Doomsday postponed

Doomsday postponed, but Paradise Lost, maybe.

We now know it is to be EPSN that shows the Setanta programmes – probably charging us a fee per game. So the EPL have got their money – at least for this season. Although the small print suggests that there is a question about how much the 3 year contract from 2010 is costing them.

I was only fractionally right in my predictions: I said ESPN (which is not much of a call since there was nobody else who could get it together in time) but didn’t realise how much they wanted to beat Sky on the rights that Sky could compete for. Which will make it interesting to see what they paid for that final package for the next 3 years.

Next up – who picks up Arsenal TV and how much do we have to pay for it?

Liverpool are buying again – although from Portsmouth. They have a vested interest in buying from them, as they are owed money by Portsmouth for the Crouch, so they can just write some of it off, and not pay the rest for several years. (Portsmouth will take any deal since they still don’t know if they have a new owner.) The Americans are selling off sports interests back home in order to have the money to finance the £350m loan – which are current rates will be used up (without building a brick of the stadium it was intended for) by the end of the coming season.

Yesterday there was a big rumour that one of the ruling families in the Arab kingdoms had bought an EPL club and that an announcement was forthcoming. Then it went quiet. Who was buy what? Maybe it was just talk or even a hoax, but the story went around at terrific speed. If it was a hoax it was brilliantly done.

Back home Robin VP seems to be signing things, and the latest is that Bendtner is going to sign for Milan. Since that comes from the Mirror I suspect not. Even when the fans were horribly impatient with Saint Nic the Lord Wenger has been committed, and almost unnoticed, Bendtner crept up the scoring ranks. True he missed some goals that apparently the awe-inspiring Appy “On Bail” Arry’s wife could get, but he has shown enormous growth in ability this past season. Bendtner, Vela, Eduardo, VP, Ade, with Nasri, Diaby (remember Turkey), Theo and Arshavin in reserve. Fairly good I’d say.

In internal matters, if you read the correspondence column you’ll have seen we picked up another nutter. He was making statements about how useless everyone was, so I argued with him, and invited him to put forward proper arguments, not just statements of uselessness. My letter to him without any of the previous correspondence was published it on TeamTalk which is owned (I think) by Sporting Life. I have complained to them before about using plagiarized articles but they say they can’t remove anyone “unless they are abusive”.

Thanks for the good wishes for my birthday (it was my birthday not the site’s birthday, but that notion makes me think that like the Queen the site ought to have its own official birthday). I spent the morning playing zig zag with BBC Radio 5, first I was on – then that was pulled because they discovered this thing called Wimbledon. Then I was back on two hours later, but the election of the Speaker to the House of Comics got in the way, but eventually they let me have my say. The talk was not football but education (the subject I spend my money-making life writing about) – I was having a little debate with the Secretary of State about the way dyslexics are treated. It wasn’t big time, but it livened up the morning.

So all in all a jolly old day (the big party was last weekend, which is why I am moderately coherent this morning). Now, about this issue of global warming. I must have a word with the Prime Minister…

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

49 Replies to “Doomsday postponed”

  1. Happy birthday Tony. U’re almost as old as Terence McGovern. Ok I might exaggerate a bit. As a matter of fact, I might be making this up too since I don’t even know how old he is! No offense to both of you guys mkay 🙂

    In relation to the topic: On 2nd thought, I don’t think I’ll discuss the topic. They’re bankrupt sooner or later anyway. And the nutters is the price u pay for climbing up the ranks.

  2. Belated wishes once again Tony! May the coming year bring lots of good news from and for you, lots of posts, and as little spam and stupid comments as possible! We can always wish right?

    ESPN has confirmed that it will charge viewers a per game fee to see the matches. How did they end up getting rights to all 46 games though? I thought that wouldn’t be allowed as you had said earlier. The FA changing the rules to suit themselves again?

    In other news, any word about RVP signing an extension? I think the Daily Star carried a piece on that.

  3. On the TV contracts, I think there are six of them, and the EU regs say that no one company can own all six.

    For the year coming Setanta owned two, and ESPN have got both of them, so the situation of Sky 4 someone else 2 has not changed.

