Stan borrowed all money to purchase us… gulp | United wage bill two £100k players a week more than us

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So the pre-cursor to the Arsenal AGM was interesting, nothing earth shattering, but some good details regardless.

We had a special guest appearance from @Andersred who is the United equivalent of the Swiss Ramble. He came armed with a Powerpoint Presentation and a wealth of interesting graphs, facts and figures. Below is a mix of what he said and what the AST crowd said.

Please digest responsibly…

Facts and Figures

  • Our profit is solely derived from player sales and property… Gulp
  • Queensland will net us £25mill… The last of the property.
  • Our revenue is £225mill, United’s is £300mill… we’re doing great on that front.
  • Historic commercial deals are hampering us…
  • We blew £3mill on Slaughter &May un-tendered for ratifying the Kroenke deal.
  • Stan’s last game was Liverpool vs Arsenal in April.
  • If we miss out on Europe entirely, a fire sale of players Leeds-esque is not an option.
  • Our wages are £125mill… We should finish 4th if wages are an indicator of final league standing.
  • If we don’t finish 4th, that transfer surplus will bridge the finance gap for a year. Bugger…
  • United take all the profit on for kit sales as their shop is owned by Nike. No stock or risk is owned by them.
  • We can’t do a DHL deal, rumour has it that it was an anomaly in the contract that allowed a training kit sponsor deal to happen.
  • Gazidis earned a 60% of salary bonus last year, in line with United’s David Gil. How was he bonused? What was the criteria?
  • Wenger took nigh on £7mill. Again, just to reiterate, no bonus, pure cash. Why would a manager risk salary when he can get it all? The manager doesn’t like paying out the big dollar, but he likes earning it.
  • When you take out bonuses and the cost of MUTV, the wage bills between the two clubs are £9mill apart. United are 2 £100k a week players away from us in cost.
  • Our biggest problem is wage inefficiency. When we were dominating, we were further away from United in wage spend than we are now.
  • According to Red&White… Stan borrowed every penny to takeover Arsenal. He could put it on the club anytime he fancied.
  • United have 21 commercial deals, ten of them with foreign comms companies. If we could be successful on the pitch, we could match that.
  • We only made £2mill on the Asian tour, that could be worth £20mill in 3 years.
  • Stan would make £80mill clear profit of he sold to Usmanov for £14k a share
  • Arsenal marketing department and the medical crew will do a Q&A for AST Members. Tom Fox… we’re gunning for you and that comment you made about season tickets being too cheap. United don’t give their supporter groups access to anyone or any info.

Man City Challenges…

  • They have to lower amortisation.
  • Bring in real comm deals. The Abu Dhabi sweet shop sponsoring their coach wing mirrors for £40million a year won’t be able to sustain that type of continued investment. You’d have to hope the FFP will clamp down on that type of activity as well.
  • Bring through youth. They’ve got a multi-million pound training resort going in, but they’ll need to actually bring through some young talent to offset their massive investment in players.
  • Win on the pitch. Sounds simple, but the best way to improve revenues is to win. Success on the pitch breeds commercial success everywhere else.
  • Increase their match day income (£23mill). Being in the North West where there are so many fun things to do for corporates and fans alike hampers match day revenues and leads to shortfalls in ticket sales. Their match day revenues are embarrassingly low, these need to improve.

What Arsenal do to return as a powerhouse?

  • Become an elite mega brand. Liverpool and United are arguably the only two of those we have currently. We need to speculate to accumulate here if we want that type of status. Madrid did, not they’re on top commercial wise.
  • Can we perform? Again, no one wants to be your friend if you’re not winning. No one will buy your flags, cups and seat plaques if there are no trophies.
  • Can we sort wages? We need to get back to a meritocracy. If Diaby gets jealous and thinks he can earn more elsewhere, let him go. Bring back some pride and the concept of earning a contract.
  • There is a top 6 competing for 4 places. That can’t be sustained. Someone is going to have to wind their salaries in and let the new top 4 settle into life. If we drop out of Europe, that could be us if we don’t watch it. We need to be in that elite to survive at the top.
  • Hope FFP is enforced.

So there are the details, I’ll leave you to pick through them and decide which ones you believe to be important.

