Arsenal and others will go to court to get Financial Fair Play

By Tony Attwood

A small group of top clubs is willing to take legal action if nothing is done to stop Chelsea, Man City and possibly others evading Uefa’s financial fair play system.

Having put their concerns in writing to the League, Arsenal, Liverpool, Man U and Tottenham, are now openly stating that the full financial fair play rules should be introduced into the League.  And that if Uefa is seen to be issuing minor fines of no significance to clubs that break FFP, the Group of 4 will go to court.

The grounds of the G4’s proposed action is that club owners have taken business decisions based on Uefa’s clear statements that it will be rigorous in introducing FFP, and if they don’t they will be guilty of having misled investors.

John W Henry, owner of Liverpool, has said that he bought Liverpool in 2010 on the basis that FFP would change the way football works and levels out the finances of clubs.   He and others have been encouraged by the fact that the transfer dealings among top clubs had been in decline since the period of the initial run up to full FFP introduction.

Arsenal are in a similar position, with the club’s entire financial system based on the existence of FFP – a system which largely generates a profit for Arsenal.  Meanwhile Man City are willing to lose around £100m a year at a time when FFP allows only a total of £38m loss over this season and last season.

The notion that Man City will make a profit of £62m this season in order to balance the loss is extremely unlikely, and so it looks as if Man City think they have found the loophole in the plans.  All they have done so far is halved the insane losses of the previous year.

The notion that clubs are going to get around FFP and that Uefa will treat FFP avoidance as they treat racism, is given a boost by the fact that we have seen clubs counting the accounts in strange ways – such as with intellectual property rights sales being counted as income.

For Man C the centre of everything is Ethiad airlines which now spends hundreds of millions each year on promoting itself – and yet never once makes a profit.

Chelsea are doing the same, introducing £18m “exceptional share profit” into their accounts, as revealed on the website.

The same oddities are showing up everywhere as  PSG have put up a deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority as a source of income.  Qatar is of course a prime destination for Parisians each summer.  Or perhaps it is just the owner of PSG.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi knows that Uefa has to show that this deal is between two organisations that are related.  If they can’t prove what we all know – the Qatar owns football clubs – or if the fine is measly then FFP is shot, and the G4 will be the first group to take renegade Uefa to court.

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158 Replies to “Arsenal and others will go to court to get Financial Fair Play”

  1. Sweet ,Tony ,just hope to see some arses being kicked !And just for good measure ,let them not forget , “He who defends the guilty ,accuses the just .”

  2. You don’t understand UEFA’s rules. The UEFA break-even requirement does not equal the P/L figure. For example spending on infrastructure eg the training ground, college, leisure centre etc on the Etihad Campus can be excluded.

    What happens if Arsenal miss out on the top 4 this season, in time yiou might end up excluding yourself from the top table. That’s what it’s all about….protecting the elite.

    Too late!

  3. Whinge whinge whinge. The Sky 4 want to keep it all to themselves. Believe me it won’t happen, you won’t take anybody to court, it is just a lot of posturing because somebody has dared to break your monopoly.

  4. With my cynical eye, I see the only folk to make money out of the FFPR battles, will be, as usual, the lawyers.
    With all the good will in the world, the FAB 4 will need much good fortune to overcome the chicanery which the sugar daddies will throw up in the face of a notoriously weak FA.

  5. What FFP will do will leave the clubs who have the best income at the top. So isn’t it a surprise that arsenal man urd liverpool and spurs supporting it. That’s the TRUTH. Don’t try and kid normal football supporters it’s for any other reason. Read the Manchester evening news story by Stuart Brennan. A man it’d supporter and journalist for the MEN. That is the TRUTH. Go read the reality. It is fair that clubs who are in a good position want to retain it. But by pretending to be helping football. How about the 300 million plus sheik Mansour has put into football. Helping football and now in other clubs pockets. Mmm we forget that.

    Arsenal, Liverpool, spurs and man urd have all spent big. Paid the top wages and all was jolly. Another couple of clubs come along with money and hey up!!!! Arsenal, spurs, Liverpool and man it’d DON’T LIKE IT.

    How fair is that. It’s called throwing your toys out of the pram,,,

    Martin Samuals, Daily Mail, states exactly the same,,,

    Also the sky4 want to stop investment in our own stadia. So more restriction than FFP.

    So who’s talking rubbish. Decide for yourselves. It’s not difficult. But I expect many if you will pretend that FFP is saving football. Helping real football fans. Yeh right. It restores the order of the sky4.

    The bonus of all this nonsense is. That clubs work under business law. And rules from the stock exchange

    So in business can you limit company’s spending. Can you create a monopoly. Can a business only spend what they earn. Are they not allowed to invest for the future. NO. That would be against free trade. So can FIFA go against laws of the land. Think not. That’s why as city fans care.

    We have been taken on an amazing journey by Sheik Mansour. Which I will be forever thankfull. I’ve travelled the country, seen so much rubbish. But enjoyed amazing days. 5.1, grilling ham, spurs with klinnsman. Getting beat everywhere. So if we only ever win the league once. I’m still very thankfull.

    But to watch clubs try and freeze other clubs out when they have been doing it for years, sticks in my throat.

    If fair s required, why are salary caps not in order. Why not a system lie the US in sharing best players to smallest clubs. Why not a limit on transfer fees. No that wouldn’t help the sky4. They want all for nothing now and they are hoping FFP is going to help.

    Never mind that how does a 500 million DEBT (man urd) not rule you out of FFP. How does your club being owned by a loan qualify. Mmmmmm wonder why. Well it should count. Debt is debt

    So has FIFA really looked into how business law and stock exchange rules affect FFP. Well I can not imagine the expense of lawyers to research this. Well they haven’t just like tha FA haven’t. Sheik Mansour, Abromovich probably.

    So time will tell. Because it is going to be challenged. Chelsea will be first up. Then we will see. Then we will see the end of FFP

    Then we will see how much, arsenal, Liverpool, spurs man it’d want to invest. Because as we have always said as football fans. If you stand still!!!!

  6. If the clubs mentioned are foolish enough to go to law then they will deserve what they get which is more likely to be heavy costs and smacked bums than support for their blatantly vested interests.
    Two points to consider:

    1. John Henry made a commercial decision. If he followed the normal course in such matters he would have had his professionals do ‘due diligence’ and consider all of the possibilities and probabilities before signing on the line that’s dotted! UEFA FFP was then and still is in some respects a wish list, it has never been tested in Law and until it is John Henry was taking a chance and would have known that. He got a bargain if FFP is rigidly upheld and rather less of a bargain if it isn’t. Whining won’t change that.

    2. It is far from certain that FFP will meet European Competition Laws if challenged, there are differing opinions. UEFA will claim that it is a sports governing body not a commercial enterprise and that the setting of such rules is within its remit. The likes of Abramovich and Sh. Mansoor could argue that it is blatant restraint of trade perpetrating a closed shop protection of existing financial interests. They will ask “Since when has investing your own money and personally covering your own losses in business been a crime?”

    I doubt if I am alone in feeling that the girly squeels of outrage engendered by Liverpool and ManU in particular, two clubs who have used their financial clout to dominate English Football in recent years, are really a bit nauseating. I rather think a few judges in the European Courts mightfeel it too! I also think that UEFA will go to almost any lengths to keep this out of court. They will want FFP to have been the status quo, accepted by all participants in principle for a very long time before they will want to risk open warfare.

    It should be fun, Roman and the Sheik can afford to fight this, neither seem to me the sort of people who roll over for their tummies to be tickled!

  7. This is rich coming from arseholes who bribed their way to staying top division many years ago. Do your arse research before you preach crab equality you two faced hypocrite sore losers. So what’s justice to your grubby cockney eyes? Arsenal way or no way? Well your led by a Communist ideologist so no surprise.

  8. Nice to see them being very educated also. And well behaved. LOL

    And mislead by the media… LOL
    Going back some hundred years and still be wrong about it… LOL

  9. Walter, it’s never been proven one way or the other, so who are you to say whether they’re right or wrong?

  10. When articles from other clubs are promulgated by Newsnow, something that one assumes the blogger wants to happen, then don’t be surprised when other clubs fans read and respond. As for good manners, that costs nothing and when an article is well written as this one is, even though I personally think it mis-guided, I think it deserves courtesy when replying. If it doesn’t deserve courtesy I treat it with contempt and don’t reply. There are plenty of folk in all clubs who’ll happily climb into that stuff!!

  11. Alphie-Izzet,
    that wasn’t aimed at you 😉

    In fact thanks for your comment using arguments. Some people think calling names is an argument but we protect them from themselves usually 😉

  12. Why not have a system where the team who have won the league are not allowed to spend on players the next season and the runners up can only buy one player that gives the clubs below better access to the quality players available that season and is a fair way of balancing power.So a teamm that won back to back league titles woould not have been allowed to spend on players for two seasons. this wouls make the footballing side of things a more even playing field.

  13. Well, it’s good to hear but could take years in Court to sort out. Meantime EUFA at least knows that certain top clubs do mean it !

  14. Couldn’t agree more with this blog – the current unlevel playing field resulting from legitimate private investment needs to be replaced with a totally different inequality that is much more suitable to Arsenal’s business model and that might see them competing for trophies again in the future!

  15. Blueshy-
    If you have a point to make, would you mind making it?
    You write as if you were drinking all night.

  16. I think some fans of these 4 clubs need to educte t

    Editorial note. Untold has been bombarded with unprecedented amounts of mail today with much of it copies of other comments and posts, and many coming from false email addresses, as did this comment.

    I have tried to get rid of the copies and false emails, but really don’t have the time to do a proper job. I have undoubtedly cut some that should not be cut, and have let through some that should have been cut. I am sorry about this, but really only have a limited amount of time, and can’t cope with this level of bombardment.


  17. Blueshy ,he doesn’t have a point ,he just spouts the same absolute hypocritical rubbish that the rest of the arsenal sheep are using .I bet he does not even know who fiszman is and how he also bought a team for arsenal to win the title.Fact of the matter is,without major investment in the transfer market you CANNOT and WILL NOT win the Premier League.

  18. If we really want FFP (to prevent clubs closing down) then lets share all the monies evenly across all football clubs! If clubs only want to maintain their advantage over lesser clubs, then by all means bring in FFP Please don’t hide behind the FFP and say it is for the good of all football when it is a mainly selfish reasons they want it bringing in!

  19. This article makes me laugh sooo much.

    First of all Etihad Airways made a substantial profit of $137m in 2011 and will show far larger profits in the 2012 accounts. Indeed, one of their most profitable routes is Manchester to Abu Dabhi.

    Secondly FFP is illegal under Chapter One of the Competition Act, which prohibits agreements that “limit or control production, markets, technical development or investment”. There may be a case for saying that the scale of “investment” by Chelsea & City break the spirit of competition law however this is far outweighed by the anti-competitive effect of Champions League revenue which hands each qualifier £20m a year more than the rest of the league(£30m+ from 2015 onwards). This additional money is about as anti-competitive as you can get in maintaining a cartel. It also allows the top clubs to cherry pick players from other teams in the league – for less than they are worth as players want CL football! (Plenty of examples from Man U alone). Indeed a strong case could be made for clubs having to spend double this amount over multiple years to bridge the gap and the effect on Player Amortisation of multiple player purchases over the short term is horrific (the main reason why Manchester City may possibly fail FFP criteria next season – they won’t fail the season after).

    Thirdly it’s also highly likely to be illegal under the EU’s competition directives. If tested in court it will almost certainly be outlawed. No matter what Joaquín Almunia may say. I suspect PSG will be the ones to fight this battle.

    Fourthly, you are clueless as to what a “Related Party” is. It is everything to do with EU/UK accountancy law and under these rules Etihad Airways and MCFC are simply not related parties – no matter how much you stamp your feet and insist they are.

    Perhaps you should read Martin Samuels comments on why FFP sucks. … ier-League–Martin-Samuel.html
    And his response to the critics: … TIN-SAMUEL–DEBATE-How-dare-Manchester-United-Arsenal-try-deny-club-chance-success.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

    If you wanted a shared revenue model (50% outside gate revenue shared) with salary caps like the NFL then I might have some sympathy with little old Arsenal but you don’t you want to cement your place in the golden trough forever.

    See you in court.

  20. It’s not just UEFA Competition Laws but UK Law on Competition, Chapter One is explicit about attempts to reduce competition by restricting investment. The shabby attempt by Gill and his lacky, Gazidis, to constrain competition is about a small group of greedy self-serving clubs looking to retain the status quo. It was never going to work, not least because FFP fails to address the key issue of debt. And furthermore, the Premier League, Scudamore in particular, doesn’t want it. The richest league in the world has been made more competitive by the oligarchs and sheiks and only a greedy, narrow minded and self serving fool would think otherwise.

  21. ‘We’re going for it. Danny Fiszman has invested £50m.’ We bought David Platt, Dennis Bergkamp; then Arsène came in, then the French guys and I got the best contract of my career. It went from £300,000 up to £1m.’

    Tony Adams
    Friday 18 January 2013 Interview (The Independent)

  22. Now tony, can u show us anywhere in this article where u indicated your source? I thought untold is always going on about articles in the guardian and others, with no sources. Or does the quoting source rule only apply wen the article is supposedly anti-arsenal?

  23. We can be smug because we are probably the team at the top of the pile in the FFP league, especially with our Economist manager … yet in no case have I ever seen it wise to be smug.

    Sure, if the full FFP rules were implemented to the letter and had all the loopholes plugged, Arsenal would benefit eventually, but not until the stadium is paid off completely and not until the super teams assembled in the Premiership using the current loopholes have grown old and left.

    Man City will, if necessary, release a number of players at a massive loss and this loss will be of no consequence to the owners. This action is what will mark the beginning of the FFP rules being fully implemented.

    Penalties for falling short of the FFP rules should include relegation because otherwise we will have a league full of rich teams who do not care about CL qualification.

    I think the desire of teams to get a CL spot is based on two main things for most teams – The revenue it provides and the attraction it provides for players to sign. Yes, I’m sure teams would like to win it too and this is the aim of a small number of clubs, but for most it is a very ambitious goal to set for themselves.

    Man City want to win it. Obviously the revenue it generates is not a driving factor for Man City. Some clubs depend on the revenue the CL generates so for them a CL spot is vital. The teams which fall into this second bracket who share a league with teams of similar wealth as Man City are the ones who will eventually get the FFP rules implemented.

    The question is, how many Billionaires do you see in prison? Every judge and any number of judges, politicians and even state leaders have a price. This has a parallel with the Billionaire club owners who will know the judges overseeing the FFP rulings will also have a price.

    We require the equivalent of the ‘Untouchables’, but I think had Al Capone been a Multi-Billionaire, he would have afforded the prevention of being imprisoned on tax charges.

    Just my perspective. I do not hold out much hope for a truly fair play environment.

  24. uk,
    if I can see a part of the source mentioned in the article, then why can’t you?

  25. If we really want ffp, then lets do it properly, all clubs to share income generated equally. Ticket prices to be same for all games, money generated by shirt sales in malaysia to be equally divided amongest all pl clubs. Remember to facilitate the ever expanding champions league the size of the pl has been reduced, the fa and league cup income reduced, meaning those in the cl have bigger financial clout, so divide that income too. Having living in france now for twenty years if you seriously think Platini and co have brought this ffp in to benefit the EPL you are seriously deluded

  26. This whole ladder-pulling exercise is being driven by the American owners of the likes of Liverpool (worried they may never win anything again) and Man United (worried that they may not be able to buy who they want when they want), who own clubs with a view to lining their own pockets, as they do in the NFL.

    If all you care about is maintaining the status quo, then FFP is the way to go. As a Man City fan who spent many years wondering if I’d see the Blues lift any trophy before I died, our sudden elevation has been miraculous. In the next few years, as the huge academy under construction starts to bear fruit, you’ll see us raiding the transfer market – and Arsenal’s first team – a lot less, but to get from where we were to where we are now needed money, and lots of it.

    Also, as you point out, City these days are run by very sharp businesspeople. Last year’s astronomical loss was deliberately high, with FFP in mind, so that this year they could say they’ve halved it, thus complying with FFP. Then there’s the question of infrastructure funding, which doesn’t count for FFP. City are funding not only a whopping great academy, but the redevelopment of a huge and particularly rundown part of post-industrial Manchester. Think Edmonton, but without the bucolic charm.

    Let’s not pretend that Arsenal haven’t enjoyed a few windfalls over the years, from the fan whose £20m bequest funded the purchase of Henry and the building of that great team, to the fact that a formerly working-class area of north London suddenly became a fashionable place to live, enabling Highbury to be sold for serious cash and a new stadium to be built. Know how much Maine Road was worth? Exactly. Perhaps you’d advocate sharing that money equally among clubs? Thought not.

    What worries me long term about this FFP stuff is:
    1. Fans of great clubs in the situation that City (and Chelsea) were in not that long ago can kiss goodbye to making it back to the big time and vying for real trophies. For clubs like Aston Villa, Leeds United, Newcastle Utd, Notts Forest, West Ham, Sheff Wed et al, what does the future under FFP hold, and where will the next generation of fans who believe anything is possible come from?

    2. FFP may crumble under a legal challenge anyway. It is quite blatantly a restriction on trade, which contravenes all sorts of EU regulation. Essentially, any owner is entitled to operate a business in the way (s)he sees fit. It’s their money, and they can do what they want with it. No one’s closing the Times or the Guardian when they lose £40m each a year.

  27. Those claiming that Arsenal only wants to stay at the top but on the other hand don’t want to know about FFP in order to keep their club at the top….aren’t you just doing the same then? So what is your point then?

  28. Hehehehe walter, u can? The part that says” chelsea are doing the same with exceptional shit”? That’s the sourcing for this article? Really???
    Wow! And I’m to trust your ref reviews and criticisms and stuff? Sometimes its easier owning up. Really, walter

  29. No, uk you don’t have to do anything at all.
    You don’t have to trust me.

    But about the refs, trust me we are right. We are right for years about Dean, Atkinson… Trust me 😉

  30. as was said in recent forums can we please check the legallity of sponsorship deals handed out by general motors to man u arsenal liverpool and the FA as most fans think this needs investigated and points to clear atems to sweaten clubs up to vote in the right direction. man city regenerating half of manchester providing jobs investment hope for working class people please remind us of what greed teams like arsenal man ure are doing oh yes ripping people of

  31. Okay. I should trust u on refs, but wen it comes to the other things, I should know untold’s just a big fat hypocrite?
    Taken. I can do that

  32. Guys fair play went out the window when the Premier League was started and the Sky4 started down the road of taking all the money and stopped it filtering down the leagues, it suited them then.
    Now other teams have elbowed themselves onto the top table, the so called bigger teams want to change the rules again.
    If any Arsenal fan could tell me how City could have got up to the level they did without spending money to play catch up with the megarich champs league clubs, please tell me?
    And dont say grow through your youth team as any good player we created would have been picked off by the rich clubs eg Shaun Wright Phillips to Chelsea.
    So come on tell me how the middle size clubs with grounds not as big as the Emirates can compete? How are your FFP rules making this fair?? Money rules unfortunately.
    Every club is looking out for themselves, its greed from ALL clubs, but dont tell me this FFP will make it fair.

  33. The problem Uk is that if we would write an article like this

    Arsène Wenger ( who is the current Arsenal manager ( said that he is after two players in the current transfer window (

    according to the media ( and more specific the newspaper The Sun ( Arsenal have made bid for: Potential For Points.
    The yet unknown player who is playing for Dunnowho as a floating left-right wingback midfielder in the Farganistan PL also known as the Rub Bish League could be announced later today after passing a medical ( at Colney (

    It would be unreadable.

    Damn I think it even would kill the joke 😉

    Never mind me, I’m in a strange mood these days

  34. uk,

    you do have fact-articles (ref reviews is one of those – and statistical articles) and opinion articles.

  35. Platini earlier in an interview on French radio RTL:

    “The France legend, who scored 41 goals in 72 appearances for Les Bleus, added that the financial fair play rules are in place to protect clubs.

    “We can not continue like this,” he said. “I do not want to kill the clubs. I do not want them to go bankrupt.”

  36. If FFPR goes to court, I see a much bigger case against it than for it. In no other business would such a rule be tolerable and in the UK there is actually a law that would seem to make it illegal as it forbids businesses from spending money to be competitive. I suspect FFPR may pass in Europe (until seriously challenged) but the domestic version is doomed to fail in court.

  37. As for those saying that FFP will not be enforceable in a court of law. Well, a lot of things that the FA, UEFA and FIFA do, can probably not be upheld in a court of law either. How is it legally valid that the FA fined Ryan Babel some 10k pounds (if I remember right) for putting a photo on his twitter showing Webb in a ManU shirt? That doesn’t break the law, so why should he be punished for it? But he didn’t challenge it, and nobody questions it. Likewise banning/fining managers for questioning the referee. Is that a curb on free speech? It might prove to be if someone challenged it.

    The fact is, UEFA operate with its own set of rules. All clubs who align with Uefa agree to certain restrictions and codes. Of which FFP will be a part. If some club doesn’t agree to the rules, they can refuse to be affiliated with UEFA and opt out. However, if they agree to the rule, but breach it, the other teams are bound to take legal action (I would guess in the Court for Arbitration of Sport) in case Uefa themselves don’t. So, while UEFA wouldn’t want to alienate ManCity or Chelsea or PSG, they would very much hate to lose clubs like ManU and Arsenal, and especially under a legal cloud.

    People are right to be cynical, as it isn’t really about ‘justice’. It is, as it always is, might is right. But ManU and Arsenal have more might than City do (otherwise City would be making a profit through its earnings), and besides, clubs like Bayern, Milan etc are bound to side with ManU and Arsenal on this too.(Because they have a lot to lose just like us) Simply, Uefa have to enforce this correctly, if they are to maintain their monopoly.

  38. Shard,

    I applaud your refreshing honesty, it is indeed nothing to do with fairness or equality, it is all about certain clubs protecting their own self-interests above anyone else, hence the deafening silence when someone pipes up “what about Southampton?” – they will continue to be your feeder club forever more at the expense of any chance of success.

    I would ask you to consider the Bosman ruling, that was bitterly opposed by just about all football clubs and bodies, but the football rules contravened European law, and so was passed.

    Who is to say when the lawyers take this one on, the outcomne will be any different?

    I’m no expert, but I’d say Platini has got a big problem with his son working for PSG.

    If the courts over rule FFP regs, then at least Platini can say he did his best without losing too much face, and succeed Blatter.

    FFP is a dead rubber, clubs are only paying lip service to it until the new TV deal monies come rolling in so they have an excuse not to pay the players any more in wages and trouser the rest for themselves.
    When it suits them, they’ll ditch it like the soiled mess it is.

  39. If I remember correct it seems that there can be exceptions on normal laws for sports as it is considered to be something special.

    If you want to join Uefa (and its competition) you do by own free choice and have to accept their rules. I don’t think any team is obliged to enter the CL. If a team would chose not to enter the CL or EL there is not much Uefa can do except take notice and fill the empty space with a team that wants to enter and who is next in the league table.

    It is a bit like taking a plane. You may not like all the security measures and don’t want to be body searched if they want to do it but to enter the plane you have to undergo it. Or don’t agree with a body search and stay in the airport.

  40. Shrad
    Had Babel felt inclined he could have appealed the £10k fine at both the FA and CAS but he choose not to.
    Many on here are talking as if failing to declare a profit will mean FFP failure which of course is not the case at all.
    We are yet to see the breakdown of Chelsea’s latest accounts but as the excellent Swiss Rambler explained for their 2011 figures (where a £68 million loss was declared) a significant chunk of that loss (£60 million) was discounted so the loss for FFP purposes was in effect £8 million and well within acceptable levels
    It is fair to assume that Chelsea’s latest accounts will be the subjected to the same discounting so despite what Walter tries to suggest about the accounts being manipulated Chelsea’s FFP position is quite healthy and Chelsea won’t have any problem in the first monitoring period
    There are huge issues around FFP such as 3rd party ownership not being allowed in EPL something that is allowed in the many UEFA based countries this means transfer dealings are financed in full by English clubs but many European clubs don’t need to stump up the full transfer fee. Another issue is that the exchange rates from euro/pound is not a constant, another is that VAT rates differ, another is that there isn’t a consistent model regarding stadia ownership this means that in many countries the local council own the ground which reduces a clubs outgoings as clubs aren’t charged a realistic commercial rent .All in all it is near enough impossible to compare clubs financial basis on a true like for like basis.
    The simple facts are that there are so many flaws and it what is being introduced UEFA must know that they will have huge problems in fully implementing this initiative
    Having said all that there are 8 possible sanctions under FFP and at some time a club or clubs will challenge a sanction in the European court or in the case of a non EC country that play under UEFA such as Russia they will challenge in their own courts the real winners in this will be those in the legal trade who must be licking their lips in anticipation
    From an English clubs perspective the advent of the new TV deal should just about sort out everyone’s problems but the Ethiad deal will set the wider tone for if UEFA don’t discount it then that will mean any huge sponsorship deal has to be likewise allowed and if its isn’t allowed commercial deals such as Addidas at Bayern (Addidas own 10% of the club) will also come under huge scrutiny.

