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Ethiad Airlines in trouble, Middle East in turmoil. The benefits on not being reliant on one benefactor emerge

By Tony Attwood
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As we know Etihad Airways, one of the three Middle East carriers which set out to revolutionise global aviation business by buying their way into airports around the world, started laying off staff, last December.  Manchester City FC whom Etihad bankroll didn’t blink.

It raised a couple of question marks at Untold, not least because we have often commented on the dangers of having a football club (or in Etihad’s case, three football clubs) somewhat dependent on the largess of a company whose commercial base is not that which is commonplace in the commercial world.  Indeed our review of the top six clubs’ finances showed just how far Etihad had artificially inflated Man City’s income.

When the changes at the airline started, it was called a restructuring exercise to cut costs “against a backdrop of weakened global economic conditions”. The airline never said how many jobs were going, but spoke of “a measured reduction of headcount in some parts of the business.”

That was last December and by then the number of locations being flown to was declining.

In March this year the Economist magazine which tends to know a thing or two noted that although in April 2016 the airline claimed net profits of $103m, just one year on James Hogan, the firm’s chief executive, and his chief financial officer, James Rigney, have been set aside like an unwanted farmer’s field, in what the company called a “company-wide strategic review” to “improve cost efficiency, productivity and revenue”; which the Economist called “reforms ill-befitting a healthy business”.

Mind you, we mustn’t crow too much, as “Just across the sand, Emirates, the flag-carrier of Dubai, has deferred orders for 12 double-decker Airbus A380s in response to a 75% drop in profits. Qatar Airways, the region’s other super-connector airline, has abandoned plans for a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia. After years of uninterrupted and speedy growth, the Gulf carriers are hitting turbulence.”

Now the odd bump is neither here nor there.  The three Gulf airlines of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways survived the 2007-08 financial crisis, so surely they can deal with anything 2017 has to offer.

But Etihad went round doing something that seems a bit silly: buying up loss making airlines.  Some made profits but Air Berlin and Alitalia made basket case level losses.

Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, spoke of a “gathering storm” for the three airlines. Air Shuttle and AirAsia X are now undercutting Emirates, Etihad and Qatar with glee.

Then Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines published evidence of “$42bn of government subsidies and “unfair” advantages”, and Donald Trump has taken notice and is lashing out in all directions.  The EU is imposing duties on “foreign airlines that exploit subsidies for commercial advantage.”

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So far so dodgy, but now we have The Financial Times weighing in with “Etihad strategy flies into difficulties” saying, “They’ve been hit by the loss of petrol revenue of their middle-east customer base pretty bad, and now the double whammy of the Trump travel ban and the no-carry-onboard-laptop/tablet  rule are putting them in a bad spot.

And the killer blow… “In Dubai there is even talk of closing down Etihad.”

Arsenal, have no particular problem with the Emirates, because if they suddenly opted out of funding Arsenal, Arsenal could find someone else fairly quickly, as the naming rights fees are fairly mid-range for what might be expected.  But the relation between Etihad and Manchester City is quite different.  Etihad was set up by Royal Decree issued by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who is the half brother of Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan who runs Manchester City.

So far so messy – but easy to write off as a little local difficulty soon to be overcome.   Except…

Although the general election in the UK and the Terror has dominated the news, even at this inward looking moments there is some coverage of the chaos in Qatar as Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain, Egpyt have stopped all dealings with Qatar, closed their embassies and closed all borders over what has been patently obvious for years – that Qatar is funding Islamist extremism by the $Billion.

And even though we are not hearing much in the UK, it is real big-time news in Europe.   All Qataris have been given 14 days to get out of Saudi, Emirates Bahrain and Egypt.  Qatar’s only land border is with Saudi Arabia, and that is shut.  Which is unfortunate when 80% of its food comes in from outside.

But now Iran is stepping in to export food to its ally Qatar by sea.  So now the protagonists are preparing to suspend Qatari banks.  Retaliations are being prepared.  This is not a cod war in the sand.

So how does this affect Manchester City, and its lookalike clubs around the world?

Basically the money pumped into Manchester City was part of a deal that involved Etihad promising to make Manchester Airport one of its hubs, and so bringing more jobs to Manchester.   But with the airline in difficulty, and the disaster area that is Qatar now exploding, the entire airline project is looking like something that needs to be cut back – which is in fact what is happening.  And with that happening the funding of the three football clubs looks like a bit of frippery which can no longer be afforded.

Which is where the difference between clubs like Man City and clubs like Arsenal are plain to see.  Arsenal pay for projects like their youth training system and the development of their stadium from their own money.  Manchester City has paid for these through gifts and loans from its owner as part of his desire to enhance the name of Etihad.  Etihad is what matters, not Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos, and Club Atlético Torque in Uruguay.  If the airline losses continue and the battle over Qatar intensifies, with Iran seeing a chance to gain leverage in the area (and seeing Qatar as a way to revenge itself on the United States and Israel after the Stuxnet nuclear power station software virus episode) then the last thing anyone is going to be thinking about is financing football clubs.

