Are Newcastle United really in financial difficulty? And what about Arsenal?



By Tony Attwood

Last month figures were released that showed that Newcastle United had loaned its director Amanda Staveley £659,000 for legal fees in August last year.   She also borrowed £600,000 in November 2022 from the club.   Which seems a bit strange to me, in that I was of the impression that she was a source of funding for Newcastle, not a drain on its money.

What made it more interesting was the headline in the The Telegraph that says that Ms Staveley is now engaged in a bankruptcy hearing concerning a debt of £37m.  

Now of course there might be nothing amiss either with Ms Staveley’s finances or Newcastle United’s, but I was a trifle surprised that Newcastle didn’t splash the cash this summer, given their takeover by Saudi Arabia.

Transfermarkt has their expenditure shown as €153.20m against  €44.60m incoming for last summer which seemed unexpectedly modest.  For 2022/23 it was €185.35m outgoing and €14.06m incoming.   So again, I wondered, why were they not making use of their supposed untold wealth?

Arsenal by contrast spent €234.94m last summer and received €67.90m.  A net expenditure of €167.04m compared with Newcastle’s €108.60m.

Of course, I don’t have any inside information on what is going on at Newcastle, but I do try and use a spot of logic which is often missing in the national media, and logic would suggest that Newcastle, currently sitting 10th in the league, 29 points behind Arsenal and with a goal difference that is 30 goals worse, could do with some better players.

What Newcastle do have is a revenue stream in which broadcast revenue is a much higher percentage of earnings than one might expect from a big club.   For Newcastle broadcasting brings in 69% of their income.  For the other “big 7” clubs it is a much smaller percentage.  For Arsenal for example it is just 40%.  For Manchester City 41%.  For Manchester United 37%.

So are Newcastle seriously in debt?  Sports Journal publish a debt list each year for the Premier League and for 2022/23 this showed Newcastle with no debt at all, along with Chelsea, Aston Villa and Fulham (suggesting in each case that the debt had been paid off by the owners).

Arsenal have a debt of £209m which is primarily owed to its owners – the Kroenke family and is being repaid year on year.   The table below gives a few financial highlights…

Premier League Football Clubs Total Debt and Debt Payments 2023


Club Total Debt Yearly Payments (4%)
Everton £1b £34.8m
Tottenham Hotspur £677m  £28.2m
Manchester United £651m £21.2m
Manchester City £454.1m  £18.9m
Brighton & Hove Albion £293m  £12.2m
Liverpool £251m  £10.7m
Arsenal £209.3m  £8.7m
Chelsea £0m  £0m
Newcastle United £0m  £0m
Aston Villa £0m £0m
Fulham £0m  £0m


Khelhow published a list of the ten clubs in world football the most in debt.  These are

  • 10. AS Roma – €208m
  • 9. Juventus- €209m
  • 8. Galatasaray- €222m
  • 7. CSKA Moscow- €224m
  • 6. AC Milan- €249m
  • 5. Queens Park Rangers- €279m
  • 4. Valencia- €285m
  • 3. Inter Milan- €306m
  • 2. Benfica- €336m
  • 1. Manchester United- €536m

One source that I am more familiar with is that published on the UK government’s website  which produced the ‘Assessing the Financial Sustainability of Football’ report which identified “key financial developments such as the level and type of debt in the football industry.”

One worry that they explored was how much clubs were spending on wages as a percentage of their total income.  For 2022 the figures showed that Newcastle were the worst offenders here spending 95% of their income on salaries, which suggests that their problem is, or is about to be, Financial Fair Play, as 95% spent on salaries leaves very little space to spend on anything else.

Everton’s problems with FFP regulations is also shown by the fact that they were second in the table with 90% of income spent on wages.  At the other end of the table we have Liverpool on 62%, Manchester City and Arsenal both on 58% and Tottenham on 47%.

Uefa’s wage control guideline says that salaries should not be more than 70% of club income.

Meanwhile in the financial year to 2022 only seven clubs made a profit.  Two of these were in our “big 7” list, and their profits, considering the size of the club’s turnover were small: Liverpool on £9m and Chelsea on £1m.

Among the loss-makers we have Tottenham £13m, Newcastle £16m, Manchester City £26m, Arsenal £38m, Everton £52m, Aston Villa £54m, Manchester United £62m.

Now the point to remember here is that Tottenham’s loss figure does not include its stadium – these are figures on losses from normal trading.  So they include transfers, but not infrastructure.  What Tottenham now have is the annual payments to pay off the cost of their stadium build and those will be showing up in the accounts from here on.

Arsenal’s loss of £38m gives us an inkling as to why following the big expenditure recently on new players, this is now slowing down.   FFP regulations simply don’t allow Arsenal to go on buying more players without expanding its income.

22 Replies to “Are Newcastle United really in financial difficulty? And what about Arsenal?”

  1. You need to read up on FFP AND FSR before posting such drivel. Newcastle owners would love to spend bigger, but are hindered by above. But our revenues and sponsorships are increasing and as this grows so will our spending. Unfortunaely it takes time.

  2. I remember a decade ago when a certain part owner of Arsenal was accusing Kroenke of loaning money from Arsenal by taking a lean on Arsenal assets to make sports stadium purchases in America. This certain part owner was trying to gain over 33% shares to enable him to open certain closed books, but could not get the required shares to force Kroenke to become more transparent. So who really knows the true value of any club, when not all loans and investments are fully disclosed. Clubs should not be allowed to make loans to other companies or individuals. It’s easy to make an undisclosed loan disguised as an over valued purchase or investment.

