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Liverpool and Arsenal: two different ways to run a football club.

Suddenly the rest of the footballing world catches up on what we’ve been talking about for two seasons. Big clubs are getting into big financial trouble.

I speak of none other than Liverpool Insolvency – named thus in this blog about a year back because we started to talk about a day when, amazingly, Liverpool might not be able to borrow enough money to keep going.

In fact it isn’t quite like that yet – because rather than close Liverpool by refusing any finance, RBS has said that they will only continue the £350m loan to the club if Tom Hicks and George Gillett guarantee it.

Now we might think, oh well, they are being let off the hook then, but I think there might, just might, be a twist in the tale.

Guaranteeing your borrowing to the bank is what most business owners do when they first start – in effect they put their houses on the line. And we might assume that this is not too much of a problem for the Red Madmen who run the crazy show. After all their houses are probably quite big. But, consider this…

These two guys didn’t use any of their own money to buy Liverpool – they bought it with borrowed money and then paid that money back by putting the debt into Liverpool. As with Manchester IOU the club was bought by itself – although the ownership ends up elsewhere.

If these were men who wanted to put their own money into the show they wouldn’t have done that.

Second, earlier this year Hicks Sports Group defaulted on debts of $525m, in relation to the Dallas Stars ice hockey team and Texas Rangers baseball team. Hicks failed to pay up on a $10m quarterly interest payment.

So we might look at what Hicks said at that point. He said it was a positive decision to miss the payment as “a negotiating tactic” with his bank.

That is curious in the extreme. If you want to force your bank to lend you more money, not paying interest and then openly telling them it is a “negotiating tactic” is a very odd process indeed. Negotiating tactics (at least in my experience) only work when the other side doesn’t know if it is a tactic or not (or put another way – are you for real or are you bluffing?)

I can’t see any explanation other than the fact that the owners of Liverpool are in deep trouble, and that their tactic of selling the club to the Arabs or Russians has backfired. Potential buyers know the club is on the edge of collapse, and so are holding back for when the price drops to virtually zero.

The auditors of the club’s finances said there is “significant doubt” about their ability to keep going if they can’t refinance the loan next month. Which means that Kop Football (Holdings) Limited, would have to sell Liverpool at any price it can get with the deal that the new owners will have to refinance the debt.

So what would you get for your money?

1. A club that can’t win the EPL.
2. A holding company that lost £42.6m loss last year.
3. The need to borrow £350m instantly just to keep going.
4. An expectation from the fans that you would put other money in to buy players
5. An expectation that you would put another £350m in to build a new stadium.

Of course apologists of the club point to the fact that the FC made £10.2m (compared with £36.5m by Arsenal). But here’s the big difference. Arsenal’s £36.5m came after all the debts (ie the mortgage on the ground) were paid. Liverpool’s £10.2m was immediately removed by the owners to pay the £42.6m losses from their holding company.

Put another way if you want to see Liverpool’s true position in comparison with Arsenal you take the £42m loss and the £10m operating profit, and that gives you an overall loss of £32m Overall Liverpool are £32m worse off than last year, and the banks don’t want to refinance the debt, and the owners can’t or won’t put in their own guarantees to cover the debt. Arsenal are £36.5m better off than they were a year back.

So when KPMG says the situation, “may cast significant doubt on the group’s and parent company’s ability to continue as a going concern” they are dead right.

Of course Arsenal have debts – £416m in fact. But the difference is this is guaranteed by three valuable pieces of real estate (Highbury, the industrial premises around the Ems and the Ems itself) and when the downturn ends Highbury and the business properties will be fully sold off. The Liverpool debt is not based on anything so real. In fact, they were supposed to be building a new stadium – given that there is doubt about their ability to continue as a club, that seems unlikely.

Here’s some more fun…

The Liverpool accounts for 2008 just released were late – something which is an offence and for which the club will be fined by Revenue and Customs. Do it too often and the tax men get very excited.

Why would you be late with your accounts? Incompetence? Fear? Desperation that something will turn up? Or maybe like Billy Bunter, you are expecting a postal order. I suspect the last of these.

And another bit: That huge loss made by the club was due to… £36.5m in interest repayments. So no player purchases, none of that developmental stuff. Just paying the money lenders – exactly like their friends in Very Old Trafford.

