Who is about to go bust in football?

The answer is certainly not Arsenal – because of the way our club is run. But some others are not so well-organised. They might teeter on the brink for years but in the end…

I posted a brief summary of this the other day, but got so many emails about it privately that I thought I would expand it. If you know of any clubs that are not included here, or any statements that are wrong, please email Tony at hamilton-house.com and I’ll correct the record.

Overall 15 out of 20 EPL clubs are financed by their owners, from Aston Hold Your Head Villa to Wigan Athletic.

EPL: Clubs and broadcaster

Manchester IOU: A record season in terms of turnover but even with that (which of course includes not winning the Euro, FA Cup semi and winning the EPL, they still can’t afford to pay any of the interest that has accrued on this year’s debts – so it will be rolled over into the £650m they owe. Those debts are now being traded – in case you want to buy one.

Everton Anti-Gravity:
So named after their supporters attempts to lob missiles at Arsenal fans in the seats above, only to find that they fell back down on their own supporters. Anti-Gravity is also part of their campaign to get into the Top 4. They’ve done it once (Liverpool Insolvents came 5th) but immediately went out of the Champs League in the preliminary round. Desperately in need of investment the club is up for sale. Worse, they knocked down their training ground, ready to build flats there, only to be refused planning permission. They blamed unelected busybodies – but it was the local council what done it, and they are… elected

Aston Hold Your Head. Named after last season’s tactic of going down when tackled and holding the head to get the ref to stop the game. Not going bust – they have a rich Yankee owner – but they have a major problem. Last season was their year for breaking into the top 4. So intent were they on it, they put out a reserve team in a UEFA Cup match (in order to preserve the first teamers), and went out of that cup, and finished a trailing 5th. G. Barry, their biggest name, has clearly had enough and buggered off to Manchester Arab. Quite how they re-group to put in another top 4 challenge is anyone’s guess; it seems unlikely, and if that is so, extreme disquiet will break out along the A38M.

West Iceland Utd: must be sold by July, but no deal forthcoming, the owner is bankrupt. There seems to be no chance of an extension of the debt.

Manchester Arab. Last season’s laughing stock of world football, bidding billions for players who wouldn’t touch them with a dirty football boot, they now have to lower their vision. Barry is joining them, but the days of $$$Trillions for Kaka and C Ronaldo have gone.

Portsmouth: sold to a sheikh, to become richest club in world – but there are now big questions about the new owner. There are said to be “concerns” about Sulaiman Al Fahim and his Dubai property project. Hydra Village was due for completion this year but is now running two years behind plan. Good piece on the developing scandal in the Guardian.

Sunderland: sold to a Yank, to become richest club in world. Have got Steve Bruce from Wigan, which suggest they will survive given the miracles he has performed on 2.5p a fortnight at Wigan.

Liverpool Insolvency: no news on the £350m debt which must be refinanced by end of July. No news on the grandiose schemes for the new stadium – difficult to see how any of this can go ahead without the £350m debt being sorted first. So in effect they actually need £350m x 2 to get the stadium built.

Setanta TV. They got the bid for football TV wrong and have been renegotiating ever since. Sky wouldn’t hand anything back (Setanta asked for £50m), they talked to Scotland over the rights there and then failed to pay the latest installment needed. Their own shareholders won’t hand over cash to keep it going. Setanta, could go into administration if it can’t pay £35m to the Premier League first, or indeed if the SPL sue them.

Outside the EPL

Newcastle Untidy: Not only up for sale, but now up for sale at a discount price. No movement on signing that boring guy from Match of the Day – the story is that he was demanding a fortune in transfer fee money, and it is not on. Owner (who was warned about his drinking while at a game at the Ems) says he made huge mistakes and lost millions.

Merthyr Tydfil will probably go into liquidation soonish. A Welsh-Egyptian millionaire (honest!) is looking to buy the club – maybe – but you know these Welsh Egyptians – pesky fellows at the best of times (that’s a joke not a racist slur). There are also tales that Cardiff City (see below) have agreed to a link through which Merthyr will be used by Cardiff as a club that uses Cardiff reserve players.

Sheffield United. Not getting any more parachute payments but they are getting the Tevez money from West Iceland (until they go bust) so will be better off than some.

