Its a bit like the proverbial bus – you wait for ages for one, and then two come along.
Dennis was unique, original, a genius, something beyond everything else we had ever seen. We would not see his likes again, we were told.
And then in an unguarded moment the word slipped out – Jack Wilshere was Dennis II, and that in a few years there he would be, directing traffic just behind the front man.
But now it seems we have Dennis III – only he is ahead of Dennis II. Robin VP is apparently Dennis with goals. Which would by and large make him the greatest forward in the history of the universe, greater than anyone or anything ever seen since an asteroid bumped into Manchester and created the Moon.
Whether any of this is true or not, who knows. But if I was writing a new article for Highbury High I’d write about Dennis now – but in fact I wrote the piece last week, and no one has guessed correctly who the piece is partly about. A player who had some success with us under Wenger, who is long since gone, and of whom the editor of HH said he never imagined we would see his name in the magazine again.
The new Highbury High is out on saturday. And this is all exciting stuff – made all the more exciting by two news stories today. First, Salamon Kalou of KGB Athletico Fulham said, in explaining why he was honoured at a hint that the Lord Wenger might sign him, “Because he is a very great coach and I know that every single player in the world dreams of playing for Arsène Wenger.”
In the days when every blade of grass on the Ems pitch is apparently being tipped for a move to Real Mad, BarBarBarcaSheep and WC Milan, it is worth remembering that.
Second, the financial results came out – they are on the club’s web site.
What’s interesting, is the comparison of those with the financial position of the clubs around us. Here’s a quick summary
Aston “Hold your head” Villa – £63 million in debt to the owner, and the debt is rising. No sign of a profit nor even a strategy to move towards having one.
KGB Fulham – £750 million in debt and that debt rising. Don’t even ask about a profit. Looking for a buyer.
Manchester Bankrupt – technically bankrupt, in that they can’t pay the interest on their debts and so the debt grows year by year. No thought of a profit – they are just looking for a buyer. £764 million in debt – always have to be one up on the KGB.
Liverpool Insolvency – bailed out by RBS owned Nat West who loaned them another shedload to get them through to July, but with double conditions: no further money, repayment in July. RBS is owned by the people, and being bailed out by the government. So you and I are paying for Liverpool. £350m in debt.
The Tiny Totts – bankrolled from the Virgin Islands – money is separated into various accounts to hide the loss (in the style of Manchester Bankrupt). £20 million in debt? Who knows.
Manchester Arab – money no object – stadium paid for by the state (you and me) so why should the club bother?
Everton – £26 million in debt, and its getting worse. No sign of any way out – the final idea was to sell the training ground, but planning permission has been refused.
Mohammed Al Fulham – £182 million in debt but then he owns Harrods.
Against this it is argued that Arsenal is £300m in debt, but the truth is that the money is on a secured loan at a fixed low interest mortgage rate, repaying over 23 years – just like people used to buy houses before the bankers destroyed the economy. That is the difference – all the other debts are accumulated losses with nothing to show for them and no way of paying them back.
Arsenal’s debt is being repaid over time from the additional income the stadium gives. What’s more even if we have no European games, the money is still enough to pay for the stadium. We only get into trouble if the stadium regularly holds under 50,000 and we have no Europe for four years running.
The fact is that the profit before tax of £24.5m (up from £20.0m) is after all the expenses such as mortgage payments for the stadium purchase are paid. The “match day turnover” of £44.4m is the largest in the world.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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