Here’s the formal statement from KPMG

“The group has credit facilities amounting to £350m which expire on 24 July 2009. The directors have initiated negotiations to secure the replacement finance required … and these negotiations are ongoing. These conditions … indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the group’s and parent company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

One instant outcome of this was that Liverpool Insolvency offered £12m for G Barry from Aston “Hold your head” Villa payable over five years. Now in footballing terms £12m isn’t that much. But the only way Liverpool could even try and sort out the money was over five years!

Most football transfers are paid over time – but five years is quite a lot for £12m. And it seems that Villa said no because Manchester Arab said they’d pay up front, and Villa seriously doubted if Liverpool would still be with us in five years in order to pay the money.

Compare that with Arsenal. We don’t buy so many players as Liverpool but when one is wanted (Arshavin for example) the money is there.

If the Liverpool Madmen can sell enough assets around the world they might be able to guarantee the debt, but if so the only way out for them remains the sale of the club and its debts.

In the meanwhile, and based on the Barrry saga, there is no chance at all of Liverpool I. buying any players without selling people first. There are some who say that Arsenal are not rich – but we are not as poor as Liverpool.

If the Arabs and Russians just don’t think its worth the bother, and prefer camel racing, then Liverpool really will be insolvent.

Last point: there is a little bit of talk in the undergrowth that no one wants to buy Newcastle, and rather than risk another £300m of losses in the Championship, the owner (who was warned about his behaviour at the Ems on his last visit) is going to put the club into Administration. Just a rumour – but you never know.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

45 comments to Liverpool and Arsenal: two different ways to run a football club.

  • Jonny Neale

    You must be feeling very sage this morning, Mr Attwood. Interesting stuff.

    As for Ashley – that would be a VERY brave decision. I think he would have to leave the country, otherwise he’d be in a coffin by the end of the week.

    This whole Liverpool saga could be just the kick up the arse football needs.

    Happy daze.

  • Gooner

    How you get the energy and time to analyse all the ins and outs of both clubs amazes me Tony.

    Glad you do though, very interesting read, again.

  • prick

    There goes the “buy big win big” philosophy right out the window.

    *whistles away nonchalantly*

  • Hussain

    So basically liverpool is completely f***ed? And Arsenal is on the right track.

  • IndianGooner

    Our debt is not like the ones with ManU n Pool, Isnt it?

    From what I heard was we have a long term debt of 260m(which they have bought while build our new stadium) which was secured for 25years with yearly payment of 20m. and last year the board had asked for another 120-140m short-term loans for the new developments around the stadium. And this short-term loans will be paid off from the sales of the Higbury square.

    Is this correct or there is something else?

  • pig

    is there any decent analysis of this weeks deloittes report. their own summary is vey vague, and bundles us in the top four. obviously not a representative sample as far as aresenal are concerned.

    they say the top four are carrying debts of 2billion quid, but no mention of the security of the respective debts.

    it would be sad to see newcastle go to the wall, but without a buyer what hope do they have? i’m dissappointed that tango man is sitting pretty at dull city, and newcastle might end up non existent.

  • The mark of madness in football is to be seen in the high probability that Ben E. Tez would now go out and spend another £40-50 Million this Summer.

    No trophy in 3 years. No trophy this year. No league title in 20 years. At the mercy of bank negotiations for the continuity of the club.

    Which makes it the right time for the manager to go out and spend £50 Million.

  • An angle Tony didn’t cover, (Liverpool’s problems are so serious that even Mr. Attwood’s superb attention to detail was exhausted:

    1. Even the footballing side now owes £80 Million. I am not sure about the constitution of that debt but it is a very bad sign. Compare to Arsenal to get a sense of what I am saying. Our debt is to cover our stadium, and

    2. The annual reports are for last year (year ended July 2008). And as Mr. Attwood reported here in January, Liverpool had to ask the banks to refinance the big £350 Million facility in that month. With the high cost of funds at this moment, and the short term given for the refinance, we have every reason to think that Liverpool’s Debt profile has seriously worsened even if that is only speculation.

    3. The Americans are actually taking value out of Liverpool FC. They’re (to use the technical term) raping the club. The club makes a profit but the Americans take it out. While at the same time, the club is drawing on future growth to finance the present (No trophies).

  • Terence McGovern

    Oh it gets even better than that! (pauses to rumble with evil laughter).

    The genius financial paradigm that is Hicks and Gilette (see muppet show up on the balcony) took a fixed rate on their borrowings to buy the club varying between 5 and 6% which puts them at a considerable amount over the base rate which if I am not mistaken is several % lower than that. So not only are they in severe and unaffordable debt, but they are paying way over the odds for it too.

