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Barca beat Man U in the bankrupt final, but who will sink first in the financial mire?

By Billy The Dog McGraw
Tony and Walter are off playing in the Supporters Club tournament on the Emirates pitch today, and thus have asked me, their trusted colleague and devoted lacky, to take over for the day.  In fact I am just off down the pub, but here’s a few thoughts to be going on with vis a vis last night, money, and all that sort of thing.  Billy.
It’s hard to find much to say about the Euro cup these days.  Two financially bankrupt teams and a bunch of philanderers who think that being a footballer means you can bonk anyone you fancy and get away with the consequences.  Well!
A few years back in Russia the two sides in the final weighed in with debts of £1.7bn.  This year the debts are…. well we don’t really know because Barca is being coy.  But we do know that one year ago next month they were unable to pay their players, and believe me you don’t get into that state without making a huge cock up first.
According to the score and recent history, the top of La Liga makes the top of the Premier League looks inferior.  But that’s not quite it.  Barca keep all the money they earn from their TV rights, while in the EPL we spread it around a bit.  That says something, especially since Barca are still in the muck and have no where left to raise money from.
As for Man IOU, Antonio Valencia, Park Ji-sung, Ryan “Twitter” Giggs and Michael Carrick – god if these guys had played for Arsenal 90% of the AFC blogs would be howling for them to leave, and for the manager to leave at the same time for having kept them in the team.

Which means that at the very least Man U need a new midfield.  If they go and buy one then they will be sticking another two fingers up at any long term chance of financial survival, and against the Uefa financial rules.  Maybe they reckon that with the near collapse of Fifa through the oft predicted (on this site at least) scandal of their operations, Uefa will be the next to topple, and the rules will never come in.   If they don’t then that will be the surest of signs that the financial collapse (so long expected at Man U) is here.  (Unless of course he goes out and replaces not the midfield but other Man U players with the money, in which case that will herald the mental collapse of Sir Alex F Word.)

Of course it is not only Man U and Barca that have financial issues.  Poor old Tottenham are a trifle stuffed.  The Redknapp, currently awaiting trial on fraud charges, has to sell and sell and sell again – not something that comes easy to a man for whom the last-second deal is the natural habitat.

Gomes, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe, Alnwick, Hutton, Naughton, Bassong, poor sad little David Bentley, Jenas, Palacios, Kranjcar, O’Hara, dos Santos, Keane,  Cudicini, Woodgate… roll roll roll right up and take your choice.

What the Redknapp will do is go looking for clubs in an even bigger fix than the Tinies.  The Totties made it to be big league for one season, and then it went, but didn’t have a load of dosh sitting around to keep them going.  So it is boom and bust time and he will offer the readies to Birmingham and WHU whose finances are really screwed.

But there are problems.  Who among the Totties wants to take a pay cut?  Who wants to buy a player on £60,000 a week who is clearly only worth a fraction of that?  The Tinies might be stuck with more players than they can squeeze into their 25 – and that’s a problem facing all the EPL clubs that don’t have a large number of under 21s who can join the squad but not count.  Too many players, all with contracts, all being paid far too much.  Pressure mounts.

Poor old Bentley cost £15m.  So did Defoe.  What is each worth today?  Pavlyuchenko, cost £13.8m from Spartak Moscow, Keane £12m, Palacios, £12m, Hutton £9m, £8m = Bassong and £7.8m for Gomes.

This looks like a loss making situation which combined with the lack of Champs League money will make the Totts next set of figures rather sad – and could even take them into the league of Manchester U and Barca.

My point here is that these players aren’t worth much any more, and Tottenham’s income is in serious decline – just when they are trying to talk up themselves so they can bugger off to East London.  Barca strut the world stage, but nothing much has been done to sort out their finances as far as I can see, and Man U’s finances are utterly stuck because the Glazers need the money while they need some new players. Eventually something has to go bang.