  41. Walter

    The special law for sport thing was a ruling, I think, on the broad principal of FFP as oppossed to the fine detail.

  42. @It’s Grim Oop North
    ‘when someone pipes up “what about Southampton?” – they will continue to be your feeder club forever more at the expense of any chance of success.’
    Are you serious? We have signed 2 players from Southampton in the last 8 years, Walcott and Ox. Hardly a feeder club situation.

  43. Walter – your 5:38 post sums it up perfectly. A club should be perfectly within its rights to spend as much as it wants but to enter a UEFA competition would have to abide by UEFA rules, similarly if the Premier League have specific rules relating to Income/Expenditure, or any other matters all clubs in the premier League would have to abide by those as well. If non-compliant clubs wish to form their own league then they should do so and other teams would then have the choice to join them or not.

  44. Mike T,
    I can’t remember having said anything about Chelsea to be honest. The article is not from my hand

  45. whenever I read mancity, chelsea supporters comments, I imagine a crying, whining baby. all I hear them saying is you had your turn of paying very high wages to the best team in EPL having gone unbeaten, now its our turn to pay astronomical wages so that we win PL, CL, FA and distort market wages. I can’t fathom how is it a problem to remain within your production. its completely moral to remain within the means.

  46. It’s grim oop north

    That is one possibility. I agree. The thing is, I have no problem saying every club is acting in it’s own interest. What do you expect? Them to vote against their interests? Of course not. And it’s reasonable.

    But, at some point, there is a need to recognise that though all clubs are rivals within the industry, their individual power comes through the collective well being. All industries do this. They get behind and back legislation which benefits the industry as a whole, regardless of some individual cmpanies’ prefernces. Are football wages out of control? I don’t think anyone can say they aren’t. Are clubs going bankrupt because of the rising costs of operation? Yes. More and more. This, despite football being richer than ever before.

    I’m not certain what Uefa’s personal interest in all of this is, since they are hardly the sort to look after the good of football. But that doesn’t really matter. Nor does the intentions of Arsenal, ManU, Spurs and Liverpool. What matters is, is the outcome better for football in general. I think if FFP works out (all the problems you list notwithstanding), it will generally benefit football. Of course you’ll still have haves and have-nots, but you can’t ever eliminate that. Not even in the wage cap, preferntial drafting system of US sports. You can reduce it. And FFP will do that. It will also force clubs to run as a business rather than just hope that one day a knight in shining armour will come and lead them to glory. Which again, as far as I’m concerned, is a good thing.

  47. Whilst slightly off topic does anyone have a clue why Spurs have still not published their 2012 accounts yet ?
    In 2011 their accounts were published on November 15th and the company AGM was done and dusted by mid December.

  48. Mike T,

    It doesn’t really matter what’s decided, once it is. And that the decision results in clubs having to slow down, if not halt, the juggernaut of rising transfer fees and wages. Will Arsenal benefit from it? I’d hope so. But that isn’t really the reason it is required. Arsenal have been operating the way we have before FFP was ever proposed. In a sense, Arsenal are the basis for the concept of FFP because we’ve shown that it is possible for a club to stay at a high level despite competitors pushing up prices across the board. But Arsenal’s gain in this is incidental. We’ll see what they decide on the issues you list, but either way, it doesn’t really matter. I think FFP is already having SOME effect. That is why Chelsea let go of some of their senior players. Why they’ve had/are having serious thoughts about signing the likes of Cole and Lampard to new contracts, rather than just paying them what they want. Or just going out and buying whoever they want to replace them. Chelsea and ManCity will scrape through FFP restriction? Ok. But at least the rules will become clear from that point. The overall effect should still be for the better.

  49. Shrad

    FFP wont stop the ever upward increas in wages or indeed transfer fees but what it will do is allow certain clubs to increase their profits and allow owners to pay dividends. The Galziers at Man U. John Henry at Liverpool, and Lewis at Spurs are more dangerous to the financial well being of football in that they have no affinity to the club they view the clubs as up tapped sources of income.
    Which leads me on to Arsenal. I cant make my mind up why you are building up such huge reserves. If your model is based on guarenteed year on year profit there really shouldnt be any requirement to build up such big reserves unless those in charge have issues with the delivery of the Arsenal model, are planning a major spending spree, they see an opportunity to take money out of the business or something that defies all logic

  50. huh..If it won’t stop the increase in transfer fees and wages, then how will it increase profits for the owners to draw dividends from?

    As for Arsenal, yeah, no one knows what Arsenal’s plan is. Although, I’m not sure the reserves are huge considering modern football prices. They are still, sizable, although the exact figure remains unknown. We might be hoping to coincide the spending spree with when most clubs have to restrict them (if FFP works), and also when we actually get an assured increased revenue stream with the new tv deals, the emirates deal, and the soon to be renegotiated kit deal. Or not. But we’ll see. As of now, I’m not all out cynical about Arsenal. Although many are, despite not being sure of what exactly. Still, I guess it’s the uncertainty that gets to them.

  51. Seems strnge when I read back my earlier comments but my guess is that the increased TV revenue will put even more money into football.Already the wages at the top 4 or 5 clubs are very high and probably wont go a lot higher, theres no need to so its these clubs where the ownwersare expecting some return on their investment whereas other clubs like Stoke, West Ham & Sunderland etc will have significant extra funds and my guess is that they will be spending a lot more on wages and transfer fees trying to catch up so overall the EPL expenditure on wages and transfer fees will increase

  52. But West Ham and Sunderland have been quite vocal in demanding some sort of domestic FFP too so that the money from the new tv deals isn’t all spent on players and agents. Transfer fees might well go up since club earning will increase with the tv deal. But wages? That’s what FFP seeks to redress most of all. And the clubs seem in favour of it.

    You could argue that the flip side is that the owners will take money out of the clubs, but at least that means they’ll be running football in a profitable manner. I feel that the balance in favour of players is too high at the moment, and clubs do deserve a bigger share of the pie. You are correct that it could swing to the other extreme (just like Bosman swung it too much towards the players), but as of now, I think its required.

  53. Clubs are in favour of whatever best serves their own interest.
    Most of the mid range clubs arent a million miles away already from breaking even and under the new deal will have tens of millions extra to play with and although I dont think they will spend at the same rate the players and their agents know the score and will be squeezing more out of the clubs.
    Interesting you mention the Bosman ruling as the next stage away from that is something called Article 17. I guess not a lot of people know what thats all about but in brief its something that already exists that allows a player to break his contract with his club and yes compensation has to be paid but nothing like what a transfer fee command. Its worth looking up how a player called Andy Webster walked away from
    his contract.
    The reason I mention Article 17 is that very very few players have walked away from clubs as there is now a gentlemans agreement in place amongst the clubs that they wont sign players who walk away from their contracts .At the moment clubs like Chelsea and Man City are paying both high wages and high transfer fees but there is nothing Uefa or indeed anyone could do if they were to break the agreement.

  54. @Mike T You are bringing a very interesting point. In all this debate around FFP one key party is missing: players. Somehow it is assumed that they will play along once FFP is implemented and players see significant drop in wages or as a minimum drop in wage increases. So far they haven’t flexed their Bosman ruling infused negotiating muscles in this matter. What if as a counter measure EPL players decide to unionize and demand their ‘fair share’ of TV deal money?

  55. Andrei

    I think without question many people are looking down very narrow lines and by doing so making huge assumptions about how clubs will act or not act when pushed into a corner and similarly many are expecting that the status quo will remain in terms of how football is set up and player behaviour
    My point about aArticle 17 is this say that RVP said in 2012 even though he was still under contract at Arsenal he was handing in his notice . There is nothing Arsenal could do to stop him walking leaving Arsenal some £20+ million down . I dont know what he is on a Man U but say he was on £150k a week if there was no transfer fee to pay Man U could easily have gone to say £175k a week meaning both he and Man U would be quids in but Arsenal some £20+ million out of pocket
    I have no knowledge about how Chelsea or Man City will behave but the owners of these two clubs arent daft and if backed into a corner will exploit all avenues available players , in the main, players havent any loyalty and will move to wherever the greatest wages the only thing that has stopped then exploiting Article 17 is that clubs wont take advantage but if the gloves come off then expect all sorts of player movement halfway through contracts and without a transfer fee being paid.

  56. Well walter if you thought articles would be ruined by quoting sources, how come untold has many articles solely criticising other writers for lack of substantiation? I remember one by tony a week or two ago lambasting one mr kelso of the guardian, for a supposedly anti-arsenal article, it was argued that since mr kelso didn’t quote sources, the article was baseless, and a means to create mischief. So, like I say, the hypocrisy of untold.
    And walter, I know untold lies a lot, but pleeease don’t try to fool anybody that the quoted source in this article has much to do with its major information. That source only deals with the the chelsea extraordinary share stuff; which is definitely not the major point of the article.

  57. Look both sides in this debate are motivated by self interest.City,Chelsea and PSG want to just spend, spend, spend and the others want to stop them so they can be the ones who spend,spend,spend..The result of both scenarios is the same;the League is dominated by the same clubs,either the so called “sugardaddy” clubs or the “G4” clubs. Speaking as a football fan, both scenarios are unsatisfactory,with domination by one or more clubs, making the PL quite frankly boring.How about a system that rewards good coaching and management rather than who has the most money? A system that realistically allows a club like Swansea to win the League? I am in favour of a Transfer and wage cap,and also an extension of the “homegrown” rules in which there must be a certain number of club trained players on the pitch at any one time. I would tighten up the homegrown rules as well;players like Cesc would no longer be counted as homegrown.The practice of bringing over young continentals is slightly disturbing and encourages laziness by clubs.Maybe all the money saved on transfers and wages can go towards lowering ticket prices,better facilities and development of local communities.Obviously none of this will ever happen because people just can’t look past what suits their club;sod whats best for football.

  58. Oh and Goodfellas i think you will find that Arsenal football club has contributed greatly to the regeneration of Islington and the local area over the years.I take it your club is in the process of building affordable housing for local frontline workers such as nurses? Because ours has spent millions on projects like this,millions that could have been spent on players. Accuse us of many things but don’t you dare say we don’t do anything for the community;this club has raised more money for charity over the past few years than any other in the PL.

  59. Mike T and Andrei
    If players unionise, will clubs be far behind? A lot of them already work through groupings to influence not just uefa, but also law making bodies. In which case we might see a NBA style lockout situation. Where, what will then have to happen is that players can assure themselves of a certain % of the income accruing to clubs, but not more.(which essentially is what the FFP seeks to do anyway) At least, that is what tends to happen in US sports union-like situations. Besides, clubs can always find players in the lower leagues willing to play for half the amount currently payed to PL players, but players will struggle to find clubs with the exception of some oil rich clubs perhaps (who can’t really function without support of the other clubs). Basically, the players’ bargaining power is lower than the clubs, IF most clubs can work together. And I think they can, because most clubs stand to lose if the current climate continues.

    But anyway, at this stage it is all guesswork. You are right in that there are many interested parties with differing agendas in this. There is no way to predict how this entire tangle will sort itself out. But FFP is still a start towards some sort of regulation. And regulation is necessary. (Unless you believe in the myth of a free market) Football cannot continue heading the way it is.

  60. Mike T

    I am aware of the Webster ruling, and the gentlemen’s agreement between clubs, and have remarked in the past that at some point, that agreement will be broken. IF that happens, for a period of time, there will be a lot of movement through that, but in time, a balance will be achieved. If player contracts become essentially worthless (even more so than they are now) what might also happen is that clubs will start giving shorter and shorter contracts, and most players will as a result, lose out on the security a long term deal offers. Will that stop the odd transfer? No. But, in the long run, the players need the clubs, and the clubs need the players, as well as other clubs, and something will work itself out. What exactly? Too early to say. But it won’t be the end of professional football.

  61. If I may answer those questioning the commitment from Arsenal in the local community just read this

    “As one of the largest regeneration schemes in Europe, the Emirates Stadium project provided enormous benefits to the local community which included the creation of over 2,600 new jobs through the development, which included more than 1,800 long-term positions.

    As part of the project, the removal of economically inefficient industrial and waste management buildings were replaced with a brand new £60 million state-of-the-art Waste Recycling Centre which has contributed towards the increase of Islington’s recycling rates. The centre also services the boroughs of Camden, Hackney and Haringey. Since its opening in 2004, an award-winning interactive education centre in partnership with the Science Museum has been created.

