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Premier League Betting and Odds

As the League starts to reign in Saudis: what does it mean for Arsenal?

By Tony Attwood

Imagine – just imagine – that you had spent oh, I don’t know let’s say $3.5 billion on your football and as a result won the league and other competitions lots of times.

And then someone else comes along and effectively says that’s chicken feed.   We’ll invest $30 billion – more if that’s what it takes.

OK, so you might also imagine someone saying, “hang on… this just means that the guy with the most money always wins the league.   And some very rich people don’t like that.

The problem with FFP is sponsorship.   If a company sponsors a football club then seemingly that means the club has earned the money through legitimate means.   But what happens when a company becomes the official construction sponsor of a club.  Does that make sense?

And when the sponsorship goes ahead even when the construction company is said to be guilty of wholesale mistreating its workforce, because everyone knows that there’s no point to the sponsorship apart from handing over lots of money so it can sportswashed…

Part of the problem stems from the fact that acting in secret Gianni Infantino (boss of Fifa)  helped Manchester City negotiate its FFP settlement with Uefa.

And everyone agreed that the tractor deal would only ever be mentioned in Arab states, Russia and Turkey, because, well, not to put too fine a point on it, there is less interest in those pesky human rights issues, and anyway football supporters never care where the money comes from as long as they win things.

As the email from Vicky Kloss, the City director of communications, wrote, “The gap between what we do and what they [Arabtec] do is unbridgeable.”

So with all that background there’s really not too much surprise when 18 of the 20 Premier League clubs push through legislation to prevent the Saudi owners from striking lunatic sponsorship deals.

Manchester City abstained (had they voted against, the 18 clubs might have opened up enquiries into their sponsorship deals).  Newcastle said the rule change was anti-competitive and unlawful.

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But now a working party is set up to investigate permanent rule changes, which would affect all clubs that hide massive donations from shady companies as sponsorship deals.

So this could be something of an important moment, because up to this time, every club has dreamed of getting an ORP (obscenely rich person) to take over their club and pump in the billions.   But when the biggest ORP of them all jumps into the market, such dreams are pointless because whatever the others do, that Big ORP can do more.

Thus Newcastle must have thought they had everything tied up.  An owner who desperately needed to improve his image, all the money needed to outbid everyone, and a compliant bunch of people who run the league.

But when the deal gets so large that Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are looking at possibly not being able to win the league ever again, then people get agitated.

Trying to get accurate figures on how much organisations and individuals are worth is nigh on impossible, and even if a few of the figures in the table that follows are out by the odd billion, you can see what has happened.  We’ve not bothered with pesky little people with under $1bn.

But this chart is worth contemplating because it shows just how much money there is around, and where there is this much money there is generally the thought that anything is possible.  Just scroll down and look at the end of the estimated combined net worth column and compare and contrast.

Club Lead Owner Estimated
net worth
Source of wealth
Brighton & Hove Albion  Tony Bloom  $1.3B Online Gambling, Real Estate, Property, Land Development & Investments
West Ham United David Sullivan $1.6B Publishing
Liverpool John W. Henry and Tom Werner $2.8B Fenway Sports Group
Everton Farhad Moshiri $2.9B Steel and energy
Theatre production
Leicester City Srivaddhanaprabha Family $3.7B King Power International Group
Leeds United Andrea Radrizzani $4B Aser Ventures, San Francisco 49ers, DeBartolo Corporation
Southampton Gao Jisheng $4B Lander Sports Development Co Ltd
Manchester United The Glazer Family $4.7B First Allied Corporation, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tottenham Hotspur Joe Lewis, Daniel Levy $4.9B Currency Trading
Crystal Palace Steve Parish $5.7B Tag Worldwide
Arsenal Stan Kroenke $8.2B Walmart, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, commercial real estate, Los Angeles Rams, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Avalanche
Wolverhampton Wanderers Guo Guangchang
Liang Xinjun
Wang Qunbin
$9.14B Fosun International
Aston Villa Nassef Sawiris, Wesley Edens $10.4B Investment and Industry
Fortress Investment Group
Chelsea Roman Abramovich $14.5B Oil and Gas industry
Manchester City Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan $22B Abu Dhabi United Group
Newcastle United Public Investment Fund $250B Sovereign wealth