Of course I am not saying Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan will be plug pulling tomorrow, but as I mentioned it does stress the benefit to a club of being self-financing.  You just never know when one of these internecine battles will flare up.

There is also the issue of the World Cup, as I mentioned in the last post.  But I am sure such clear headed well-organised organisations like Fifa and the FA have this under control.

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62 comments to Ethiad Airlines in trouble, Middle East in turmoil. The benefits on not being reliant on one benefactor emerge

  • NMC

    You are clutching at straws here. Etihad are Abu Dhabi based for starters – so any talk of closure in Dubai can be discounted. Etihads balance sheet is still sustainable – they have some tough decisions (like many airlines) but the Etihad sponsorship whilst generous in its early years now seems realistic compared to other deals with City having Champions League exposure once again (in contrast to Arsenal). City have a range of sponsors and are profitable – the recent Chinese investment valued the CFG at circa £2billion – and being debt free City are not going anywhere soon given the wider portfolio of Adu Dhabi based infrastructure investment across Manchester.

  • Chris

    Good article…back in March I read that the ruling familes of the UAE, which control the Emirates and Etihad airlines, have held talks about possibly merging the two airlines! Interesting times.

  • Brent

    I sense your desperation.

    It looks like you have given up in your old favourite, FFP, and now you are dreaming of a middle eastern crises.

    City are self-sufficient, we have a host of global sponsors including SAP, Nissan and Nexas Tyres.
    We are the most watched club in the USA.
    We have a new kit deal in 12 months.

    Things are looking rosy for City.

    Enjoy the Europa cup and your expensive season tickets.

  • Colin

    An interesting article but as a City fan am not remotely worried. In total Sheikh Mansour has invested 1.3B bn and the club is now with £2 bn. Etihad is the major sponsor but there are now a multitude of them and yes these sponsors are important given FFP (Financial Foul Play). The value of Etihads’s sponsorship had to pass FFP scrutiny as fair value and if necessary another huge sponsor would come forward. FFP is a scandalous scheme, will not continue once tested in the courts but that take years, though has made life more difficult for City. Sanchez would have been a City player earlier if it were not for FFP. The nonsense that an owner is not allowed to invest his own funds directly but a club like Man United can be heavily leveraged and funded by debt is fine! Etihad can be propped up by the royal family/rulers if it needed to in order to not lose face and to continue to sponsor Man City. The club is profitable each year and is about to spend £300m over the summer. I don’t think that investment would be continuing if Man City (and CFG) was not a long term strategic and prestigious investment. I would lose a lot more sleep as an Arsenal fan. Sadly, the business model your club follows is laudible, but not credible to complete at the very top given the head start and funding the European elite clubs have.

  • Eric

    How does issues with Qatar affect etihad or mansour when they are from uae?

  • Gary

    How very ridiculous you can go on Wikipedia and see who runs etihad for goodness sake, your basically saying arsenals sponsorship money doesn’t pay for anything by saying you use your own money for youth and what not, then what do they spend it on?

    City are not reliant on etihad airways it was bent so that the owner could spend his money the way he wanted, if he was or had been involved in etihad it wouldn’t have been allowed under the rules of ownership did you not know this?

    Fact if the matter is your shareholders are worth a lot of money to get rid of them and have a fan buy out if you don’t need them there?

    Your trying to basically say we are not secure if something happens, well here’s a news flash, city bring more money in than Arsenal as a business so where are you getting that from.

    Clearly you have a problem with city maybe because we bully you out of which ever one of your players we want because your rich guys don’t want to cough up enough to keep them so it’s your problem if your owners don’t care enough to pump money in that they have got not city’s so just shut up you complete jerk!

    All other Arsenal fans I have a fondness for Arsenal I grew up in an age where you were ridiculously good to watch but guys like this are sullying your name.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I don’t know if Qatar is subsidising terrorism but when this comes from Saudi Arabia looks rather strange as news outlets in my country tell me it is Saudi Arabia who funds terrorism….
    I don’t know who funds who or what but just imagine if City tumbles from their artificial pedestal….

  • Brian Storm

    City’s sponsorship with Etihad is at most 50% of the market rate now. Non-UAE companies make up the large majority of sponsor partners. You have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

  • Cityfan

    A couple of questions for you Tony.

    Just how much is the Etihad sponsorship deal and what % does it represent of City’s income ?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Hmmm. Financial problem could be looming in the wait for Man City FC as the Etihad airlines, their main sponsor brand run into serious financial handicap that could in turn affects Man City FC finances very badly if the ugly financial situation in Etihad airlines refused to be nippeb in the bud.