To round it off Chelsea need a new manager which then means new players, while Man City will probably buy and buy some more to ensure they don’t do a Tot and slip out the top four.  What that means is that by and large the top clubs have stuck two fingers up to Uefa and its financial arrangements.  Shame, I had some hopes for that.

It also doesn’t bode well for Liverpool, who must wonder just how they a) sort out their horrible little stadium and b) boost the team to get themselves into the Champs league again.  They don’t have to worry about financial fair play since they are not in the champs league, but like the totts the rebuilding has to be financed somehow.

So, here’s a prediction for next season.  Something is going to explode.  Of course it might be me, but it could be something of some significance in football.

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54 comments to Barca beat Man U in the bankrupt final, but who will sink first in the financial mire?

  • Mr Venger

    Bale and Rooney to Man City for exorbitant fees then??

  • critic

    with the shit midfield manure still won the pl and we also have overpaid deadwood that needs to move on eg.. denilson, a la winner!!!

    Financial stability is good if it helps winning titles on the piitch, otherwise it’s of no use.

  • Salim

    Seating on chair with handsome smile, mmmmmm huuuuuuu.
    that u have manyoo, checik, totoes, vool and coop.

  • milinho

    ahh money in the bank for gooners to warm our hearts, while FOOTBALL teams play FOOTBALL finals and win FOOTBALL trophies. are we going to, like an American priest, continue to predict a horrible turn of events just to make ourselves feel better? we all know, the demise of aforementioned clubs will not happen. governing bodies, sugar daddies etc will not let it happen. they represent too much of an economic asset to allow it to die. so pls can we stop hoping that our rivals will die leaving so we can win by default. wheres the pride and achievement in that?

  • Paul

    farcelona played trash united off the park, this shows that trash united while being more consistent are still not a good side and were lucky to win something this year only because refs helped them out. People were complaining about Arsenal not having a single shot on target, but man u played on home soil and only managed 3 shots overall. Were are the critics? Simply pathetic display. It didn’t take much to know that they didn’t stand a chance even after that one lucky offside goal. Good it’s finally over and the mancs got what they deserved, the newspapers are finally going to be clear of all this “Don’t underestimate Manchester United” crap. Regardless of yesterdays outcome, both teams are still financially retarded “super clubs”, can’t believe a club can run into so much debt, unbelievable. Even barca with all their crap talk about using its amazing academy, where the hell did all this debt come from then. Review your business methods cause they look crap!

  • Nick Lee

    Exact sentiments critic.

    To be fair, MU is operationally profitable and have worldwide branding and fans. What the owners did with creative accounting is seriously not the club’s fault. And look at the joy and pride on the faces of fans. That’s what football club is all about. Nobody remembers you for being financially sound and that’s the reality.

  • Shard

    @Nick Lee

    So much ‘pride’ at winning the league in the fashion they did, that it is not enough for them. they need to try and belittle Liverpool in order to feel that their success has some meaning. I’m sorry. The majority of ManU fans are the sort I do not want at Arsenal because that is NOT what a football club should be about. Pride has nothing to do with trophies.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Not too many clubs have cash to buy without selling – so get ready for player firehouse sales or failing which ,free agents.
    Villa have released 10 players to date and will soon be followed by much of the same from other clubs.
    Am I wrong to assume that they will strengthened the lower leagues .And player power will be on the demise ,while many agents will be jobless .Am I going to shed a tear for them ?
    I think not !

  • Mick

    If you really think ‘Financial stability is good if it helps winning titles on the piitch, otherwise it’s of no use.’ then you need your head examined. Not much use winning the title next year and going bust the following, or maybe it wouldn’t bother you. After all you could then simply transfer your support to some other fashionable club. You sound like a fair weather supporter with no regard for the clubs long term sustainability.

  • Mr Venger

    Why are peolpe like critic so obsessed with slagging off Denilson, a player who had no bearing on our captulation this season.

  • Nick Lee


    so what is a football club all about?