Southampton: so bust that they are no longer even paying their office staff (who certainly have done nothing wrong), but now have one consortium bidding to buy bankrupted club

Accrington Stanley being taken to court because they can’t pay Revenue and Customs. They say they have the money and will pay soon, and blame everyone else for the problems. The hearing is June 10. I (being old) can still remember Accrington leaving the league 44 years ago and going out of business. Indeed the first football book I ever wrote (now long since out of print) contained a picture of the ground one year after their demise. The sponsor went bust part way through the season just finished owing the club £100,000. I haven’t been to the ground but the word is that they have the worst in the league, and an average attendance of just over 1000 – also the worst.

Darlington FC: went into administration for second time in two years and I can’t find anything that says they have come out – in fact the story seems to be they are about to fold. Talk is also that if they survive they might go down two divisions!

Chester City having been relegated from the 4th division have gone into liquidation. No news of what next. Conference rules on administration are much tighter than League rules so they might drop two divisions.

Halifax Town for a long time a league club have either been wound up or put into administration – there are reports of both.

Stockport County went into administration on 1 May. No news of what’s next.

Fisher Athletic were wound up on 13 May and are no more.

Northwich Victoria: in admin again for the second time in just a few years.

AFC Hornchurch have gone into administration.

Doubts but no facts

Charlton Athletic. They looked to have it all when an Arab consortium was on the very edge of buying them up – and then didn’t at the last second. The fans who said, “Curbishley has taken us as far as he can – we need someone else now” are now a by-word for ignorant pathetic stupid idiots. It was a brilliant club, with a neat stadium, punching way above its weight year after year, the master left and then… Word on the street (for what it is worth) is that they are on the very edge although there are also talks of signings about to happen.

Cardiff City. No signs of problems except there is still that dispute with Sam Hamman and the previous owners over millions of pounds. But Cardiff has Peter Ridsdale in charge now so with all his experience at Leeds…

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

34 Replies to “Who is about to go bust in football?”

  1. Tony, Thank you for you last post. I am of view that a blog is successful where people are free to express their views. My views differ from a lot of the regular posters here, so I should be banned?

    Instead of living in cloud cuckoo land 24hours a day, I bring a sense of reality and you think I’m just a doomer/gloomer.

    That is not the case, Wenger has built a team which challenges in the future, ummmm hello what about the present? How long are we supposed to wait for any glimpse of silverware?

    I appreciate you intelligent words Tony, but there are some people who come on here thinking Wenger can do no wrong. Yes, he has given us some great years but where is the consistency?

    Are we to settle as a club that breeds young players that get picked of by the big boys? Or are we just content with playing pretty Footie and not winning anything?

    Judging by the last 4 seasons I think we have been given our answer.

  2. Excellent article, Tony. I am glad we still have Arsene Wenger. Exactly the right manager to build success from the bottom as a financially sustainable club. We are on the brink of that success now. Really looking forward to next season

  3. Like Tony I hate censorship in all forms. I was about to post on the previous article when I saw calls for you to be removed Mason but Tony’s eloquence got the drop on me and I saw no need for repetition.

    However whilst I would fight for your right to express yourself, i would gladly cross sabres with you at dawn as to the generally negative and shortsighted nature of the vast majority of your comments.

    Admittedly I find myself increasingly needing to be ‘in the mood’ to deal with your tourette-like outbursts, reeking as they do with infantile self-centredness and a complete lack of objectivity. Sometimes it is easier to simply change the nappy than engage in a course of potty training.

    Eventually you may come to realise that it is more important to support your club when they are losing than when they are winning. In truth it would appear that you have completely missed the essence of what it is to be a supporter.
    If it’s any consolation, there is a vast array of like minded types who agree with your ‘cry until you get what you want’ method of supporting a club.
    Of course they tend to stick within their comfort zones of Arsenal Action and LeGrove and avoid here like the plague. On that point i suppose that we should give you some credit as it is easy to stay on a blog where everybody agree with you.

    i found your last comment funny though as it reminded me of that old movie “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” where Veruca Salt is constantly screaming ” I want it now Daddy”


    Mason wears a red dress and sings for us! 😉

  4. I am always optimistic but I can’t really see anything to be optimistic about this summer – it will be just nother summer of troubles for Arsenal and unlike every other title contender who will emerge at the beginning of the new season a stronger outfit we will no doubt end up being weaker. I don’t see why we don’t sell out to an Arab – the club will always be Arsenal with its own history but the difference is we will compete with the best for the best players and the big trophies. I fear for Arsenal in this climate because they are falling further and further behind.