    This may however, lead to the banks giving them more time, as long as they are paying the interest because it’s easy money for the lending institutions.

    The other interesting point is more a rumour really and that relates to a section of their borrowings having originally been earmarked to be put towards the new stadium project at Stanley Park. Not only has the stadium project been shelved but the money has long since been spent. If true, this would mean that they have strayed dramatically from the business plan that they would have presented to the banks when securing their loans.
    This is unlikely to endear them to their current lenders when asking for more time as the principle cash cow of their plan is further off than ever and all they can offer is the prospect of a new buyer coming to the rescue.

    Listen as I might, I can’t hear the drumming of hooves from the fast approaching rescue cavalry.

    For the FA Cup and the CL semi-final they cheated us out of I truly pray to any deity listening that the banks call in the loans and put them into administration. It would be better than a weekend long menage a trois with Kylie Minogue and Jessica Alba……..well ok maybe not that good but pretty good! 😉

  • FZ

    What benefit would the lender get from forcing the club into administration?

  • Terence McGovern

    I may be a bit biased here but the sale of the players should generate a bit of cash FZ £30 mil for Torres, £20 mil for Alonso, £20 mil for Gerrard, fifty quid for Kuyt.

    The ground might make a few quid as a multi-story carpark too. Good money in car-parks I’m told. 😉

  • Jonny Neale

    Attractive as the car park idea is (You’ll never park alone).

    If the scallies did go into administration surely it would follow a similar model to Leeds?

    Sell the clubs’ assets to get what you can back, including all players of any value. Sell both the training ground and the shitty stadium for whatever you can get.

    Start all over again.

  • Terence McGovern

    Jonny that’s just hilarious!

    YOOOOO’LLL NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK AAAALOOOOOOONE!

    My coffee came out my nose when I read it!

    (Almost extinguished my cigarette!) 😉

    Superb!

  • mason

    Tony, the shareholders are not just any old random people, those who were present at the meeting questioned AW and rightly so.

    He is taking the club down hill with his stuborn ideas and it is obvious if players like denilson, song, eboue, silvestre and the young gunner gallas stays we haven’t got a hope in hell.

    I am really praying for some major transfer activity in the summer, but as we know the idiot will come out at the end of the summer saying this squad is strong enough bla bla bla and come december the same old malaraky and feeding the apologists with false belief.

  • gooner1

    Rest easy passionate gooners. We are on the verge of signing another CB from italy known as Giorgio Chiellini. He plays for Juventus and is 6’1″. I hear and understand the debate about height in defence. Personally I think a taller defender would be what we need. However he is an excellent player. Potentially world class and Vermalen as well is a very good player. Very good in the air, the pair. Good readers and passers of the ball. What I like about Chiellini is that he can be agressive. This is what we have lacked in defence and the entire team. I hear a lot of you saying “who is this guy, where does he get his stories from?” I’m the same as you a very passionate Arsenal FC fans who knows people in media and is very close to someone who works with AW’s team. And thats where I’m stopping before I get her fired and I’m ditched 😉 Anyway moving on, I also understand AW wants to bring in a right back and obviously a DM who he wants to be Yaya Toure. There is a lot of talk about Matuidi and Chamakh but apparenty it is the players agents who are trying to get in touch with AW as opposed to him actually going in search of them. Hear say aside, I would like Arsene to sign 2 CB’s as he seems to be doing, a DM as he seems to be doing and a world class winger and a 25 goal a season striker. You see one problem we have at Arsenal is width. The defence has been a problem but I believe it is our lack of a plan B that ruins us. We are too one dimensional and most times teams get our blueprint and just park the bus leaving us to pass our way into loosing possession. We need to vary our play by being able to go wide and put in crosses for the likes of Bendtner and Eduardo to attack and score. For me this means we need wingers. Theres a sale on R Madrid and the likes of Arjen Robben, Royston Drenthe and Wesley Sneijder are all up for sale. Why not one of them.

  • Terence McGovern

    With Rosicky back fit and Nasri on the left, that leaves only the right wing and I agree that there is a case for having an alternative to Theo Walcott. Another left winger would be madness though.

    Mason did you get just wake up at your computer and start typing without reading the article?

    Your comment was based on both previous articles and is completely irrelevant to this thread of comment.

    Get a grip my tourette riddled son!