  3. Newcastle’s issue is not a debt one – in fact a clubs debt position is ignored by the current PSR, rather it is a revenue issue.

    Based on the last accounts Newcastle’s revenue has increased to £250M (up from £180M the previous year) compared to Man City at £700M (Arsenal circa £450M).

    While Newcastle have the wealthiest owners, the owners are prevented from injecting the capital directly into the club. In order to spend they must grow income streams through 1. Player Sales,2. Prize Money 3. Sponsorship / commercial.

    While the club is debt free which had some limited short term benefit to PSR (clubs can loose 105m over a rolling 3 year period) as Mike Ashley’s refusal to spend meant the new owners had headroom in the first couple of years to invest in the squad. The challenge however is that the squad is woefully thin on saleable assets.

    They sold ASM to Saudi last summer for a reported £25M – no sign of that £100M bid for Jeff Hendrick coming around the corner. Beyond a core of 11 -12 players the squad is packed with players that wont command a value even if they found a buyer to take on the high wages or those coming to the end of their careers (Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie, Jamal Lascelles, Ryan Fraiser, Isaac Hayden, Jamal Lewis etc). There is talk of some of the higher value players being moved on to rotate the squad (Miggy, Wilson, Longstaff) but any player they can sell is a player that plays lots of minutes. So they need to grow depth to remove out of contract players while also replacing any fringe players they replace.

    Newcastle over performed last season and the run in the champions league should see them bank a one off £30m but due to the league form this year it looks like that wont be an income they will have next season.

    Commercial deals have increased, Next season will see them recognise the front of shirt sponsorship from Sela and the following years financials will have a new shirt deal with Adidas listed. Much more work is needed in this space to close that gap. No official digger partner exists yet…

    As a Newcastle fan, I want to see the club invest and buy better players – I don’t expect to go out and throw money at Bellingham like a kid that edits the database on football manager and i dont object to rules preventing that.

    However, if we, as a club that has made the champions league this season, has spent rather modestly given the takeover (5th in spend over the last 5 years 415m vs Chelsea at 672M) have to put the breaks on because of FFP – no option for increased spending if you can demonstrate funds either as a regular or one off basis – overcoming the revenue advantage of the big 6 is going to be so difficult for clubs that don’t have the label as the worlds richest club.

    Newcastle have few options left to continue spending on the squad because player trading is not an option in the same was as it is for the teams they are looking to compete with. using transfermarkt as a comparisson -looking at the value of the arsenal squad (after the top 14 most valuable players) and comparing to Newcastles, they judge the arsenal fringe players to have a combined value of 210Euro bvs Newcastle value of 93Euro.

    You can take the values with a pinch of salt but the result is clear. there is more value in your fringe players than exist in newcastles.

    So, you and other top clubs generate more revenue that gives a higher spending power. you have more capcity to trade to increase that revenue and push FFP further (as chelsea have recently).

    The money Newcastle may have according to the papers is irrelevant if it cant be spent.

    Dont get me wrong (this has turned into a rather rambling response) I am up for the long haul and have faith we will close the gap over time and i think there are issues with the current system that ignores the debt carried by spurs (1BN) or the leveraged models that Man U has and doesnt allow for debt free clubs to in some regard spend more.

    Remember, Im not looking for a Neymar but a few more £40 – 50m players would make a big difference.

  4. Thank you Craig for that breakdown, wish many more commenters were like you that take the time to put in a good submission.

  5. Craig

    What a great response. Compare that to the one at the top of the page?

    Look, I don’t know if everything you say is correct, I am not ‘all over’ the finances of Newcastle United, or Arsenal, or any club in fact. But you can only read what is out there and make of it what you can, and much of what you said makes sense, at least to a laymen like myself.

    I don’t see what offended the first poster quite so much. For example the article said:

    “One worry that they explored was how much clubs were spending on wages as a percentage of their total income. For 2022 the figures showed that Newcastle were the worst offenders here spending 95% of their income on salaries, which suggests that their problem is, or is about to be, Financial Fair Play, as 95% spent on salaries leaves very little space to spend on anything else”.

    Or in a nutshell, FFP is going to be the problem.

    You said:

    “However, if we, as a club that has made the champions league this season, has spent rather modestly given the takeover (5th in spend over the last 5 years 415m vs Chelsea at 672M) have to put the breaks on because of FFP – no option for increased spending if you can demonstrate funds either as a regular or one off basis – overcoming the revenue advantage of the big 6 is going to be so difficult for clubs that don’t have the label as the worlds richest club.”

    Or in a nutshell ‘have to put the breaks on because of FFP’

    Even Barry said:

    “You need to read up on FFP AND FSR before posting such drivel. Newcastle owners would love to spend bigger, but are hindered by above:

    Or again, FFP is Newcastle’s problem.

    That was the overarching point I took from the article, and it seems both of you Newcastle fans agree, unless I’ve mis read you?

    You go on to say:

    “overcoming the revenue advantage of the big 6 is going to be so difficult for clubs that don’t have the label as the worlds richest club.”

    Which is rather odd, as 5 of the big 6 clubs, also don’t have the label as the Worlds richest club? Arsenal certainly aren’t. They only just make the top 10!!

