By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw, senior psychologist at the University Hospital of the North Circular Road.
The notion that Arsenal need to be warned that there could be huge losses ahead is one of the more bizarre stories that has emerged from the British national press of late, but that is what the Daily Mirror told us six days ago, adding “Arsenal are in danger of losing millions if they are forced to operate without matchday income.”
Now we know that different clubs will lose different amounts of money if they can’t play their games with crowds in the ground. The BBC gave us a very helpful piece a while back showing the annual matchday income per club. Arsenal are up there at the top, ahead of Liverpool, behind Man U. The Tottenham figures relate to a period when they played at Wembley. All graphs here come from the BBC.
What made the piece so amusing was however that if was followed by the statement that Arsenal “have been warned they stand to lose huge sums in revenue if the Premier League decide to stage matches behind closed doors next season.”
This suggests that Arsenal’s directors and management are so stupid that they can’t read accounts and projections, and that other clubs won’t lose money too. Now who would originate such a story, and would then go out and tout the notion around newspapers trying to find one that would be so willing to knock the club that they would run it also.
Step forward the Arsenal Supporters Trust, of who it has been said, and indeed quite rightly.
Now you know you are going to have a laugh when a newspaper like the Mirror reports something the AST has said as “findings,” but that is what they did. And what they found was, “that the club’s finances would be £144m worse off” if there were no crowds at the stadium for a year.
Then however the piece got worrying. “Arsenal have already had to refund fans for the four home games that were still left to play,” said the Mirror – maybe making it up or maybe following an AST story.
Certainly that is worrying for me because I have not received the money. If you are a season ticket holder and have had a refund from Arsenal could you let us know. If it is just the Untold group without refunds we’ll need to take action! I am sure the Mirror can’t be wrong.
Then it goes into the regular knocking copy – we won’t have the money to buy players, Arsenal are already on a very tight budget, we might well not qualify for Europe next season (no mention of two managerial changes which the Mirror was a forthright advocate of, of course) and so on with lines such as “in addition to lost ticket income, Arsenal would also be impacted by a drop in commercial and retail revenue.”
That of course could be true, but on the other hand it is the same for all other clubs, so just mentioning Arsenal seems a bit odd. As is the notion that, “A key concern is the delay in receiving season ticket income, which is usually collected this time of year, but has currently been frozen until further notice,” which is also true – for every club.
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 3 – referee home bias
- The real live facts that the media won’t ever touch (part 2)
- Could this be the best PL season ever for Arsenal in terms of goals?
- Why, with football, it is important to ask what is not being reported
- 2022/23 Women’s FA Cup – Arsenal Women v Leeds United. Match Preview