  • bob

    @Billy The Dog McGraw: For information’s sake, what do you make of the very recent press reports on The Glazer’s saying that Don Fergus has no financial restraint on him going forward into next season. Are they covering something up? What’s your analysis of this? Also, do you think that UEFA are strong enough to demand or enforce that their rules will be followed by the big clubs? Or, will they cave when push comes to shove? And if they will cave, then what to make of Arsene’s following the anticipated new rule regime and, most important, of our prospects because we’ve pursued the lawful strategy whilst it’s back to the wild wild west of anything goes?

  • Stevie E

    @nick lee, do you think fans of perennial mid table clubs are proud of their teams? Even if they’ve not won anything for 20,30,40 years, they are still proud of the team they support. Supporting a team because of winning trophies is defined as a glory supporter… How would you define your support?

  • nicky

    Agree and disagree with your comment.
    Amazed that these so-called top clubs can soldier on quite happily with such enormous debts. They buy at vastly inflated prices and continue to avoid their comeuppance. How do they do it and are Arsenal missing out on something?
    Man Utd weren’t on home soil. They were on an “away” pitch and played like most of their away games this season…..poorly.

  • Was that the most one sided Champions League final ever?

  • bob

    @nicky, paul: As we know, there’s the “too big to fail” phenomenon for channeling public funds into big failing financial institutions. Perhaps for iconic clubs (like it or not, alas) like ManUre and Barfa, I think there is a “public interest” in some way that keeps them afloat here and in Spain. That is, there is an FA/EPL/Sky interest in keeping that keystone in place or, methinks, while some hereabouts might applaud, the house of cards would topple. There is an unspecifiable League interest in keeping Manure’s Brand, and, hence, the League’s brand afloat, by any means necessary. I would be the farm on some forms of subsidy that can not speak its name. How else – an ‘x’ factor or factors that is essential or there’d be no PL. The same for Barca/Liga, whatever. And, of course, the CL as a whole. I think we are not talking about individual clubs and their balance sheets; but mutually entwined interests that require their top brands NOT to fail, because they are too big to fail. Any thoughts, please…

  • Wrenny

    @bob, I absolutely agree. The Premier League, Sky, even UEFA all have a vested interest in their big ‘properties’ like Utd and Barca being successful and keeping those big bucks coming in. If these bring brand cash-cows are in danger of failing, those institutions cannot just sit back and do nothing, it would have a serious impact on their bottom line. And this perceived manipulation of match results to ensure maximum profitability is becoming more apparent.

  • nicky

    @ Bob,
    You may be right insofar as Barca are concerned but I cannot see where ANY responsible public body in the UK would be inclined to support a top football club from liquidation. Why should the EPL be concerned that(say)Man Utd remains within its ranks. The Club has been relegated before and could be again.
    I have tried to envisage the “enormity” of English football without Man Utd but keep returning to the inescapable fact that the Club is the most hated in the Country, mainly due to its malicious dealing with the game’s officialdom….. initiated and fuelled by a particularly unpleasant manager.

  • bob

    @Wrenny, Billy The Dog McGraw: yes, Wrenny, it would seem that if a sports institution is too big to fail financially, or it would jeopardize the League and a whole constellation of entwined interests, then this would in some ways be translated into and on the-pitch if the structure of mutual profitability were seriously jeopardized. People who demand the secret evidence for this hypothesis are in the ascendancy until such evidence – like Seep Bladder in the dock – emerge into the light of day. But that is the problem with their methodology or bias (which they claim does not exist because all they demand what all can observe). At the moment, I would counter-propose, in sync with your view here, that if it jeopardizes the actual standing of ManUre and Barca, then UEFA, et. al., will go into retreat on their financial rules and teams like ours, who at least have seemed to be counting on the new slate of UEFA rules, will be left holding the (empty money) bag. It is no small thing, this. And there’s a lot to consider, mates, IF that is what ensues, to say the least. The rules would clearly favor Arsene’s apparent financial and team-building strategy. But if the rules are trampled by a larger League and structural need to maintain profitability of the iconic teams (to with, ManU, Chelski, Barca, Madrid, et. al.) no matter what, then we fans are in for the rudest of awakenings. Anyway, would love your further musings….