  • FZ,

    The benefit to the club is that it might be the best way it can get its money back. Liverpool Insolvency lost more than the amount of their debt repayments. If you lose £43 Million it means you’ve spent more money than you’ve taken in, and you now owe another £43 Million.

    If the bank has no reason to think the club would stop losing money (Would they suddenly win a treble next season, or has their debt dissolved?) then the bank might think administration is the best chance of getting their £350 M back. Don’t forget that if they keep losing money their debt will only grow and get worse and the ability to repaye would get worse.

  • Ian B

    The press seem to be doing a great job making the Liverpool scenario look like it has happened overnight. As already pointed out this was flagged by Tony over a year or so ago.

    I guess the choice is we support a club that continues to be built with solid foundations or we buy now and say bugger to the future.

    Mason, I too get frustrated with some of the results and the performances from recent times but I would not swap where we are today with our freinds on merseyside.

    I support the Arsenal mainly due to the fact that my father took me to Highbury from a very early age and i long for the day when my children are old enough for me to take them. And the good news is that we wont be taking our own ball and 2 jackets to The Anfield NCP.

  • steww

    If ever there was a scintilla of doubt that mason is a troll today should blow that away. Superb, thoughtful column, well researched and balanced. This is a blog which should utterly put to rest all anxieties any fans might have that Arsene and the Arsenal board are safe hands and that our club could wish for no better. But no. The midget intellect of mason froths and burbles and excretes the same lame inanity as before.

  • ibbs

    Walcott should play as a striker,he doesn’t have enough skills to play on wing. i think he’s over rated,just because he’s english the fans over praise him.

  • Hello again…

    There is a spot of a problem here with suddenly changing subjects as we have done today. Mason’s comment “the shareholders are not just any old random people” came out of nowhere and had nothing to do with anything that had gone before.

    Gooner1’s piece was different by virtue of being new news, and relevant to the finances in as much as it is based on the fact that we could buy Giorgio Chiellini because we do not have Liverpool’s finance problems. Liverpool at this moment, can’t buy anyone.

    I think I am getting to the point where posts that are off-topic and which have no relevance at all to where we are, and don’t introduce any new news which has a relevance, will have to be cut. Mason’s point would be ok if it were emailed as part of the discussion we were having about shareholders the other day (ie whether it was a lot of shareholders who spoke against Wenger at the AGM or just one or two), but it is just irrelevant here.

    Meanwhile on Chiellini, the story that we want him goes back at least to June last year when £9m was quoted. And many of the stories have included a bit about selling Gallas to accommodate the new man. Maybe it is now on.

    But the key point is that Liverpool can’t do any of this until they get their £350m sorted and they can’t do that until the owners guarantee the debt. This highlights wonderfully just what that means. Guaranteeing the debt means saying, “Yes Ron Manager – you go and buy that foreign guy I have never heard of, and I will of course be happy for you to spend £30 million of MY money.”

    Given that the owners have never used their own money for anything at Liverpool, you can see why this is unlikely.

    Personally my guess is that someone will buy out Liverpool at a discount, and then they will have new Arab finance. But if that does not happen then I suspect the Leeds scenario is the one we will see happening. Liverpool were a solid second division club up to the 1950s, so there’s no reason why they should not return to their spiritual homeland.

    Tony

  • Faron

    I think some huge billionaire will just come in and give them an offer they cant refuse and Gilette/Hicks will cut there losses. Liverpool will then have stupid money to spend like all the other clubs going that way. Perhaps this is just the way football is going. shame.

  • Fem Dee

    I only have questions:
    1. This may be playing Monday Morning Quarteback (as they say in the US) but what were the former owners thinking when they sold to Hicks and Gillet?
    It seems very soon, there will be only 2 football club models in UK: those like Arsenal, run with an eye to the bottomline and those like Chelsea, run from a tycoon’s bank account for as long as he can bear it. The Liverpool, ManU model, run on a punter’s loan may be dying out. How long before ManU get to the state Liverpool has now found itself?
    FD

  • gooner1

    was always going to happen to pool. the problem is the 2 muppets aren’t cash rich enough and keep refinancing so eventually there was going to be a problem.
    dont think they will worry too much as they will always be someone out there to buy their shares and bail liverpool out.

  • Terence McGovern

    In answer to Fem Dee’s question above, the former owners were thinking the following when they sold to Gilette and Hicks:

    “YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSS! WOOHOO! LOAAAADSSA MONEY! YIPPEE! WE ARE FREE TO WHAT WE WANT ANY OLD TIME!!! SO LONG SUCKERS!!!