    Nevertheless, should Mansour becomes unable to continue sponsoring Man City FC due to his financial business loss incurred by his Etihad airlines through which Man City FC is heavily being sponsored by him, I think if Mansour is unable to find a suitable solution to avail the looming financial crisis that has begins to rear it’s ugly head at the Etihad airlines company he owns, he may decide to put up Man City FC for sales by selling his controlling majority Stock investment in the club. And in this case, a suitable football club bidder in the world will certainly appear to buy up Mamsour’s majority Shares in Man City FCcas we all that the top six Premier League club sides have become iconic global brand the football investors around the world want to own. In this wise, I believe these football investors who are willing and ready and can comfortably buy up Man City FC if it is put up on sales today abound in numbers in China and in other parts of the world I would imagine.

    Meanwhile, as a proactive measure taken to forestall another deadly strike by the Islamist terrorists of ISIL, I strongly think and believe Qatar airlines should be banned by the governments in the world and by the international aviation authorities in the world from flying immediately. Because there is no doubt at least in my own mind and maybe in some minds, the Qataris airlines are being used to facilitate the travels of ISIL around the world to strike their terror campaigns. And they must also be using their cargo planes to transport arms and ammunitions and military equipment for ISIL. We don’t want to see a repeat of the 9th September of 2011 that struck the twin towers in New York. And the possibility of a repeat of the Osama’s planned terror and murderous attack could happen again this time through ISIL who will use some of the planes of Qatar air to strike under the guise of hijacking the planes where as it might have be freely given to them by their financial sponsors of Qatar air to do the striking.

  • sssssssss

    This is one of many comments of this type we have had today. What makes them interesting is that not only do they supply no evidence they also come from fake email addresses. I’m just publishing this one to give a sample of the sort of thing we get.

    hilarious joke article by people looking from the outside in, with no actual financial knowledge.

    if anything, the etihad sponsorship deal is UNDERVALUED and city could find a better paying sponsor.

  • Ben

    If Man City suddenly find themselves in that particular financial situation would they be relegated due to debt? Not that the FA would enforce such a law if so.

  • City fan – this was mentioned in passing in the previous article. The sponsorship is being paid for at what appears to be an above market price level.

  • A lot of these allegations coming in but with no evidence, which is a shame

  • No Gary dont think I’m saying that.

  • It is a very significant destabilisation of the area. There is a long article on the subject in the Economist and another in the Financial Times. With the whole region in turmoil it utterly changes the scenario.

  • Ronan

    Since you dodged the question Tony I’ll answer for you. The Etihad deal stands at 8% of total annual revenue.

    While I’m here, UEFA looked at the Etihad deal during the probe under FFP and found nothing untoward so your claim that it’s above market value has no factual basis.

  • Ronan

    Evidence? How much is the Etihad deal worth and what is City’s total commercial revenue?

  • Colin, I don’t agree with some of your points, but I am grateful to you for using moderate language. Sadly many others have not – and so we don’t publish them. I am not saying Man City supporters are unique in this regard – Arsenal have many the same, but it is good to read a reasoned approach even if I disagree over FFP and the courts.

  • Exactly. Good questions

  • Ronan

    The answer is in black and white in City’s financial report, you’ve acknowledged yourself that the difference between Arsenal and City’s revenue is the Etihad deal so you’re well aware of the answer to both questions so how about you answer them instead of playing silly beggars.

  • Cityfan

    Dear Tony

    You haven’t answered my questions and neither does your ‘top six clubs finances’ article.

    You accuse others of not posting evidence in their comments but unfortunately the 2 articles I have read on this site are extremely low on evidence and very high on conjecture.

  • Blue Dune

    I would look closer to home for any knock-on effect from Middle East trouble – the underlying financial resources in Abu Dhabi come from oil/gas, unlike Dubai (home of Emirates) where oil/gas is something like 5% of GDP. The main income for Dubai is property/construction, that well-known bubble economic resource, followed by trade.
    But if the Middle East implodes, who is going to buy that property, trade goods in and out of Jebel Ali port and Dubai Airport?
    Surely the pressure will be on Emirates Airline rather than Etihad, backed by gazillions of dollars derived from oil.
    Look forward to playing at the RyanAir stadium …. oh wait, Michael O’Leary is a City fan.
    Jet2 it is then.
    Could be worse, could be BA.

  • Brian Storm

    The Etihad sponsorship is £40m for the stadium, shirt, training kit, training complex, etc. It is frankly a pittance and as I said before worth at least 50% of the true market value at this point. Chelsea are now receiving £40m a year from Yokohama and they have a separate shirt sponsor on their training gear!

    You are simply uninformed if you think the Etihad deal is holding City up. If anything, it is holding City back. There are other related sponsorship deals for other UAE companies that are a bit unknown in terms of value, but in terms of the actual number of sponsor companies, they make up a small number at this point.