  • bob

    @nicky: I want to believe what you’re saying. But what I fear is that the League is in fact an international entity, a world brand, and ManUre is its face. You’ve got to see how League adverts and games are televised all over the world. The EPL is, in practice, the Barclay’s PL, and ManUre and Shrek are its de facto face, magnets for attention, TV audience, sponsor dollars and the like. That is, I think the League as it is under the covers, in actuality, is this entity, with the fans actual feelings only a secondary after-thought, as long as enough of us keep feeding the Beast that is (the status quo) with bums in the seats, eyes on the sets, and dosh flowing their way. I want it to be the way you say, but I think we’re facing tougher sledding in recovering fairplay from the unfair players (and I don’t mean the ones on the pitch, not even ManUre’s).

  • BobbyP

    This all seems a bit like wishful thinking. Both United and Barcelona have massive income streams, and will always be profitable – any current financial issues will only be temporary, (unfortunately).

    Just being in the final provides a massive financial boost (£110 million?), as this article illustrates:

    United also picked up another £60 million from TV money etc this season (Barca far more, with La Liga’s inequitable TV deal):

    Both are far more developed commercially than we are (something that Gazidis is hopefully changing).

    Tottenham and Chelsea still have the backing of Abramovich/Lewis, who have not shown any signs of walking away so far. The Red Knights interest last year shows that there will always be someone to bale United out if need be, as (Glazer debts aside) they are fundamentally a massively profitable business (and have lots of wealthy fans).

  • bob

    @nicky: I also mean that the League and ManUre are international creatures; hence the potential for one or more MU subsidies would not have to be English at all. So it’s not about a responsible English entity keeping ManU afloat, but whatever array, including the Glazers, is necessary to do so for the “good of all” (that is, for the League owners and beneficiaries, but not the fans per se, as a whole). Any thoughts?

  • Wrenny

    “Why should the EPL be concerned that(say)Man Utd remains within its ranks?”
    Because Man Utd are perhaps the biggest football brand on the planet, they have enormous global appeal. That they might be unpopular among rival clubs’ fans in the UK is practically irrelevant. A Premier League without this collosus would be worth far, far less in TV rights to the broadcasters around the world that pay huuuuge sums of money to the Premier League to show their football games, and for some markets it is predominantly the Man Utd games that their viewers are interested in watching, and very importantly, in watching them WINNING. Forget them being relegated, United in mid-table would be enough to kill the popularity of the EPL in many very profitable (and growing!) but fickle markets.

  • inja

    neither one will..they will find a way out of their mess…trust me.
    so, our superiority in this aspect is not really one.

  • Wrenny

    AND, remember that if the Premier League is more profitable and successful when Utd are doing well, that means that Utd’s success is actually good for all PL clubs, including Arsenal. A rising tide lifts all boats.

    Which could be why you see many Fergie-friendly managers seemingly complicit in giving the Big Red Devil a helping hand. What’s good for Utd is good for them.

  • bob

    So, somehow discerning the filaments that connect this structure of interest to (patterns, key moments) on-the-pitch decisions becomes crucial, the key to the mint. For an interesting reflection, the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the US — in fact a worldwide institutions, with huge international audiences, though not much in the UK) has many critical fans who provide educated guesses (allege there’s a “fix”) as to who the League wants as finalists. This year, one of the favored teams is the Miami Heat, now in the finals. In a crucial semi-final against the Boston Celtics, there were two INSANE calls by the referees that stopped Boston’s turnaround and called a flagrant foul (a red card in effect) against Boston’s top player, which removed him from that game, and Miami went on to win it. A key call at a key time. Even the announcers (unlike those that adorn UK airwaves) were amazed and said so, but then let it drop. There’s no absolute proof of a fixed call; but the timing, impact and result on a League that needs this Miami team (with the NBA’s best two players, and possibly two of the top three in the world), to ensure its international broadcast allure. To see these League’s in only a League-wide or national context, I think, is to miss the boat.

