply highlight the topic we are covering at the moment. SAF knows now that he cannot spend £30million on a player like he used to these days, so he is blowing the trumpet of “the youth are our future”. How times are changing indeed.

  • Common Sensei

    You know the catalyst for all this ridiculous rule changing, and people suddenly wanting to buy entire clubs and plough money into them is basically the fault of SkySports.

    They have pretty much stolen football and are doing whatever they can to ‘Americanise’ it which is why we are seeing less and less of the famous ‘English spirit of fair play’ and more ‘Manifest Destiny’ team planning and fountains of money flowing from our own pockets and straight to these players agents / broadcasters.

    The very fact that almost all the money in the league comes from BSkyB and their rights – nobody has even complained that to watch our own team on telly we now have to buy into this Sky Broadcasting company.

    It stinks from top to tail, and I can honestly see it totally changing our beautiful game into something that we just won’t be interested in.

    Arsenal are pretty much the final stand in the battle for tactical and skillful supremacy in the league; as ALL the other high performing teams are ownened by foreign businessmen and HAVE to spent constant millions to stay with the curve.

    Infact I would suppose that this is the reason that Sky presenters all seem to love to slag off AW and Arsene Wenger.

    All this money being pumped into City / United / Chelsea and now other teams too – this mounts serious pressure on the ENTIRE hierarchy to perform. And considering Sky is the one stumping most of the cash to these clubs they want to see ‘their’ clubs winning the league.

    It makes sense – Arsenal are clearly the ONLY team who seem capable of winning the league without buying every player in sight and paying them silly money. Everybody in sport knows this, even if they deny it.

    And to top it all off; they all remember the FEAR that playing Arsenal used to put into them. Lining up to play the invincibles – you could see it on their faces that they were scared stiff! You remember the 2-0 loss to United? That game nearly caused me to have a coronary; the standard of refereeing was terrible!!!

    Not only that, the post match analysis totally avoided the fact of it – and just focused on the fact that United had once again regained a lead on Arsenal.

    Basically I think SKY SPORTS is sucking the life out of football in the UK and this is why until people stop watching the games on telly and get their lardy arses down to Ashburton Grove and spend their money there – Arsenal will always have to rely on Wengers tactical spending (or lack of) to stay competitive.

    We need to get that fear factor back, and the only way we are going to do that is to stand together; it won’t happen overnight either – but the solution is to take away Sky’s money (stop giving it to them rather than to Arsenal) and just attend as many games as possible. If you can’t do that get ArsenalTV Online and subscribe to the managers email etc.

    The depressing thing is, now that Sky practically own UK football the chances of it ever returning to normal are slim to none 🙁

    Which makes me realise just how special Arsenal are not just as a team and club, but as a beacon of footballing morality in the mire of filthy rich oil-barrens who sack managers for fun, buy players as if they were collectibles in packets.

    Proud 🙂 Arsenal IS football now in the UK! Ironic really

  • AMON, (UGANDA)

    Money can never buy everything and the same applies to man city’s spending spree, its rediculous and dont be surprised if the club still struggles to qualify for europa league. its not mandatory to relate spending with qualifications. i hope to see arsenal and liverpool do much better than anticipated this season. Gunner for ever

  • A Casual Observer

    @Common Sensei

    You sir have said it right there – history will look back at these times of ‘pathetic failure’ (as the self harmers call it) in wonder at how Arsenal actually did it?

    The ‘big football’ teams will be remembered, quite rightly, as a cancer in the game – their trophies mean nothing.