  • City fan, we have cited a lot of evidence over the years, both from our own research and from others. Since you are disbelieving our own work let me quickly dig out some of the others we have cited

    Swiss Ramble for example kicked the debate off way back on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 with the article “Manchester City’s Amazing Deal: Know Your Rights” which included the statement that “However, perhaps the best known is Bayern Munich, whose deal with Allianz is worth €90 million over 15 years, producing €6 million (£5 million) a year. On the face of it, this might suggest that City’s £10 million deal is over-valued at double the money, but this is far closer than the difference in overseas TV rights, which are around 14 times higher in the Premier League than the Bundesliga. Obviously, this is not quite the same thing, but it’s food for thought.”

    On 3 Feb 2014 the FFP web site said, “As a number of journalists have pointed out, there are a host of Related Party Transactions, Inter-company transactions as well as a sale of Image Rights to a company that the City Press Office insists is outside the club. ”

    And then
    “As we know, City’s accounts included a number of contentious items. These included payments to the club from the Manchester City Women’s team and the new New York City franchise. These payments have been justified on the grounds that the payment is for use of the club coaching and infrastructure, in addition to use of the City brand. The payment from the women’s team is particularly interesting. The club set up a separate limited company for the women’s team and although this team is almost certainly a loss-making enterprise, it has apparently paid the main club millions for the use of the City brand (plus use of infrastructure). As all the benefit from the City branding of the women’s team will be received by City, it is difficult to see the commercial justification for this payment. With the New York City transaction, Man City gain millions from this transaction despite the fact that the US franchise has yet to kick a ball. ”

    The phrase “Uefa also had concerns over the value of their €430m sponsorship with Etihad ” has popped up in many reports from all over the world (The Irish Times 2014 did an interesting piece, but as we know Uefa chose not to follow these up after City were found guilty under FFP. OF course City have continued to plead their innocence, but the guilt found in the hearings normally is enough in most debates to be counted as evidence.

    I know I am not going to convince you, but if you want to find our evidence, it is here on this site as well as these couple of examples from outside the site.

    We’re not really going to convince each other, so I am not sure there is much point in going on, but if you are interested you can see our original story which predicted that City would be fined under FFP before the story broke in other media, and the multiple responses we got from City fans telling us we were wrong then – we are getting the same now, and maybe we will be proven wrong this time, and of course I’ll admit it if so, but let’s wait and see. After all, if you are right, you’ve not the slightest thing to worry about.

  • Gary

    What is it your saying then now I have calmed down a bit, I am tired of people having a pop at city’s financing because let’s face it the people in charge have become way more important than the original outlay now, we have many many many deals with partners that are not from the same place as our owner and that’s because of how smart they are not because he is a powerful man in his own yard.

    I wouldn’t mind it is mainly the supporters of rich clubs themselves that want to pick up on it, Arsenal have enough money to compete with the best teams in England and they just do not do it, that is not a consequence of our owners being richer it’s because our owners want the success more than the money.

    As somebody said we can now demand big sponsors in our own right, we would get snapped up by another wealthy person if sheikh mansour lost his trillions of dollars down the bookies so there is no sense in the article particularly seems as your an Arsenal fan, why is city even in your mind?

    And one last thing that never gets brought up about our owners money when other fans are writing theses pieces, he doesn’t just spend a lot of money on players and wages, he is rebuilding the worst parts of Manchester with this money to, colleges, leisure facilities, parks, pitches, housing which does what, creates jobs!

    So, long may it go on and God willing other football clubs will follow the lead and improve the country up and down without it costing me and you the tax payer money to do it because the rich guy that you want to have a pop at up this way has got it covered!

  • John

    Gary the reason why City fans declared innocence of the Ffp charge is due to the changes in the 2009/2010 calculation from the original guidance to the guidance issued in 2012/13 after the relevant accounts had been submitted. We could either fight these in court and miss out on the champions league or take the hit and keep playing in the competition

  • Colin Savage

    Tony – as someone who regularly writes and broadcasts about City’s finances I can tell you you’ve got some crucial stuff totally wrong. For one thing, the Etihad deal is supposedly worth £40m a year to City and that includes naming rights for the stadium and the training campus, plus the name on the shirt. Arsenal supposedly get £30m a year from Emirates for stadium and shirt so we’re only getting £10m a year more than you are from that source. Your turnover in 2016 was £354m whereas ours was £392m, a difference of £38m. As our American friends would say, “Do the math”.