  • bob

    @Wrenny, @Billy The Dog: Is there a revenue-sharing arrangement among all teams from the PL as a whole? If so, do you get less – but still something – from that pool when you’re relegated, is that also a part of the penalty? How does it work? Do you know what revenue streams go into such a general pool, if there is such a pool. For example, do all teams get at least something when MU is broadcast in the UK, or around the world; or is it only MU (or perhaps it gets a larger share)?

  • Wrenny

    This article from The Swiss Ramble (an excellent blog dedicated to football finance I urge everyone to bookmark if you haven’t already) should tell you everything you need to know about how TV money is split between clubs:

    It’s worth reading the whole thing, but for anyone who just wants to know how the money is divided:

    “That said, there are ways in which the Premier League distribution model does favour the leading clubs. It’s true that half of the domestic money and all of the overseas rights are split evenly among the 20 clubs, but 50% of the domestic rights is not. For these funds, 25% is for merit payments, determined by the club’s final league position, and 25% is paid in facility fees, based on how often a club is shown live on television.

    Each place in the league is worth an additional £800,000, which can make quite a difference, so Chelsea took the maximum £16 million last year, while Portsmouth only received £800,000. Similarly, each club is guaranteed a minimum of ten TV appearances with a maximum of 24. It’s no surprise to see that the leading clubs feature much more often than those lower down the league, so Manchester United’s £13 million facility fee was more than twice that of Hull City (£6.3 million).”

    This table should also help put it into context:

  • nicky

    It is a sad indictment of English football that Man Utd are the current EPL Champions, not because they play the best football in the Country, but because of other reasons. Their intimidation of officialdom at Old Trafford. The frequent clashes with the FA and the media by their bullying manager. And their continued habit of buying players they can ill afford due to their parlous financial state behind closed doors.
    Whilst I accept that the world-wide bandwagon of Man Utd publicity has had a knock-on benefit, indirectly, to other Clubs, I cannot see this continuing when the day of reckoning comes and the liquidators appear. Football clubs are not immune from the perils of shady business dealing, however much they think they are.

  • samuel

    Good point MR.Venger as Denilson didn,t get to play to many games the season just finished,so why the criticism and childi
    sh nonsense from the fickle Arsenal fans when the real culprits are Arshavin and Walcott for not contributing their share of goals this past campaign?

  • bob

    @nicky: but what if the customary liquidators are the very institutions that benefit even more so from the teams’ continuance as a worldwide brand than as a liquidated entity. I think that’s what too big to fail means, and that some entities like ManUre fully realize they are in that relatively untouchable position – even with the occasional public slap on the wrist for Sir Alexander the Great when he too openly thumbs his nose. Indeed, those, to my lights, are a necessary illusion.

  • nicky

    You and I are not the “poles apart” one might think. It’s all a matter of degree and timing.
    I think you feel that clubs like Man Utd, because of the hype surrounding them, together with underlying forces, are sacrosanct.
    I may reluctantly feel the same, but not sacrosanct for ever.
    The only difference between us is that due to my advanced age, I may not be around to have the chance of saying Q.E.D. to you!

  • bob

    @nicky: My pleasure is to be so much on the same page, and don’t see us poles apart at all! MU sacrosant, never. Amen.

  • jayj

    well something exploded this season, Liverpool!

  • Richard B

    @Billy – I think you are writing off the FFP regs befire they’ve had a chance to work – and they were never going to have an instant impact anyway. In the same way that the Bosman rule took some years to impact on the market place so it will be with FFP.Just because we think that some clubs have to spend doesn’t mean that they will. Just because owners say that their manager is under no spending restraint doesn’t mean that it’s true.
    The Arsenal model that they are being encouraged to follow (and which was in place at Arsenal long before Wenger arrived) means that the promotion of players from youth reserve teams will become more prevalent and the buying in of players less so. If everyone does it with the same level of success then the pecking order need not change very much. It just gets cheaper to run a club than if you habitually throw money at the problem until it’s fixed.
    The problem that exists at Spurs (and many other clubs) is the record of successfully creating your own team ‘from within’ is very poor. It could, of course, change. But it’s been established now that home grown has to include foreign imports at a pretty young age otherwise you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back. In order to attract the best you need an established reputation for good coaching and for open mindedness when promoting to the first team squad.
    Such things are second nature to Arsenal and are as far removed from what happens at practically evey other club as to be a complete mystery to them.
    FFP will have an effect – not overnight, but it will change things in Arsenals favour.
    One last point – ‘too big to fail’ only works in markets that are restricted to very few choices. Remember, the vast majority of people are not Manure fans and even the biggest clubs represent a very small part of the total ‘business’.

