Arsenal need to sell, Tottenham are financially strong. Oh, hang on…

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”

By Tony Attwood

And the absurdities have been pouring out day after day, and it has been going on for seven or eight months.  Not (we are told) that we need to sell because the players are no good (although that is always a theme) but we need to sell because Arsenal are in financial trouble.

Arsenal news: Chiefs told the five players Gunners must sell” was how the Express put it last November adding “The Arsenal squad is in need of a big overhaul according to a former Gunners striker.”

By May this year the Sun had upped the situation, with “Arsenal could have to sell SIX players…”   Mind you they got that from Bleacher Report so maybe not so serious after all.

But inflation is the order of the day and no sooner were we getting used to six than we were up to ‘Arsenal need to sell nine players’ – which jolly piece of jibberish appeared in KickOff.   They even started giving us a list of the nine to go, starting with David Luiz, Ozil….

Everyone had suddenly become an expert in Arsenal finances.  Even OneFootball, not known as financial experts were able last January to tell the poor clueless club “Mikel Arteta has a huge job on his hands. Now that we’re a few days into the January transfer window, who should they buy, sell… ”

And of course our old chums Football London with their 40 a day Arsenal stories told us “Raul Sanllehi must make decision about five Arsenal players …”   But that was hardly trying as Bleacher Report came back with “10 Players the Gunners Should Sell …”

We’ve even had dear old Andrey Arshavin, not known as a top sports analyst getting involved, insisting no less that he can’t understand why the Arsenal squad continues to be ‘weak’.

OK so that is fairly damning.   And what has Untold Arsenal been saying?

Well, that our finances are not really that bad, and that the club with the real problem are Tottenham.  The last financial story we had from them was apologising for releasing their financial report during a time of crises, but saying they have to by law.  Which I think we knew.   But no mention of any problem in that report with the finances.  In fact quite a bit of crowing, which is appropriate for a team with a cockerel as a mascot.  So just silly little Untold with its 3 part time scribblers, making a fuss as usual.

The newspaper and blog headlines were “Tottenham Hotspur have no intention of selling Harry Kane to Manchester United this summer.” That was Sky Sprouts.  If they were going to sell it was not as they had to.  Absolutely not.

So you get it, Arsenal had to sell five, six, seven or more players.  Tottenham relaxed, cool, calm, under control, organised, sorted, planned … everything chaotic Arsenal were not.

At least until…

“Tottenham have borrowed £175m from the Bank of England to help them through the next year or so, as they respond to the financial destruction of the Covid-19 crisis.

“The club fear that they may lose more than £200m of revenue in the period from the start of lockdown to June 2021, including broadcast rebates, and they have sought help from the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, which has provided them with the unsecured loan. It is repayable in full next April at a rate of 0.5%.”

Ah, now this is odd.  Because it seems that Arsenal have not borrowed money from the government and have cash in the bank even though they have to sell, sell, sell.  But Tottenham have no problem (according to most of the media) and yet have borrowed £175,000,000.

What’s more, “the bank loan will not be used for new players – rather to provide flexibility and support during what will be a hugely testing time.”

The problem is that Tottenham built a stadium and banked on nothing going wrong.  But things did go wrong.  First, it was significantly delayed.  Second a pandemic broke out.  Third no American football, no rugger, no boxing, no rugby league, no concerts, no Summertime Ball…

This borrowing from the bank of you and me – the bank of our country which we as taxpayers keep afloat, comes after Tottenham borrowed £637m from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC which needs to be repaid by April 2022 although this has now been converted into 15 to 30 years loans.  Tottenham made profits of £68.6m last time around.  Now they have borrowed £175m.

I am not criticising Tottenham for building what looks to be a very fine stadium indeed, nor for not foreseeing the virus – no one did.  I am just noting that little Untold with its tiny team of part time writers noted a while back that Tottenham could be in difficulty, while Arsenal finances were not as dire as the “must sell six” scribblers in the media were saying.

Up to the moment of this announcement it really was primarily “Arsenal must sell” in the media, with Tottenham having the luxury of buying anyone they fancied.  Now it isn’t.

Funny old thing, this journalism lark.

6 Replies to “Arsenal need to sell, Tottenham are financially strong. Oh, hang on…”

  1. And where is the contrition from these naysaying drainpipes?

    Well of course it’s nowhere to be seen, because this is what they do. This is how it works.

    This story, like all the other negative Arsenal stories you’ve been highlighting over the last few weeks, has very little, if any evidence to support any predictions of doom and gloom or accusations of mis management.

    But they simply don’t care. As long as the story has a negative Arsenal connotation they will say it, print it, and repeat it ad infinitum.

    When time and or enlightenment proves their every word to be the musings of a particularly stupid single celled organism, we hear diddly squat. Not a word.