    As an Arsenal fan I have very little sympathy with Newcastle. That isn’t to say I don’t like Newcastle, or indeed fans I have met over the years. I just have no sympathy for their ‘plight’, for want of a better word, and this is why.

    If you recall, back in the late ’90s when Wenger joined us we started to compete, at least on the field of play, with Manchester United. Our problem was that Manchester United had a head start on us and a bigger stadium. They were in the process of becoming the biggest club in the World with a Stadium growing to almost twice the capacity of Highbury.

    If we wanted to compete we had to grow our income, and to do that we had to build a bigger stadium. You have to remember back then Stadium income was a massive percentage of a Clubs revenue stream.

    We didn’t get a ‘sugar daddy’. We were not bank rolled. We got were we are today the hard way. We built a new stadium and took the hit. A hit that got massively worse because just as we committed to the new stadium Roman Abramovic turned up and pretty much started asset stripping our team. Manchester City soon joined them.

    Wenger subsequently went a 10 year period when his spend on players was nett zero. Back in the day I did the figures and for 10 years there were at least a dozen clubs spending more on players annually than us.

    We struggled, as every one was left in no doubt of, and failed to win a single trophy for 10 years, although Wenger somehow, miraculously kept achieving CL qualification. Despite that Arsenal, and Wenger in particular, were endlessly ridiculed. The media turned a lot of our own fans against us.

    Despite the relentless abuse Wenger faced for not winning a trophy, it was the money earned from CL qualification that saved us from ‘doing a Leeds’.

    So, we, Arsenal FC and it’s fans, took the hit. We faced ridicule and abuse in the media on a daily basis. Talk Sport had a daily article specifically aimed at ridiculing Arsenal.

    So, everything we have today has been earned. The Stadium. The players. Their wages.

    And that is the key word. EARNED. It has taken neigh on 20 years to build to this point. Nothing has been given to us.

    We are not the only ones who have earned their place in the big 6.

    Manchester United, rather than getting bank rolled, get fleeced by their owner.

    Liverpool live off their revenue streams and have not been bank rolled. They too suffered going 35 years without a title.

    Spurs are at least trying to do it without a sugar daddy.

    So why should any of us have sympathy, or even believe it’s ‘fair’, when another team just wants to gazump them by being bankrolled by rich Arabs?

    But, the fact is it is allowed, and that is the path Newcastle have chosen. Fine. Just don’t moan when others try to do as much as they can to stop you.

  6. Hi Nitram,

    I want to clarify, i dont believe that Newcastle should have a right to expect to shortcut the building stage and buy a squad of the best players overnight. I have stated that i am not against rules that prevent that.

    I will also admit my initial response was a little on the rambling side – I was attempting to highlight that the issue Newcastle have is not one about debt or lack of funding but that our spending is limited due to the FFP model.

    I believe that prudent financial controls should exist to ensure football clubs, which represent so much to their communities, do not have tier existence risked by cowboy owners. This should cover financial viability but i also think it should cover the structure of the ownership. The glazers buy out of man united, where they bought a club that was debt free and then once owners, mortgaged the club to effectively repay the money they had spent to buy it in the first place is legal but wrong in my eyes.

    I have also raised the issue that a clubs debt is not considered a factor of sustainability, only a clubs revenue.

    Again, I am not adverse to rules that go some way to slowing the impact a Sugar Daddy owner will have. The journey is what i am here for. Some form of wage cap may also be worth considering though i am not advocating either way.

    I also want to be clear that i am not looking for sympathy. I dont expect any Arsenal fan to ask for someone to sympathise with them for supporting Arsenal and I wont ask the same of my support for Newcastle.

    So, to address some of your points

    – my figures i have taken from fairly reputable sites, I dont know if they are exactly right either but i have no reason to doubt them
    – I can only speak to myself, not any other poster
    -I agree that FFP is the limiting factor for newcastle. you have not misunderstood me.
    – My point about having the label as the worlds richest club, it is a trope pushed by the media. Newcastle are the richest club in the world. We are not, we have the richest backers but Newcastle itself is not rich. But i do think there is a level of belief that because of our owners Newcastle are heading in an upward direction. This ‘expectation’ or credibility of the project is an advantage that Newcastle does have over every other club looking to join the ‘big 6’. I think this has helped us recruit key players and staff ( Ashworth, Tripps, Bruno for example – would they have signed if Newcastle had not had the takeover). The intent of my point was to say that if Newcastle are having to put the breaks on because of FFP. Other clubs Brighton, Fulham, Villa etc are also going to be prevented from closing the gap.

    I am not saying that becoming a regular, consistent top 6 side should be easy or the right of any club.

    I do think we need to protect the hope that it will happen and i fear that the FFP rules as they currently stand will act to further solidify the top clubs and provide a safety net to the same clubs having extended periods of underachieving on the pitch.

    Chelsea have been so off the pace on the field for ages and are on course for the second mid table finish. This is after spending £450 on transfers (total purchases – total sales) in the last two seasons. While it looks like they will need to trade to spend this summer, they can do this because they have commercial revenues, they have built an academy and a second squad of loan players.

    The reality is that for a club trying to break into that top 6 consistently, they need to be better on the pitch than clubs that have a better starting point than they do – this happens, we did it last year, villa this year.