For me the highlights are that United’s wage bill is only two top quality signings away from us. That tells me two things, 1) The Stadium absolutely allows us to compete on salaries now, how badly we distribute it compared to the NW club is down to the manager 2) We’ll never be a City like powerhouse (unless Usmanov muscles in), but once the proper commercials roll in, we’ll be able to offer elite salaries and we’ll be able to use surplus cash to buy players.

Our biggest most important fight is about staying in the Champions League. Once that goes it’s a massive uphill battle to get back in. The longer we’re out, the harder it’ll be to fund the massive salaries you need to get there. All our future success off the pitch is about our current success on the pitch.

Whatever way you look at it, complacency has us where we are now. The assumption of the manager he could continue to compete without spending has finally caught up with him. We’ll see how that pans out over the year…

We had a good laugh in the bar after, I met up with people from all over blog world, the away hardcore, the BSM and some of the AST finance chaps. It’s always good to put face to avatars, people might have different points of view, but when you’re face to face and you see the passion people have for the club, you kind of hope Ivan Gazidis and co know how lucky they are to have us… regardless of how much we can be a pain in the ass.

If you want to join the Arsenal Supporters Trust, go to their new website and sign up, your two pound a month gets you far more value than Oxfam.

So… what do you think? Thoughts on a post card…

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P.S. I saw the West Ham deal for the Olympic Stadium collapsed, the Government now want to rent it out instead of handing it over to a club. £2million rent a year! Jeez… we take more revenue per game!

Robin is moving… | Could a formation tweak give us edge? | Chamazing goal

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When it’s a dead news day, it’s a dead news day. What have a I got fo you? Errr, Chamakh scored a 6 yrd header against the much lauded Tanzania. A goal is a goal though, I’m so glad he knows where it is, I’m seriously dreading the moment Robin pulls up sharply and signals to the bench it’s time for his 3 month mid season holiday.

Still, though we’re yet to see much of Park Chu-young, the clips going around clearly show that he’s a poacher more than anything. He times his runs well and he sniffs out potential openings. Hopefully his movement sparks a bit of inspiration in the other forwards, since the Cesc supply line has dried up I’ve noticed a real lack of movement, probably due to the conclusion our players have drawn that no one will pass forwards. That’s a weak attitude, especially when the team needs everyone to be pulling together.

I still can’t understand why we don’t take it back to basics. Forget the 4-3-3, play a system more adept at coping with the personnel we have at our disposal. If we’re struggling for goals, why not go for two strikers. If we’re struggling to protect the back four, why not play with two centre mids in front of the back four like we did in 98, 02 and 04? Surely there has to be a system that can be built around our new players skill sets?

All of our success has come without a Cesc or a player of his ilk, why not repurpose an old format for a modern team? United don’t have a centre midfielder like Cesc or Sneijder… they seem to do ok?

Arsenal are yet again being linked with a move of Kalou. I can’t for the life of me understand what Wenger’s obsession is with the Ivorian. He’s an ok attacker who has never really made the grade at Chelsea, yet Wenger, like one of those American Highschool movies, sees there is some sort of makeover project involved where he can make the most of his averageness. Jeez… I mean, I appreciate he’d do a better job than Chamakh, but with £50mill in the bank is that as high as we should be aiming? He’s the Black Dirk Kuyt for me… except not as industrious.

I had a chat online with the chaps with the banner, nice blokes, I’m not sure if they’re going ahead with the unveiling now, looks like it’s on hold for a later date… probably a sound idea, especially when you consider the violence we saw at the end of last season in the ground, no one wants to even contemplate trouble like that again. I think the next 5 games are of key importance to any form of protest of banner waving… hopefully we can rescue some pride and launch a battle for 4th. Remember, this league is incredibly competitive now, like last season, as quick as you’re dead and buried, you’re right back in the mix fighting it out again. We weren’t good at all last season, nor was anyone else, hence us being in the mix for so long! It’s all to fight for… we’ve just got to string some performances together.

Finally, Robin Van Persie has put his house up for sale. He’s probably got about 10 of them, but he’s put one up for sale which means he’s going to leave any moment now. Not because he’s moving to a bigger or nicer house, no, it’s because he’s moving in June 2012, so to make extra sure it’ll sell, he’s put it up for purchase 8 months early.

There we have it, not much for you to chew on today! I’m at the AST Finance review tonight, I’ll be able to give you lowdown on what exactly those figures mean for our future strategy and probably some other interesting tidbits in the bar afterwards. Follow it all via the @LeGrove twitter feed.