  5. Well, nice to see Barry is really ambitous. Easy to say he picked the money, I prefer to think he picked the easier choice and decided City was a guaranteed place in the first team and a chance for Europe the year after. Were we too slow? Did we miss out? Who knows! I honestly beleive there are better players out there that we can buy

  6. Tony, If Usmanov or anyone else came in on a Abramovich style basis i.e. giving personal unsecured loans to the club I would welcome them. I think people have forgotten that most football clubs are bank-rolled by rich individuals or companies. Even the Yanks at Lpool have put in 80m of their own personal money to fund transfers. This is separate to the debt on their purchase of the club. In mainland Europe, the big German, Spainish and Italian clubs are bank-rolled by rich individuals or big corporations. The one glaring exception is our own beloved AFC. Someone a while back said the current Board had been bank-rolling the club for 60 years. When I asked him to prove he didnt answer. The truth is that none of the Board have ever made personal loans of gifts to the club to finance player purchases or other activities. The board has always leveraged debt against the assets of the club as a limited liability company. You kid yourself if you think we are in a better positon than Lpool or Manure cos they have owners who care about their club and have put some skin into investing in them. All our current 350m debt is raised against the real estate and players. If an Abramovich or Citeh type owner came along I would welcome it as a breath of fresh air from these crusties and dodgy geezers who have run our club for the last 60 years. Remember, AFC as a business has been a big cash generator since the 1930s. We were the bank of England club. Were has all this money gone? We have been poorly mis-managed. Our financial situation just doesnt make sense on so many levels. Dont swallow the party line – challenge your own thinking!

  7. Tony and Mason Just had to jump in on your exchanges. I agree that Vela and Eduardo haven’t proven anything yet but I’d like to see RVP play with Eduardo up front. I think Eduardo is tougher than we think he is and he looks like a potential 20 goal man. If Ade is sold, I don’t think it would be the end of the world to depend on RVP, Eduardo, Vela, Bendtner and to a lesser extent Arshavin, Theo and Simpson. You speak about the 07/08 season and to an extent I agree with you about Anelka but no one at that time would have said that we needed another forward. Ade was playing well albeit missing chances but he was working hard for the team and was a pain for defenders. Our midfield was scoring goals. Eduardo had started scoring goals and we had Theo and Bendtner coming thru too. I don’t think u could have forseen Eduardo’s terrible injury. I truly truly believe that even if one of RVP, Eduardo and Rosicky had been fit during our run-in, we would have won the title. You can put the blame on AW but there was a huge element of bad luck involved too. On the Woodgate front, well I would have liked AW to sign a centerback…not Woodgate who was terrible at the end of that season after winning the Carling Cup and for a good part of this season. I think Woodgate is a little overrated anyways. We could have signed someone else at that time. That I concur with you and AW dropped the ball on that one. I don’t know why we were never in for Skertel or Curtis Davies who we were long linked with. At the end of the day, I believe we were deathly unlucky in the 07/08 season. Having said that AW has made mistakes prior to that season when we really should have had new faces in key areas. And this past season, Wenger’s decisions have been dubious to say the least. I pray that he addresses our problems this summer.

  8. The logic of the Ancelotti thread does not add up to me.

    Ancelotti had obviously taken Milan as far as he felt he could and decided to move on. He’s in effect had two fallow seasons.

    Wenger has run up four years of zilch – nothing.

    And don’t say “we are improving so it’s justified..”

    The fact is we went backwards last year. And for obvious reasons. We needed a centre half. He refused to buy one. We sold three central midfielders and he refused to buy one.

    It’s ‘in your face’ obvious why we have gone backwards !!!!

    Regardless of what has happened – this is D Day for Wenger whether he realises it or not – it is. If we go backwards again this year and are left empty handed again, it won’t just be a few shareholders moaning in May. He’ll face a full scale fans revolt by Christmas if he doesn’t make the right moves before September 1st.