  • bob

    @Richard B: Internationally, The Brand is ManUre. The League has made them their flagship club. And Rooney is the poster boy. You and I can say that too big to fail does or does not work, but only a look at the books, like a market analyst can do, and an actual understanding of yes, the business, will clarify whether or not that theory is at work in fact in the Barclay’s Premier League, rather than because you or I say so. Perhaps Billy would shed some light on this some time. If anyone can share that understanding with specifics, one way or the other, we would have a fact-based analysis of whether too big to fail is a real factor in what drives the EPL or not. We are not talking about a lot of clubs here; nor have you offered an analysis of what you mean by the business, or a large part of the business. All you do, Richard B, is put “the business” in quotations, as if it’s a laughable concept to broach. If we are to understand what’s going on, on the pitch, we would do well, methinks, to have some details and try to educate each other before simply making any sweeping generalization, that anyone can make. Ground control to Billy…can you or anyone who knows shed some detailed light.

  • XX

    This is a rubbish article.

    Actually the comment here might have been interesting if the writer had given an actual rather than a false email address

  • Charlie

    @bob. I was following all the way up to “Rooney is their poster boy”. That’s a bit like having Chucky from Childs Play as the mascot for Children in Need (for those who don’t know Childs Play is a horror film about a pyschopathic doll called Chucky). In all seriousness though i do believe that match fixing is rife throughout many sporting events because the financial rewards are so great and they attract greedy cheats. It’s feasible that a decline in the fortunes of United might lead to cancelled subscriptions in Malaysia and Korea, for example. We need to look at what would be the consequences of exposing the cheating. The main consequence would be a massive drop in revenue for everyone in the Premier League because who wants to watch matches that are decided before kick-off, that’s before you consider the anger from the TV networks about being conned for so many years. This sudden drop in revenue would bankrupt many clubs within a year because they need to pay the contracts of their players. So in summary even if it does happen who stands to gain from exposing it other than, seemingly, the fans of teams that have been cheated ? The answer is nobody within the game, all those who could expose it stand to lose everything and, more importantly, ruin their clubs and potentially kill the Premier league. If there is match fixing of Premier League and Champions League matches it is very unlikely that it will come out. Does anybody know how the Italian match fixing scandal was revealed ?

  • Ljungberg's Young Berg

    I’m sorry but this does seem clutching at straws a bit. I’m all for schadenfraude but I really don’t think any Man United or Barcelona fans are going to be crying about finances while they’re winning trophies every season and playing in Champions League finals. Meanwhile, we Arsenal fans put a brave face on and point to our business model as some source of a dim pride, when in football terms, it’s trophies that are of real value.

  • Charlie

    Interestingly Arsene Wenger once said something like “if i knew that match fixing was occurring in the Premier League i would no longer be able to do this job”. That is an interesting counter-argument. Assuming that some people in the game are in it for the game and not purely to make money their motivation would sink to zero if they knew of match-fixing. In the case of Wenger, call me naiive, but i do believe that he would quit.

  • XX

    If Wenger

    Sorry false email address – can’t publish this

  • walter

    Totally off topic but what do I care for this once: without Arsenal playing, this must be one of the best Gooner weekends of my live.

    And now off to bed after being awake for 24 hours…

  • Sammy The Snake

    Just wanted to say;
    Barca came to London & lost 2-1 to the Arsenal.
    Then they came to London again, and trashed ManIOU 3-1.

