Exclusive: Untold Arsenal interview with the owner of Manchester City.

By Roxy Beaujolais, our correspondent in foreign parts.

Well, my little Tour Eiffels, my little je ne sais quoi.   Tony advertised for a foreign correspondent, I replied, got the job, and he sent me off to… Manchester.

I know it is a foreign country et al, but realmente, I mean.  It’s not even in Europe.  I am sure we passed Groenland on the way out.

The cause of my first assignment was the opening of Billy the Dog’s new Creationist Bar in the outer wastelands beyond civilisation, and I must say it was a night to remember.  The Chums of Chance were there taking photos, and it was Such Fun.   I have never seen Billy so extasié.

But first, of course, before the evening’s fun, we trooped off to the Stade City of Manchester.  There was a moment of difficult when this stupid little man with a strange accent asked for my ticket, but I quickly explained that I, being a taxpayer in the UK, had paid for the Stade, and thus was entitled to free entry.  He was about to argue, but Billy stepped up, fist at the end of his wrist, and that seemed to settle the matter.

After the match I managed a word with Sheik Yermoney who runs the show, and put to him the question on the lips of tout le mond, “How will your funny little club de football meet Uefa’s new financial fair-play rules Monsieur Le Sheikh?”

He looked at me with an Arabic look, which had a definite sense of narquois in it, so I explained.

“To play in the League of the Champs,” sayeth I with the air of one addressing a slow and rather rotund six year old, “clubs must not have aggregate losses of more than €45m over the three seasons from 2011‑12.   Your little essaim d’abeille has a turnover of £87m to May last year, and yet, you silly little Sheik you, this summer you have spent £120m or more on these strapping young lads that any lady would be pleased to meet on a dark night.

“Now,” I added in case he was a little retarded in getting the point, “according to Untold Arsenal which knows of this stuff, the cost of players is amortised over the length of the contracts – normally four years.

“So,” I continued, hitching up the miniskirt and looking the old boy straight in the whatnot,  “even if you sign no more players, you will be paying £75m a year in amortisation in the 2011-12 season.  On a turnover of £87m.  And that’s before salaries which the financial wallahs back at Untold Pastures will come to a further £120m a year, which leaves you with a loss of, oh, I don’t know, over £100m a year, before we even take into account the paying of the cleaners.”

He looked at me with curiosity.

“You do have cleaners don’t you?” I asked.

He looked at me again, this time in what I took to be a quizzical manner.  I smiled, as a lady can only smile when she knows that Billy the Dog is not only behind her, but also simultaneously at her side.

Sheikh Yermoney looked at me a third time, with a look that I can only describe as Gallic.

So there it was. In the match, one of the teams beat the other team, and there was a lot of shouting.   On the private jet on our way back to Billy’s home in Islington he suggested that Manchester C are going to by-pass the Champs League.

“If they win a top four place, they won’t care if they get banned from the Champs,” he said.  “They will tour the Arabian lands, and the Sheikh will be a superhero as he races his camels.  It’s all just a game.”

I sipped champagne and watched the world spin by as the chauffeur took us to the original Creationists’ Bar in Genesis Drive, Ilford, and not for the first time I marvelled at Billy’s trademark fifty foot long mirror and the huge dance floor, agreeing to do it again.

“Blackburn?” asked Billy, but I think maybe I misunderstood and kicked him in the goolies.  One does have one’s good name to protect, after all.

Insane?  You will be.

Insane? They were?

Beyond a joke?

13 Replies to “Exclusive: Untold Arsenal interview with the owner of Manchester City.”

  1. Not really sure what to make of that article. I was looking for questions like “Why did you buy Man City? You’re an Arsenal Fan!!!”

  2. Quick question…Has UEFA laid out black and white punishments if these criteria are not met, or is the punishment more of a grey area. Everything I’ve read seems to indicate that it’s more of a case by case basis, with phrases like “may be banned from european competition” used in every explanation of the rule. If this is the case, I’d expect little more than slaps on the wrist or a warning for Man City if they have a binge this year to get to europe and then slow their spending. I really can’t see Uefa telling ambitious teams that they can’t spend to reach the level needed to qualify for europe out of the premier league if they return to normal levels after that.

  3. there r times wen one feels- ‘y does untold arsenal have such bad articles’ …this is one of them…

  4. OK guys I get the message: you didn’t like this piece.

    But since Dark Prince asked why Untold has such articles, here’s the answer – its a bit long, but I thought you really might like to know.