    Affordable housing formed a huge part of the regeneration programme and 2,500 new and refurbished homes, of which 40 per cent are classified as affordable housing, as well as substantial key worker housing was also created.

    Additional benefits included significant investment in local businesses, new areas of public space, making the streets safer for local residents and pedestrians, investment into the transport network and pathways to employment through construction. Funds were also made available to local communities through schemes such as the Gunners Community Fund, which assisted small schemes such as local nurseries and neighborhood watch schemes and the Arsenal FC Community Benefit Fund which has awarded over £500,000 to local community groups for projects and activities which address the needs of disadvantaged communities within Holloway and Highbury.

    A study commissioned by the LDA and carried out by KPMG evaluated that the stadium project yields £35 million worth of community benefits. “

  62. Walter,

    And that is besides the charity work we undertake. Do other clubs also have a tradition of all the players contributing a day’s wages to the club’s chosen charity? The be a runner, be a giver stuff where charity events of running around the stadium, with some former Arsenal stars is organised. Arsenal has just been given an award for “work in tackling sector segregation and gender imbalance in language study across a wide range of languages in a unique and enjoyable manner.” And there are very many more examples.

    Arsenal have class. Some people won’t recognise class no matter what, but that is just fact.

  63. Shard

    I think to be fair to most clubs in the EPL a significant amount of time and money and effort is dedicated toward their community responsibilty. There is an odd article on match of the day but the wider community as a whole doesnt get to know about the clubs efforts because the British press are far more inclined to print all the negative stories

    Building on Walters point about the benefits that the local community enjoyed following the new stadium I would suggest that the whole country has significant benefits from football as a whole but again it doesnt make a good story to talk about the number of people employed in the football industry, the benefits that spin off when projects like the Emeriates or Wembley are undertaken,the tax the football pays, the local shops, pubs restaurants hat provide employment and make profits when they sell their goods to matchday supporters, the print indusrty travel providers etc. No it doesnt make a good story!

  64. ref linz dont make me laugh the trouble with you is you only see whats going on in london nothing beyond that man city are building there own school to educate deprived children 6 form college for people on low income looking after our older senior citizen man city are the ONLY football club to be partners of sport relief [shoot for the moon] helping young people all over the country. I say again greed clubs arsenal will ruin football if you cant afford a new stadium without ripping the public off to pay for it then i say you are a baddly run club end of and stop using this garbage ffp nonesence to disguise the fact

  65. Says a supporter of a club which plays in a stadium given to it by the City Council (from which somehow they earn naming rights worth 400m) which was built from taxpayers money. Oh, the irony.

  66. Ok..I’m done debating. But just as a final recap.. There are 2 ways to look at this

    1) Arsenal are doing the best they can within their chosen philosophy

    Within this what all has happened and what I think could happen
    a) Arsenal have had their players enticed away for higher wages/trophies/homesickness, indicating we have to improve our player retention.
    b)Arsenal have reinvested a lot of the money received from said player sales into buying players of a higher age and higher profile) and their salaries over the last 2 years. This indicates a willingness to spend money without much chance of recouping it.
    c)Having bought the more readymade players (which means they’ll be on relatively long contracts), Arsenal have given new contracts to players they expect to build their team around. Wilshere, Vermaelen, Walcott etc. Thus an attempt to improve the problem of retention
    d) The legacy of the stadium move needing us to pay players on potential rather than ability means we have certain players in our squad we don’t want, on relatively high wages. Their contracts will run out soon or they’ll be sold.
    e) More money will come into the club soon
    f) All of this could equal a push for the title in future years since having a stable team is actually the first step towards it (something we haven’t had for some time, and have improved whenever we have had)

    2. The other way of looking at it is that Arsenal’s leadership don’t care about Arsenal and are looking to bleed us dry.

    I’ll let those that believe in this specify what they think has been happening and will happen at Arsenal. In my view though, this view is founded not on caution (which is necessary) but on fear. A fear nurtured and advanced over the years by the mainstream media telling us how useless we are.

    There is also a Third way in which you can argue that Arsenal’s philosophy itself is wrong, but I won’t get into that for now.

  67. ref shard that just about sums up arsenal fans you know absolutly nothing other than arsenal. maine road given to the city of manchester for new housing which is aiready built manchester city fc funding the council to help the people of manchester what a complete muppet you are and surely coments like shard should put an end to silly ffp arguement as people cant even get there facts right on simple stuff proves comments on sites like this are just bias rants nothing more

  68. From a quick little research, the City of Manchester Stadium was built at a cost of 112m pounds, 77m of which came from Sport England, and 35m from the Manchester City council.

    To have movable seating so as to allow an athletics track to remain there would have required 50m pounds, which the City council didn’t have and ManCity (the poorer version) refused to pay.

    the redevelopment of the stadium took 42m, for which the Council paid 22m, and City paid 20m for installing bars, restaurants and corporate areas.
    At the moment ManCity rent the stadium at a rate of 3m pounds per annum. At some point, I’m guessing they’ll buy the stadium and the land on which it’s built. But I don’t understand how ManCity earn naming rights for something they do not own? How much is it? I bet that itself is more than the 3m they pay the City council.

    Anyway, my argument isn’t that ManCity haven’t developed the area near the stadium. My point was that City lucked out in that they had a ready made stadium, payed for by public taxes. (of the total money spent on the stadium, which is 154m pounds, City paid only 20m) And of course then City lucked out by going through a number of owners before being bought by the Sheikhs.

    To compare that to Arsenal’s stadium move, and to abuse Arsenal because Arsenal are supporting UEFA’s FFP (remember, UEFA, someone we feel hate Arsenal too, is behind the step) and to discount all that Arsenal has done/does for the community, when City’s inflationary policies towards football wages in no small part contribute to the higher ticket prices, is disingenious at best, and displays a level of idiocy which is only surpassed by the crassness of City fans. I understand you are new to being called a big club and don’t know how to react to that my good fellow. But you can’t bully your way towards respect for your club. Much as you dislike it, there will always be an asterisk in front of your title win, just as there is with Chelsea. Get over it.

    As for Maine Road, and its housing project, the govt had to pay out at least a further 9.4m in 2009 to keep it from going bust. Just another example of how ManCity’s ‘greatness for the community’ has relied on govt subsidy. Either British, or from the UAE 🙂

  69. says shard whos beloved arsenal has two of the richest men in football and still dont invest in the club no they just want to line their own pockets greed as for the etihad stadium city have offord to buy it outright on numourous occations but were told it benifits manchester because of central goverment cutbacks as for maine road i repeat it was given to council for new housing your idiotic rant about funding is totally irrelevant as it has nothing to do with city and everything to do with goverment. as for the land city already own it etihad campus. man city fans love to read anything that our development director patrick viera has to say on football arsenal fans should take note what viera and marwood have said about your club they would never go back there as the football club has gone to pot. Anyway calling all real football fans if bradford qualify for europe which i truely hope they do they will not be able to take there place thanks to good old arsenal changing the rules oh the irony but dont worry by hook or by crook arsenal will be there rest assured of that why.because arsenal fans say so.ref shard more research needed but nice to see your trying if nothing else

  70. Not interested..And any problems you have with FFP, take it up with Uefa. Arsenal isn’t the creator nor administrator of those rules. And let’s not pretend that your opposition to FFP has anything to do with Bradford City (although why wouldn’t they be able to take part?) Your opposition is only because the only way you can compete in Europe is if FFP doesn’t pass, or isn’t properly enforced if passed. So spare us the sanctimonious bullshit. As for Arsenal’s owners not funding us through their personal fortunes. I actually like that. I know that’ll be difficult for you to comprehend, but that’s the truth.

  71. spot on shard you agree arsenal are ripping fans off end of. one owner invests in football [city] other owners rips fans of [arsenal] you said it. if city did not qualify for europe thats life if arsenal dont qualify for europe with rules that have been in place for 150 years lets change them. bullshit comes from clubs like arsenal and fans that cant think right there blinded by all things arsenal and dont look at the bigger picture for example would you still be a fan of arsenal if they dropped down 2 divitions i doubt it .but following city you are born into it your not plastic

  72. i agree with you 100% goodfellows, arsenal will eventually with other clubs ruin football altogether they do not grasp FFP they think, along with other clubs, that all FFP is, is too stop Man City at all cost and make aresnal and other clubs richer, IT STINKS!

  73. yeah..put words in my mouth you miserable git..why’re you stalking an Arsenal blog anyway if following your club is so satisfying for you?

  74. as for being born into supporting a club. So a geographical accident makes you a better supporter? Of course in your case, geography probably wasn’t the only accident.

  75. A lot of your questions will be answered when the EU finally decides what the “specific nature of sport” is? When they get around to it.
    Although the specific characteristics of sport and its organisational structure have
    been recognised at European level on various occasions, the EU institutions have yet
    to establish a legal framework that takes into account this specificity and which
    guarantees the autonomy of sports federations. The absence of a clear legal
    framework and the resultant “case-by-case” approach has a destabilizing effect on
    sport, creating a sense of ambiguity and legal uncertainty.
    More than ever, and as requested by the European Parliament
    , it is now important to
    define an appropriate legal framework to protect the social, cultural and educational
    functions of sport, as well as their underlying structures.

    Happy reading. i think?

  76. @Mike T,

    To take into account and safeguard the different aspects of the specificity of sport, the EU institutions must treat sports federations with particular care. Prudence is justified by the specific tasks that civil society has entrusted to these federations for more than a century. The federations do not embody individual interests but are, on the contrary, constituted precisely in order to bring together and represent the overall interests of stakeholders in their respective sports, in a spirit of cooperation and progress. While it is not suggested that there should be some kind of “general exemption” for sport, a more balanced and nuanced approach is needed to take into
    account the particular role that sports federations perform.

    Please take note of “The federations do not embody individual interests”.

  77. all well and good but where does england premier league come into that remember the upcoming vote on wheather the uk stays in eu or opts out further more lets see if mallaga win ther upcoming debate with uefa no rule can be imposed on football because each federation is different a precedent will have to be set ones which the courts will be very wary of having missed oppotunities in the past chelsea for example all federations must agree if the rules of football are to be changed there is no chance of say spain agreeing so how can ffp be argued in the courts to impose sanctions on any football club as we stand at the moment is illigal and uefa know it unless the law on business is changed so that any company can complain that a rival is prforming better than him and they want the courts to put this business out of business purely for that reason then the law will not change the whole concept of ffp is corrupt ask yourself why west brom for example dont want the rules changing

  78. Is there any chance we can put an end to the bickering and actually have a mature debate on this? Shard and goodfellows, I’m a City fan but I think you should both wind your necks in and stop taking pot shots at each other’s clubs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been guilty of that kind of stuff in the past but it doesn’t get anyone anywhere. The fact is, the vast majority of fans of all clubs are guilty of ignorance when it comes to how other clubs are run. Arguing about who does the most for charity is a pointless urinating contest – all football clubs do their bit. On the flip side, every club makes mistakes too and none are perfect.

    As for FFP and the possibility of court action taken by the clubs mentioned above, I can’t see that happening. UEFA have a sliding scale of sanctions for those clubs that don’t comply starting with a warning for first-time offenders, and working up to a ban for those that fail the regs repeatedly and are clearly not reigning in their spending. City are clearly working towards complying with the regs and while we may fail FFP at the end of the first monitoring period I’m not unduly worried as there is a clear trend that shows we’re moving in the right direction, and because we’re already working towards meeting UEFA’s regs from our club’s point of view any similar rules that are brought into the Premier League shouldn’t be a problem for us either so from a purely selfish point of view, I’m not worried. However, I have major resevations about FFP – particularly if it’s brought into the Premier League – because all I can see it doing in the long-term is cementing a status quo of 6 elite clubs in City, United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Chelsea which will be even harder to gatecrash than it is now. It doesn’t sit right with me that clubs have been allowed to benefit from rich benefactors in the past but no club will be able to do it in future.

  79. M18CTID

    I’m sorry if I came across as taking potshots at your club. Actually there isn’t any historic reason for there to be bad blood between the two teams. Neither geographical, nor in terms of league finishes. But for some city fan to come on an Arsenal blog and mouth of repeatedly, well..he deserved it. I don;t hate City. Not at all. But I don’t admire the way they’ve gone about building their team either. I think that’s fair.

    If you read my statements before goodfellow came on board, I think you’ll find that I too think the FFP has various issues. I still feel something needs to be done. The people have done it before argument is morally valid, but logically invalid. People used to immigrate without passports and visas and work permits before. But eventually that led to problems and govts. stepped in to regulate it. It’s unfair for those that couldn’t get through before, but it is how it is.