P.S. Happy birthday Tony Adams, here’s a raised orange juice to one of my favourite Arsenal goals of all time!

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Massive PROTEST banner in – Wenger for England – Kozzer to right back?

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Hello and welcome to Le Grove, there’s some pretty hardcore topics to be dealing with this morning, not least the planned protest… that comes with a banner!

You’re lucky I didn’t roll with the headline ‘It’s banner time’.

I can’t help but marvel at the inflammatory nature of the beast. I mean, wow, I would not want to be rolling that into a stadium unless I was pretty sure I had the backing of most. It looks like it’s been put together by the embroidery arm of the Weakest Link production team!

As with any of these protests, it’s about timing. Wenger should have gone in the summer, but the bulk of fans won’t be ready to make a statement like that for a while. It’s all muffled, slightly awkward conversations about him going at the moment. From what I understand, the group behind it are called ArsenalAFCnotPLC, a Facebook (742 fans)/Twitter Group (1500 followers) with a name that slightly confuses me considering the fact it’s fully accepted we need to be a good business if we’re to catch United and co.

I digress…

Now I haven’t heard much from them, which is surprising considering what they’re planning on doing. Even more surprising considering the trouble the far more popularised BSM group have been having getting fan backing. I just hope this isn’t a bit of fame hunting for a university project. Getting a banner story into a paper isn’t tough, it’s newsworthy, getting backing through fan sites is where the effort should have been spent, because you have to take on many different points of view and criticism that you might not like.

The overriding concern is that this is happening at all. What a total mess we’re in to be in this situation. People can keep on bleating minority, minority, but it’s becoming ever more obvious that it’s not the minority who are gravely unhappy with the man in charge. Whether October is banner time is another question. I guess my biggest criticism is that if there’s no protest before the game, you’re literally holding up a banner as an individual. If you protest with a thousand people before the match, then go into the game and do it, at least you know you represented more than just yourself and a few mates on twitter.

Good luck to them though, we’re all entitled to an opinion, we’re all allowed to do what we like in this beautifully democratic society, and we can all do as we please in the ground… unless it’s standing up, waving a national flag, taking a plastic bottle in with a lid or carrying a 9 gauge shotgun.

Wenger Escape Route…

My guess is that despite the embarrassing backing Wenger received from Stan and Ivan, if it continues the way it’s going, there’s no way he’ll be allowed to continue. We’re a Robin injury away from total mediocrity.

The Mirror have linked Wenger heavily with England job this morning. They’ve also suggested he chooses a successor.

I do hope that isn’t allowed, he shouldn’t be given any control over who succeeds him, mainly because he has no idea what makes a great modern manager, takes one to know one and all that.

I hope it’s Guardiola, he’s looking for a new challenge, we are a massive one and he’d have money, infrastructure and a youth production line to play with. Very little pressure as well for a few years…

Pepe Reina…

Well I told you last year Pepe Reina was subject a massive bid from Arsenal and he confirmed it today, saying he wasn’t allowed to leave as he was integral to the sale of Liverpool. Bad times… But not so bad now we know we’re set with Chezzer.

Joey Barton…

The Newcastle mouth piece is in the news more than Harry Redknapp these days, I don’t know why he doesn’t set up a blog and call it ‘Ramblings of a cultured Scouser’ or something.

Today he digs out PHW for not knowing what’s going on at his club. Hardly making a point is he? PHW isn’t aware what decade he’s in or what he had for breakfast… the board probably haven’t told him Bergkamp signed!

Again, how low can one club go when the player himself admits the link is hardly that unbelievable considering the state we’re in!

Thomas Vermaelen…

The good news I’ll leave you on is the news we already knew, Thomas should be back after the international break, which is a giant fat relief to everyone. I’m not sure really what we’re pining for with Thomas. Is it the accountability and leadership, is it his pace and power that he puts into everything or is it a bit of quality and stability? He’s one of those players who has hero qualities.

Who does he go next to? In my mind it has to be Per Mertesacker… A little and large combo. Pace and aerial dominance. I’d also consider sticking Kozzer in at right back. Our backline needs all the strength it can get, he’s more than capable of filling in and he’s fully up to speed with Premiership life.

How is your defence lining up for the coming few months? Is Jenko ready? Can Coquelin slip in there? Is it right to move a centre back to full back?

Let us know on a banner! Sorry, I mean in a comment!


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