Clearly the only chance those other insanely rich people have is to use FFP to stop investment, and that means stopping lunatic sponsorship.  And that means…

Rewriting the Saudi Arabia takeover of Newcastle

10 comments to As the League starts to reign in Saudis: what does it mean for Arsenal?

  • With the “European Super League” fiasco, fans were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be heard, maybe even to change things
    Actually, the arsenal-hating-guardian pretended to act as a platform for this:
    I, for one, sent them an answer which, as the unashamed hypocrites they are, they binned, along with hundreds of others probably (my answer to them is at anyone-interested-in-such-a-thing’s disposal)
    Shame on us fans who have been unable to set up our own such “reorganization” platform then; it’s amazing how oblivious we are – or are made to be – of the nuclear bomb we have in hand: our money (memberships, tv subscriptions, season tickets, clubsite shops, …). Nothing new about that: unite, organize … strike, and well, the fat cats will listen, at least.
    I think I already wrote it when the super league plot was unveiled, but blogs like “untold” could put fans on the unity/organization track; it’d start small of course but there are other spots where passionate, thoughtful, open-minded, true defenders of what’s beautiful in the beautiful game can express their views, and sometimes disagree without calling one another names (I have the arsenal fan “bergkampesque” site in mind – there’s bound to be others, obviously). Connecting with such people could be the first step towards a creating network of fans willing to take the future of football into their own hands, and out of the oilers-oligarchs-dictators, and other billionaire absentee owners …
    Something else, (seemingly, actually, it’s not imo) off-topic: ever since AFTV and the WOBs finally got everything they asked for, I watch Ajax on Champions’ League nights. Well, how I wish we copied their football, not their shirts …

  • Mikey


    …and to rub salt into the wounds I see we’ve been given bloody Pawson for our next game. He can send Luiz off for no deliberate attempt to play the ball or the player, yet Dean (and VAR) can let GBH on Saka go without any hesitation whatsoever.

    This is what we’re up against week after week.

  • Nitram

    Before I start I want to make it clear the following is not trying to paint our owners as perfect or paragons of virtue. I know from everything I read on here there are issues with how the club is run in general, from match day crowd control and stewarding, to catering. But all I’m addressing here is the overall business model of the club.

    Back when Arsenal FC committed to building a new Stadium they made it absolutely clear that the on going business model of the club was to be self sustaining. What this meant in essence was the club would be financed through the following:

    -Match day revenue.


    -Global marketing and merchandise.

    -TV Money

    -Footballing success

    Back then the match day revenue was crucial, hence the urgent need to build a bigger stadium. If we wanted to continue to compete with Manchester United and ultimately in Europe, we had to do it.

    Then just as we did this the World of football turned upside down.

    Firstly SKY Sports was taking football to a whole new level, a whole new World in fact. This made the Premier League and the teams within it, very attractive commodities to own, either simply for prestige or as a Global marketing tool. And attract it did.

    As we know the first to arrive was Abramovich in West London along with a budget akin to a small Countries annual budget. Then came the Mansours with a much larger Countries annual budget.

    Arsenal could see where this was heading. The governing bodies could see where this was heading. This was turning the financial landscape of football upside down. No longer was running your club well, playing good football, pulling in big crowds, attracting lucrative sponsorship deals, global merchandising and winning stuff going to be enough, unless you were Manchester Utd. For the rest of us this was epic, or at least it was for Arsenal because it is us who was going to be affected the most by this change, because as we have seen, with the arrival of each sugar daddy we dropped down a place.

