By Tony Attwood
According to media reports Arsenal’s latest accounts show that KSE LLC has been paid £3m by Arsenal. The media are worked up about this because the company is owned by Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke.
The money has been paid for strategic and advisory services which relate to Arsenal’s media department which earns money for the club by selling a weekly three-hour programme to the international market.
Matters are made more sensitive because Kroenke has been reported as saying, “We have a whole different philosophy I think in the States, maybe, but I think it’s time for everybody to think a little bit. I think they ought to think about who invests in these clubs. Glazer took money out of the club [Man U]. So what? Jerry Buss [the LA Lakers owner] takes money out of his club. A lot of owners in the US do. No one ever says anything about it.”
Of course the media has to screw the news considerably to make it fit their own agenda, repeating the notion that Arsenal have “notoriously expensive tickets in the Premier League” (the Guardian), when in fact Arsenal’s lower cost seats are among the cheapest in the Premier League (which they always forget to say). Arsenal also stand alone with their £10 tickets for the League Cup matches.
But there is a problem with any payment for anything technological at Arsenal at the moment, because of the seemingly intractable problems with technology at the club.
At the very first match at the Emirates the gates famously would not unlock to let us all in, leaving a fairly large number of people outside until way past the normal opening time.
That problem was of course a long time ago and was fixed, but others keep popping up. For one season it was utterly impossible to hear anything on the public address system upstairs on the north bank. Then we had the farce of the speeches at the opening ceremony of the statues where great crowds gathered to hear Bergkamp and others – and not a single word could be heard. (You might recall Walter’s transcription of the speeches given – a masterpiece of a report).
All of last season it was impossible to hear any public address announcement in the lower tier of the north bank. And amazingly that problem has not been fixed this year.
Indeed that is not a matter of convenience. I suspect it is a condition of the safety certificate of the stadium that the PA system works and can be heard. If so, Arsenal should not be admitting crowds until the problem is fixed.
Now we have the problems with the scoreboards. While the game against Tottenham was 0-0 one of the scoreboards showed Tottenham 0-1 up. Then that seemed to be fixed – but the other scoreboard went wrong.
And this didn’t happen just at this game – it was the same for our previous league match as well.
These matters may all take time to sort – but just leaving them unsorted suggests an attitude by the club that the niceties of watching football are just not relevant to the club. Yes, let’s get Liam Brady back so he can say a word or two, but who cares if a huge chunk of the crowd can’t hear him?
Well, actually, quite a few people do.
Of course I have no idea whether Mr Kronke’s company has done £3m worth of work for Arsenal – I imagine he has, because otherwise the transaction will be counter to our tax laws, and I can’t imagine Arsenal will be involved in such activity. If they are then Revenue and Customs will soon be on the case. You can’t just go round making up bills as a way of sneaking money in and out of companies.
But it seems so poor of a club of the stature of Arsenal not to be able to get details like having properly working public address and scoreboard systems right. Especially when money for media services is pouring out of the club. There is media in the club too, and it affects supporters.
There’s the usual index to past Arsenal events on this day and links to recent articles on the home page.
- What the media doesn’t tell you, part 6. There’s a financial problem…
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?
- What the media won’t tell you about football 5: Fifa lends money to Switzerland
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal