HAPPY FINANCE DAY PEOPLE!
Yeah, it’s that time of the year when we look above us in the table and say… yeah, Spurs, Chelsea, City and United might be ahead of us… sure Bayern Munich might have taken us out of the Champions League… and fine, Bradford and Blackburn went further than us in the respective cups.
… but do they have £123m in cash reserves?
Of course they don’t. So actually, we’re the real winners.
Oh dear people, I’m kidding of course!
Once again the financials have come out to much embarrassment. Everyone loves a well run football club. They’re few and far between these days… however, when you dig below the surface, we’re actually a bit of a bloated pig.
Most of our commercial gains have come from centrally negotiated TV deals in the Champions… and another boost in income from Emirates. Great news that our main sponsor want to tie in with us again, but what about new commercial deals (like Arsenal’s sponsorship deal with Betsson)? Where are they? We’ve remained pretty static on that front, considering United are turning in well over double what we do commercially, plus the fact they have about 42 partners to our 13-14. It just makes a bit of a mockery of what we’re trying to achieve. In the same way we’ve managed to avoid dropping out of the top four not through being proactive in improving what we do… but by watching everyone around us get worse… it seems we’re doing something similarly lazy with our commericals… looking to squeeze every last penny out of the home fans whilst squeezing deals that were already here or that were negotiated elsewhere.
The other interesting news is that despite losing pretty much all our superstars over the past few years, we’ve still managed to turn in a wage bill that looks like hitting a £155m. I’m pretty sure that stacks up very closely with what United’s was last season. A staggering cost when you consider that Newcastle’s is about £60m and they finished 1 point behind us… and Spurs, who are ahead of us in the league sit with a bill of £90m!
When Arsene Wenger talks about not have money over the past few years, I’d have to ask him a few questions. Firstly, how did we get to £123m cash reserves if you haven’t had money? That didn’t just happen over night… it’s been a steady increase because the manager doesn’t spend what he’s given. The second questions I’d ask is this…
Why during the years when we had very little cash (this was the case at the start of the move) did we not fight tooth and nail to keep the wage bill under control?
Our Wage bill should not be above £90m. If it wasn’t above £90m, we’d be looking at a £65m transfer budget every summer. If Arsenal were so keen on keeping things prudent, why did they insist on loading average players up with massive contracts? It makes no sense. Those wages have been crippling the club because it’s made it difficult to turn a profit without selling players. Now, if these wages were going on top talent, there would be an argument. They’re not though, they’re going on player who’d never get those deals anywhere else.
It’s crazy that anyone lets Arsene get away with the no money thing… like I’ve said many times before, our wage bill now exceedes what City’s was two seasons ago. It’s the same as United’s was last year. Yet we don’t boast any of the quality those sides have. By the looks of it, we’ve just dumped all the surplus salary from Cesc, Nasri, Robin and Song straight into another group of maybe players in Jenkinson, Ramsey, Chamberlain, Walcott and Jack (ok, this guy isn’t maybe). On the flip side of things, we’ve a new batch of Denilson’s, Bendtners and Almunia’s. How long are we going to have to deal with Santos, Park Chu Young and Gervinho? More expensive wage bill flops…
Thankfully, we’re losing Squillaci, Fabianski and Andrey this summer… maybe even Bendtner and Chamakh? That should free up a whopping £317k a week. Trouble is, where does that go? It tends to go on the next batch of pet projects. Wenger shouldn’t be allowed near contracts heading into the last 18 months of his deal otherwise the next manager will be totally hamstrung.
Arsenal on the face of it look like a club that is incredibly well run, however, when you scratch beneath the surface, we’re in a state of disarray. That’s down to one man and his monumental power at the club. He might had an economics degree and a penchant for a bit of idealistic philosophy… but a business brain? I’m not sure he has one of those.
Here are a few rules he should pin to his fridge…
1) If you want to become the best, staff retention is key
2) Rewarding mediocrity fosters a culture laziness and resentment
3) The best staff want to work with the best organisations
4) If you spend all your money on wages, you won’t have any surplus for other items you might need (like pens and postit notes)
5) If you don’t have a successful product, you can’t grow your business
6) Brands buy into success on the pitch, not success on the balance sheet (though that balance sheet success is debatable)
7) If you sell at a premium price, you have to deliver a premium service… even if you have an incredibly loyal fanbase.
So, outside the party popper excitement of the finance day, Spurs took out West Ham last night as Gareth Bale destroyed them with two great goals. I just followed the game on Twitter. From what I’ve heard, our North London foes were kept at bay by an inform Jussi… eventually though, Gareth Bale came to the rescue with an incredible goal at the death. I think it’s quite amusing that the Arsenal fans who were incredibly annoyed at anyone who called us a one man team last year are all calling Spurs ‘Bale FC’. He’s a massive talent and he’s clearly their best player… but Spurs have a solid side this season and they’re on the up. I said it’s not always about the three points, it’s about the performance. I forgot the mention that it’s not always about the performance, sometimes it’s the way you win. Scoring in the 89th minute is always hugely exciting… it carries you into the next game.
Sunday is going to be feisty…
At least we know one thing is for sure… Gareth Bale won’t be with Spurs next year. However, don’t get too excited, Spurs will spend a majority of whatever they receive for him on two replacements. That’s the difference.
In other news, friend of the blog Matt Scott has been kicking up a storm after putting his mad lip reading skillz into action… he reckons Bould mouthed
‘How many times do I have to say it to you’
… after Villa scored. If you’ve seen it, it’s hard to deny it looks like he muttered something like that. He’s a master defender, he’s not being listened to… entirely plausible, but in the world of hard evidence, many won’t take that item until they’ve got a signed confession from Bould. Even then, there would still be a debate about the tone it was muttered.
Again, amazing how many world class lip readers there were when John Terry had a ethnicity point to make to Anton Ferdinand.
Hey, let’s play a game… what am I mouthing at Arsene here?
That’s all I’ve got on The Arsenal today… I’ll be bringing in a guest poster tomorrow to give you the down and dirty analysis tomorrow. I’ll look forward to that, as I’m sure you all will as well.