    In 2010/11 and for the 2 years after that the bidding resulted in Setanta 1 Sky 5, and ESPN have bought the Setanta 1. So I don’t think any rules have changed – we still have two broadcasters.

    Concerning Van Persie, the story that the contract agreement is just about there has come from a number of sources, and seems to be true (from my limited amount of inside information).

    I believe that when everyone reported that the contract was “on hold” what happened was that there was a disagreement, and as is often the way in such matters where there is disagreement but still goodwill on both sides, both sides agreed to “take a break” and return later. So we have negotiations which have “broken down”, “taken a break” and “are nearing completion”.

  4. Tony – ESPN bailing out the EPL has saved the day for the insolvent clubs who need that extra 3-5 Million to meet their interest payments, including the Liverpool’s of this world. (However it is unclear what this mean for the Scottish Premier League – do you know?) One suspects the EPL is even happier with the demise of Setanta because with ESPN in the picture it adds another big player who may be willing to engage in a bidding war when the TV rights for the EPL comes up for renewal in 2-3 years. It seems to me that the fate of Liverpool itself is far from certain. The fact that Hicks and Gilett have to be liquidating assets to meet the terms of refinancing suggests the Banks will be demanding their pound of flesh on this deal unless and until the Americans sell-up.
    The immediate crisis may have passed but interesting days are ahead as this recession is far from over.

  5. Hi friends…intresting article as usual Tony…I wanted to know how severe this debt is for Utd and Liverpool…Because to be honest i really don’t think it is as bad as made out–otherwise how else can they keep buying players–and big clubs like them will easily find investment to help with the cash injection…so in the end it is us who are the ultimate losers here – i think…

  6. Daily Telegraph is saying RvP is close to signing. Here;s a cut and paste of the article:

    Arsenal close to agreeing Robin van Persie’s contract renewal.
    Arsenal are hopeful that they will finally reach agreement this week with Robin van Persie over a new contract.

    Talks have been ongoing for several months and, despite reports of interest from Manchester United, it is understood that there are just a few final details to resolve before an announcement is made.

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made resolving the Van Persie situation his priority this summer, while Nicklas Bendtner is also expected to sign a new deal.

    So far, Wenger has spent £10 million on improving his defensive options following the addition of Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen. He is expected to make one further signing, with an experienced central midfielder believed to be the priority.

    After seeing his young team go 21 games unbeaten in the league last season and reach the semi-finals of both the Champions League and FA Cup, Wenger has decided that he needs only “one or two” carefully identified additions.

    He is also restricted by his transfer budget, which is understood to be in the region of £20 million.

    The team’s progress in the cup competitions has added a further £13.5 million to the club’s turnover next year, although delays to the sale of apartments on Highury Square has meant Wenger will have to wait for the much-hoped for financial boost from property development.

    It is understood that the renegotiation of player contracts must come from the transfer budget, with Wenger also likely to have to consider whether to generate additional funds by selling Emmanuel Adebayor, who admitted last season that he thinks the supporters are losing faith in him.

  7. Jinal I think you are wrong.

    Clubs will continue to sell to Man U and Liverpool because if either were to go bust in the Leeds fashion, the football rules mean that football debts have to be paid first, before anything else. Clubs always get their money for past sales.

    Liverpool have no one else to borrow from – they just have the £350m which will soon run out, and by this time next year it will be gone – so they must sell the club to someone richer by then.

    Manchester United are not paying out interest on their debts but just rolling it over each year, and that’s why no one wants to lend new money to them.

    Can’t see how that is a bad thing for us in any way at all.


  8. Tony, In response to your comments at Jinal- Then why is it our board always seem to say one thing and we end up having less money then everryone else.

    I read a article this morning in the guardian where Liverfool are re-financing- doesn’t sound like they’re going bust to me (this season or the next).

    And when it comes to cash injection our board have always been stingy compared to Pool or United,

  9. on another note- reading into wenger’s comments about going on the unbeaten run and reaching the semi finals of the champs league seem a bit silly to me. he says, “We are at a stage were we need to convince people that this team does a lot of things right. It does not need to be transformed.

    “When you go on a long unbeaten run in the Premier League and reach two semi-finals, common sense should tell you that.