    Mind, I’m not saying that should be the case. And also note, as far as I know, FFP doesn’t block owner investment. Investment in the academy for example, counts as an exception. Also, there is a limit to which losses can be accepted. FFP is, or rather, can be, in the long term benefits of all clubs. If the price of running a football club goes down, smaller clubs might actually not have to worry about needing a cash injection.

    Also, there being some flaws in regulations is no reason not to have them. It is a continuous process, where once the rules are in operation, further refinements can be made. One day, it might also lead to a US style system of wage caps, and respect for player contracts. (Although it seems unlikely at this point) Regulation has to start somewhere. It won’t be perfect. But it is a start.

  80. ref shard tony attwoods piece was about arsenal going to court ref ffp and trying to enforce a concept which has not even been voted in yet. you on the other hand clearly think this is aimed at man city and start to defend an idea on the basis it is benificial and lucrtive to arsenal so sod everybody else but you miss the point why are we going to change the rules of football which have stood for 150 years. nobody has given a valid or clear arguement as to why. we all saw a headed arsenal letter in the press which gives the impression that arsenal want the rules changing because it suits them that is not an arguement that is dictatorship ref martin samuals in the daily mail as for the article it has made an appearance on a city website as most do when it is being wrote by tony hope thats clear as for our friend m18 ctid dont you get as pissed off as us when nothing possitive is ever printed in the english press about whats going on at city its just shit all the time and then sites like this jump on the bandwagon

    the reason rules are changed at one point is because otherwise too many clubs would get in to trouble. Of course you could end up playing against yourselves after a while.

    And if you would have listened a bit outside England I can assure you that most of the big clubs like in the Bundesliga amongst others really want something done about FFP.

    You can be sure that Platini is not doing this FFP because he likes Wenger or Arsenal. In fact he has a grudge against Wenger so he will not be doing anything just to please Wenger at all.

    In fact come to think of it. I think that of all the clubs in Europe probably 90% want the FFP rules to kick in. The other 10% are those who are struggling to implement them.

    Of course you could start a new Uefa with those 10% clubs.

    And if 90% of the clubs in Europe want such a FFP is this then also a form of dictatorship? Maybe some would like to call it…democracy?

  82. Shard, there’s no need to apologise – many of us have been guilty of doing the same at some point though I agree when one goes on another team’s forum/blog they should behave with a bit more decorum. Having said that, despite the spat, you and goodfellas both made some good points.

    Any animosity between the 2 clubs has been as a result of recent events but I think it’s over-stated. I was at the match down at your place a couple of weeks back and the Arsenal fans I encountered in the pubs around Highbury and Islington beforehand were fine. As much as some people don’t agree with the way City have gone about certain things over the past few years (though we did take Adebayor off your hands for a huge fee so we’re not all bad lol), the impression I got was that the Arsenal fans are far more concerned about the direction their own club is taking.

    I guess none of us really know how things will pan out when FFP comes in, but I stand by my theory that it will make it even harder to break into the elite group of clubs. Unlimited owner investment in the academy and stadium is indeed allowable but I can’t see anyone outside those top 6 clubs I mentioned being too keen on taking such a step because even if their academy starts producing good players they’ll more than likely get snapped up by the bigger clubs anyway so the club will be back to square one. There surely has to be at least some provision for owner investment in player purchases, otherwise we could be looking at the same 6 teams challenging the top 6 places every season. Of course, one of those 6 could have a poor season which might let another team in but what are the chances of that team cementing their place for the next few years? Pretty remote I’d say.

    FFP also doesn’t take into account the fact that some areas of the country are far wealthier than others. London clubs can generally charge far more for match tickets and corporate hospitality than clubs located further north. Spurs, for example, have a bigger match-day income than Newcastle despite the fact that their ground holds 16,000 less fans.

    The same problem exists with UEFA FFP – there are differences in tax laws in each country so some countries are more attractive to players than others. Then you have the differences in TV rights – one big positive of the Premier League is that we have a collective TV rights deal but in Spain the big two negotiate their own TV rights while the rest of the clubs have to share the remaining scraps out between themselves.

    Football has never been a level playing field ever since the sport turned professional but if FFP had been brought in 30-40 years ago it would’ve been more acceptable in my eyes because while back then you didn’t have the huge gaps in revenue that you get these days between the big and small clubs. Money from TV income was negligible and you didn’t have the mega-bucks commercial deal that the major clubs have now.

  83. M18CTID

    You’re right. It is a risk. And I am not going to pretend that Arsenal are supporting FFP out of any sense of morality. I would however point out that before FFP was ever proposed or conceptualised, Arsenal were already following the path we are now. What has prompted the calls for FFP? I think Arsenal have, in the sense that we’ve shown that it is possible to run a club at a high level within its own resources.

    But even more so, what has prompted talk of FFP is the change in the football climate brought about by the likes of Abramovich and Mansour. Yes, both the clubs they own are doing very well (for the time being). But them spending money the way they do has resulted in wages and transfer fees going up across the board. Which in turn has led to many smaller clubs going bankrupt in trying to keep up. Some of them have looked for their own version of Abramovich, and have ended up being asset stripped and are fighting to even exist as football clubs anymore. (and this phenomenon isn’t just restricted to the Premier League)

    You might say that bringing in FFP will mean that no small clubs can ever become big, but it is also a major risk that not doing anything will mean that many smaller clubs will simply cease to exist.

    Frankly, if the only way football clubs can hope to survive and be competitive is through the largesse of a rich billionaire, then I see that as a very sad state of affairs. It turns sport into little more than a battle of the wallets. And though, I agree that disparities have always been there, the sheer scale of disparity (which you mention too) means that there really will be no way that anyone whose owner has less money, would ever win.

    As an example, if some form of FFP or control comes and limits the top clubs spending to say, 200m pounds. A club that can spend something like 50-100m might be able to occasionally (if not regularly) compete.

    If FFP doesn’t come in, and the said small club is bought by an owner who puts in 300m, the rich clubs will simply go to 500m thereby increasing the gap, not reducing it. (all the while putting pressure on the rest of the clubs to follow suit)

    So you see. You got lucky in that your club was bought by an owner willing to put lots of money into it. So from your perspective that should be allowed to happen to other clubs too. I respect that. But the problem is, the examples of owners leeching off their clubs and come close to destroying them are FAR more than owners like yours. Making it a bigger problem. And as I said, the inflation brought about by unchecked and unsustainable spending means that even the clubs that aren’t bought by the wrong kind of owners still have a chance of going bankrupt, or else they give up on competing anyway.

  84. Goodfellows, I too find it annoying to see the amount of negative articles that have been printed about City since September 1st 2008, many of which have been wholly inaccurate. I’ve lost account of the amount of apologies the red tops have had to publish relating to stories they’ve fabricated about MCFC and as we all know, plenty of people believe everything they read in the papers. Thing is though, while it’s frustrating I’ve learnt not to get as wound up about it as most of it is like water off a duck’s back these days.

    I’m not as scathing of supporter blogs as I am of journalists spouting vitriol in national newspapers though. That’s because you expect a bit of bias from fans when they give their opinions but not from journalists who are supposed to display some impartiality when writing their articles. I don’t agree with the content of the FFP article in this blog (plus I’m struggling to locate a source that confirms these clubs are prepared to go to court!) and I’ve given my reasons as to why I’m against FFP in the form being implemented by UEFA and being proposed for the Premier League.

  85. What I will accede to that the exact modalities of FFP, the details, are still debatable. The differences in tax rates are one example of how it’s tough/unfair to impose a set of rules all over. But I still maintain, that the principle of FFP is correct, in that there has to be an upper limit to spending allowed, other than the size of the owner’s wallet.

  86. Shard, I can’t disagree with a lot of what you’ve said there but I can’t see any evidence of any club going bankrupt as a result of the spending of Abramovich and Mansour. To my knowledge, not a single club in the English league pyramid has gone bankrupt since Abramovich pitched up at Chelsea in 2003. There are certainly clubs that have encountered major financial problems in recent years, most notably Leeds and Portsmouth. However, Leeds’ problems pre-date Abramovich’s arrival. Pompey’s problems pre-date Mansour’s arrival but not Abramovich’s but I highly doubt Pompey spent so much on transfers and wages to compete with Chelsea as they were nowhere near their level, moreso they did it to get themselves higher up the league and challenging for a European place. So basically, the 2 most high-profile clubs that have suffered severe financial problems over the past decade or so had nothing to do with the spending of Abramovich and Mansour. Their situations came about because one of those clubs (Leeds) put in place a very high-risk strategy that meant they could only fund their player purchases if they qualified for the Champions League every season while the other (Portsmouth) fell victim to an unscrupulous owner. There are also plenty of lower division clubs in financial trouble and again, I fail to see any correlation between those clubs and what City and Chelsea have spent.

    That said, I don’t disagree that Chelsea’s and City’s spending has led to some inflation of transfer fees and wages but it’s not as dramatic as some make out. I also totally agree that some restrictions have to be put in place that go some way to trying to prevent another Leeds or Portsmouth happening – money borrowed against future performances or TV revenue to be restricted maybe? And club owners to perhaps give some kind of guarantees (perhaps in the form of lodging money into a central account overseen by the Premier League) when it comes to stumping up the cash for transfers and wages.

  87. Shard, I don’t disagree with having something in place that places an upper limit on spending but if it is linked to a club’s income then that will just further preserve the status quo.

    True financial fair play would be to implement some of the ideas from American sports (something you’ve alluded to) but I can’t see the clubs ever agreeing to that.

  88. M18CTID

    I agree. Something like American sports style restriction would be welcome. But you have to remember American sports themselves came upon these rules through a process, and not as a sudden, final solution. That process still has its problems as evidenced by the lockouts that fairly frequently take place there. Also, they have it easier because they don’t compete over various different countries, just 2 (and mostly 1)

    All I’m saying is, FFP, as a recognition that some regulation is necessary, to me, represents a good step. HOW that regulation is to take place, and what exact shape it takes is something I am still uncertain about as to the best course of action. I doubt anyone can accurately predict what’ll happen with any legislative measure and its intended and unintended effects will have to be seen. But that still is no reason to completely forego the rules.

  89. M18CTID,

    I do think that if there will be a form of FFP a smaller club could reach the top. By building a team.

    A “smaller” club then could try to build more. Now the rich owned clubs just walks in and triple the best players their wages and off they are. And then the small club has to restart building from scratch.

    If because of FFP the rich club cannot triple wages then the temptation for the players isn’t that big any more. so they could decide that they stay at their small club for emotional reasons and a small rise in wages that the small club could afford. Now a small club cannot afford to triple the wages of said players or it would cause them bankruptcy. But adding 50% could keep the players in their old club and not bankrupt them.

  90. m18 ctid i have read your recent posts and cant disagree with some points you make but shard still cant grasp what people are saying. as for europe. clubs have already shown how stupid the rules are walter the rules were introduced without any vote thus making it dictatorship and were instigated by david gill [man ure] who has now voted himself vice chaiman of the fa and sits on eufa board and gazidis who gill has promoted in the fa and eufa ref martin samuels daily mail its all a big cone. look my club man city might be in the cartel now [hope not] and might go on to challenge for more honours but the concept of ffp stinks i would love to see the likes of everton west brom west ham newcastle ect challenging for honours but this new rule kills all that no more living the dream THATS SO SAD FOR ENGLISH FOOTBALL as for city inflating salaries we were in div 3 old league when man ure set the benchmark

  91. goodfellows,
    there is no obligation to stay in Eufa if you don’t like their dictatorship. City can always try to form a new organisation.

    Do you know that when City failed to qualify for the next stage of the CL there was a big vibration all over the continent. Scientist first thought it was a massive earthquake of a 5-6 on the Richter scale. But as it continued they knew it should have been something else. This wasn’t a normal earthquake. It turned out that it just was the fact that almost the whole population of the continent was laughing with United that all those people rolling on the floor had the same impact as an earthquake.

    Seriously now, I don’t think you realise how much the rest of Europe despises Manchester City for the moment. Until a few years ago you had the sympathy of the football world. But you see the rest of Europe is not really in favour of what is happening at Chelsea, City and now PSG or Malaga.

    The rest of Europe is feeling that those 3 clubs (Malaga got screwed by their rich owner it seemed and will not enter Europe next season as things stand now) are killing football.

    As I said before you can laugh with the attempts of English clubs. You can laugh with the rest of Europe. But if the rest of Europe agrees with the rules (and they do agree with the rules) it might be that if you don’t follow the rules you could be have the door of the CL slammed in your face.

