Here’s a stange story. Michel Platini says that he will pass legislation to ensure that from 2012/13 onwards every club in the Champs League have to have accounts in balance.
That presumably means that the club has positive assets – take the money they owe away from the assets they have and if it is positive you are ok. It is what businesses have to do all the time – and banks get very nervous if you can’t show a positive outcome.
In Arsenal’s case we have the debts of the stadium, as our main negative. Against that we have the value of the stadium if sold, the value of the apartments and industrial units, future guaranteed earnings, money in the bank, and (presumably) the value of the players.
I say presumably because I know in the olden days the value of players was not included in the assets, on the grounds that they were too fragile a commodity. That might have changed.
Anyway, no sooner is the word out of his mouth than up pops the cheeky chappy Absent Abramovich to say, “yes old bean, jolly good show, I’ll buy into that.”
This led to M Platini to admit that the call for this new ploy came from, well, not to put too fine a point on it, Abramovich, Silvio Berlusconi, and Massimo Moratti (WC Milan and InBetween Milan respectively).
Asked why, Platini said (and try not to laugh too much when you read this), “They do not want to pay out any more…. Roman Abramovich is a football person and passionate about the game. He loves football. He has come to me and said that we must do something about this.”
Now the KGB in Fulham under Mr AA has spent money. Quite a bit in fact. And they make losses: £67m in the last year alone, making a total debt of £700m.
Loveable lad Peter “I’m chief exec of the KGB” Kenyon, is quoted as saying, “The real work is in the detail and those discussions will continue in earnest over the next 12 months. I don’t think anyone could disagree with the broad principle.”
Ah yes. Pesky stuff detail, especially while buying Zhirkov for £17m.
Kenyon and co have an answer: the club is developing a youth policy. But, youth policies are tricky.
At Chelsea it involves allegations of bungs, tapping up, and well, not to put too fine a point on it, downright failure.
It all relates to Frank Arnesen who was tapped up from the Tiny Totts to develop a youth policy that would outshine Arsenal.
But on 19 September 2006 Arnesen was shown on BBC Panorama offering 15-year-old Nathan Porritt of Middlesboro £150,000 spread over three years to move to Chelsea. Chelsea should have had three points deducted from their league total because of that (one of the fines they got in the Cole fiasco) but the EPL “forgot.”
Arnessen has spent fortunes buying young players, but as yet none of the players have made it to the first team. (Amusingly when I said this once before on this column a KGB supporter said that I was obviously an idiot since Terry came through the youth at Chelsea. True – but rather missing the point that I was talking about Arnessen and Abraomovich).
Arnesen said, “It is clearly laid out in our long-term planning for 2004 to 2014 – after which we aim to be self-financed – that from 2010 and onwards our top priority is to introduce one player per year into the Premiership squad. But that is from 2010.” And not 2008 as the chief executive previously sayid. Just a misunderstanding I guess.
Unfortunately things are still looking a bit shaky – and I did a little piece recently on how a Charlton youngster refused to sign for Chelsea, on the grounds that none of the players ever made it. A bit of a tickler that one – for the boys in blue.
Michael Woods (not the service station on the M5) and Tom Taiwo joined from Leeds for £5m. Franco di Santo cost £3m from Audax Italiano in January 2008 but has vanished (probably under a pile of concrete)and the rest are on loan. Maybe their Jack Wilshere is in there somewhere. Who knows.
But Chelsea still think they can create a youth policy by buying up children, sticking them in Stamford Bridge, and letting it happen – and this is the basis for the acceptance of the UEFA plan. They think by the time it arrives they will have a club with a youth stream, and by having the new UEFA policy that will lock the door against anyone else coming in.
And if it fails, then no problem – they convert the AA loan into stock, put it in a trust, and hey presto the company is solvent.
Dear old Mrs UEFA isn’t quite up to such complexities, and so goes along with it. Quite possibly they’ll find a way out for Manchester IOU as well, who have debts of just under £700m. Liverpool Insolvency have debts of £350m which they are having to clear at £60m a year. Real Mad are, well, real mad, with debts of £800m.
And there are new kids in the race too. Sheik Yermoney in Manchester and Sheik Yerbooty in Portsmouth and gearing up, and even more bizarre is Notts County – now owned by the Invisible Men. Yup – that is it – no one knows who owns Notts County.
Which raises the issue, how do you do a rich and proper person analysis on the Invisible Man. And his wife. And nephew. And whoever else owns the shares? Thaksin Shinawatra is my guess.
In other news – there have been several occasions of the Lord Wenger picking up little phrases and historical notes used here from time to time – a reference back to the Battle of Old Trafford when Arsenal were kicked off the pitch while winning the league, and a reference to Anti-Football and even a hint towards “Rotational Fouling” (although he didn’t use the term) are two recent examples.
Of course the Lord Wenger has better things to do than read this ramble, but it is nice to fantasise that someone near him might occasionally glance our way, and pass on the odd thought to him.
Last, there was a comment in correspondence for the last article about fans from other clubs going onto Arsenal sites, and winding Arsenal supporters up. Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester IOU are known to do this. Rather childish I think – but yes it does happen. I would say, “if you are reading, Tiny, KGB and debt-laden fans, hello,” but that would assume they could read.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009.
Extracts if this article are available without permission on Team Talk Arsenal