    “We have to take encouragement from what we have done in the season just gone.”

    ok fair point but eventually we won nothing. Got stuffed at home by Utd and Chelsea (though the Chelsea result was flattering to them) – we are none the less still way off the pace. We do actually need, imo, a MINIMUM of two additional world class players, just to enable us to mount a challenge.

    However With Utd losing Ronaldo and Tevez, they’ll be weakened but they’ll strengthen in a few positions, as will Liverpool and Chelsea and of course…the few teams that believe they can stake a claim to our champions league position, so I hope we do sign another high quality player and stop trying 4-5-1 formations in the premier league, because we don’t use it effectively.

    lets just hope these 1 or 2 in mind the boss has are a Defensive Midfielder and a striker and over the age of 21, also hope Greedybayor is on his way out

  10. BBC are reporting that RBS has agreed to re-finance Liverpool’s loan but with stiff re-payments schedule. See this link:

    Looks like they are ok for now but it is going to severely curtail their transfer activities this season.

    belated Birthday greetings Tony – always a pleasure to read your blog

  11. Jetha Seth: the point you raise about finance goes to the heart of the debate. I’ll put up an article on this either tonight or tomorrow.


  12. Tony,
    Are you concerned with the way Liverpool and Manchester utd are materialising or do you not care? In some ways i would like to see justice to these clubs, But there is 5 percent of me that is concerned, as we wont get to see them against The Arsenal for a while if they get points deducted and relagated.

  13. I can remember a time when Arsenal and Man U were middle of the table clubs whose 0-0 draw probably wouldn’t even be reported in the nationals. So seeing them or Liverpool go wouldn’t worry me. We had years of a top 2 of Arsenal and Man U, we could then have a top 3 of Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City. Fine by me.

    What keeps a smile on my face is that it is always rumoured that Abramovich went to Tottenham ready to do the deal he did at Chelsea, but then walked away.


  14. just watching old videos. in one hand its kind of depressing on the other it brings back the good memories of arsenal i have. it also highlights current things lacking from todays team. like the cynical goals ljungberg and pires scored. we do have wingers who can do this ( rosicky , arshavin, nasri). arshavin i think is better then pires and ljunberg was. rosicky could be up there ” could” or he “could” never play again. i have faith in his long term replacement nasri. the videos also showed me that i dont think we need a dm. we need a patrick vieira. a 25 year old patrick vieira.a box to box tenacious midfielder. mentally and physcially strong, no nonsense tackler. big tall phyisical presence in the middle of the park. imagine if we had bought a young patrick today and paired him with cesc. maybe diaby was ment to be our patrick but the leg break has held him back ever since, maybe he is just a late developer. i dont know i wish i did.

  15. The financial debate is a intresting one; yes a lot of the clubs have huge debts but they are able to find money for transfers…and although it doesnt guarantee success – it surely highlights ambition which i think we lack sometimes.

    Our biggest tranfer spend i think is on reyes – correct me if im wrong here, have we ever spent more than 18mill on a player?

    Now the kop just wasted 17mill on GJ but im starting to wonder where on earh are they getting this money if they are in debt!!!

  16. Setanta were a necessary evil to Sky, now that they’ve gone, they have a bigger rival in the face of ESPN. Shame for Setanta as they started so humbly when two Irish wanted to watch the Ireland game but found out that no tv station had it. So they bought it themselves for their pub to watch.

    Regarding Global Warming: I read in the Daily Mail (or was it Telegraph?); there’s a new book by a Surrey professor which attempts to say Global Warming may not be a bad thing and a few other myths such as why salt is not bad for you etc.
    It’s called :: Global Warming And Other ——–: The Truth About All Those Science Scare Stories, by Prof Stanley Feldman and Prof Vincent Marks,

  17. There was a piece on SSNs a couple of weeks ago where a “business reporter” said there was no problem with Liverpool because the owners had lots of other assets and these could be sold to help finance Liverpool. My first reaction was “What makes anyone think that Hicks and Gillett value Liverpool over the other sports clubs they own”. Now Gillett has sold a Hockey (I think it’s Hockey) team. The holding company that owns Liverpool is losing £45 odd million a year and if I was in that position I would look to get rid of the asset that is losing money, unless of course you have no potential buyers. If that is the case it could be that Gillett was forced into selling this other team to stave off creditors. Hardley what Hicks and Gillett planned when they bought Liverpool and certainly not what the fans thought they were getting.