    The name “Untold” obviously implies not just that the pieces have not appeared elsewhere, but that they are different in nature from those appearing elsewhere.

    That in turn means that Untold has been from the start (and as long as I am here always will be) highly experimental. When an experiment works, then it is developed, when it gets this sort of reaction it is removed.

    And I should add that is what makes Untold so different from many other blogs – with most blogs you know exactly what you will get day by day. I don’t think you do here, and I think that is good.

    To give an obvious recent example, there was a generally positive reaction to the two pieces written which took the approach of the Barcelona newspapers (ie let’s make it up and print it as fact) and turned that on its head so that it became a weapon against Barca. Indeed the first one of those (Cesc explaining in an invented interview why he was not going to Barca) got an enormously positive response.

    The question that arises from the point above is can’t I, as editor, judge what will work with the readership we have, and do its bit to attract new readers? (Current figures are around a third of a million hits a month).

    And the answer is, up to a point I can judge, but not 100%.

    I think since Untold started there have been about half a dozen articles that have been completely panned, which personally I think is not a bad record considering the number of experiments we’ve tried. I do reject quite a few ideas and pieces, but I also have a genuine desire to explore new ideas and know other people’s feelings.

    As it is, I thought the piece rather good, since it took us somewhere quite different, that is into a world of a person concerned totally with style, but who suddenly and surprisingly proves herself to be able of uttering a very coherent message about finances. I also thought that not much had been made elsewhere about the fact that Man City’s finances were such that the impact on the financial doping regs will be with them for years to come and it was worth exploring that.

    So, Dark Prince (and anyone else who wondered) that’s why you get the occasional article that you feel really is bad. If there is an editor around who can take risks and never make a mistake, I’m sorry to say it certainly isn’t me.

    Actually, I still think the piece is rather good, but that (as you have always suspected) what do I know?

  5. SchmidtXC

    A version of the football doping regs does exist and clubs are banned each year. Portsmouth, who should have been in the Europa were banned this year, and so was the club that came third in Spain, whose name escapes me.

    That is with the current lax regulations – with these tighter ones there is, it is true, the chance for the authorities to vary the ruling, and yes they might do that.

    But I would say that up to the passing of the regulations the broad feeling among correspondents here was that they would not be passed, or would be watered down so much that they would be meaningless. In fact they have gone through in the fullest detail.

    If it is the intention of Uefa not to use the regs, I am not quite sure why they have gone down this route. Remember the clubs in Germany (in particular) and the handful elsewhere (such as Arsenal) that are utterly stable financially are really pushing for these regs.

    And there is no doubt that Chelsea are taking them seriously – just look at how their policy is changing.

    I do think the point in the article that Man City might go for a top 4 position knowing that they can’t play in Europe is one that has not been considered – it has been assumed that everyone will get their house in order first.

  6. Dont know what all the waffle is about.
    Nothing wrong with a bit of creative writing and it was done quite well.The message that was conveyed to me was that sheik yermoney is even more farly removed from football than roman chelski is…
    It is just a game to him,A little charm on his rich list offensive blazer.
    He doesnt care whether man c can even qualify for the cl it seems just as long as they are winning something.
    Just a quick question Editor…
    How long would they be ineligable to play?
    Would I be right in saying they couldnt play cl until the get beow the regs set in place??

  7. Daithai – as I understand it, each club that qualifies applies for a licence to play in the UEFA competitions each year. We don’t hear about it, because it is automatically given in most cases – the Uefa web site has details of about a dozen or so teams that have not been accepted.

    That licence is for the year. The new financial regs change each year as they get tighter and tighter, so a new registration happens each year.

    And yes, the idea of the piece was also to point out that the Liverpool match was the first time the owner had actually been to a Man City game. That says something doesn’t it. One day he might just get a bit bored with it all.

  8. As I am being so busy with the Worldwide website, I almost haven’t had the time to come along. I did like the idea a bit.
    But maybe it was a bad (wine) year moment.

  9. @Tony- surely you can experiment in ur articles, afterall its your blog. But this is not your typical ‘untold’ article. ‘Untold’ should mean something that is true and hidden, not something that is speculative or subjective. In this article, though, the message conveyed is true but the presentation looks completely unlike ‘untold arsenal’. Also the sarcasm makes it sour rather than funny.

  10. You go ,girl !Nice one Tony – another one to the boards! Do keep them coming and don’t bother about those who have lost their sense of humour nor those who do not appreciate the irony- balls to them!
    I love how you mix it all up- the yorkers ,the full lengths but most definitely those short pitched ones !
    Cheers !

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