Morning everyone! Nothing like waking up to yet another lecture from Arsene Wenger on profit and how to run a good company. Yeah, Arsene is spouting off again in the press trying to justify his lack of expenditure by bending the truth about what has to happen at the company he's running on a commercial level.
“We want to pay the debt we owe from the stadium we built, that's around £15 million [per year]. So it's normal that at the start, we have to make at least £15 million or we lose money.”
Oh Arsene, why do you do it? Why don't you just leave the finance to Ivan and get on with your job. It's not your responsibility to look after that side of the business. It's your job to look after what happens on the pitch. Ivan sets your budget for the year and he'll tell you what you can and cannot spent on players. I tell you who else could put you straight on your thinking about the stadium repayments... Danny Fiszman. He said this a few years ago...
‘There is this constant thing that the Emirates is bleeding the club, that we’ve got these repayments — it’s total crap – look at our accounts and you will see our net payments are £20m and the revenue increase from the new stadium is close to £50m. Explain to me how the stadium bleeds the club if it’s producing an extra £30m a year’
Well Danny, someone needs to explain that to Arsene Wenger, because after years of trying to put out the fire of fear around the stadium loan killing us, the manager is trying to reignite it to cause confusion and panic. The club DO produce profit, albeit through property and player sales and we have done regularly over the past 4 years... but we're not investing it back in the playing squad.
We could also go into debt. Sure it's not sustainable on a long term basis... but if the club decided they wanted to pump a £120million into player acquisitions to make sure there was an amazing team on the pitch by the time of commercial renewals, they could do that with little problem (when you consider we'll have £77mill in cash sitting in the bank when the Queensland Rd development sells, we're not far off). In fact, Madrid did something similar a few years ago when they tried to make it back to the top. They took out huge loans, brought in some major players, didn't make it back to the top, but they sure as hell raked in the cash on a commercial front. Everyone wants to be associated with their glamour.
The trouble Arsenal have is that they made supporting so about business that the fans had to go out and educate themselves in corporate finance. Now we're all educated, it's becoming harder for Arsene to spin his nonsense because professionals who know the clubs finances better than the club can unravel what's going on pretty damn fast.
The manager took a pop at the African Cup of Nations. He quipped that quality was low and that nobody was attending.
'Can the people not afford to pay for tickets? Are the prices too high? There is a deep, basic problem with this tournament - there is nobody there.'
I have to agree with him. I caught the second half of Ghana vs Zambia the other day. The stadiums were empty and the football was terrible. Maybe the tournament is played too often? Maybe the Africans are numb to international football like we are in England? Either way, I think they'd benefit from playing it every four years over two. Good news is that Gervinho will be back soon. He hasn't contracted any tropical diseases yet and he managed to score a good goal the other night!
Arsene also ruled himself out of the England manager job...
“[Managing a national team] is completely different; it is more PR, more communication, there is less impact on the footballing side and less impact on building the team because if you have a good generation then you can do well and if you don't you can do nothing. In a club you always have ways to build a team."
I think all signs point to Redknapp. That would work for me. He's desperate for the job, he's worked hard to get it, he knows how to motivate and the players will love him. It'll also unsettle Spurs in the run in. That's going to be really interesting. How will their squad react to knowing Harry might be off in the summer? Quite often it has a negative impact on team unity. Suddenly not everyone is pulling in the same direction because they feel the manager isn't. Hopeful speculation maybe...
It's Sunderland up this afternoon... a big, big test of resolve for the Arsenal team. We need to start building out a bit of a run otherwise we'll fast see ourselves dropping out of contention for the coveted money making position (<-- that sounded a bit gross didn't it). The team from the North East is resurgent under Martin O'Neill and they're eighth in the league. Never mind where we think we are as a club, they're contenders with us at the moment. That doesn't mean we should roll over and let them take the points. We've got to go up there and play with the same authority we did against Blackburn last week. We're going to have to play our expansive games and we're going to have to make sure we get the best out of Theo and Oxo. Stretching them with pace will pen them in and make our job a whole lot easier.
I'm not sure how Arsene will line up. I'm guessing he'll go with a front three of Oxo, Theo and Robin... he has little choice. The midfield will probably revert back to Arteta, Rambo and Song... at the back, I'd hope to see a far more balance line up with Sagna slipping into right back and probably a continuation of Vermaelen, Mertesacker and Kosicielny. That's a strong side. A side that should go up there and win!
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Right, that's all I have for you... have a great day!
Wenger came out to deny the Marca story about Robin moving over to Spain with Madrid. The pressure is sure to ramp up over the next few months. We know it's unlikely Robin will hang around for Arsenal to get their act in order, so we have to expect this. One line that did make me laugh was this one about Barca getting Robin...
"What do you think? Barcelona knows that they have a difficult job with us, always,"
Errrr... no they don't. That much is pretty clear after the summer when they mocked us for getting Cesc on a cut price deal. Anyway, don't worry your cottons... Robin said this on Twitter.
"Contrary to reports in Spain I have NEVER spoken to Marca newspaper and never gave any interview. Enjoy your day."
Shame he didn't deny wanting to move there!