    Second, you say Arsenal are using their “own money” to pay for development projects but it’s money you’ve earned from the PL, UEFA, commercial partners and your fans paying for tickets but you also borrowed money to build the new stadium. It’s true that ADUG financed the building of the training complex and new stand but there’s really little difference between financing done via debt and via equity. Sheikh Mansour has neither loaned or gifted money to City; every penny he puts in is balanced by the issue of equity in the form of shares. But in the 2015-16 financial year he didn’t put a single penny in. City are, as are Arsenal, self-financing and that money comes from the same source that Arsenal’s does – PL, UEFA, tickets, merchandise sales and commercial partners.

    Finally, if Etihad are in trouble then Emirates will be as well. Do you seriously think that, even if both folded, either you or us would fail to find an alternative sponsor offering a comparable deal?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Deviating from the article posting that is currently trending, I like to talk about Arsenal summer transfer rumours during which Saed Kolasinc arrival at Arsenal has been announced on Arsenal.com but it was reported that he’s yet to officially sign for Arsenal until July before he do so.

    Will it be possible for Arsenal to rival Real Madrid if for once to sign Kylian Mbappe by out bidding RM and sign Mbappe if at all Arsenal are very serious to sign him from AS Monaco. Real Madrid are reported to have upped their bidding to sign Mbappe this summer to €135m. If to start a bidding war with Real Madrid, can Arsenal up their own bidding to sign him to €145m from their purported initial bidding of £85m (€97) that is less by €28m RM are reported to have recently submitted to AS Monaco to sign this said to be a sensational striker since the advent of Marco van Basten and Cristiano Rinaldo emerged out of European football in the past and in the recent times. (Is this claim true?)

    Anyway, Arsenal should not be afraid to start a bidding war with Real Madrid and sustain the bidding war by not pulling out of the bid to sign Mbappe until they succeeded in signing him and still keep Sanchez if Le Prof truly believes both Sanchez and Mbappe can collectively and invidually score a total of 50 Premier Leagues goals of 25 goals each for Arsenal next season with each if the duo scoring an average of 25 goals each by the end of the PL campaign with other PL goals hopeful coming from the forwards of Giroud and Walcott say 20 goals minimum, and not to talk of other PL goals that should come from our midfielders and defenders which MUST be upped to at least 15 goals next season from the paltry number of PL goals that was scored last season by these 2 departments as against the high number of goals they scored in the 2015-16 PL campaign. I think a total number of 75 PL goals if scored by the Gunners in next season PL campaign and with incredible defending to concede marginally will win Arsenal the PL title again next season.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Deviating from the article posting that is currently trending, I like to talk about Arsenal summer transfer rumours during which Sead Kolasinac arrival at Arsenal has been announced on Arsenal.com but it was reported that he’s yet to officially sign for Arsenal until July before he can do so.

    Will it be possible for Arsenal to rival Real Madrid if for once to sign Kylian Mbappe by out bidding RM and sign Mbappe if at all Arsenal are very serious to sign him from AS Monaco. Real Madrid are reported to have upped their bidding to sign Mbappe this summer to €135m. If to start a bidding war with Real Madrid, can Arsenal up their own bidding to sign him to €145m from their purported initial bidding of £85m (€97) that is less by €28m RM are reported to have recently submitted to AS Monaco to sign this said to be a sensational striker since the advent of Marco van Basten and Cristiano Rinaldo emerged out of European football in the past and in the recent times. (Is this claim true?)

    Anyway, Arsenal should not be afraid to start a bidding war with Real Madrid and sustain the bidding war by not pulling out of the bid to sign Mbappe until they succeeded in signing him and still keep Sanchez if Le Prof truly believes both Sanchez and Mbappe can collectively and invidually score a total of 50 Premier Leagues goals for Arsenal next season with each of the duo scoring an average of 25 goals each by the end of the 2017-18 PL campaign season with other PL goals hopeful coming from the forwards of Giroud and Walcott say 20 goals minimum, and not to talk of other PL goals that should come from our midfielders and defenders which MUST be upped to at least 15 goals next season from the paltry number of PL goals that was scored last season by these 2 departments as against the high number of goals they scored in the 2015-16 PL campaign. I think a total number of 85 PL goals if scored by the Gunners in next season PL campaign and with incredible defending to concede marginally will win Arsenal the PL title again next season.

    Sorry Mr Attwood for posting my comment twice which is against the rules of this website. I had to repost after correcting some errors in my first posting.

  • Ronan

    Whilst your quoting Tony how about you quote what is relevant today, for example

    “Manchester City FC and Paris Saint-Germain, whose settlement agreements were signed back in May 2014, have fully complied with all the requirements and overall objective of their agreements.”

  • Cookster

    Manchester City owners announce £265m deal with Chinese investors, 13% of the club. Plenty of people lining up for City, jog on with your uniformed rants.

  • Chris

    Well to all those saying Arsenal don’t know how to market themselves…

    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/06/football/forbes-world-football-rich-list-soccer-valuable-clubs-manchester-united-real-madrid-barcelona/index.html

    Arsenal are the 3rd most influential club in the world, behind MU and Bayern.