  18. I am geeting a bit nervous about the language AW is using regarding us getting the next one or two targets. ‘Wanting them is not the same as getting them’ and ‘the team is good enough and doesn’t need to be transformed based on the 21 unbeaten run and two semi finals spots’. It’s like he is preparing us for the disappointment. I refuse to focus on the 21 unbeaten run, because when it mattered most we lost twice to UTD and twice to Chelsea in the middle of that 21 unbeaten run! We need our defensive midfielder, enforcer, bottom line!

  19. I keep hearing the phrase by many posters “that we need one or two World Class Players”.

    It may seem a bit flippant,but what is the real definition of such a player today ? Is it purely his football skill or the way he conducts himself on and off the field or a combination of both, or is it a term that is thrown around a little to easily.

  20. Couldn’t agree more Chris, these are the noises we get every year. The promises, the excuses, the reasons we dont need players, then the Oh the window’s closed we are too late, then the apology when it doesn’t work. What’s the betting this season will be the same.

  21. Chris – Wenger is in an impossible position and has to walk a fine line. If he says nothing it’s because we’re broke and Wenger has no ambition or is to bloody minded to see were we could strengthen. If he comes out and says we must sign 2 or 3 players firstly the price goes up and then if we can’t get the players it undermines the current squad, maybe even affecting contract negotiations.

    Personally I’m pleased with the way our summer transfer business is going so far.

  22. Gapuchi – We’ve spent £25 million on new players in 6 months. What on earth do you want?

  23. Gapuchi – Because he would cost a minimum of £25 million and we cannot compete in a bidding war, either on fees or wages with Man City. You need to be more realistic.

  24. Gapuchi;


    1. We have adebayor

    2. We won’t spend serious money to challenge. We spend enough to maintain our top 4 place, which after all is what is important these days

  25. Gapuchi: His goalscoring average isn’t that great even if he does play every game. It’s not like he didn’t play at all this season, he started more games than Bendtner and only managed to score half the goals.

    He scores about 1 goal in 3 starts. Van Persie scores 1 in 2, Adebayor 1 in 2, Bendtner more than 1 in 2 etc.

    And it’s not like he makes up for it with creating a massive amount of goals for others.

    Personally I think he’s not nearly as good as people think he is. That’s not to say that he’s a bad player though. But not anywhere near worth the asking price.

  26. LI managed to dig up some stats, last season (07/08 ) Tevez played 34 league games, scoring 14 goals and providing 6 assists… those stats would have made him TOP GOALSCORER at Arsenal this season… and his workrate would have helped out our midfield more than Ade, that’s for sure!

    One could argue that for a first season at a club, those stats aren’t bad… and I would imagine that he would have improved on those stats this season had ManUre not had Rooney, Berbatov and Ronaldo keeping him on the bench.

    I don’t think he’s the type of player we need, and I’m not saying we should sign him…. but I do think he would score goals in this team IF played centrally. He played centrally for West Ham, and finished the season on fire… scored a decent amount for ManUre in his first season, and scored 31 in 52 for Corinthians. He’s only scored 8 in 50 for Argentina, though… that said, he’s used more on the left, I think.

    Anyway, we need a Torres type, ideally!

  27. think Tevez would be an excellent buy and he is the player we need, someone who works constantly for 90 minutes and can come up with something special if need be!

    Ever since they announced he wouldnt be signing for Utd on friday ive been thinking a lot about this

    1) The majority of big players we sign are out of the blue, the first you know of it they are in the shirt on the back of the paper, people like Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, Sukur, we tend to keep our business very quiet, i wouldnt be surprised if there is some interest from us

    2) Tevez has said he prefers playing for a club which will provide him with more of a challenge, a team building and looking to start winning things again, well we would suit him perfectly

    3) He has said he doesnt want to go to a rival club…well that rules out Liverpool and Man City doesnt it?

    4) If Adebayor goes like most things are suggesting then that would free up the funds needed to buy Tevez, we have more money than we are actually making out anyway, im sure that if Wenger wanted extra funds the board would allow them, even if we got about 18 for Adebayor then the other can easily be made up

    5) He is probably one player who played for Man Utd that i didnt HATE!! always thought he was alright for some reason, i would bloody love to have him!

    Watch this space!

  28. Marc @ 3:07 pm – If you were in Hicks and Gillet position you would “get rid of the asset that is losing money, unless of course you have no potential buyers.” You have answered your own question. Rather than the Bank calling the loan and them losing their shirt when the assets are sold to discharge the debt, put more equity in the business for refinancing at better terms. There only hope is to sell-up eventually as the interest payments are going to eat them alive. The revenues from the mickey-mouse size stadium is just not sufficient.
    Remember some months ago AW gave a tutorial to some journos during a press conference on the primary sources of revenue for a football clubs; gate receipts, tv money and sponsorships. For all those non-financial types, unless you have sugar daddies like those at Chelsea and Manchester City, if you overspend and go into debt for operating expenses, sooner or later it is going to catch up with you. That is the debacle confronting Liverpool and to a lesser extent United.

  29. Oh yes and not forgetting Because we’re no longer in that league of spending that amount of money…

    We can sign the odd player now and then in the 10 to 15 million pound bracket but no doubt we’ll balance the books by selling if we do and rumour has it that Toure will be sold to pay for the new centre back.

    Hope this is wrong as we really need to strengthen the squad but it would’nt surprise me if it turned out to be true

    The lies about why we really had to leave Highbury are now coming home to roost. We’ve never been so far behind our rivals and we seem to be getting even further behind. 4th place seems our one and only goal nowadays

  30. Don’t worry, we’re bound to have some 17 year old from ****** Leone signed up bv the start of the season and he’ll be fucking brilliant in five years time

  31. Jeez – my grammar was very poor @ 4:08pm. Apologies all – too much of a rush.

  32. Woah many debates going on here, I’m throwing my 2cents into this; Regarding our whole team there are some players which need a slap in their face, firstly I’m not happy with Adebayor and I’m unsure that he’ll be able to turn it around, too many bridges have been burnt and he will be sold this summer. He is still good enough though. He’s not Henry good, but then again, who is?
    – I am very frustrated with Diaby. He is incredibly talented and he’s not done anything with his talent other than a few flashes of brilliance. He’s too sloppy and has concentration issues, but for me there’s no questioning his ability. He has so much in his locker, but if he doesn’t step it up massively this season it will be time to say goodbye. I actually wouldn’t mind sending him out on loan for a season this summer.
    – Song is a good player. Does have the needed ability and application but needed a few years to show it.
    – Eboue is a handy squad player but considering he is starting to mouth off about not getting enough games I wouldn’t be too sad to see him go
    – Bendtner scored more goals than any other young player in the league and had an excellent second half to the season. Will improve to a point where he’s better than Adebayor ever was imo.
    – Denilson is very underrated and will become an excellent player
    – Rosicky is a brilliant little player and I really hope he can stay fit next season (though this is unfortunaly nothing but wishful thinking). But how could I possibly be happy with not having him available for 1 1/2 seasons?
    – Van Persie’s injury record is exaggerated. He had 2 serious injuries in 5 years and a few niggling injuries when he came back from the knee injury last year. I don’t view it as a problem.
    – Walcott is too young to make a judgement whether he is injury prone. He had both shoulders fixed and with any luck that’s it. We’ll see.

  33. Chris – ManU and Liverpool are spending money they don’t have. Are you suggesting that we do the same?

  34. Jeff from Fulham
    June 23rd, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Agree with the majority of this. Personally I think Diaby’s progress was ruined by that ankle injury – id love him to step up next season but if we do get another midfielder in he could be the casualty, and probably rightly so.

    Seems the whole squad has been pulled into question here! I dont think the squad needs a huge overhaul, certainly not in attack we have more than enough options. One more central defender and perhaps a central midfielder would be enough to get us back up there.

    I cant beleive people are questioning Bendtner, not many people at his age are doing what he is doing – as part of a “mini-group” of strikers he is a brilliant option, and I agree that he could go on to do more than Adebayor has done for us. He is a very promising young player, he suffered a dip in form for sure, but so do a lot of strikers – the diffence is he refound his form and worked hard to do it.

  35. Marc,
    so where are they getting this money from?
    at least they are showing ambition to fight for the title…

  36. Shotta – I answered my question on purpose. My point was if there is no interest in buying Liverpool now what is going to change? It’s not as if they are going to get the new stadium built. The only thing I can think of is if a buyer is waiting for the point where they can buy Liverpool for next to nothing. The problem here is how much damage will Hick, Gillett and Benitez do to the club in the run up to this point?

  37. Chris – They are buying players with borrowed money. Money that they cannot seem to be able to repay. If you think that Arsenal should risk it’s future existance to go out and buy a couple of players you in dire need of padded cell.

  38. Chris – You are either financially illiterate or a fool. Over-leveraging your business to meet operating expenses such as transfer fees and players salaries is the easiest way to bankrupt a club. Going into a bidding war with the oil-sheiks over Tevez is the 1st step down this path. Have you heard of Leeds?
    Unlike your rant, the move from Highbury to the Emirates was the best thing to enhance our match-day and related revenues unlike Liverpool who are falling further and further behind their top-four rivals in this regard.

  39. shotta-gunna
    June 23rd, 2009 at 4:29 pm
    Right bearing that in mind, exactly how many points did we finish behind United and the Pool,

    and How did the pool fare in return??

    Our aim is the top 4 i can assure you…wenger is losing the plot i tell you

  40. Chris – You are avoiding the subject. Should Arsenal risk bankruptcy in order to buy a couple of players?

  41. Regular readers may recall that for a while a few weeks ago we were led round and round in circles by a writer who was submitting anti Wengerian commentaries.

    It turned out that this guy was taking other people’s articles and posting them here, as his own commentary. Worse my investigations led me to commentaries of a pro-Wenger nature by him under other names!

    Now we have at least part of it again. The commentary “I am getting a bit nervous about the language AW is using regarding us getting the next one or two targets” by “Chris” originally appeared as BokGunner on Arsenal teamTalk.

    What is interesting is that while I disagree with the original post, it did have a logic and an argument within it with which one could deal. Since then “Chris” has refused to engage in debate, and has carried on with assertions. Probably because all he can do is copy other people’s work.

    I am not going to give up time searching out all the correspondence – I could enjoy myself better watching a copy of the New Avengers from the 1970s – and I have no idea why Chris is doing this – but I am sorry, we have all been misled.

    Again it seems that most of the anti-Wenger comments come from people who are also plagiarists.

    If you are a regular reader you may know that I find plagiarism offensive. There is nothing wrong in saying, “as the Daily Mail said today…” and then quoting it, but posting another person’s work as you own is both daft and insulting. And disrespectful to all the people who bother.

    If there are any readers who seriously believe that Wenger is getting it wrong, I invite them (should they wish – and there is no reason why they should) to write a reasoned article for this site
    and then respond with logic, honesty and decorum to any posts that are sent in, in reply. You can of course comment of course on our debates – but please stop stealing the work of others.

    Tony Attwood

  42. I’m now going to go and recite “I must learn not to bite so easily” a couple of thousand times!

  43. Hello gentlemen. To start please forgive my English as I’m Russian and I do not have the best grasp of English yet, as I only recently moved to the US. I just wanted to comment on this blog, and how very happy and excited I am to find people of a like mind as me. I’ve been an Arsenal supporter for around 11 years, and for the past 4 of them, I have constantly been dissapointed by the impatience and lack of vision, both financially and about the current players on the squad, by Arsenal ‘supporters’. So thank you all for giving me faith that all Arsenal fans don’t wish to sacrifice club financial stability in order to win a trophy. I would love for us to win a trophy next year, but not by being another ManU or Chelsea. Responsible running of the club and the beautiful style and flare with which they play means ever so much more to this humble fan. Again, thank you!

  44. That is so dumb, that means they havnt got there own opinion. Sounds like a teenager that doesnt know what to do with himself if you ask me.

  45. Ok first off I will be 39 on November 19 so I hope that that helps you prick lol. Bizarrely enough, I also enjoy the new avengers as I did as a child.

    Perdy. Mmmmmmmmmmmmnnnnnnnnnn.

    Ok now I really feel old. Sorry that I cannot contribute too much at the moment but my time is vastly depleted currently on all fronts and it is about all the time I can spare to drop in for a quick read.
    Back to normal soon!

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