By Tony Attwood
The Deloitte Money League which records the position of clubs from a financial point of view shows, for the first time, six English clubs in the world’s top ten football clubs, thanks to Wembley.
Wembley is not a club of course but a source of additional revenue for Tottenham Hotspur. For with that extra income they have leapfrogged Juventus and sauntered into the top ten for only the second time in their history. The last time they made it into the top league was 2006/07.
Tottenham’s match day revenue is shown as being 54% higher than before, which is the biggest ever percentage increase of any income stream by any of the top ten clubs in the history of the Money League.
What this means is that Tottenham have now almost caught up Arsenal in terms of turnover with Tottenham sitting on £379.4m and rising, and Arsenal sitting on £389.1m and falling.
Arsenal’s issue of course is that they are in the Europa and not the Champions League. But as we shall see from the figures below, all Arsenal’s revenue streams are in decline, and that is not good news.
However Tottenham also have a problem and it is a big one. Turnover is not profit, and Tottenham are now sitting on a mountain of debt which has to be serviced by their turnover. If, for example, they slipped back to the Europa in a year or two, and Arsenal rose up, Tottenham’s problems would be magnified greatly. They have a debt that needs servicing.
But of course we can expect multiple accounts of Arsenal slipping out of the top 10 clubs – which is now very likely unless Kronke moves away from his model of profits before trophies.
So Arsenal have now slipped down the world rankings to ninth – the lowest place since 2004/5 along with the largest revenue decrease of all the top 20 clubs (down £29.9m). It was the first decline in revenue for the club since 1995/6 and much of the decline was due to a fall in revenue from Europe of €27m.
Here’s the revenue table for 2017/18
|Club||Revenue in €m|
|Paris St Germain||541.7|
Of course we were helped a bit by reaching the Europa League semi-finals but overall it was our broadcasting revenue (including the Champions League revenue when we were in it) which declined (down by £18.4m).
The worrying trends for Arsenal are matchday income down from a peak of 134 million euros in 2016 to 112 million euros. There has been a significant drop in broadcast revenue from 235 to 207 million euros in the last year alone, and a decline in commercial income from 143 to 121 million euros across the last two years.
Now I am not a football finance expert and the companies I have run are very tiny indeed compared with those of Premier League football clubs, but my experience, and that of others to whom I have spoken, is that reversing declines like this is very hard going.
Of course what would make it all change would be Arsenal challenging at the top of the Premier League, but even that has become an increasingly inflated demand – for when Arsenal came second in the League in 2015/16 it was not particularly seen as a sign of progress. Challenging is not enough – we have to be winning it, and that means beating the big money clubs.
The problem we had in coming second was that further investment was needed in the team at that time, and that investment was not available, and so the slippage started. Of course the manager can be blamed, because it is not just the availability of money for a club (to cope with the investments made by other teams challenging for top four positions) but also the way it was spent. But still the availability of money both for transfers and salaries remains a key feature.
However the past can’t be changed (rather obviously) and we are where we are (equally obviously). All revenue streams are down, and we want the club to go upwards. Something has to be done if the desire of staying in the top ten is to be achieved
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