    Considering Arsenal’s financial size, I’d say they are doing better than thought.
    And this will in term have an impact on future revenue streams

  • Brian Storm

    Chris, that particular image is in reference to China (see note below it). Obviously a huge growing market though so a good sign for Arsenal there.

  • Cityfan

    Hi Tony

    Many thanks for the reply, however, I asked you two simple questions which were fundamental to the thrust of your article and you have failed to answer.

    In the meantime others have answered for you in the comments completely destroying your hypothesis that if Etihad fall City are in trouble.

    As others have pointed out the Etihad deal is a relatively small percentage of City’s income these days and if they were to fail it would be inconvenient but hardly catastrophic for the club. In any case as one of the best known football clubs in the world I feel a new sponsor would not be too difficult to find.

    I would say your agenda is blinding you to reality. Perhaps finding another hobby would be healthier for you.

    Best regards

  • Cookster

    @Chris, about as well researched as this article. Suggest you read the website you linked….. 3rd most influential club in China’s emerging football market, not in the world you melt.

    Even that analysis is flawed as it’s based on twitter followers and facebook likes, basically tourists.

  • WalterBroeckx

    My god the owner of City is god himself if I can believe City fans. He surely must be the best person ever to have set foot on this planet. I almost started crying as it made me emotional….such a nice guy….

  • WalterBroeckx

    Now wait a minute…… one City fan saying the Etihad deal is normal, the other saying it is holding them back.

    So the second opinion saying that the owner is in fact holding them back????? So he is not a god-like person on earth?

    Now this is starting to make me confused….

  • City fan, very kind of you to be interested in my health, but I supposed I am buoyed up, even at my advanced age, by reading our reports in the couple of days before Uefa found Manchester City guilty of breaking Uefa FFP rules, and the predictions from many Manchester City fans of what would happen. If I’m wrong this time, then I can admit it, and say ok, I got one right and one wrong, and all without worrying about the health of others.

  • M18CTID

    Tony, this all comes across as one of those inane “When the Sheikh gets bored, City are f*cked” comments that deluded opposition fans have been spouting for the best part of the past 9 years. It’s all well and good jumping in your De Lorean and going back in time 6 years to when the Etihad deal was first signed but it’s not 2011 anymore and City’s revenues – along with those of all other Premier League clubs – have risen exponentially in the meantime, which in turn as many others have stated means the club isn’t anywhere near as reliant on Etihad’s sponsorship money as it was in the past. I’m not sure why you’re finding this so difficult to understand. We earned £145 million from the PL TV deal last season alone, £50 million-plus in match day revenue, £40 million from our Champions League campaign, and £12 million from Nike for our kit deal. Without including any commercial revenue whatsoever that’s £250 million without me even having to spend more than 30 seconds thinking about it. City pull far more commercial revenue in these days from companies not linked to our owner’s country than companies that are.

    The only part of your article that might make sense is the situation in the middle east and if things did become increasingly volatile there then yes, it’s perhaps conceivable that factors outside of football might just see Mansour offload the club, but it’s all ifs, buts, and maybes, and in any case as Samuel Akinsola Adebosin stated – to his credit – City are a very attractive proposition for potential buyers these days.

    As for taking credit about supposedly knowing that City were going to be sanctioned by UEFA re FFP before anyone else knew, err no. That’s complete and utter fabrication and you know it. That news was leaked to the media and you simply picked up on it so I suggest you stop claiming the credit for it. Just like your totally fabricated article that City were “ignoring UEFA” in the lead up to the sanctions being announced – I’ve challenged you many times on that one and not once have you had the decency to respond. The fact is you make a lot of it up as you go along. As you did when you infuriated all those Bradford City fans by stating the Bradford fire disaster was definitely arson.

  • M18CTID

    Walter contributing absolutely zero of note to the discussion – now there’s a surprise 😉

  • Mark

    I am always amused whenever Arsenal sources criticise other clubs finances. Arsenal, of course, we’re one of the original gang of five who founded the Premier league, which effectively turned English football into a business venture. The five insisted that they received 50% of all tv monies between them. In Arsene’s words, financial doping.
    Not surprisingly,they dominated the league during that period, and only Blackburn,fuelled by Jack Walker’s steel fortune, broke the monopoly.
    It was hardly surprising that Chelsea concluded that financial fire needed to be returned. City followed.Now,it is the norm and the Premier league is a gigantic commercial operation,with world-wide players owning the clubs.
    As you reap,so shall you sow and the hypocrisy besmirches Arsenal’s name.
    This article cannot even get the facts right in yet another bitter rant from this source. A cursory glance at City’s P&L would tell the writer that Etihad account for less than 10% of their income. Some sources have criticised City for the poor value that Etihad’s sponsorship now represents.

    Time to give up the crusade.