    This was followed by the squealing of tyre from the executive carpark and the departure of a private jet to Barbados where the party is still going strong. Somehow I don’t think that it is Carlsberg that they are drinking. 😉

  • parsi

    So if I understand this correctly, Hicks and Gillett bought the club in 2007 for 174.1 million + 44.8 million of debts (total of 218.9 million) and loaded the entire amount as debt on the club/the holding.

    At the end of the 2007/08 season (barely a year after they had bought the club) the debt was at 300 million, so H&G made a massive loss in their first full season as owners of the club (as you’d expect in the beginning, having invested some cash in new players as well). Despite little to no investment being made in the 2008/09 season they have now sustained additional losses of over 42 million pounds (while the club itself generated an operating profit of 10 million).

    We can quite confidently predict that the debt will have reached around 350 million by the end of this season.

    So basically, the club has seen very little investment, the promised stadium has not even reached final planning stages and the debt has increased by over 200 million pounds in little over 2 years.

    The next person buying the club will have to pay around double of what they paid 2 years ago in order for those 2 two to actually make a profit for their trouble. Unless that person is a crazy Arab actively trying to burn money the extra money required will again be loaded on the club in debts, very likely putting the debt figure to around 500 million in the end (again without having even started building the new stadium). And that person would have to do that without any reasonable hope of actually making money off the club in the long term unless he in turn sold it on for a profit a few seasons down the line.

    Seems like a sustainable business model to me, I am still sad Arsenal haven’t sold out yet.

  • parsi

    I would think that there’s essentially two types of buyers:

    – cash rich big children that want a toy to play with
    – business types that want to make money off the club and raise their profile

    Personally I don’t want the club to become the toy of anyone, no matter how much money he invests and how many titles it would win us. It wouldn’t be the club anymore that support, it would take its soul away. I sincerely hope that nobody like that ever comes remotely close to buying Arsenal. Luckily not too many of those people are around.

    The second type of buyer could potentially be ok, if the club is continued to be run in a reasonable way. But we are doing that already, so I don’t see how a new owner would benefit us.

    I really question whether you can actually make money off running a football club, I really don’t think that that’s been done in the Premiership in recent times (I don’t think anyone has even come close). If there is no money to be made of running a club the money has to be made off selling the club on. Every time somebody buys the club the debt will increase – and that’s without any investment in the team or in a new stadium.

    If that this spiral can go on indefinitely then that’s fine, but I don’t think it can (where does it stop? at a billion, 2 billion, 20 billion?). Sooner rather than later clubs will require a license to participate in certain competitions, if not the Premiership then in European competitions. When the debt repayments reach a point of 20, 30, 40% of the turnover, will a license like that be issued? Other leagues in Europe already have a licensing model and clubs are refused licenses on a regular basis causing them to go into administration.

    That business model is not sustainable long term, it’s barely sustainable short term.

    When I look back the last 10 years I can only remember one takeover that had a positive effect on a club – Aston Villa. All the other ones have either generated massive debts for the respective clubs that are very likely to cripple them long term, or they have made the clubs disgusting toys of sugar-daddies.

    I’m not saying that it is impossible that a club can profit from a takeover, but evidence shows that it’s highly unlikely.

  • Jonny Neale

    Its worth mentioning that when Liverpool were sold no one knew that there was a financial shit-storm on the horizon.

    If the arse hadn’t fallen out of the markets they probably could have kept on borrowing and there would still have been a plethora of interested buyers should they have needed to offload the club.

    Its a buyer’s market now and that’s going to make any sale very difficult indeed.

    Yer heart bleeds eh?

  • Terence McGovern

    It is worth noting Parsi that many of the Arsenal current and former board members have made shedloads of money when they sold their shares to Usmanov and Kroenke.
    This does demonstrate that a club run and managed upon a model of sustainability can be very profitable for those involved.

    David Dein for example purchased his share from Peter Hill-Wood in 1982 for £282,000 and sold out to Usmanov for £75,000,000.

  • Faron

    If Kroenke takes over the club (i think he will do eventually), i dont think it will be so bad. looking back on his other sporting businesses in America, he has been doing pretty well. He Also must think its a good idea as the Club is making Profit isnt it? He wont have to worry about building a new stadium like the gillette and hicks posse. I also think there are too many cooks in that Board of ours. Some of the dinosaurs should just sell there shares and go gracefully.

  • #

    Since we’ve been on the financial beat today. I have a question: What do you lads think about Arsenal changing into a non-profit model.

    Advantage: We’re guaranteed that the owners will never take money out of the club.

    Nothing stops Usmanov or Kroenke, if either achieves a takeover to take our yearly profits home. Whatever you say about the current major shareholders not putting money into the club, they’re not taking money out either and that’s crucial. All profits are reinvested into the club.

    The non-profit model guarantees that this practice will continue, and we’d no longer have to worry about the predatory instincts of potential owners.

  • Terence McGovern

    All things being equal, I kinda like the balance of ownership tha the club currently has. It is true that neither Usmanov nor Kroenke actually need to borrow to buy the entire club but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t do so.
    I don’t know enough about either to have that much faith in them. they both have a history of bringing financial success to the companies and sports franchises that they buy into but I would prefer that the shared ownership model that has served us so well continue on its current course.

    Kroenke has stated that he is in favour of shared ownership but if track record is anything to go by, Usmanov doesn’t like to share.
    Either way, I’m sure that we haven’t heard the last of that particular tale.

    We are currently the single-most profitable club in the premier league and despite the moans from certain sections of the support, given our cup runs and number of TV appearances, it may shock people to realise that the 08-09 season was probably our most profitable financial season ever.

    Cue non-sensical twitchy outburst from Mason.

  • Marc

    At what point do we reach saturation point with rich owners / investors? Only one team can win the PL etc and with Chelsea and Man City looking like they are planning to spend spend spend over the summer (even though Chelsea claimed they would be breaking even by now) we must surely get to a point where the sheer amount of money it would take to turn even a club like Liverpool into serial PL winners is just to much?

  • Marc

    Mason – How the hell can you rad the above post and then call Wenger an idiot?

  • Jonny Neale

    Whats the most comments you have had for a post Tony? Is it this one?

  • Jonny Neale

    Whats the most comments you have had for a post Tony? Is it this one? Is it?

  • Jonny Neale

    The sharper among you can probably see where I’m going with this.

    Mason scratches head, looks baffled.

  • Nhan Le

    If you want an analogy for the Pool and ManU situation, simply read one among thousands of stories on how US home owners (the “home” being the clubs) took out mortgage to finance their luxurious consumption (being overpriced players) in hope that home price (clubs’ value) can only go up, up and up.

    Most American home owners were faced with the moral ambiguity of the process but went through anyway: ok i never earn this money but the bankers think my project is worth the risk and it’s perfectly legal, right? What they didn’t know is that the bankers also had a mini conundrum: this hopeless guy I’m lending to knows the cost of default, and it’s perfectly legal, right? The result of both parties saying yes to their own question was that the home owner went out and bought the super large flat screen TV that is, say, Dmitar Berbatov. After all, you’ve got a great investment (that is, the “home”/clubs) to pay for it in the future.

    Now, when the times turned out not as good as they were promised to be, interest payment shot to the roof as lenders wanted nothing but cash. What did the desperate American home owners do? They resorted to the multiple credit card offers arriving weekly in the mail to cover their mortgage and, eh, pay for energy bills and grocery and tuition for their kids (for the Hickses and the Glazers, it’s refinancing debts with costlier deals) Alas, post-introductory APR on credit cards are in usually 2-digit percentage figures and in case you default, at least 20% (they are 0% or tiny for the first 6-month intro period).

    The result: either fire sale or bankruptcy. Now comes the difference between the average American home owners and the great American companies that own Liverpool and ManU. The regular Joe would rather sell their home at steep price cut, now that they have realized that it’s luxury they don’t deserve, than default and never be able to borrow again as individuals. The same cannot be said about the shadow companies set up by American billionaires to own English clubs. I don’t know if they ever have to worry about their credit score like I do but if Lehman can vanish, so can they.

  • Terence McGovern

    This blog would actually get far more posts but for the ‘spam’ type blogs that fire out 4-5 short repetitive poinless ‘articles’ that carry headlines designed to maximise hit rate. These usually link us with some player that Wenger wouldn’t allow to clean boots and how we are in a race with Spurs and Everton etc.
    They do this to constantly maintain a presence on the lists like ArsenalNews and Newsnow Arsenal etc. However when they do this to keep their hitrate up and thus boost their advertising revenue, the genuine blogs get pushed off the screen fairly quickly. Really it is only from those who have bookmarked this page and who come directly here that the main contributions are comprised.