  • kkieran

    We have been able to name a decent squad and with this rule coming into place I dont know how these clubs like Citeh will survive. But I still feel we have missed a trick.The story is well known. The expense of the stadium forced short-term belt tightening so that the future could be a prosperous one. We had, still have if you ask me, the best man for the job driving Arsenal forward: a man with a flair for spotting and developing young players and who prioritises a seductive brand of the game that did much to draw the sting of reduced competitiveness.But as with all painkillers, it can only go so far. We are ensconced in the E******s, paying through the nose for the years of plenty we were promised, which have not strictly arrived. We must accept that things don’t change overnight, that Man City and Chelsea have shifted the goalposts somewhat, and that relative to 88 other clubs, ours is hardly an unfortunate position. Maybe we are being just that little bit impatient as we wait for big signings and big victories but the manager has done little to discourage it of late. Despite his contract extension, the long-termism of his squad management has us wondering how much closer we are to winning the league again and still threatens to draw his time at the club to an unfortunately sour conclusion.Melodramatic? Maybe, but dissatisfaction with Wenger is at an all-time high, the gap between Arsenal and the top two is still as wide as last season and the competition from below is stronger than at any other time in Wenger’s Arsenal career.This transfer window was a chance for Arsenal, for Arsene, to fix problems that have been all too evident to onlookers. It was a chance to push us right back into title contention as United and Chelsea had another quiet summer. It was a chance to insulate ourselves against our wretched injury plague and a winter that includes European ties in midweek followed by away games to Chelsea, City, Sunderland, Villa and United.While I won’t belittle the possible contributions that can be made by Chamakh, Koscielny and Squillaci this squad is still worryingly flawed and fragile for one with realistic intentions of winning something meaningful in May next year. We have little chance of coping with extended absences for Van Persie, Cesc and Vermaelen, injuries to two of our top centre backs exposes the permanently crocked Djourou or significantly weakens our midfield through the redeployment of Song and, most importantly, we continue to rely on a goalkeeper who is more likely to cost us five points a season than save them.Arsenal has the money to do things differently. There is simply not the desire. This might not just be about Wenger’s preference for proving wrong those that doubt his young charges. The board have ignored a tangible sense of divergence between the manager and the fans by extending his contract already, so they can clearly live with healthy P&Ls and no silverware. But, when the manager clearly ties his lack of activity in the transfer market to his concern for not stunting young players’ development, he places himself and his project in the firing line.Djourou, Denilson and Diaby can be identified as players to whom Wenger has given the benefit of the doubt. In doing so, three have faced increased scrutiny and less patience from the stands with Diaby the closest to redeeming himself but still with plenty to do. Add Sczeczny to that list. With a handful of marquee keepers with plenty in the tank – Buffon, Stekelenburg, Lloris – ignored for a 38 year old for whom £5 million was eventually thought too much to spend, it seems clear that Wenger wants to leave the path for the young Pole to assume the number one role relatively clear, perhaps as early as next season. The pressure on him is growing already, and there’s no guarantee he will thrive under it. In the meantime Arsenal’s hopes rest in Almunia rediscovering and then improving on his form of two seasons ago (and remaining healthy so that we don’t have to endure Fabianski). If he doesn’t, and it is unlikely, then the fans will most likely be forced to suffer for another season, many conscious that the short-term has been sacrificed again for the untested potential of youth.Arsenal have made a decent start to the season. A creditable if blunt point at Anfield and romp in the sun against Blackpool told us little, while victory against Blackburn spoke of renewed enthusiasm and determination. But the season has hardly started. The churn of games, the arrival of high-pressure clashes with fellow title contestants is on the horizon and this squad will need to show steel it has not yet managed. The run of fixtures and competition from elsewhere in the league is more intense than ever, but Wenger’s principles have not bowed. For everyone’s sake, including his but especially ours, let us hope he is proved right

  • podge

    “imagine the player Wenger could buy for 30m” the same as any 30m player there are no bargains to be found in football transfers above 20m a player has to be a genuine star to be worth that much and a star player who is good enough to cost 30m will cost an awful lot more. There are plenty of players who would cost 20-30m that are actually -10m players for some reason quite a few from Portugal Coentro and Veloso spring to mind 2 mid table players that command huge fees and wages

  • Paul C.

    PODGE – Absolutely. There are only a few players actually worth 30million. Ronaldo, Messi, Villa (David), Cesc, Essien, Rooney etc. Those guys are not available.

    Then there are a huge number of players “valued” at 25-30million by their agents. Players such as Veloso, as you mention. Players who are just NOT WORTH THE MONEY.

    AW scouts players extensively. He watches them for ages and tries to find bargains. I laugh when I see people say “AW should buy so and so” because the likelihood is that AW has scouted that person extensively and does not think they are worth the money. It isnt that AW has ignored the player, he just doesnt rate him. Last winter loads of folks were talking about Dzeko and many of them missed AW’s interview where he said “I like Dzeko but he is not worth the money being quoted”. Absolutely.

    It is far smarter to buy bargains and then build them into good players.

  • nicolas

    I just wanted to say, that this was one of the best posts in a long time. Keep it up mate!

  • Wrenny

    @Paul C
    Buying those kinds of ready-made players would also a big waste of Wenger’s biggest quality, which is his ability to nurture talent. He has never been a chequebook manager, and never will be, no matter how rich Arsenal become.

    A manager like Wenger and ‘Galactico’ signings just aren’t a good fit. That approach works for Mourinho and others, whose man-management skills can turn talented but selfish individuals into a strong and hard-working team , but it’s not Wenger’s way of doing things. His strength is in taking young players and moulding them into a team which plays seamless flowing football.

  • Gunners 4 Life

    Whoever is “Sweta” should go and talk rubbish somewhere else.

    Leave this meaningful blog alone please.