    But you need to keep doing it year on year in a world where the other clubs are permitted to spend a lot more on wages and on transfers than you can – for some clubs this will be 2 or 3 times the amount. Lets also be clear. the only way to match these clubs financially is to be a regular in the champions league.

    I am saying this as a Newcastle fan that believes we are better placed than any other club to break into the top 6 over time because our owners will be able to afford to keep knocking on the door and because our project will attract more attention globally than others which will enable us to get better commercial deals than the other teams trying to break into the top 6. So i think we will get there. And i believe that the FFP rules will stop any other club from breaking into it.

    The premier league needs to remain a league where bottom can beat top on any given day, where no one club is guaranteed to win the league and where every team can dream of more than just survival. it is what makes the league the most attractive to watch.

    So, the future i think the league needs to avoid is one where the champions league clubs are always 4 from 5. The European clubs are always the same 2 or 3 and everyone else is a once in a million chance to break into the group above.

    Teams that can spend more will (the odd season aside) always float to the top.

    So, is there a better way? Can we protect the viability of clubs with a cap on maximum losses and at the same time enable clubs that can afford to spend to go above that limit in a controlled fashion. If villa qualify for the champions league, have the funds to invest through their ownership model and can demonstrate it is not going to risk the viability of their club, shouldn’t they be allowed to increase the strength in depth so they can compete in more competitions next season? isnt that good for the game?

    You reference the clubs that have EARNED their place – well they all got their before FFP existed. They have established their revenue streams through participation in the champions league (+ obvious at city and chelse). They could invest what they though they needed to in order to get there and while it is right to protect against a leeds situation, Villa have no debt today. they could in a non FFP world decide to gamble another 300m in the window without any risk to their ongoing business. under FFP they cant.

    I dont think Newcastle should be able to spend £1bn every season to buy the league. I dont think things should be handed to us. And at the same time why shouldnt we be able to spend the same in a season as chelsea if we can afford it. Why shouldnt villa or brighton? Not more than others, the same.

    Our squad is worse than the top 6 – anyone that saw us play against you lot at the weekend should know we have a long way to go. why shouldn’t we be able to invest the same figure. That would still leave us disadvantaged as we are starting from a lower base. Lets compete on the pitch not on the bank balance. Put rules in place that prevent one team spending more that the previous seasons max transfer spend + 10%. That way any club is prevented from financial doping.

    Then lets focus on the teams not the balance sheets or appeal hearings. However, regardless of how it was achieved in the past. The only way be on a par with the big 6 revenue wise is regular champions league involvement. The rules at present have the effect of restricting non top 6 clubs ability to compete on the field.

  7. @Nitram, @ Craig,

    I believe Craig is not moaning, just stating reality.
    I guess the time when a sugar daddy could come in and inject 1 billion and all was accepted are over.
    The new rules seem to force a club to grow from within if it wants long term survival in the PL, or play roulette in the tranfer market. Same as what happens in the NFL – but way less sophisticated.

    All the world was making fun about Arsenal because Mr Wenger was defending the club and not the results. Yet, 19 years in a row in the CL were a miracle considering how he did it.

    Wanna compare that to today ? Look at Klopp…leaving, too exhausted. How long was he there ?

    Then on the issue if debt, my problem with it is that if a club can loan 1 billion from its owner to build a stadium, the interest ought to be computed as per what a bank would charge. Arsenal payid interest for more then a decade on the Emirates. Not to an owner but to financial institutions.

    I have no idea how the situation is, I’d imagine it should be like this, yes maybe not.

    And as Craig has put it, a salary cap would be a good idea to level the playing field some. But not a salary cap compared to a club’s revenue. No. A salary cap across the board like in the NFL : each team has to play with the same amount available.

  8. Craig

    “I want to clarify, I don’t believe that Newcastle should have a right to expect to shortcut the building stage and buy a squad of the best players overnight. I have stated that I am not against rules that prevent that”.

    Yep, I appreciate that. The only point I really took issue with was the inference that simply by being a ‘Big 6’ club meant that by definition we were ‘the richest club in the World’ and beyond that in some kind of privileged, protected position. We clearly are not, as I will show later.

    You have gone on to clarify your point by stating:

    “I do think we need to protect the hope that it will happen and i fear that the FFP rules as they currently stand will act to further solidify the top clubs and provide a safety net to the same clubs having extended periods of underachieving on the pitch”.

    As I say, I don’t believe our positions are solidified. I don’t believe we do have a safety net against extended periods of under achieving. At least not all of us.

    (Ironically the 2 current ‘Oil Rich’ clubs Man City and Chelsea, may be the exception, with their bottomless pits of money, but as Man City are finding out with all the charges they currently face, even that situation may change, though personally I doubt it. One thing is for sure, Arsenal certainly have never had that, and even if we do now, we have the same FFP rules to abide by that everyone else does).

    Okay, our higher income streams increase those FFP thresholds, but we have earned that position. We have not been given it by some dodgy Cartel. We are not protected from failure by some dodgy Cartel.

    Sorry, but my equally rambling response was really me just railing against these persistent accusations/inferences, that we are indeed only part of this big 6 because we have somehow connived our way into some sort of privileged elite group who all look after each others interests, and that is simply not true for reasons I shall lay out bellow.

    Out of the big 6, Man Utd, Chelsea, Spurs, and Man City have all been relegated in living memory. Well at least MY living memory. As I pointed out, Arsenal went 10 years without a trophy and now 20 without a title and still going. Liverpool went 35 years without a title. Spurs win nothing. Some Cartel that!!!!