  9. Karl

    To the red tinters Finishing 18pts behind the champions instead of 4pts is progress .Another trophyless season is progress When will the Arse knows brigade realise we are not progressing.4th place is the height of our ambitions

  10. dont be so stupid. how the hell did wenger refuse to buy players? he said quite recently that he had his cheque book out and was close to signing a few players but for financial reasons he was unable to do so. so how is that him refusing buying anyone? its him trying to bring in players but again due to financial restrictions, being unable to do so.

  11. Guys do you have ANY idea how dull and annoying it is, when you have spent hours writing on a topic only to find that the site becomes flooded with totally off-topic comments. On occasion this becomes so invasive and insidious it makes the writing of the original post obsolete.

    I respect that you have differing views to the majority of ‘Untold’s fans’ but, as Tony already suggested, if you feel you have a valid and noteworthy point to make about a topic, why not write it up properly as cohesive argument and submit your viewpoint to be published as a post?

    To be honest, it is rude and disrespectful to completely ignore the topic of posts and instead use the comments section as your own personal axe-grinding service. It’s boorish behaviour and it is getting rather tedious.

    Mason the only time you have been banned (to my knowledge) was, under your old pseudonym, when you plagiarised from someone else’s site and tried to pass it off as your own…no?

  12. Usmanov is more than likely the person that wants Wenger out as he thinks that his money would be better spent under another manager that didn’t want total control. He wants to be just like Abramovic an play Football Manager with our team. Just because Usmanov watches games doesn’t mean he knows a thing about running a sports team, something that Kroneke has plenty of experience doing. Trust me and keep your fingers crossed that Stan the man takes more control and pushes Usmanov back to Russia and the Gulag that he deserves to be in.

  13. I’m a villa fan and Barry going has made me feek sick. Fair enough if he had gone to you lot or Liverpool but the fact of the matter is he is 28 and wont get champions league with city for at least another 2 years when he will be past his best. Barry you plonker. If he’d stopped at Villa he would have become a legend. Instead, now he is going to be lambasted by Villa fans and Man City will only get another couple of years from him at the top level and he will become a squad player on £90,000 a week.

  14. Hi Tony,

    Always love your entries. Question: all these accrued debts, it seems like the day when they need to be paid off edges closer and closer, but does anyone know when their so-called ‘tabs’ will be called in? I’m really looking forward to that day, not just because they’re our rivals, but I’m curious as to how the EPL will react to the potential lack of Liverpool, Chelsea, and Man Utd, when it becomes clear that they’d have to go into administration or whatever. If that day does come, I have a very big hunch that they will be specially considered though, because of the massive TV ratings that could potentiall be lost from their removal from the league through relegation.

    On a related note, the relegation of a big club is rare, a la Newcastle. But it really brought me back to Earth. If they can get relegated, albeit due to some poor management, then no one is invincible. I guess I’ve always taken our league presence for granted. Oh well, as long as its not us.

  15. June 3rd, 2009 at 11:08am MASON:
    Tony, If Usmanov or anyone else came in on a Abramovich style basis i.e. giving personal unsecured loans to the club I would welcome them. I think people have forgotten that most football clubs are bank-rolled by rich individuals or companies.

    June 3rd, 2009 at 12:05pm MASON:
    Usmanov is more than likely the person that wants Wenger out as he thinks that his money would be better spent under another manager that didn’t want total control. He wants to be just like Abramovic an play Football Manager with our team. Just because Usmanov watches games doesn’t mean he knows a thing about running a sports team, something that Kroneke has plenty of experience doing. Trust me and keep your fingers crossed that Stan the man takes more control and pushes Usmanov back to Russia and the Gulag that he deserves to be in.

    BUT which one of your contradictory selves should we trust?

    You know, this whole exercise would be a lot easier if you set up your OWN site, spouting away with your own endless opinions.

    Then the OTHER Mason could write in and tell him why he was wrong in the comments section.

    Occasionally the third one could write in under the moniker of ‘James’ (I won’t tell, if you don’t) and cut and paste text in from another blog altogether.

    Just THINK of all the excellent arguments you could have with each other?!

    What do you think?

  16. What amazes me is the people who compare 4 point gap to 18 point gap.

    1. First is first and second is nothing.

    2. If you are not going to finish 1st, then whether you are 2nd or 4th is immaterial.

    3. Champions League football is the be all and end all of premier league placing.

    The rest is just semantics.

    Like an above poster I dream of the day that the banks start calling in Liverpool and Man Utd notes. i want it to be an absolute bloodbath of misery for both sets of fans.

    As for all the small little clubs going bust, I tend to be heartless and regard it as natural selection. If they don’t have enough fans then they have no business operating. If they managed their resources badly then let them be a cautionary tale for other clubs to remember. The market like the league table doesn’t lie.

    On the subject of Gareth Barry, I am glad he signed for City. An average player signed for an average club end of story. We don’t need another good distributor of the ball we have dozens of them. We need a BEAST.
    Not just any beast either mind you! We need the kind of player that is transported to matches in the same way that Steve Buscimi was transported to the plane in the movie Con Air.

    LORIK CANA. When you absolutely, positively have to put the fear of God in the other team …Accept no substitutes.

    We may get or we may not but if ever there was a player that ticks all the boxes we need then he is sitting in Marseilles waiting for a call just like Pires before him.

  17. the last thing we need is an abrahmovich style sugar daddy. dont forget that chelsea still owe him that money. if he leaves, he is gonna want it back.

    as for ‘where has all the money gone?’ well we have the new stadium (which mason seems to forget) and a state of the art training ground. of course arsene has had less money to spend, but you have to speculate to accumulate, and these years of paucity are our speculation.

    look at pool, theyve already spent the money for their new stadium just trying to keep up their position in the league etc. how much silverware have they won this year? and with no new stadium.

    as for the rest of the clubs in financial trouble. i feel much worse about the lower league clubs than the prem ones. i thought the national lottery was there to help out struggling sports enterprises and all that. for the cost of a row of seats at our stadium most of them could be saved.

  18. When it comes to transfers their is the market price and then there is the Wenger price. Wenger looks at transfers in a very, shall we say, naive way.

    Wenger will look at a player, eg Alonso and say well he’s worth £12mil. And that’s all I’m willing to pay. He fails to realise the selling club hold a lot of the advantage as they can hold out for £15 mil. Wenger refuses to go above what he feels is the right price. Comendable in it’s own way but in today’s market? Damn right foolish I’d say. You have to pay over the odds for quality players. Fact. Why did the Arshavin transfer drag on? I certainly subscribe to the view Wenger didn’t want to go as high as he eventually did.

    I think the financial reasons he means are his own economics, not any budget imposed by the club.

  19. Wouldnt it be great if he could just manage the team let the board know what players he wanted and let them worry about the economics .I always think its the managers job to manage.You dont see fergie getting bogged down in the financial situation he just tells david gill what players he wants and then lets gill do his job.Now i know its commendable that aw is thinking of the future of the club but im getting bored with his lectures on economics.All i ask is he manages.I personally think if you handed aw 100m euros/pounds for players and told him he didnt have to pay it back he wouldnt spend it all.It seems the more the fans,media or ex players say he has to spend big money to compete with the other top clubs he digs his heels in and tries to prove his way is right.Ok if the money is not there (which i dont think it is)then fair enough i can accept that.But all i say is just manage.Now maybe im naive but thats my tuppence worth.

  20. Terence – sorry, I missed your post earlier (sandwiched as it was between Masonic dribblings). Very well put and yes, that is EXACTLY what the spoiled kids sound like.

    Nice dress though Mace (I like calling you Mace, as it is the INCREDIBLY irritating stuff they use in the worst sort of pepper spray).

  21. Karl – you do understand that there is a significant possibility that Man Utd could eventually go bust?

    It may not seem that way now but there’s is not a very wise model for us to follow.

  22. The apologists can make excuses all they like about how little he has been given to spend but all the evidence points to the fact that when it comes to money coming in from players sales and money going out on players bought there is no doubt he likes to balance the books and whilst i’ve no doubt this has been a necessity in some seasons, on the whole this is a personal philosophy of his not something that has been forced on him.