  • In simple terms there is a deal arranged centrally by the EPL and TV companies bid for the rights to broadcast the packages (of which there are about five). The money goes to the EPL who then divide it up between clubs as per a pre-arranged formula, so that the clubs that are broadcast more get more, and so on.

    But the key point is that the clubs that are popular on TV (ie those that get the biggest audiences) get far less than they would have got had they negotiated independently. Lower clubs get far more than if they had gone out to sell their rights on their own.

  • bob

    @Tony: but my understanding of packaging is also that the League – which negotiates with TV, say Sky, etc. – is able to get wider viewership (and hence revenue) for some of its lower-table teams by bundling them into packages together with the most popular teams. If this is so (they do this in film deals), then it would seem that the owner/mgmt/investors in such lesser teams (a relegation type) have a vested interest in the success of the popular teams (a (ManUre type) who, in fact, make the package sale-able to begin with, no? This means that the bigger teams by being attractive to international TV audiences to, by their success, bring some “trickle down” revenue to the lower teams in the table. This might be a factor in why some of those teams and their coaches, for example, appear to roll over or not yell and scream (Pulis?) when they are hard done on the pitch in competition with ManUre. There may well be other collusive factors there, as I suspect, but there also may well be a financial revenue stream in being packaged by the League with say, ManUre and get much wider TV exposure (and the benefits thereof) if you play nice and not rock the boat over ManUre’s apparent on-the-pitch advantages. In other words, there is this element at work: it pays to shut your mouth, go along with the program, or you may not gain inclusion (or be excluded) in the TV package with ManUre. Hence, a systemic level of collusive factors based on the financing. Anyway, this as a thought-experiment, a hunch, that may be worth considering. Any specific details, either way, would be interesting to consider for a fuller understanding of how the status quo is reproduced over and over (with potential impact on calls/non-calls at key moments in key games).

  • Stuart

    @Critic – “Financial stability is good if it helps winning titles on the pitch, otherwise it’s of no use.”

    Do you mean its best to be financially unstable if you aren’t winning titles?

  • bob

    @Wrenny: Cheers! The Swiss Ramble links you provide above are most appreciated. Its details will no doubt deepen everyone’s understanding of the financing which people allude to or bitch and moan about with the information…

  • bob

    @Wrenny, Walter: From your posting on Swiss Ramble:
    “That said, there are ways in which the Premier League distribution model does favour the leading clubs. It’s true that half of the domestic money and all of the overseas rights are split evenly among the 20 clubs, but 50% of the domestic rights is not. For these funds, 25% is for merit payments, determined by the club’s final league position, and 25% is paid in facility fees, based on how often a club is shown live on television.”
    It would seem that earning this facility fee – how often or whether you are shown on TV – would be of particular importance to an ill-financed lower-table team. If you don’t protest when done hard by, or your manager openly curries favor with the higher ups (SAF?), then you are likely to find your club included (or excluded) from the package, or receive fewer appearances, and so forth. So, not surprisingly, it pays (is in your interest) when you go along to get along. And, this – as one factor, if true – would tend to reproduce the League’s hierarchy. Otherwise, I would expect that there would be far more howling from below than we ever hear of… Any thoughts?

  • bob

    @Tony: sorry, meant to reach you (not necessarily Walter) with the above.
    @Billy the Dog: any thoughts?

  • Nick Lee

    @Stevie E
    do you think fans of perennial mid table clubs are proud of their teams? Even if they’ve not won anything for 20,30,40 years, they are still proud of the team they support. Supporting a team because of winning trophies is defined as a glory supporter… How would you define your support?

    Let me make it simple for you. 30 years down the road, if I live that long, I will still be an Arsenal supporter, whoever manages the club. Is that definitive for you?