    We are in that top 6 on merit. We are there because we run our club very well. We employ good managers, and stick with them, by and large.

    The truth is the only interlopers, so to speak, in the top 6 are the 2 clubs I spoke of earlier, Chelsea, who were sold for a pound, and Man City who went through about 30 mangers in 30 years and 3 divisions as a result, all again in living memory. Neither of those can be said to of ‘earned’ or indeed ‘played’ their way into the ‘Big 6’. They both clearly just bought their position with ‘Oil Money’.

    I just get very defensive at the slightest inference that we are part of an untouchable big 6. It is simply not true, as proved by the chequered history of almost all of them. If we mess up, we could go down, just like you and anyone else. Do these accusers think Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea or Spurs give 2 hoots if we ‘fail’? Do these people think they will save us? Man City and Chelsea did their very best to grind us into the dirt when our backs were against the wall. Sympathy? They will laugh at us, just like they did throughout the second half of Wengers tenure.

    This isn’t a go at you, more a defence of Arsenal, our position, and our recent history.

    I wish you luck in your ambitions, as I do any other club, but that doesn’t mean I am happy that all our clubs hard work could be trashed again because some oil rich state wants a new toy.


    Thanks for your in depth explanations.

  9. @chris. Indeed, I don’t see Newcastle fans have much to moan about in the greater scheme of things.

    I think the challenge is that while i agree the clubs should grow from within, the realities are that there is a ceiling to revenue growth without playing regularly in the champions league. therefore you have a catch 22 scenario. You cant grow revenue beyond a certain point without regular champions league games and without those revenues there is a limit spending that makes building a team to win regular champions league football a near impossibility.

    So, i believe a better system would be one which ties the max spending in a season into a £ figure that is the same for all clubs. maybe add a debt ceiling in so that clubs over a certain percentage have transfer spend reduced until the debt is paid down? Finding the right solution is not simple. Im not saying my suggestions are not flawed. I am sure people with other perspectives would find issue.

    But i do think FFP is not fit for purpose in its current form. And yes to some degree my views are influenced by the situation that Newcastle is facing but id like to think if Newcastle were in a Man City or Arsenal position i would be able to see the same flaws in the system as it is today.

    I dont want newcastle to win the league in cheat mode. I also wouldn’t want to stay at the top in cheat mode either. And, before that phrase is jumped on, i want to be clear i am not saying that Arsenal fans have cheated, or are cheating. I am saying that the current structure risks providing an unfair advantage to clubs that are at the top now if spending remains tied to revenues and only clubs that have the revenues today are in a position to earn the revenues tomorrow.

    So i would advocate for a change in rules that would continue to provide protections against a leeds scenario while protecting the ability for clubs to speculate in order to have a change of breaking the big 6 consistently if they can demonstrate it is financially viable. There are other factors that can be used to stop a sugar daddy coming in a buying the league overnight which should be considered but lets be honest. It took Man City years to do it and the top of the league was not as strong as it is today. So even if Newcastle’s owners were given a free hand to spend what they wanted do you really see them being able to become another Man City overnight? I dont.

    If Newcastle could spend the same as every other club on transfers in real terms? Or had the same cap real term on wages? Surely that’s better for the league as a whole (better squads lower down the league)? add to that a requirement to meet criteria on overall debt or to protect against sugar daddies walking away (as per chelsea) if Club owners want to invest beyond what is currently generated naturally by a club they must put 3 years of funds into an external account in trust so if they walk away they club remains secure.

    So if Newcastle are generating 250M / year themselves. for the club to spend at 300M a year they would need to hold an extra 150m In a guaranteed account.

    or to keep it simple, spend is capped in real terms to all clubs (either transfer, wages or both) and clubs can spend at those levels as long as your debt level is capped at % of club value. So sugar daddies, cant out spend the rest of the league and can only spend above revenue generated if they are putting the capital in themselves?

    These provisions wouldn’t allow any club to distort competition by spending obscene amounts of money but equally, would allow for investment beyond pure revenue generated.

    Anyway. for what its worth i hope this year is your year.

  10. @Nitram

    Our posts crossed so i hadnt seen yours when i wrote my last.

    I understand the sensitivity re Cartel comments. I believe your success has been earned on the pitch and you deserve to be proud of that.

    I think the protection you are getting is the ability to go again, in the way chelsea have despite their mismanagement on and off the field, they were able to drop another 300M on players to paper over the cracks. my point was other clubs cant do that because they dont have the revenue limits to allow it or the mass of players to sell either.

    So you have absolutely earned your place but i feel the league moving forward does not offer the same ability for others to join you. You shouldn’t apologise for that but i think it is fair to flag that i think there is a structural imbalance as a result of the revenues generated by the champions league and ffp rules.

    Again, you shouldn’t apologise for revenues earned on the pitch, but the scale of them when combined with the FFP rules do distort things as ive tried to explain in previous posts.

    In the same way you are proud of Arsenals success on the pitch, I hope other clubs fans can feel that its the performances on the pitch that matter and that the structure of the league does not intentionally or otherwise put in place barriers now that did not exist 10 years ago

    Great discussion.

    I really need to actually work now….

  11. Craig

    I can see it is a conundrum. And as such, all fans will tend to view it from their situation. But on one point. You said:

    “You cant grow revenue beyond a certain point without regular champions league games and without those revenues there is a limit spending that makes building a team to win regular champions league football a near impossibility”

    But yet we did it.