    So it could be up to you: follow the rules and enter the CL or not follow the rules and stay out of the CL.

    Dictatorship you said? Dictatorship is when 1 or 2 teams dictate the rest of Europe with their money. Democracy is when Uefa (how much I dislike them for other reasons) and their clubs decide to set the rules and when the majority of countries and federations is agreeing with those rules.

  92. Sorry mistake in my previous post. Not even qualified for the Europea league. Just to put the record straight.

  93. walter not half as much laughing when arsenal go down the pan whats the saying in arsenal you rust look at facts won nowt 8 years 62 pounds to go see a team made up of players like sanga mertisacer arshavin and co your fast becoming a laughing stock walter and the best is yet to come i still think its better to be a feeder club for the blue half of manchester rarther than the red half but quite honestly nither us or our cousins gives a toss about arsenal were more concerned with challange each other sweat dreams son and stop this obsestion with ffp you see what effects is has on people when they know f,,,all about what ther taking about m18 ctid i rest my case.

  94. sorry forgot to say to walter its the premier league ffp walter not europe you muppet. tell us what the europa league is like next year walter oh unless the fantastic arsenal and platini can magically allow seven premier leagues clubs into the champions league. oh hang on a minute is there not talk of that already democratic my arse.

  95. it’s about both goodfellows. Both can come in action. English FFP and Uefa FFP.

    Imagine let us take the Bundesliga clubs who all have to work in a tight budget and within strict financial rules go to Uefa and tell them that they will go to court if Uefa doesn’t apply the FFP strict?

    You should read some German newspapers every now and then to find out what they think of clubs like City, Chelsea and PSG. There is not an ounce of respect for any title those clubs win.

    But if you read in other countries about Arsenal you only read how much people look up to Arsenal and their model. In fact Arsenal is not the laughing stock of most directors in European football.
    Arsenal is looked upon as the leading example on how a club should be run. Of course they know we didn’t win trophies (are you a plastic? a trophy hunter? – no of course not) but they also know that this is down to the money Chelsea and City have thrown around.

    Being a bit multilingual I have read articles in the original language in the Belgium press, Dutch press, French press and German press from club directors and they all had one wish: run their club the Arsenal way. Those directors didn’t say: oh we also want a rich guy throwing his money around like at City.

    For fans who only measure a club on trophies Arsenal could be a laughing stock. But those are the typical fans who have shirts of many teams so they can always be on the winning side. (not you of course)

    Mind you for the people who run clubs they dream each night to run a club in the Arsenal way. In fact one of the latest big clubs to openly say so was AC Milan. They said a few weeks ago that they didn’t want to compete any more in the madness that rules football and would start to adopt the Arsenal way of running a club.

    Because in the long run that is the best way to run a club. In the long run that is the best way to keep a club in business.

    Nothing lasts forever. Not at Chelsea, not at City. Enjoy it while you can.

    About Platini. He doesn’t like Wenger at all. So he will do nothing to please Wenger. But what he will do is trying to please federations who are powerful. And who wants the FFP to kick in. Why? Because he needs them for his own career. And with the FA and the PL also in favour of FFP rules it might be that forcing FFP in to European football is backed up by more than just Arsenal. It is in fact but you seem to think that Arsenal are the only top club who wants this. Like I said you should try to read the European media a bit. And I don’t mean the gutter press. But quality papers. And best written in their own languages.

    And no need to start the name calling game my friend. It doesn’t contribute to any discussion. Not that it hurts because I always liked the Muppet show.

  96. Walter, just like those journalists and club directors I think you’re somewhat over-stating how Arsenal is run as a club and showing a lack of knowledge of what City are trying to do. There have been enough posts on here already that have outlined the long-term plans at our club and it doesn’t involve spending £100 million every transfer window.

    Incidentally, do you think the directors of German clubs in particular agree with a policy that involves charging the world’s highest prices for seasom tickets while at the same time selling off the club’s best players season after season and not replacing them with players of equal quality? If that were to happen in Germany there would be total anarchy amongst the fans and you’d see attendances collapse. The cheapest season ticket at a top German club costs less 170-180 Euro. The cheapest season ticket at Arsenal costs something like 6 times that amount, and yes I know that includes 7 cup games but it’s still an astronomical cost.

    The “Arsenal Way” is fine if you’re looking to achieve the best balance sheet in the league, are an Arsenal shareholder or board member, and you have enough punters willing to stump up the cost to watch the team but what do the fans get out of it long term? While it might have escaped your attention, it hasn’t escaped mine that more and more Arsenal fans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with with the way the club is being run and the scramble for match tickets is dropping dramatically. Many traditional Arsenal fans have already been priced out of going to matches and instead choose to watch their games in one of the pubs in the surrounding area. Tickets for your home game against Liverpool next week are on general sale – a few years ago that would have been totally unheard of and many red members would’ve even failed to get a ticket for that fixture. That game will more than likely sell out but demand is clearly dropping. If Arsenal drop out of the top 4 this season then the problem will be exacerbated and you could have a situation where you’re failing to sell out The Emirates for some league games next season.

    As you say so yourself, nothing lasts forever. Not even at Arsenal. And if the club continues to fleece your fans to the extent that they are doing now while only effectively competing for a top 4 place then more and more people will vote with their feet. I’ll also add that a huge part of the so-called “Arsenal Way” is down to the manager and when Wenger goes he’ll be very difficult to replace.

  97. Walter, I’ll also add that there’s no right or wrong way to run a football club. If you want to big up the way Arsenal is run as a club, fine, but don’t go bagging on other clubs for being run a different way. The “Arsenal Way” has flaws as I’ve identified above but there are other things that Arsenal do that I agree with.

    You might not know it now (very few opposition fans do to be honest) but in a few years time I think you’ll have a much better understanding of what City have been doing. In fact, you might start to get it in about 18 months time when the new academy is complete.

  98. Oh, and re Platini. It’s funny that he hasn’t had anywhere near as much to say about PSG than he has about City. In fact, I’m pretty sure he said at one point that the takeover at PSG would be good for French football.

    Maybe the fact his son works for PSG’s owners has something to do with it…..

  99. M18CTID,

    first you compare a season ticket for a standing area with seats. Not really a honest comparison. I hope you know that in most Bundesliga stadiums there are standing areas?

    I think you forget the fact that to keep up Arsenal depends on ticket sales. Around 40%-50% of their income. So the higher some clubs pay wages who don’t depend on ticket income as Arsenal has as a nasty side effect that clubs who do depend on ticket sales have to raise their price. Or drop completely out of the top.

    By the way I don’t think transfer money is the big problem. But paying over the top wages is. And that is where City and Chelsea step in with their endless money to disturb football. Arsenal had matched the transfer money on Hazard it seems. But Chelsea just gave him twice or tripled the wages he could get at Arsenal.

    I don’t mind football players earning good money. But surely things got out of hand since the money throwing around started at Chelsea.

    So if Arsenal has to fleece its fans, I thank City and Chelsa for being responsible for the inflation of how much it cost to run a football club 😉

    And I don’t think Arsenal will change it’s policy much when Wenger goes away. I think that they will look for a manager who will not throw money around. There will be no Mourinho or another manager who can only win by buying superstars.

  100. M18CTID,

    If you have the time you should read the following and you will understand my way of looking at those things a bit better.

    I sometimes wonder how it would feel if Arsenal was owned by someone like City or Chelsea.

    In a way apart from when we lose a game and I sometimes cannot sleep because I am analysing the game at night (a bad habit of mine 😉 ) I sometimes wonder if I would sleep well if we would be owned by a rich owner who pumps money in my club like at Chelsea or City.

    And my answer is that I think I would sleep worse if such a thing would happen.

    My local club was owned some 10 years ago by a wealthy owner. When he came in he said that if he wished he could buy Anderlecht (the top team in Belgium football) but that he wanted to make my local team a top team. All kinds of plans were made. And my local team, it could be compared with City in a way. Because just as City it had been in the top of football in Belgium for many many years. In fact I think they still are in 15th place if you take all the years there was a top division in my country.

    But we had gone down to the 5th level in my country. And then the rich foreign owner stepped in. He upgraded the main stand a bit with his money. He brought in players. And success came along.

    3 league titles in a row! It was party time. But then the authorities stepped in. Found some strange things and put him in jail. And the fairy tale became a nightmare. Our players who were in front at the time he got jailed still won the title. Without being paid at the time at all!

    But because of the FFP rules in my country the title was an empty box. We were not allowed to the next level. Rightfully so. We were living on money we didn’t have. Our owner had the money, but the club didn’t have enough money to pay the wages.

    As a result we went down the leagues again to the 4th division. The club was one day away from bankruptcy till the new owners stepped in. Club people who saved the club. They paid all the debts and they kept the club alive and for years we had to fight against relegation to prevent us slipping down.

    The board told that they would never allow this to happen again and the supporters all agree with this. The mess we have gone through: never again.

    Last year after working hard and carefully and working within our means we won the league title in the 4thd division.

    We went up to the third division and stuck to our policy. We don’t spend a cent more than we have income. And to our amazing surprise with some 15 games to go we sit in 2nd place and a promotion looks on the cards.

    If this would happen we would be in the 2nd division in football in Belgium. And I never will have been as proud of my local team.

    So after having to suffer the fear of losing my local club because of some rich owner first cheating the rest of the clubs in our division and then turning out to be someone who broke the laws I would be in fear of losing Arsenal in the same way.

    Now don’t think that I suggest that you sheikh is a criminal or so. Please don’t because I don’t think he is. (but other clubs haven’t been so luck it seems….) but I sure would sleep bad if I know that Arsenal would depend on the mood of one owner alone.

    And even a seemingly good owner can suddenly turn in to a bad one and a complete disaster for a club

  101. Yes Walter, you’re quite right that that is the price for a standing ticket but either way, it still represents excellent value for money compared to what we have to pay over here. Incidentally, City are in favour of introducing safe standing areas at English Premier League grounds which in turn might lead to cheaper pricing, yet apparently we’re ruining football in the eyes of some. Personally, I’d say football was broke long before Chelsea and City came into money.

    Over the past 5 years, Arsenal has made a total profit of £150 million-plus so no, your club doesn’t have to fleece the fans as much as it does and as for City and Chelsea inflating wages, fair point but Arsenal point blank refuses to compete with those wages anyway so I don’t see any correlation between what City and Chelsea pay their players and what Arsenal charge their fans. In fact, you probably need to look a bit closer to home because Arsenal were the first English club to pay a player £100,000 a week when they signed Sol Campbell in the summer 2001, and that coincided with a serious hike in ticket prices at Highbury for the 2001-02 season.

    You missed my point about Wenger – I never said Arsenal would move away from their current policy. I was just implying that his replacement might not be as good at continuing that policy as Wenger. Then again, if Usmanov were to gain control of the club you’d have your own equivalent of Abramovich and Mansour which would be interesting.

  102. About Platini,

    The importance of the FFP being examined by separate committee is very important in this case.
    And of course it might be a conflict of interest between Platini private and Platini as head of Uefa.

    But like I said this will be not the problem of other top clubs in other countries who want to work in a sensible way. As from my own personal experience I really cannot say that City, Chelsea or PSG work in a sensible way.

  103. I think by now you understand I would hate seeing Usmanov gaining total control over Arsenal 😉

    Maybe the fact we didn’t have to pay a transfer fee for Campbell helped in paying that transfer fee in to his wages.

    The profit you named was for the majority in fact down to income from the houses sold at Highbury.

    Let us also not forget that we have and still will be doing it for many years paying for building the Emirates.

    You probably will have heard also how much money Arsenal has on its bank accounts. You probably will have heard some part of our fans screaming to spend the money. But a large part of that money cannot be spend because of the initial agreement of the banks to lend us the money to build the Emirates. As a kind of safety guard for the banks. I can’t remember the exact amount but one could buy a few superstars with that money. Money which will come available in time.

  104. M18CTID

    Exactly as Walter said, and the point I was trying to make. You lucked out. I agree ManCity will never be the same it was before the Sheikh bought it. The investment in infrastructure, in branding etc. will ensure that.(Although it was my impression that City had a good academy before) But not every club is so lucky. In fact, FFP will still not stop people from investing in football, including in the smaller clubs. But by reducing the possibility of a sudden transformation, it might ensure that only people really committed to the sport, long term, come in. (eg. Germany still has its share of investment in football)

    Also, Arsenal’s business model has been analysed and criticised too much for me to really go over it again. At the root of it, the model is to not spend more than we earn. Fans do not have a problem with that. Right now fans are disillusioned because we apparently haven’t spent what we have earned. There are legitimate explanations for that, but in the era of spend spend spend, those get lost, and fears of being ‘laughing stock’ get overplayed. Anyway. That’s besides the point. As is the price of tickets. That is a balance for Arsenal to reach between demand and supply and its correlation to pricing. Nothing to do with the model itself.