    Suddenly we went from competing for the title every season, on the back of our own money, we were now in a fight to simply remain in the top 4.

    Our financial model, as grand and Honorable as I think it was, and still is, could simply not compete.

    But who cared? Nobody except Arsenal. All we got was endless abuse, abuse that permeated into our own fan base. People simply mocked us for not spending the money. Running your club well was no longer enough, and mark my words maintaining a top 4 place for the amount of years we did, much of the time on a zero net spend due to Stadium commitments, is running your club well.

    But now perhaps with the arrival of the Saudi’s at Newcastle the chickens are finally coming home to roost for the existing Billionaires. They can see happening to them what happened to us, and they don’t like it.

    Manchester Uniteds owners can see the possibility of them slipping out of the top 4 on an even more regular basis than they have been. As Tony says they may even see the distinct possibility of not winning the Premiership ever again, or at least not in the foreseeable future.

    As I have said on here before you can be sponsored to the tune of 500 Million but when someone comes along with 50 Billion that 500 million could be money down the drain, and these people don’t like throwing money down the drain. No matter how many Billionaires are throwing money around like confetti only one can win the Premier League.

    I find this all rather amusing. When these clubs were gazumping us with their bailouts and financial doping they loved it. Now somebodies gazumping them it’snot so funny.

    Arsenal put their faith in FFP as a way of controlling this situation and at least giving our self sustaining model a glimmer of hope, but when FFP turned out to be no more than a token gesture we were left in the lurch trying to fight this on our own, and nobody gave a toss. To our eternal shame our own fans even turned on us.

    Now that others are possibly going to be affected by the arrival of the Saudi’s, in the way we were by the arrival of Abramovich and the Mansours, we may finally see some action and at least some kind of control over this, because this direction in which we are heading is unsustainable, and eventually will be the end of the Premiership as we know it, and apart from that, in my opinion anyway, it is simply just wrong.

  • Chris


    I think these are going to be interesting times indeed. And courts are probably going to be busy…..
    Maybe we are going to see some sort of salary cap or real FFP.

    And it’s telling that now that M. Wenger is on the other side, he sure does not look like helping the PL in any sort of way, which makes sense.
    He is going ‘full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes’ with his project. And everybody in the PL is in a full sate of panic, not because of any player safety/health issue, but because they sense danger of losing revenue which they wanted to corall with the EFL project. And UEFA is in panic mode because it’s survival as a powerhouse has been put in real danger twice in a few months and has shown that they are really not in control at all. In managerese, they are in the position of mid-level managers of VPs who are the first to be made redundant when the crisis hits.

    But those I feel are the most clueless, are the players themselves. Just look at the power of player unions in the US. As olong as there is no real continental players’ union in Europe, nothing will ever be balanced.

  • Menace

    Arsenal’s answer is for Stan to sell to Ali Baba (China – might as well introduce another country into EPL ownership). It will leave some room for Milwall to be sold to North Korea!!

  • Tim Hogan

    Chris mentions we might see a salary cap or real FFP. My question is what is real FFP?

  • The following video comes from yesterday’s meeting of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Go to 11:10 for questions arising from the Newcastle United takeover.

    Football is up for sale

    At 11:30 they discuss the 2030 World Cup bid (“we did manage to vote for ourselves”)

  • @Chris

    I doubt whether the courts will be that busy. It is unlikely that the lawyers representing the doped teams will let any cases proceed to that point.

    I saw something interesting today on Twitter – The notion that the teams competing at consecutive biennial World Cups would not be the same.

  • Chris


    not be the same ? You mean like if Germany participates in 2022, they won’t compete in 2024 (no qualifiers), but may qualify for 2026 ?

  • It’s being discussed by FIFA apparently, but I haven’t seen specific details. Maybe they plan to have an “elite” competition every 4 years with an alternating competition made up of teams that didn’t make the cut.

    I have also read that 12 European nations are considering quitting FIFA:-

    Nordic countries not happy

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