    Between 02/03 and 12/13 Wengers Nett spend was circa £15 Million PROFIT

    This low spending soon took effect and we won our last title in 03/04 and our last trophy of any sort for 9 years in 04/05.

    But during those 9 years Wenger still managed to qualify for the Champions League. He knew how important this was, for the reasons you say, the money.

    But to do this he sacrificed winning any other trophy for the more valuable ‘not a trophy trophy’ of a top 4 finish, and took dogs abuse for it, even though he did so with a net spend over those 9 years of £30 M PROFIT.

    So, if Wenger can achieve Champions league football on ZERO net spend, when our rivals were spending £30Mplus on players per season, why not everyone else? In fact he achieved it year on year on net zero. So it’s not impossible is it?

    I don’t recall a single media outlet Lording Wenger for achieving the ‘impossible’ do you?

    It seems you and I Craig are in somewhat of a minority in that respect?

    So, as a result of the pain of those trophy less years and the dogs abuse Wenger and our club received, we put ourselves in a position where we could spend a lot more money. But we earned that right. But even so we are not the biggest spenders over the last 5 years, Chelsea are, and look where they are. Man Utd are 2nd biggest and look where they are.

    Arsenal are 3rd biggest and sit 3rd. But it has taken us 7 years and I agree a lot of money, but as I say, not the most, and we earned it.

    Liverpool are 9th biggest and sit top. They also earned their way back to, not only the top 4 but the very top.

    Newcastle as 5th top spenders have spent double what Liverpool have yet sit 10th.

    So I agree, it is not easy, and of course you do have to spend a lot of money to get in the top 4, but I’m sorry it is far from impossible. Spurs have done it on a similar budget to you. Liverpool are doing it regularly on a budget half of yours and a third of Chelseas.

    You just need a good owner, employing the right manager, spending the money well.

    Not easy, but by no means impossible.

    Arsenal, by all accounts have been abject failures and won nothing of note for 20 years. But through good owners, brilliant managers, spending the money well, we have hauled ourselves back into the top 4, and even title contention.

    But our position is as fragile as yours. Get it wrong and make no doubt, we will fall again. If we manage to re establish our top 4 status again we will of earned it. Not only that but it will be at the expense of probably Manchester United or Chelsea, so proving that Champions League money or not, if you don’t get other aspects right you will fall.

    And that’s what you have to do. Get a manager who can over achieve, relative to spend, consistently. Stick with him. Establish yourself in the top 4 as we are trying to do. The money will follow. Once that happens Newcastle may become a resident top 4 club, possibly at the expense of Arsenal?

    But if Newcastle are going to do it, I would like to see them do it like we did.. Get the Owners. Get the manager. Get the players. Get TOP 4. Get the Money. Like we did.

    Personally that’s why I like FFP, because I don’t like clubs doing it the other way around, A La Man city and Chelsea.

    I honestly believe Craig, if you had to watch your team go through what we did on the back of their rise to power you would feel the same.

    But, in conclusion I return to my first line, which is that you haven’t, so you cant, and that is why people have different opinions on this. Your history shapes you.

  12. Craig

    Just to clarify my first line because as it reads it doesn’t seem to make sense:

    You said:

    “You cant grow revenue beyond a certain point without regular champions league games and without those revenues there is a limit spending that makes building a team to win regular champions league football a near impossibility”

    “But yet we did it”.

    “Between 02/03 and 12/13 Wengers Nett spend was circa £15 Million PROFIT”

    That should of continued with:

    “which effectively means we did maintain top 4 without the CL money, because it wasn’t spent on the squad, but rather it all went into servicing our Stadium debt”

  13. @Nitram

    Firstly, i think this is a really interesting debate. Not something id expected this week.

    Im not looking to knock the achievements of Arsenal 10 – 20 years ago, but I do think the landscape is different today. Arsenal were a team that was starting from a high base already. As a team that had been winning trophies and competing consistently for a decade or more before hand Wenger had one of the strongest squads to start with, He had the lure of being an existing Champions League club and yes, he used all of his skills to trade well.

    I would argue that today that the competition for the top 4 spots is stronger than it was back then. With the emergence of Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs also pushing on.

    Squad depth is also more important, especially in that second season if you make the Europe in order to sustain it. And teams coming from a lower base need more high quality players relative to teams at the top who may look to add one or two or who have players of value they can sell to permit higher in year spends if they need them (as per Chelsea recently)

    Run of the mill premier league players are now 40-50M, A great player may be 100M+.

    Based on the accounts of last season, the premier league revenue table looks like this..

    Man C, £706
    Man U, £637
    Liv, £583
    Spurs, £531
    Chel, £504
    Ars £455
    Ncle £245
    Wham £235

    Its worth noting that West Hams results were in a year they won the Conference League, Newcastle increased their revenues by £65M over the previous season – This would not have occurred without the takeover.

    So the revenue gulf is massive between the big 6 and the rest.

    And with the current FFP rules being based on your revenue that permits the big clubs to spend more in £ terms. It ignores the massive debts that spurs and Man U are carrying. Man City in a 3 year window can spend 2,223 Million vs West Ham 810M (3 year revenues + 105M)

    I go back to my position that, I am not looking for clubs to be able to skip a building phase.