  • Menace

    M18CTID – I thought Walter was rather humourous.

    Gary – ‘down the bookies’ is not something that is permitted in his religion. He can invest but not gamble or so I’m led to believe.

  • Mark could you tell me when Arsenal and four other clubs actually received 50% of the income from TV, and also if you happen to know, how much that income was in relation to the whole income of football clubs in the top division.

  • M18CTID

    Tony,

    It was actually probably considerably more than 50% when the Big 5 of Arsenal, Spurs, United, Liverpool, and Everton carved up the terrestrial TV rights back in the 1980’s, given that few other clubs ever got shown live on TV back in those days. Add to that those same 5 clubs successfully getting gate revenue sharing abolished in 1983 and I think it’s not unreasonable to suggest that your own club has it’s mucky fingers all over the creation of a status quo in today’s game.

  • Flares

    “Enjoy the Europa cup and your expensive season tickets”

    Well, well aren’t we the big boys now with our two Premier League titles. Let us not forget, this coming season marks the 20th Anniversary of your being sent back down to the third tier of English football, a place which many observers agree is your natural habitat. Still, it wasn’t all bad on the day, legend has it you gave the 40 a good hiding afterwards. Something to feel warm and cosy about I’m sure.

    City are the Chelsea of the North, only worse dressed and with inferior hot chocolate. Like Chelsea, you’ll always be considered second class citizens by the proper football clubs around you, even with a hundred Champions League wins under your belt. It’s all just a matter of status within the game and, quite frankly, you don’t have it and never will. Sorry.

  • Flares

    “Sadly, the business model your club follows is laudible, but not credible to complete at the very top given the head start and funding the European elite clubs have.”

    You’re missing the same point which eludes Mr Brent, that being City aren’t considered to be anything important in football, even with unlimited Arab wealth behind them. Do you consider yourself to be amongst the European elite? I hope not. Laughable, if so. You’ve only just scraped into the top three with the world’s best manager bossing your team and you’ve spent hundreds of millions to come nowhere near winning the CL, which we all know the owner is desperate to get his hands on. City are always ‘linked’ with the biggest targets but they never come. Bale didn’t consider you. Neither did Suarez or Pogba. Neymar, Greizmann, Mbappe, Rodriguez…they’ll all go elsewhere if they move and you’ll be paying silly money again for people no one has heard of, just like Liverpool.

    Sorry Tony, but despite your well-researched article I agree with those who suggest this Middle East situation won’t affect City’s future. They’re a useful idiot for the Arabs to hang some endorsement off in their worldwide dealings, particularly in America, but in football they’re less than nothing. If they win the CL it will the equivalent of Chelsea winning it, or Porto. A fluke which sinks without trace when the actual big clubs like Real or Barca start hovering it up again year after year.

  • Flares

    Correction…

    *hoovering

  • Chris

    Say what you want, but clubs financed by the qataris in Europe to the rate or more then a billion euros over 12 years can’t boast so much for their return on investement. Not even an CL Final for City nor for PSG. And while our finances were tight, we did make it at least to one CL final in 2006.

    And seing the furore, the elation, the superlatives about MU’s winning of the Europa League, it sure looks like a worthwile trophy to me now that we are in it.

  • Flares

    Chris,

    The media still have a hard-on for United and, to be fair, any English club winning a European trophy is something to be quietly proud about, even if they are an absolutely appalling bunch of arrogant, self-righteous gorps.

    To my mind, PSG are much closer to the finished article than City, but regardless, there’s something wrong at the club if you hire Guardiola and can’t even reach a semi. They should have hit the ground running but it’s been as depressing as Mourinho at Salford. He’s a lucky boy as well. Next season won’t be so forgiving.

  • Jammy J

    I find it amusing how some people get so angry and vexed, whenever someone dares say something, not 100% positive, about the finances of the company that they are affiliated with.

  • Cityfan

    Jammy J
    I find it amusing that a blogger can sustain a successful site writing complete nonsense. Yes I’ve read some more articles now and they are in the main ridiculous. Do you Arsenal fans really believe this stuff.

    Chris
    Manchester City are owned by Abu Dhabi not Qatar.

  • M18CTID

    Keep sucking on those lemons Flares,

    “Let us not forget, this coming season marks the 20th Anniversary of your being sent back down to the third tier of English football, a place which many observers agree is your natural habitat.”

    Natural habitat? How does one work that out when it’s the only season in our entire history that we’ve spent outside the top 2 divisions? Still, it wasn’t all bad on the day – the sight of so many Stoke fans mocking us for getting relegated never fails to amuse me, given that they too went down as well. Lack of self-awareness much? I’ll also add that the following season was one of the most enjpyable I’ve had following City home and away so maybe it wouldn’t have been too much of a bad thing if we’d stayed down there a bit longer. You see, as genuine football fans know, it’s not all about the glory on the pitch but I’m guessing you’re not and never will be a genuine fan. Sorry.

