In football there’s going to be a very big crash, very soon.



By Tony Attwood

It may be hard to believe,” announces the Athletic “but this time a year ago there were still uncertainties about Arsenal.”   Actually, that is not hard to believe, because the media is always spreading negatives about Arsenal.   And besides, you don’t even have to recall what they were saying – just look at where Arsenal were on Christmas Day year by year in Arteta’s reign:

  • Christmas Day 2019, Arsenal were 12th.   They finished 8th.
  • Christmas Day 2020, Arsenal were 15th, four points off relegation. They finished 8th.
  • On Christmas Day 2021 Arsenal were fourth.  They finished 5th.
  • On Christmas Day 2022, Arsenal were top.  You might recall they finished second.

Only in the past season have we seen anything positive in the media about Arsenal, because (as you will know if you have been reading our recent pieces) the media firmly believes that the way the world is today, is how it is going to be tomorrow.  And the way the world was in 2019 and 2020 meant Arsenal were on the way out.

But now everything is positive and even the utlra-anti-Arsenal Mirror is talking up the fact that we have a wonderkid in Ethan Nwaneri, age 16 (the “youngest ever player to make a Premier League appearance at just 15 years and 181 days”).  And he is of interest because under the rules he will be able to move from his current two-year scholarship deal onto a professional contract in March next year.  (Watch out for the next story that says he is thinking of leaving Arsenal).

Besides we must not get too excited because, “Arsenal can’t get carried away after a glorified friendly win over Man City.”    Not least because Kai Havertz is not up to it, and we know that because ex-Tot Jamie O’Hara has said he “can’t hit a barn door.”   And he said this on talkSPORT. so we know it is right.  Oh yes and Arsenal will flop because Gabriel Jesus “picks up too many injuries.”

Indeed you might recall that Jesus did not play between 12 November, and 11 March last season, and as a result of that Arsenal were… oh look… top of the league, two clear of Man City and 14 points clear of Man United in third.

To be fair however, not everyone is totally negative for The Athletic admits that “There’s nothing to suggest that Arsenal won’t again be very good this season.”  What they are seeing is a group of “technically gifted, tactically astute” players coming into a team “that’s already being really well coached.  It is unlikely to go badly.”

But of course the nay-sayers have to negate the Community Shield win, and of course Roy Keene is in there saying, “I don’t think it will have any bearing on the title race.”   Which really is bleedingly obvious given that it wasn’t a league match.

Yet one can’t get away from the fact that the old approach of “Arsenal getting it wrong” has been dropped to some degree, and it is other clubs that are seen to be in touch.   Liverpool losing staff is one such issue at the moment.   Jonathan Kane, the vice-president of partnership sales has gone to Newcastle as director of partnerships, following on the loss of performance analyst Mark Leyland who went first to Newcastle and is now with Manchester City.   

Indeed it does look as if Liverpool is not a club people always want to work for as in just over one year they have lost two sporting directors (Michael Edwards and Julian Ward) a club doctor (Jim Moxon), a director of research (Ian Graham) and loans manager David Woodfine.   That is a lot of moving in a very short space of time.

Arsenal in contrast look like a model of utter stability.   Edu and Arteta we should not forget both played for Wenger.  It is quite a contrast.

Meanwhile, casting our eyes further afield, it might be noted that in 2022/23 Italy’s professional football teams rather carelessly lost $1.5 billion – in part due to endless tales of corruption, failures in Europe, lower crowd attendance and declining TV revenue (which takes in just about everything).  That’s on top of a similar level of loss the season before, following covid.   A report from PwC says they had a total debt of over €5.6 billion at the end of the 2021-2022 season, which is utterly unsustainable.  Especially since the lower leagues are in desperate levels of debt too.

One of the key problems for Italy is that most of its sponsorship comes from Italian companies.  The Premier League has managed to cut its dependency on UK firms to 53%, which is helpful since if there is a decline in the economy of England, the PL clubs will to some degree be protected.  (Although of course as their fame spreads Saudi clubs will be out there picking up the big multinationals as sponsors).

Elsewhere we are told by Bloomberg, Chelsea is actively approaching investors as a way of raising capital. 

So everyone wants more money.  Quite where all this will end no one knows, but we can certainly say that it won’t end here.  The whole marketplace is ludicrously unbalanced and uncertain, which means somewhere something is going to crash.

Probably quite soon.

2 Replies to “In football there’s going to be a very big crash, very soon.”

  1. I have not read anything as good as this in a whole. Everybody is busy chasing fake fame by writing rubbish. Kudos to you

  2. Tony,
    It would be interesting to see a table showing the teams actually making a profit across the 5 main football Leagues in Europe. To your point, the current model isn’t sustainable. Therefore, into the breach, the oil countries and their seemingly unlimited cash.
    Is that sustainable from a support point of view. Will the fans of football continue to follow if the sport is controlled by a few oil rich states? Unfortunately, I think we’ll be finding out.

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