    As Walter pointed out, there are aspects of Arsenal that have been distorted by clubs like yours. An example, for years Arsenal tried to keep a 50% ceiling as wage-turnover ratio. This is now close to 60%. It should reduce as our new commercial deals kick in, although if the upward trend in wages continues, then it won’t. A club like Bolton spent around 80-90% of its turnover on wages. Your club, spent 114%.

    I don’t want Arsenal to be owned by a billionaire. Trophies or no trophies. Criticise Arsenal’s way all you want. The only criticism can really be a lack of trophies. But Arsenal’s way does not lead to a risk of a club going bankrupt and going out of existence. Your club’s model carries that risk with it. And definitely forces other clubs into it, many of whom succumb.

    Every club has a right to dream of success. But they should also have to work for that dream to become reality. Not just hope that someone comes along to carry them there. That is how I look at it anyway.

    And yes, nothing lasts forever. Not the way things are at Arsenal either. But we have only seen the billionaire effect in its current form only since Abramovich took over. That was 2003. A period of only 10 years. Who knows how it works out in another say 50 years. Maybe all clubs will become billionaire owned and funded franchises and just compete on a competition of the wallet. Maybe the ones who find their wallets are not big enough to win anyway will eventually opt out and destroy the club in order to recover some of their investment. Or maybe everything will work itself out, and clubs that fall by the wayside are just to be written off, by contrasting them with clubs who succeed under the billionaire model. I don’t know. I’d rather not find out though.

  105. Walter, what happened at your local club was very unfortunate but as you’ve said yourself that doesn’t mean to say all wealthy owners are bad. There also seems to be a lot of stereotyping in some quarters that a foreign owner is worse than a local owner which is an unfair assumption to make.

    There have been plenty of English owners and chairmen in English football that have also made a mess of the clubs they’ve been in charge of. Believe me, as a City fan I’ve first-hand knowledge of this. For 20 years between 1973 and 1993 we were under the chairmanship of Peter Swales who was neither foreign or particularly wealthy. In that time, Swales turned City from one of the top 2 or 3 clubs in England into a complete laughing stock and nearly bankrupted us in the process. I’ll give you an example of how clueless he was – City’s souvenir shop was no more than a small portacabin located next to the stadium. That in itself was embarrassing, particularly when I saw Port Vale’s souvenir shop in 1991 which resembled a large superstore despite them being a far smaller club, but more importantly in the early 1990’s (just when football merchandising was taking off in a big way) it came to light that Swales, in his infinite wisdom, had decided to sign away the contract to one of his mates and all our club got in return was a flat rate of £60,000 a year and no more. So even if that shop sold 50,000 new replica shirts at a profit of £500,000 the club wouldn’t see any of the extra revenue and would only get the £60,000.

    In short, Swales was a disaster and he nearly drove our club out of business. If you asked any City fan who they would sooner have running the club between Swales and Mansour, not a single one would choose the former.

    You say that City isn’t being run in a sensible way but you’re only looking at the short-term picture and what has happened so far. If you did some research you’d have an idea of the long-term plans of the club, and the fact that there is no intention for the club to be reliant on it’s owner in furture.

  106. M18CTID

    And that is why you might qualify for FFP. As much as these restrictions will be a curb on owners like yours, they will be a disincentive for owners like Portsmouth’s or Swales. FFP has nothing to do with the nationality of the owners and I don’t think anyone’s made the argument about local owners being better.

  107. Shard, I understand all that. I’m not having a go at how Arsenal are run – I was just pointing out the flaws in the model, the kind of flaws that have also been identified by many Arsenal fans.

    The thing is, you still seem to be oblivious as to what City’s plans are. Believe it or not, the aim is to be self-sufficient just like Arsenal are now. The club is growing at a far quicker rate than I think you appreciate – example being that you’re quoting a wages to turnover ratio of 114% but this is old news from the 2010-11 accounts. Another set of accounts has been released since and that figure is nowhere near 114%; it’s still uncomfortably high but it’s coming down all the time and once the remaining dead wood is moved on at the end of the season you’ll see a far healthier set of figures in the autumn.

    I’ll also add that pretty much every elite club has benefitted from a rich benefactor at some point in their history so for anyone to claim that only the likes of City, Chelsea, and PSG have bought their way to success is not true. History proves that it has been happening for over 100 years.

  108. M18CTID

    No argument there. But you yourself said the disparity is too high these days. I’ve said before, people have done it earlier is no argument for not attempting to fix problems as they become apparent.

    What I won’t argue against is that this isn’t motivated by love of the game. It is about self interest and self preservation. But almost everything in this world is. That doesn’t make the argument for FFP wrong in itself. This is beyond what City’s plans are, or what Arsenal’s future holds.

    It is about the direction football should head in. Maybe you like the ‘unpredictability’ the billionaire model offers. Both in terms of what happens at one club, and what happens when a small time club is taken over and propels itself to the top.

    I prefer the ‘stability’ offered whereby clubs don’t go about looking for a rich investor to back them in order to fund their success. Because I feel the risk in the other form is too big. Both for an individual club, and for football in general. Because sport shouldn’t be only about the money. (Note Spain’ tv Deal system spoils the league because realistically, only 1 of 2 teams will win it)

    The answer obviously lies somewhere between the two extremes. Whether the FFP puts that in a correct balance is unknown. You argue it isn’t, but then you would since your experience tells you if FFP was in place, you wouldn’t have won the title. I think it might because I feel if FFP was in place Arsenal would have won the title at some point. The truth is no one knows. We’ll just have to see how it works out. To what extent it fulfills its stated objectives, and what unintended consequences occur because of it. But hopefully, we can agree in principle, that the unmitigated spending on player wages cannot remain, and that football shouldn’t become just about the money (to the extent it is possible to curtail it)

  109. Shard, I’ve already said that I’m in favour of some kind of regulation but I don’t think one that looks to preserve the status quo is the right way to go. I said earlier that from a purely selfish point of view, I’m fine with the regs because I’m pretty sure City have got in just before the ladder is pulled up.

    Fair play for saying that this is motivated by self-interest. That’s exactly what is driving this more than anything else, though you’ll never get any club admitting it. As for your argument that Arsenal would’ve won more titles if FFP had been in place earlier, well since The Invincibles title win in 2004 United have won the league 4 times, Chelsea 3, and City 1. Take Abramovich and Mansour out of the equation and you’ve got a pointy but you would still be looking at 7 league titles for United, and one for Arsenal in 2004-2005 as that was the only season out of the last 8 that you finished above United.

    In an ideal world, I guess I would like to have seen my club do things differently but the fact remains that football is now structured in such a way that to break the elite you need to spend a lot of money.

    Anyway, I’ve spent far too much time discussing this and really should get back to doing some work. In any case, we’ve pretty much covered everything so any further discussions would just be going over old ground.

  110. Walter,
    Imo, it’s time we all got on to solid ground, as much as possible; or we can never reach an honest and informed conversation (which is what torments the fanbase and has them going at each other):

    (1) You say: “Let us also not forget that we have and still will be doing it for many years paying for building the Emirates.”
    I ask: How much longer is “many years”? (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15)

    (2) You say: “You probably will have heard also how much money Arsenal has on its bank accounts. You probably will have heard some part of our fans screaming to spend the money. But a large part of that money cannot be spend because of the initial agreement of the banks to lend us the money to build the Emirates. As a kind of safety guard for the banks. I can’t remember the exact amount but one could buy a few superstars with that money. Money which will come available in time.”
    I ask: How much of that money (which amount you don’t specify) cannot be spent because of the loan agreement)?

    You and Mr. Attwood and others continue to say this. It may well be true, year after year after year. But I never have read an actual fact-based guesstimate of what these figures are here. It could well have been that you guys did publish UA’s guesstimate. If so, please provide a link. My guess is that you have not done so; though I hope you did. You take positions and advocate and influence readers on the basis of this mantra. But do the amounts never go down? Does Gazidis and Co. not say that no worries there is money to spend? You make more of how little there “really” is to spend than Mr. Gazidis and Co. do. Do you disagree with them on this financial point, or providing cover for what we all hope is not a lie?

    My point is that it is high time to agree on a factual basis for the discussions that consume us here (and throughout AFC fanbase) on whether and how much money there is to spend. Not knowing or wanting to know (?) anything approaching the real answer helps get UA clicks and better advertising rates (as Mr. Attwood acknowledged yesterday). Not to do that, or appear to do that is not principled. I say this because in regard to everything else on UA – ref reviews, racism, petro-ball, etc. etc., free speech on this website – there is very high principle. But I do not find it on the matter of money.

    It does not require knowing exactly. But to reach a principled guesstimate that we can all take as a baseline for informed and further discussion hereabouts. Why not produce an article about that, so that readers here, in our collective knowledge, can focus and bring in new factors since “the deal” was first made for the Emirates. I mean factors like how yesterday Deloitte placed AFC in the #6 position worldwide in revenues, and specified that amount. And that there is a MAJOR TV deal coming on this June, and those stats – including breakouts according to where teams finish in the table – were published recently (which Shard made available via a link here, two days ago). Why don’t we collate what is knowable and reach a more solid foundation for discussion? Do you want truth in these discussions or not? Or is it Spend vs Don’t Spend, all based on unstated assumptions about what there is to spend. Or is it, oh know, we can’t do that – we’d put our club at a disadvantage if our financial state were more generally known. Well, if that’s the defense of the realm, do you really think that every side does not have its team of bean counting analysts who try their best to assess exactly where the opposition stands financially? Of course they do. So why not help promote fans’ understanding of where we actually stand, instead of not remembering (like today) at the crucial point where information is sorely needed?

    Transparency means accountability, as many of us here demand of the League, PGMOL, petro-bastards and racists in suits. Why not demand it of ourselves and try to reach a truer basis for our discussions? If you want that and preach principle, then perhaps generate a piece that makes guesstimates, or that asks us all to contribute in the comments to focus on that all-important topic? Why not? I’ve stated why. You have the clout and should to ask for this. I don’t. So, for principle sake and to help (if you want) to lower the temperature of the arguments that set fan against fan, how about we try to reach common ground through an open discussion? Is asset-stripping going on, or not? Is net zero-transfer balance the holy rule, or not? These answers can better guide fans who want us to spend to make reasonable demands. But we cannot – any of us – be reasonable in making those demands, or labeling them as unreasonable (as you do all the time) when we do not have a shared basis for the conversation/argument. I ask that you and Mr. Attwood make an effort in this direction for the overall good of the fanbase and, hopefully, for AFC’s prospect. This, imo, is much more constructive than the tribalism that protects the badge and brand by relying on eternal invocations that oh, we will have to pay off this little building of ours (and the world class medical facility) until, in your words, there is “Money which will come available in time.” In time, but when might that be?

  111. M18CTID

    Yes. Agreed. And thank you for the discussion. The only dispute with your last post was the contention that Arsenal would only have won 1 title but hey ho..Who knows what would have happened. I just said I feel we would have won. Not that we would have. Anyway. We’ll just see how it goes with FFP. Its rules, its implementation, and its effects. Good luck to your club. Beat the cheating Red Mancs. (at least your club doesn’t get the help on the field that they do)

  112. “The Invincibles title win in 2004 United have won the league 4 times, Chelsea 3, and City 1. Take Abramovich and Mansour out of the equation and you’ve got a pointy but you would still be looking at 7 league titles for United, and one for Arsenal in 2004-2005 as that was the only season out of the last 8 that you finished above United.”
    And that, in a nutshell, mates is the reason why Don Fungus and the Nuremburg rally at Old Toilet and Mike Riley orchestrated the criminal act of ending our unbeaten streak that day in the way that they did. I hope that Rooney, and Van Nestleroy, and Vidic and the Neville Brothers (not the great singers!), and Don Fergus and Mick R (so well rewarded with his position as Queen Bee at the Hives of Riley, aka PGMOL) have that sheer theft, and orchestrated violence, as a memory to haunt their dreams. And I hope that the Nuremburg rallyers of that day, that still think their team is so genuine and merit-based, will witness their children watching the still-available footage (Walter even reviewed it (where it’s somewhere in the catacombs now of Woolwich Arsenal) in horror, and the recognition of the illegitmate “achievement” that it was. Perhaps when this year’s celebration of the Rednose XX consumes all of the media, UA will do a special with that review and a link to the accompanying video. That should help tarnish their silverware.