    I do think Newcastle will be an exception due to their ownership model allowing more opportunities to grow revenue so my argument is more for the Villas / West Ham / Brightons etc that i think will find Revenue growth impossible without being in the champions league.

    I think that the current controls provide an extra inbalance that did not exist previously and that with more thought a more balanced set of controls could be put into place that will not create a scenario that makes it easier for clubs at the top to maintain their position.

    As a principle i support ensuring a club doesnt go bust, Im also not against ensuring a club cant come in and drop 1bn on player sales and treble the league wage cap.

    but as drafted they require clubs to first grow revenue then invest. this creates the catch 22 from earlier and i believe for those clubs that have the funds, have no debt but low revenue they should be permitted to spend the same in real £ terms as other clubs in the same division to better compete on the field which will drive revenue growth. Again, Provided they can show that by increasing spending the club is not put at risk.

    This is part of at toolkit, not instead of good coaching, good transfers etc but alongside it.

  14. Linked to our topic.

    The Crystal Palace owner has been quoted as saying the following in an interview published today on the BBC…

    Look at Nottingham Forest. This is a club with an owner that has an incredible amount of capital. And he comes in the Premier League and he’s told you can’t spend it. If you spend it and it falls into a category of losses then we are going to sanction you and we may send you back to the league you came from.

    It’s not about financial sustainability, it’s not about financial fair play, nobody is protecting the little guy. This is [expletive]. This is people making sure that you can only spend a percentage of your revenue.

    Steve has to run his club with a top line of revenues which is driven by television. If we want to put in a bunch of money to buy more players we’re not allowed to.

    So you have to watch your losses and you have to find a way to live between the eighth spot and 17th spot or you go back to the second division [the Championship].

    If anybody thinks that I have a problem with the way that Steve is running the club, and [how he] has stayed up for 12 years, just because we have difference of opinion on things… try being Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis right now.

  15. Craig

    I’m not saying who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s just people, clubs, fans are coming at it from different angles.

    Just take this as a for example.

    Arsenals various owners have taken Arsenal from a near relegation team in the mid 70’s to a top 10 team in the early 80’s to a title winning team in the late 80’s early 90’s, back to a top 10 team. Then Wenger arrived.

    Our average attendances during this period was around £35,000. Then Wenger arrived.

    Since Wenger arrived, through brilliant management. Through brilliant ownership. Through brilliant foresight. Through immense struggles against the odds.

    We started winning things. We built a new stadium. We suffered. We have resurged.

    All of this without a penny or at most, minimum ownership investment.

    Now we should just sit back and watch billionaire owners with nothing better to do with their money, trash years and years of hard work, prudent business sense and patience.

    Do it the hard way. It took us years. But that’s the thing. Clubs don’t want to wait years. Fans don’t want to wait years. They want it now. In fact they want it yesterday.

    That’s my view. Not saying it’s right or wrong. It’s just the other side of the coin.

  16. And a couple more points.

    Arsenal aren’t to blame for this situation we find ourselves in. You can thank Chelsea and Man City for that. As I pointed out above, we simply tried to ‘challenge’ Man Utd using the, at the time, 3 main revenue streams available to us, namely winning things, match day revenue and sponsorship.

    I’m sure Arsenal would of been quite happy had it stayed that way, but it didn’t because along came those 2 and we all know the rest.

    People had no sympathy for our plight when that happened. In fact, as I say, all they did was laugh at us, nay ridicule us, for not doing the same.

    I’m pretty sure Arsenal would be quite glad if there was an end to this ‘financial doping’ altogether. After all we are where we are without it, even if it is actually worse off than we were immediately prior to it’s arrival.

    It is also not Arsenals fault that the balance of revenue streams has changed ergo the massive increase in TV money and marketing streams. But it is as it is.

    If you want to get a bigger slice of the new pie, get a good manager. A La Wenger. Buy prudently and make your team better. Get into the top 4 and stay there. I mean stay there for years. Earn the money. Improve the squad. Earn more money.

    But that takes time doesn’t it. That’s bloody difficult.

    But I’ll say one thing. It’s what Spurs are trying to do. They may be our arch enemies but I have said on here many times I admire what they are at least trying to do. Like Forest, they have a mega rich owner. We have a mega rich owner. But we are both trying to achieve what we can by EARNING it.

    Of course I laugh at their ‘trophy less’ existence, it would be rude not to, but if they do end up title winners, or at least top 4 regulars, even at our expense, they will of EARNED it.

    How would they feel, how DO they feel with the likes of Newcastle, then say Forest, just buying their way above them?

    All that investment. All that time. For what? To be gazumped by clubs that couldn’t do it on the football field. Didn’t invest in their stadium. Didn’t take the risks Spurs and Arsenal did.

    To me, both Chelsea’s and Man City’s business models are bad for the game. It is to football as is quantitative easing to an economy. It has inflated everything beyond it’s natural financial equilibrium, to a point beyond what I believe is a sustainable level. And people want MORE clubs to do it and to do it to an unlimited degree. It’s madness.

    Just my opinion but again, it’s just the other side of the coin.

  17. Nitram.

    Good debate this week.

    I think it’s one that will rumble for some time.

    All the best this season. I look forward to the next round if Newcastle are the subject of another article on here.

    Always happy to put my two pence in the next time a Geordie rent a gob is required.