    Don’t you go worrying your little cotton socks about little old City – after all, we’re so irrelevant in your eyes that I’m unsure why you’re spending so much time talking about us. I’ve no doubt we’ll keep on signing nobodies while you’ll keep failing to hang on to your best players. By the way, how’s Sanchez doing these days?

  • Cityfan, given that we have published over 7000 articles and get over 5 million page views a year, I wonder, might it not be you that is out of phase with what is ridiculous and what is not. However many people do think that they are right and everyone else is wrong, so I am sure you belief is sincere. But since you clearly don’t quite see what is going on here, perhaps it is best that we part company.

  • Flares

    M18CTID,

    Aaaah, the old ‘we still pulled 50k for home games in the second division’ chestnut. So what. Newcastle still do that, still win naff all, and are still a more highly regarded club than you. Fancy that.

    Congratulations on being a genuine fan, by the way. Obviously we here at the Arsenal know nothing about missing out on ‘glory’ and have never been mocked for falling short, so what would we know about supporting the club though lean times? I’ve only contributed two posts before this dear boy, so it’s not like I’m writing the Manchester City biography, although if I did I’d only start from 2002, since the rest of your history mainly involves bouncing around the lower divisions in a blizzard of mediocrity.

    Pointless Sanchez comment is pointless. We’ve offered him £300k a week, if he turns it down I’d be happy to kick him out the door myself. I also don’t consider him our best player. Fine player though Alexis is, Bellerin to me is our greatest asset and we need to absorb his best years before the inevitable return to Spain. You notice I said Spain, right? Because nobody sensible chooses Manchester City when Barcelona is up for grabs.

  • M18CTID

    Don’t worry Flares – I won’t be losing too much sleep if we don’t get Bellerin. And I won’t be losing too much sleep over players choosing Barca over us either, given that they have more pulling power than any other club on the planet with the possible exception of Real Madrid. Speaking of which, you seem a little too obsessed with Spain’s two biggest clubs going off your previous comment on here. I find it odd that any fan would have such a hard-on for clubs that are bigger than their own.

    Tell you what though – just to show that there are no hard feelings, you can have Bravo off us if you want. It’s only fair that we let you sign one of our players for a change.

    Oh, and who said that we were pulling in 50k for home games in the second division? When we were in the 3rd tier, our average was a more modest 28k. And I enjoyed every second of it. That’s something you’ll never be able to understand sunshine.

    How’s my old mate Gazidis doing? You do realise he’s a City fan don’t you?

  • M18 – well, I’ve met him a few times in relation to the building of the environs around the Ems stadium, and he never let on.

  • M18CTID

    Tony,

    To be fair, it’s not something Gazidis is going to drop into a conversation when talking to fans of the club that employs him and pays him a 7 figure salary. From his Wiki page:

    “Gazidis moved to Manchester in the United Kingdom at the age of 4 and attended Manchester Grammar School, where he excelled as a football player, and was also a gifted drummer playing in at least two school-based rock bands. Being an adopted Mancunian from a young age, he supported Manchester City.”

  • John

    Tony, you got it right for the wrong reasons. No one realised at the time that the calculation for the wages had been changed.

  • Gord

    From:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/richest-soccer-clubs-nfl-football-teams-2017-2017-6 (Millions of USD)

    20 – Napoli: 158 Jacksonville: 344
    19 – Leicester: 191 Cleveland: 347
    18 – Inter Milan: 199 Arizona: 348
    17 – West Ham: 213 New Orleans: 358
    16 – AC Milan: 238 Miami: 359
    15 – AS Roma: 242 Carolina: 362
    14 – Schalke 04: 249 Pittsburgh: 376
    13 – Atletico de Madrid: 254 Seattle: 377
    12 – Tottenham: 310 Baltimore: 378
    11 – Borussia Dortmund: 315 Chicago: 385
    10 – Juventus: 379 Denver: 387
    9 – Liverpool: 448 Green Bay: 391
    8 – Chelsea: 497 Philadelphia: 407
    7 – Arsenal: 520 Houston: 416
    6 – PSG: 578 NY Jets: 423
    5 – ManCity: 583 NY Giants: 444
    4 – Bayern Munich: 657 San Francisco: 446
    3 – Barcelona: 688 Washington: 447
    2 – Real Madrid: 688 New England: 523
    1 – ManU: 765 Dallas: 700

  • Hmmm – he supported Manchester City. That looks like past tense to me. I think you need more evidence to bring it up to the present day.

  • M18CTID

    When all is said and done Tony, he’s only an employee of Arsenal FC so I doubt he’s an Arsenal fan however much you want that to be the case. When you next see him, ask him how much he cheered Aguerrooooooooo’s title-winning goal in 2012 😉