    But little does that matter. The endless cycle of negativity has done it’s job. The likes of AFTV are whinging away like the whingey things they are. The AST are chumping at the bit to oust the owners for their incompetence. The AAA are as outraged as ever.

    And so it goes on, and on, and on, and on.

  2. Wanna take a bet ? Nothing is going to change. Not a bit. Arsenal are facing armageddon, Tottenham are genuises for having refinanced etc etc etc. And now they have a player who tested positive.

  3. It’s all total Boll** Both Tottenham and Arsenal will have to tighten their pursestrings along with many clubs especially with the Covid -19 situation.
    If anything it might actually even things up a little between the clubs.

  4. Sports writers (you cannot really call them journalists) have no clue when it comes to covering finances. That’s one of the reasons they don’t write about it. The other reason is, most fans do not understand finance either. The clueless writing for the clueless is not likely to generate readership.

    Another reason is, finance is not sexy unless you think power is sexy, and power is only sexy if you have it. The writers for the papers have none, their owners have plenty. The paper owners do not want their writers pissing on the feet of their advertisers by writing about how the league, the teams, FIFA, etc. move money around for their own benefit to the detriment of the fans who pay the ever-increasing price.

    While I agree that Arsenal are, no doubt, in good financial condition – good management has been the club’s hallmark under Kroenke, though he is constantly pilloried for it; it is also very likely that “Wntold” has both gotten it right and wrong at the same time with Tottenham’s financial position.

    Here’s why. First, Tottenham have invested heavily in keeping their current players; Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, etc. and not spent much in bringing in new players. Harry Kane is a symbol of the club’s new ambitions and losing him to a big-money transfer, while probably the right move for both club and player, will cause fans to question those ambitions and Tottenham’s brief moment as the ascendant north London side will be over. Tottenham may or may not need to sell Kane for financial reasons, but they absolutely cannot afford to sell him for P.R. reasons. This has reduced the team’s flexibility; and anyone looking at the on-pitch performance knows that Tottenham’s window of opportunity to win a title with this group has slammed shut.

    When Leicester won the league and held on to Jamie Vardy by outbidding Arsenal for him, it signaled the club was willing to invest in the team to remain competitive. It was a P.R. move aimed at their fans and also their players. Since then, players leaving Leicester have gone for massive premiums, while the core of the club has changed slowly. They lost Kante, but held on to Vardy, Schmeichel, Mahrez, etc. Tottenham have taken the same approach and mostly, it worked. Except that, while that Leicester have a fee-spending owner investing well beyond revenue in the club, Tottenham have a very Arsenal-like approach to team finances.

    Second, borrowing money at .5% is good business. Borrowing £175 MILLION in an unsecured loan at .5% is (if a little sleazy) f-ing brilliant. This loan is not secured by club assets, like the stadium, so it won’t hurt the club’s over-all valuation. If Spurs default on the Stadium loan, the bank takes the stadium. If they default on the £175 MILLION they lose… nothing.

    The team now has all that money in their back pocket, which frees up revenues for investing as the team sees fit. The team might not invest that cash directly in players, butt the cushion it provides allows them freedom to manage the club with out being afraid of immediate financial disaster.

    No doubt loss of revenue from renting the stadium will hurt the Spurs, virtually every stadium in the league generates revenue for the clubs that own them in similar ways. Arsenal also rent out the Emirates. The team will, no doubt, find the loss of that money as well. Spurs might lose more than other teams. Bournemouth, for example, probably generate a lot less from their stadium, but all the teams are suffering from loss of non-football revenues.

    The anti-Arsenal bias in the media is a real thing – for sure, but the bias of the writers is only part of why those articles get written. Regardless, I love the perspective. Keep it up.

  5. The AST projections were that within the next few weeks the reserves that Arsenal have access to ( around £35 million can not be touched as part of the agreement with bond holders) would have been eroded.

    Now I have no idea if they are right but likewise no one on here has evidence to point to them being wrong. The irony is moving from AWs version of a sustainable football club to the current financial model is poles apart.

    As for Spurs they clearly are overstretched and bear in mind that it’s not THFC that have arranged the £175 million it’s THFC Stadium ltd.

    Sorry Paul but whilst this debt may not be secured against assets if THFC Stadium were to default on repayment then they have everything to lose.

    The issue here is that the potential loss of £200 million would be horrendous but if that estimate is correct how are they going to find the money to repay? I would suggest either by borrowing via conventional means or selling assets

    We all get territorial but we really should all be hoping that all clubs survive alas this are horrendous times and we the supporters can only look on with fingers crossed

  6. “Arsenal Bail Tottenham Out Of Deep Financial Trouble”

    … is a headline someone should write. Along with a story about how the club didn’t want to see an end to the tradition of St Totteringhams Day.

    All lies of course, but how would that be different from every other story that gets published. Someone who owns a blog, do it, please!

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