  • Samuel

    It,s rather plain to see, Man .United couldn,t beat Barcelona at
    Wembley because old red nose wasn,t able to influence the non -En
    glish referee or visit his change room during half time with we
    know what,an envelope ?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Like one of our players said yesterday when talking about the fact that almost none of us had actually looked at the CL final or just seen bits and pieces : the good thing was that MU lost the final, the bad thing was that Barcelona won the final.

    I really think that the way Barcelona beated us and the way they have been behaving against Arsenal the last year(s) has cost them a lot of friends.

  • Anne


    I know I’m late on this thread, so I don’t know if anyone is actually going to read whay I say here. But if you think that ManU didn’t get favoritism from the ref in that match, you can’t have watched it. Giggs was a foot offside in the one goal they scored, and the entire ManU team was essentially allowed to play rugby for the entire match and got away with it almost entirely.

    The favoritism towards ManU in that match was consistent w/ what we’ve seen in the PL this season. It’s just that Barcelona was good enough to win anyway.

  • Anne


    As I mentioned above, I don’t know if you’re still checking this, but I would like to offer an alternative view of the Barca victory over ManU that’s a little bit more positive towards Arsenal.

    First, as I mentioned above, I thought that the Ref was horribly biased in favor of ManU in a manner that’s consistent w/ some of the things you’ve detailed on this blog. Barca just played well enough that they beat ManU along w/ their 12th man (the ref). If you look at that from Arsenal’s perspective, it should give some perspective on what Arsenal’s capable of despite the ref bias. If you disagree w/ me about the ref’s performance, I would be interested to know why…

    Secondly, the fact that ManU was thrashed so completely by Barca reflects very highly on Arsenal. In fact, even in the anti-Arsenal media, some of them have been forced to acknowledge how Arsenal was the only Club that really gave Barca difficulty this season on their road to the CL final. This is consistent w/ what I’ve been saying all along, which is that Arsenal is loads better than ManU, and the only club in the world that actually competes w/ Barca in terms of footballing skill.

    In other words, if you didn’t even watch the match, it might be worth taking a look at it on replay. Compared to the Arsenal match, I’d really like for Arsenal fans to see an example of Barca playing with nothing but the true class that they usually display week in and week out on the pitch, and which was on full display against ManU. Especially compared to the rugby tactics that ManU employed.

    Finally, I’m truly sorry that the relationship between Arsenal and Barca has suffered so badly in the last year. As a fan of both clubs, it is extremely difficult for me, and I sincerely hope that it is something that will improve over time. In the end, I think that the two Clubs are ultimately philosophical allies. I also think that if more Arsenal fans actually watched and followed Barca on a regular basis (instead of just looking at the bad things, or the things that are highlighted in the media as adverse to Arsenal), I think that that fact would become much more apparent than it is now.

    In the end, a house united is always stronger than a house divided, and I think it would ultimately improve the positions of both Arsenal and Barca to be allies rather than enemies. Maybe Arsenal allowing Barca to use their training grounds in the run up to the final is a sign of things to come…I can only hope so.

    Whatever happens, and for whatever it’s worth, I as a Barca fan would like to personally apologize to Arsenal and it’s fans for any bad behavior by Barca in the last year that has tarnished the relationships between the two clubs.

    As I’ve said before, I think that a lot of it has been EXTREMELY over-dramatized by the media, to the point that it is nothing more than a rank fabrication, in substance. However, I would never claim that Barca has been completely innocent, and if I could force Barca management to apologize for certain things, I certainly would. But I can’t.

    In return for my apology, I can only ask that you consider giving Barca a second chance going forward, and perhaps take a more critical eye to the media coverage in relation to some of the things that have so offended you.

    I’ll leave you w/ a couple of articles about Arsenal (and transfer stuff as well) written from the persepective of Barcelona fans. I hope that this will show you that the Barcelona fanbase, at least, tends to respect Arsenal a lot more than Arsenal fans tend to respect Barcelona. Obviously, I don’t expect any of this to completely change your opinions, but it is always educational to look at things from the other perspective, I think…

    Barcelona and Arsenal – Brothers in the Football World?

    On journalistic integrity, transfer season and Barcelona