    Anyone who believes this propaganda that he has attempted to buy players we needed and the board have put the stoppers on it for the sake of a million or two are deluding themselves, one of two things are happening in those situations either he is personally deciding he doesn’t want to pay that much for the player or he is just not making it clear to the board that he must have that player, either way it’s down to him.

    Not even the most deluded of the AkB’s could possibly believe (even though they like to write it) that if there was a player that AW wanted and we were offering 12m that if AW insisted to the board i’ve got to have that player that they wouldn’t stump up another couple of million if absolutely necessary to close the deal.

    I can understand those who make excuses for AW’s spending habits, in any other walk of life he would deserve maximum respect for the financial philosophies he holds and undoubtedly his ways have been a great help to the club over the last few years, but in most businesses and even more so in the one we are in you have to invest in improving your product otherwise you get left behind and although he has obviously been thinking his ‘genius’ is enough to make up for lack of investment even he must realise after the feedback from the ‘nutters’ this season that that is not the case.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he spends a few quid this summer by that i mean the clubs money, our profits, our cash not just money taken in on players sold, the AkB’s will kid themselves on that he has pressured the board into giving him money that they have kept from him before, but in reality it’ll have been the ‘doom-mongers’ the ‘nutters’ that have focused his mind on the fact that this is not his personal fyfedom where he can do what he likes regardless of the consequences, he has to answer to us and a lot of us expect him to do everything within his means every season to make us as good as we can be every season and as far as we are concerned he has failed to do that of late, so i fully expect him to get the message this summer (even accounting for the mass of sycophants he has around him) and make sure we start next season as strong as possible, if he doesn’t then Adios and good luck at Madrid.

  23. And the other thing is have you noticed whenever the transfer merry go round starts Wenger vanishes and isn’t seen for weeks. He then returns to spiel out his tirade of excuses. I do not expect this season to be any different

  24. I’m confusd, how can so many Premier Leagueclubs be in so much debt? ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal compete at the highest level amongst the top clubs in Europe everyone else is competing against the other PL clubs for a UEFA cup place (or whatever it’s going to be called next year)and a decent cup run. I was under the impression that the following were facts for PL clubs compared with clubs in other leagues (domestic or foreign:

    i) PL clubs have the highest income from TV deals.

    ii) Our average gate attendancies are competative.

    iii) Our ticket prices are by far higher than those in the lower leagues or on the continent.

    If the above facts are true (I’m not including Arsenal in the followig statements) where is the money going? I would have thought that wages and transfer fees would take up the vast bulk of club expenditure. Does this mean English clubs are paying over the odds on transfer and wages and living beyound their means in order to attract second rate players?

  25. Its quite simple Arsene needs to go to the mattresses on this problem we could find ourselves in. Clubs with money to burn no it wont guarantee they will have the quality to have a go at us but its definetly worth a few places in the table. We need to make our squad as strong as possible that way our quality will shine through. The danger is that we could find ourselves falling behind. Im not all the way worried but failing to see this as a potential problem would be a big oversight. Strengthen and cast off dead wood or risk having our pass to the top 4 revoked. We have been weak in the same areas for the last 3years or so. So not like our esteemed manager shouldnt be able to identify and justify the purchase of players to the board. Its also time some of the fringe players step up and make themselves counted or risk being gone by January latest. Its time to pick up a trophy or im afraid we will not be respected as a force in football anymore

  26. Terrence, you cannot say that there is no difference between 2nd place and 4th place as it is just semantics Second place is garuanteed champs league football, is extra money for going into the group stages and is extra money for finishing two places higher up the table and for a club that is supposedly conting every penny that is a big thing. I tell you something if we get a tough draw for the champions league qualifier and get knocked out you wont be saying that there is no difference between 2nd and 4th and there will be the mother and father of backlashes from the fans then

  27. as far as money is concerned, fans can only hope and pray that their clubs do the right things in not spending over their heads while squeezing out the best result possible for that budget.

    if we happen to have owners stingier than other teams’ so be it. what can you do? for every berlusconi there is a mike ashley. and the latter is a fan of the club he owns. those of you who think arsenal should be own by one but not another and should spend this much but not that little (and guarantee success with it), who do you think you are? god?

    there are people who think their “ambitions” can be achieved by wishing, nothing but wishing, that a football team of which they happen to call themselves fans will by some miracle be endowed with a sugar daddy to match the lofty standards of their dreams. they have no regard and understanding for the values that keep the club standing against the test of time, the very reasons such a club exists (let alone a worthwhile asset to be bought and own).

    you’d be happy if the club is taken over by a guy whose identity, assets, managing capacity and intentions you have no clue about. yet you are somehow very certain that money will be spent and new players are coming in and the consequential trophies to follow.

    hitler made his beloved schalke champions of germany 6 times in the 12 years he was in power. how’s that for ambition?