  18. A shame that you haven’t shown all replies. Sorry if trying to be helpful causes offence.

  19. Craig

    Yep, really enjoyed it. As you can see, I’m more than happy to state my case.

    Please do come back, and all best to Newcastle.

  20. RexN I haven’t knowingly cut out any comments on this debate. But everyday this site can get around 50 spam comments from people who are trying to get a comment posted which is in fact an advertisement. Many of those are picked up by a program that searches for keywords that indicate this is an advert, but of course occasionally a genuine comment from a person who has not posted before can wrongly get blocked by the software – it is not perfect. It may be too late for you to want to join in the debate but I have cleared you now (in case that was the problem) should you wish to. Tony (moderator)

  21. Thanks, Tony.

    Others have made most of the points, particularly about the revenues and percentages but there are some other elements to consider.

    NUFC current owners inherited a club with neglected commercial revenues. Ashley had taken over a club on a par with Spurs for commercial revenues at around £25 million a year. Now, Spurs have grown around sevenfold whilst Newcastle’s were more or less unchanged.

    The latest set of accounts, as rightly pointed out by others, does show an improvement and will so again for this season and next.

    One of the explanations was how player purchases are shown in the accounts. The fee is spread over the life of a contract up to a maximum of 5 years so a £50 million player will show as a cost of £10 million per year. The new owners are accepted to have spent £400 million which shows as a cost (amortisation) of £80 million per year. Put another way, over 3 years that is £240 million of costs that have to be covered by increased revenues, otherwise that will go towards paper losses. If clubs are allowed a maximum of £105 million loss over 3 seasons, that translates into how much (or little) the new owners can spend.

    A few words on Ashley. He more or less broke even but didn’t increase revenues. The commercial side was neglected. Similarly, on the whole he operated on the bargain basement area of the market and made some good profits out of fortunate buys, including offloading Debuchy. There was little value in the squad, the assets that the new owners have cashed in on are the likes of St Maximin then Shelvey for £3 million, Wood who was bought by the new owners and youngsters like Freddie Woodman.

    Just a quick mention on wages and UEFA competitions, our ratio in the last set of accounts was down to about 75%, still a lot higher than yours. 75% of our revenues is roughly the same as 40% of your revenues.

    Yes, the new owners have cash to spend but are not allowed to spend it. FFP, PRS and the new UEFA rules work in a way to protect what has become known as the Septic Six in the Premier League as well as the likes of Braca, Real, the Milans, Bayern etc.

    There are NUFC supporters’ sites where a lot of the financial aspects are covered. I don’t know if you accept links but you have my email address if you want to find out more. We are always happy to help.

  22. RexN

    Another good comment, and thanks for that.

    One thing I want to highlight though is a the following:

    “Yes, the new owners have cash to spend but are not allowed to spend it. FFP, PRS and the new UEFA rules work in a way to protect what has become known as the Septic Six”

    I know these are not your words but why are WE part of the ‘septic six’?

    What an earth have we done to merit that name? In fact, what have Liverpool, Spurs and Man Utd done to warrant that? When the 2 clubs that were bankrolled by ‘oil money’ arrived it was Arsenal that arguably suffered most . But it is arguable that both Liverpool and Spurs also suffered at their hands. We were cash strapped, and on the back of that asset stripped (player wise) by 2 clubs that had been run for the last 20 years in a fashion that would of made Steptoe and Son look a going concern. Chelsea being sold for ONE POUND and Man City dropping 2 divisions.

    Wenger had, not by being bank rolled but by astute management and coaching, made us a top 2 team constantly attaining CL football. Those 2 came along and put all that work in peril. Nobody gave damn about that. They weren’t labelled the ‘septic 2’. More over they were lauded we were derided.

    This bank rolling of clubs, why you may think gives more clubs an opportunity to win the PL has in reality had the complete opposite effect.

    For over 20 years we have had an almost total monopoly, not only on the Premier League, but almost all domestic trophies, by 3 teams, 2 of them being the bank rolled pair.

    This is, as we can all agree, a big and complicated subject. But Given everything we achieve is on the back of a well owned, well managed and well run club, I object profoundly to being called a ‘septic’ club just because we perhaps, and understandably so, would like to protect, at least as best we can, the position we have worked so hard for over the last 15 years. This is not septic, this is what all businesses, big, medium or small try to do.

    But I understand others want a piece of the pie, and that’s fine. But there has to be rules. There has to be restrictions. You simply cannot have a ‘wild west’ approach where anyone can just do anything they like. Yes, have investment to help catch up, but not unlimited. And yes the new kids on the block, so to speak, are at a disadvantage to the established clubs. That is obvious. But it is understandable, and it is fair.

    As I say, it’s taken us 15 years of hard work and no little suffering to get back where we are, and we are still in no way guaranteed to win either the PL or CL. In fact, if we mess up, we are not even guaranteed to stay in the top 4. We are still battling, on our own generated finances, to bridge the gap to the ‘doped’ Man City.

    We are trying to do it without a sugar daddy. Liverpool are doing it without a sugar daddy and a net spend on players lower than Newcastle. Spurs are trying to do it without a sugar daddy and a Stadium debt on their shoulders, as we had.

    You may not agree, and that’s up to you, but that is the other side of the

    ‘we should be able to run our club as badly as we want, but have a sugar daddy come to our rescue and be able to spend as much as he wants without a single restriction’


    I concede it is a big subject with conflicting points of view, but for better or worse, those are mine.

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