    It is a pity really because there are alot of people out there there would love this blog but miss out on it because the articles are not listed for long.
    With no disrespect to either Arseblog or even ACLF to a lesser degree which are both entertaining, the vast majority of their hundreds of comments per article are just retarded with idiots more concerned with being first to post rather than having a genuine input.

    Still I’d rather post on the ‘thinking ‘ fan’s blog rather than join in with a bunch of knuckle draggers who can barely string two words together.

    Before anybody goes on the defensive, ACLF has some great and insightful articles and I love the Arsecast but their comments section have a combined IQ of 40 alot of the time.

  • ramon

    Do you really think we challenged for the league this season though, really?
    We were nowhere near challenging for the league, we challenged for a top 3 or 4 spot. We were never in the race for the league itself.

    You’re right when you say none of us know how conservative they have been because we don’t actually know the whole finances of the club. This current board do absolutely nothing to help themselves on that front when they constantly send out mixed messages. The fact that we’re going this way on this thread shows how intertwined all the different concerns are.

  • steww

    Not being defensive but ACLF has some very good debates, easily up to the standard of all we’ve read here today. It’s just the regulars are fighting a desperate action to defend the comments section from idiots.

  • ramon

    tONY, you have a much deeper understanding of the current constrictions of footballers contracts than anyone else here. It makes me think you actually work inside the upper tier of football in England. I don’t believe Wenger has set a foot wrong, at least not too many times since coming here. Inamoto was a great boost for the club, raised our profile without the need for some stupid Far East tour. I might complain a little about Igor and Silvestre but I don’t think Wenger understands Centerbacks or Keepers as well as strikers, wingers and wingbacks. Any other nuggets of knowledge you would like to share?

  • justin

    Woah Terence, mate, that’s some article on the other page ! Good on you mate. Cheers for the enlightening words.

    I have a question for you. Can a 20 year old also buy out the ‘remaining’ three years of his contract ?

    From what you wrote about the Webster, it wasn’t very clear to me at first. But after some thinking I realized that it’s actually the LAST three years of the contract, for a player under 28, and the LAST two years for a player over 28. Now you’ll have to excuse me for being picky, but I guess ‘remaining’ isn’t a very clear translation. This means that if somebody under 28 has signed a 4 year contract, he’ll be able to buy his contract out after the first year, since he’ll have 3 years remaining. Similarly if a player under 28 has signed a 5 year contract, he’ll be buy himself out of it, after 2 years. And so on. That should simplify it even further.

  • kelsey

    Good Morning Mr.Attwood.

    Firstly I find your post about Liverpool much clearer and concise than many similar articles on the subject.
    Personally i don’t wish to be labelled one kind of supporter or another,but out of interest I saw my first match as a very small boy, in February 1958,a 4-5 home defeat to Manchester United,alas their last domestic fixture before the tragic Munich Air crash.

    Terence McGovern, you are an excellent poster,though I don’t always agree with everything you say,but i must bring to your attention(if you didn’t know already)that several people are literally copying and pasting your posts on different sites, and trying to take the acclaim for themselves, though yesterday one was found out and mentioned it was your post.

    Sorry to interupt the flow of things on here,but it is nice to find a site that generally shows respect to other posters.

  • Terence McGovern

    Thank you very much Kelsey for the heads-up on that. It happened on my previous article too and I guess that there isn’t much that I can really do about it, except to regard imitation as the most sincere form of flattery.

    I suppose that we should also be happy that when they need something to copy that they feel will bring them credit, they come to UNTOLD ARSENAL. I suppose where the real irritation is in regard to this is that if it were done correctly and either a link were posted or credit to the site were given, it might lead to increased readership and participation here which would benefit us all and give Tony much deserved, increased recognition for his hard work and unique style.

    Justin, it is my understanding that the player regardless of age has to have played for the club for 3 years before they can activate the Webster ruling. My Bad! I probably should have included that in the original article but in my defence I claim inexperience hehe!

    Just a note to clarify that in an earlier post I was attempting in no way to critise the content or blogging abilities of either ACLF or Arseblog. I visit them both daily and I never miss an Arsecast. The issues that I have are with alot of the content of the comments section which do neither site any justice and I have recently refrained from taking part in either.

    In all fairness I do accept that this may be a necessary evil spawned from increased hitrate levels which just goes to show that you can’t have it every way! 😉