  28. Barcelona ‘close in’ on £40m Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas

    Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas is reportedly close to signing for Barcelona.

    The 22-year-old heads a list of five targets drawn up by Nou Camp boss Pep Guardiola, according to Spanish newspaper AS.

    Barcelona are encouraged by a stream of praise from Fabregas, who last week told a Catalan radio station that anyone would want to play for the newly crowned European champions.

    And the newspaper claims ‘reliable sources’ believe there is already a ‘firm agreement’ that their former trainee will rejoin the club next month.

    It is estimated the fee would be in excess of £40million, though Barca could offer players in exchange or a significant chunk of cash in performance-related clauses.

    Guardiola is said to have discussed targets with director of football Txiki Begiristain, Barcelona’s dealmaker, on Monday.

    Other than Fabregas, Barca would recall Brazilian defender Henrique, who spent the season on loan at Leverkusen.

    Almeria right-back Bruno Saltor is also wanted to cover for Dani Alves and they are seeking a left-back and winger, who have yet to be identified.


  29. Karl , even in these inflationary times I suspect that tuppence may be an overestimation of the worth of your ideas.

    You say that Arsene Weger should just manage?

    How about you just support karl?

    Didn’t think so.

  30. Justin – are you REALLY dragging in transfer rumours sourced from The Daily Chuffing Mail (the worst newspaper in the entire world)??


  31. Justin i take your point but the difference in real terms between 2nd and 4th is less than one half of 1% of our turnover which by the way is more than offset by the extra income from the two matches(televised) played in order to get into Champions League proper.
    I suppose there is always the chance that we could lose but we are Arsenal and NOT Everton and since we are a top 4 European side being a semi-finalist this year(with an injury ravaged squad) I take it on faith that we can sweep aside those who are 2 tiers down on the seeding grid regardless of who they once were(with a fully fit a and strengthened side.

    One could almost argue that both in terms of pre-season and financially there are benefits tobeing 4th rather than 2nd 😉

    Now for Mason a few things to point out:

    Firstly Ivan Gazidas is your man to criticise over the Summer NOT Arsene Wenger as he is on holidays. Gazidas will be handling ALL transfers throughout the window having had targets identified for him. This was why he was brought to Arsenal and it is his main brief.

    Secondly, You keep making reference to business and comments like ‘if this were a business’ etc.
    Newsflash: The shareholders( who are the only people who matter in business) absolutely LOVE Arsene Wenger as he has made their collective asses RICH!!! Share value rises from £400 to peak at over £10,000 in 13 years. They should give him a bonus.
    Anybody else know of any investment that has paid as handsomely over the last 13 years and that would appear to be recession proof?

    Arsene Wenger is a genius.
    You guys can complain all you want about him his job is safer than anybody elses on the planet and he is going nowhere.

  32. Justin – Do you honestly think that the Daily Mail is a reliable source of information. I’m pretty sure that I read somewhere that Usmanov has been briefing the Mail recently. This is a man who while owning over 25% of Arsenal is actively trying to destabilize the club for his own ends.

    People like you are the first to criticise the current board and accuse them of bleeding the club dry when they take no dividend. They can only make a financial gain by selling their shares, something that a core of them have so far refused to do. If their plan was to make money Wenger is the best thing that has ever happened to them, a point made so well by Terence.

    Our society is plagued by a “I want it now culture”, no matter what the cost for the future. Arsenal are run along a sustainable business plan with a long term view. It’s people like you who have caused the current economic problems.

  33. It should also be noted that Cesc is always very gracious when confronted by the press. He has made similar comments when linked to Real Madrid, a club that he is most unlikely to join.

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