  113. p.s. and let Fergie’s soul mate, RVP (and those who sold him!) come to fully understand the depth of the betrayal that he/they’ve been party to. Then again, it’s only business, nothing personal, right?

  114. bob

    Regarding when the stadium will be completely paid off. There are different aspects to this. One is the bank loan. Then there are the shareholders bonds. I seem to recall that there was a third component but I can’t remember what it was. Of these the bank loan is the heaviest payment (though I am unaware how much) and is at a fixed rate of interest (from memory, @5%) But I think the bank loan will be entirely paid of by either 2021 or 2025 (I have read both), while the bonds will be paid off by 2031. None of those figures should be taken as fact however. I’m mostly trying to recall this from the depths of my memory based on what I’d read from various sources. The sources themselves might be incorrect, or my memory might be.

  115. Thanks, Shard.
    Do you know whether there is a guaranteed fixed amount that the banks have insisted be set aside to ensure their repayment? And that this amount is an obstacle to our spending or not? This is what Walter has alluded to above. Also, do you reacall whether there has been a place where the schedule and amount of repayments has been published? Surely it’s somewhere made public or the investors would not be duly informed, right? I feel that this, plus the Emirates deal (to the extent it’s known), plus the TV rights table, plus the Deloitte figures would help provide part of the answer as to what’s a reasonable demand for expenditure and what is not. Then again, ownership does not divulge what its all-important take from the proceeds really are (unless it is in their tax returns in the US and/or UK). My point is that since football is (as you’ve indicated in the past about cricket in India) part of the commons (to put it that way, in a way that say selling hamburgers is not – well, there’s health there isn’t there, but I think you know my distinction), then, we need and have the right to be better informed consumers/citizens (and some would say, bettors).

  116. bob

    There is a certain amount that has to be kept in the account as Arsenal’s bank guarantee. How much that is is unknown.

    The Deloitte’s table is rubbish. The revenue figures can be taken on board, but it is definitely not a table of richness if you like. It doesn’t take into account loans and debts, nor extra money from oligarchs. So as a barometer of transfer budget it has no value.

    The TV deals will give us increased funds, but not in comparison to our immediate domestic rivals. For me, the real change will come from the new commercial deals (Emirates and Nike/Adidas) which will basically come into effect only from 2014. However, some of the money from Emirates has been brought forward to summer 2013. For me, the cutoff point is summer 2014. It is also when Wenger’s contract ends.

    My guess is though, we might see a real go for it in the transfer market this summer, and if we don’t, then Wenger won’t renew his contract. Selling RVP makes sense because it allows us to bed in the likes of Podolski and Cazorla, and not force us to rebuild next summer. If we keep all the players we have right now (those that we want) then we can build on it. We’re playing much better than last season, even if more inconsistently (lack of continuity can explain that) It would be a shame to let that go to waste.

    Will we buy this window? I think that depends on us being able to find a deal that suits us not just for this season, but for the next 2-3 years. I still hope we do. At least a striker, if not a DM as well.

  117. Shard,
    Is it also your understanding as someone here raised a week ago that the Emirates deal is on a sliding scale so to speak, based on whether we qualify for CL or not? Which, imo, is a major driver of the need to spend in this window to ensure that. What do you think?

  118. bob

    I think Emirates confirmed that themselves, so yes. There are performance bonuses built into the deal as regards qualifying for the CL. Which makes sense. Because a lack of CL for Arsenal means less exposure for the Emirates brand too.

  119. Well, well, an interesting an absorbing discussion, including an erudite and polite City supporter.

    The comments are quite wordy for someone coming to the discussion late in the day, so if my point has already been made, I apologise in advance.

    The question that needs to be asked, because the answer might throw some light onto the future consequences for all the Premiership clubs involved, is quite simple.

    “What motivates these billionaire oligarchs, and small but wealthy states to own a football club, when it is apparent that a love of the club, or of football in general is not evident?”

    Now it could be argued that the answer is ‘for profit’, or ‘a healthy return on investment’, and maybe that is right – these people, whatever their stripe, are not averse to increasing their personal wealth or that of their country, whichever applies.

    However, I think the core factor in any such ownership is for a special sort of ‘status’, either that of the individual having the kudos of possessing a trophy winning team of world renown, or for a small country to improve its standing in the world by having sporting credentials that will guarantee it exposure in the world at large outside of football.

    What if I am right in my contention? What then for the future?

    Well the fact is there is a ‘limited supply’ of trophies to be won each year, and it will be impossible for all the current money men owned clubs, let alone others who may also want to join the party, to be successful in the way they envisage.

    The hubris of failing to be the owner of the #No1 football club/team and by deduction only 2nd, 3rd, or 4th best team, or whatever, will eventually force them to discard their ‘toy’, probably at distress prices, and cause the whole artificial shebang to collapse with a loud and painful ‘plop’! 🙂

    That may take some time, I grant you, while the financial Goliaths slug it out, but, if I am any judge of human nature, that will be the eventual, inexorable outcome of that particular financial model of ownership.

  120. my point is still this. ref walter shard ect attwood title in this blog is ARSENAL WILL GO TO COURT TO INVORCE FFP RULES IF CITY TRY TO AVOID IT dont you see the point im making as we stand at the moment there are no ffp rules in the premier league that might change who knows but to prempt a vote on it says to us so what if the vote goes against arsenal we will still fight it that sounds like a spoilt child also you should be called walter mitty if you think german clubs set examples in running any organisation let alone football bayern munich are the most hated club in germany because of their football philoshophies which more or less boarder on bulling tactics after saying that they borrowed bor dortmund money which kept them in business something which arsenal will have to do soon if ticket prices are standerdised and whos big brother none other than man ure never thought i see the day arsenal jumped into bed with man ure you are losing the plot arsenal only one club is powerful enough to take on man ure thats city and if arsenal choose sides be careful its the right one. check out how many german companys are owned by aabar man citys partners a bit of bitterness by german clubs in relation to that i think nothing more. walter i dont speak any other language other than football your newspaper clippings are nothing more than buushit

  121. Goodfellows,

    Bayern Munich loaned money to Borussia Dortmund, not the other way around.

    You are also confusing the UEFA FFP regulations, which only affect European competitions, with the attempt, by some Premiership Chairmen, to introduce a version of FFP to govern the financial regulation of clubs in the English Premiership.

  122. Sometimes a . or a , and a “space” and a “new line”

    in some places would be nice by some.

    Sorry Goodfellows but you cant expect me to read something like that.

    I tried but then stopped after a few lines as I lost track.

    but read the first sentence of the article again:

    A small group of top clubs is willing to take legal action if nothing is done to stop Chelsea, Man City and possibly others evading Uefa’s financial fair play system.

  123. @ RedArse re: The question that needs to be asked, because the answer might throw some light onto the future consequences for all the Premiership clubs involved, is quite simple.

    “What motivates these billionaire oligarchs, and small but wealthy states to own a football club, when it is apparent that a love of the club, or of football in general is not evident?”

    I’m not really sure that question is pertinent, and it seems as though you have already arrived at your conclusions regardless. However, obviously it is for business interests but to stereotype and dismiss that some may actually love the sport is just that, a convenient stereotype imo. Who knows, maybe Abu Dhabi’s (it’s holdings and various brands) investment into the Greater Manchester social and economic infrastructure that in some cases is bordering beyond football while obviously having long term business goals of ingraining its brands into the social fabric for generations, may also be spurred by corporate and social responsibility of investing into local communities and improving lives. Though obviously it’s simper to ignore all that and it’s far easier to caricature these owners as evil oligarchs with playthings hell-bent on ruining football.

    However, in the case of our billionaire owner (people seem to forget this) it’s far easier to make an educated guess as to what his intentions are, based on his track record as an investor/owner in sports franchises for business and profitability purposes above all else seemingly. As evidence with his U.S. franchises suggest that his motives are to make profit (often through asset stripping) with little interest in investing into the actual core product and striving to do the best to win, a complaint that the fans of his U.S. clubs generally share in common.

  124. Well well.. RA, fancy seeing you here..Are you here to argue with me on a different forum and a different topic, since you say you enjoy it?

    If so, then too bad, because I agree with you once again.haha 🙂

  125. Hi Shard, 🙂

    It seems that not everyone agrees with me/us.

    I constructed my question, and suggested solution with caveats, but to no avail, as A.Stewart tells me the question is not pertinent and anyway that I have already reached a conclusion.

    That could be a valid though contradictory claim, but rather odd given that he proceeded to do the very thing he accused me of by coming up with a hypothetical conclusion to a non-pertinent question! Very droll! 😀

    I won’t pursue it with him, as I will need to go back and rework the question and make it more pertinent.

    Actually I was trawling the net and came across your avatar, and thought I would pop in and read the very good Post and ensuing comments, including yours, with which, sadly, I agreed! 🙂

  126. RA,
    Please. Watch your language. You’ll only confuse certain people, and they don’t take kindly to that sort of thing around here 🙂

    I have no idea why the clocks are an hour fast. For me they are 4 and a half hours too slow 🙂

  127. Perhaps the clock setting is a gesture towards being all inclusive in an egalitarian way? 🙂

    You are right in advising me to be watch my ‘language’, because I am totally out of my depth with at least to of the correspondents on here – lucidity and erudition has clearly exposed me as a nincompoop!! 😳

  128. RA,

    Lucidity and erudtion find anchor only in certain islands within the vast ocean of the internet. The cyclonic winds of arrogance and outrage often vanquish even those.

    Just talking to you makes me feel clever 🙂

  129. Walter, you coped well with some of the unintelligible comments I read, and added other interesting perspectives for those who were prepared and able to comprehend! 😀

    I may be back — even if it is only to pursue the Shard Man! 🙂

  130. dear dear if you want to debate football DONT go on sites like this.I have never read so much bullshit in all my arsenal fans [not all]but comments on here are so out of touch with reality its astounding. keep reading the red tops and take it all in complete muppets goodbye.

  131. I just realised that goodfellows’ comments get less annoying and more entertaining if you read them in Ray Liotta’s voice.

  132. In my opinion this new Emirates deal where we get more if we qualify for champions league is not very helpful.

    I can see it leading to the point of view from above that the cost of qualifying for the champions league is higher than the gains in sponsorship revenue so why would we want to qualify?

  133. i can now see wnat spurs and chelsea fans mean when they post about arsenal fans. the like of shard would be eaten alive on some websites a complete and utter clown.also red arse you have obviously swallowed a dictionary and are having trouble passing it out your behind or could it be your talking through your arse.I just hope the good people of the UAE are aware of what a hypocritical football club there putting there name to in sponsorship deals. better still his highness should have a word with his wife and tell her to end all sponsorship deals with UAE companys and arsenal.

  134. haha.. Ray Liotta no likey shard. Save it goodfella. Foreign relations and business are not really your strength. Nor it seems are your intellect or taste. Consorting with Spurs and Chelsea fans is never a good stamp of approval for anyone. But I’m sure you want the last word so you’ll continue making a fool of yourself. I’m quite enjoying this now. Figuring out that you are such a Liotta-style badass helped me place you in my hierarchy of social beings.

    As for Red Arse, if he were to metamorphose into Ace Vantura and began to talk out of his arse, it’ll still make more sense than the grammatical vomit you spew out. Funnily enough though, swallowing a dictionary is one of the things one probably has to do to understand him, so you got that right, but the wrong way round. Kind of like your Bayern-Dortmund issue which RA set you right on. Some people (using the term loosely here) never learn.

  135. Stuart,

    Emirates might have bonuses in place for winning the title too. I think it makes enough sense for it to be probable, rather than just possible.

  136. Sorry to re-visit this topic now that it’s died a bit of a death but a couple of points.

    Shard, I know goodfellows writing style makes it difficult to follow what he’s saying but if you read back, it was quite clear he got it the right way round when it came to mentioning Bayern lending the money to Borussia Dortmund.

    I’d also like to make reference to a point raised by A.Stewart. Unlike so many opposition fans, he clearly understands that Sheikh Mansour is investing not only in a Mancunian football club but also putting money into regenerating a large swathe of East Manchester. Anyone who isn’t swayed by football loyalties will see that this is anything but a bad thing. That area of Manchester is one of the most run down and deprived parts of the country. Believe me, as someone who lives little more than a mile away from the stadium, I can say that it’s been in desperate need of a facelift for decades. As much as I’m giddy about the team City now have, I’m also looking forward to the chance of seeing a previously run-down area being totally transformed over the coming years.

    I think it’s important that people do a bit of research and look at the wider picture before casting aspersions. As a football fan, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’ve been guilty of this when being critical of other clubs down the years.

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