£20m warchest figure is a pre-AGM PR tactic

by .


So, you know when you’re heading round to your girlfriends place, she wants to talk to you about something serious (like that damp patch in the airing cupboard), and you don’t want to talk about that something serious, so you turn up at her place naked with a black eye to divert conversation?

Well, I feel like the Telegraph just showed up at Arsenal fans houses naked, with a black eye accompanied with a fresh tattoo of pudge the cat on its arse.

The story doing the rounds is so specific and inflammatory in its nature, it can’t be anything else other than a plant. Genius really. The story is that Arsene only has £20m to spend in January, good enough for 2 £10m players… but remember, that includes wages. Perfect for putting Arsenal fans into a total frenzy before the AGM which should be dominated by far more interesting lines of questioning.

Now, the headline is ‘warchest’. So have a go at this. Type ‘arsenal warchest’ and ‘Jeremy Wilson’ into Google. It brings back many conflicting numbers over a relatively short period of time.


Look at the dates

It was only late May when The Telegraph was celebrating the £100m warchest. It was there to usher in a new era under Wenger. Finally, he had money Arsenal were in the big time. Things had changed. Hello future. Goodbye to the skint past.

So let’s move this on, in the summer, Sporting Intel have us down with a net spend of £43m (Telegraph says £60m which is wrong) and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t include the Cesc fee which was about £5m.

So how have we gone from at worst £60m of surplus warchest to £20m? Where did the £40m go, because we have to assume Wilson has the same source for all his Arsenal information? If it’s accurate, there’s a black hole. There’s the mention of it being about building works, which certainly would have been accounted for in May. Pretty sure it’s not going to be £40m. So to me, it looks like we’re having to wool pulled over out eyes for many reasons…

1) Ivan can take the heat over transfer questions at the AGM because they don’t involve incompetence. He can be ever so flowery and divert people easily, because he’s world class at that and he’s had many years practice deflecting those stories.
2) People will forget about the injury problems because transfers fury is more interesting
3) People definitely prefer talking transfers over silly things like Arsenal’s approach to the London Living wage
4) It pours doubt over Wenger’s ability to compete in the transfer market. Giving him a get our of jail card when it comes to the centre back and DM failings of the summer

… thing is, with the above, Wenger wasn’t tuned in to what’s going on. This is the thing with PR, have all the stakeholders in the room when you’re concocting a plan, because if one person falls out of line, your plan is thrown into disarray.

Wenger, talking to his new fave sports channel, BeIN, dropped a few total clangers yesterday (article here).

This is so car crash, I have to take it slowly, mainly because it shows you how clueless he can be.

‘He had a little problem just before he went out at half-time. He had a little pain with his knee, he felt a crack.

So a few things here, because I’ve actually seen people defend this. If you hear a crack in your knee when you’re running the dog through the park, it’s a little different to hearing one when you’re a top class athlete trained to run 12km a game. A crack is pretty serious especially if it’s accompanied with pain. Anyway, it carries on. This is the moment you’re praying someone in PR will fake a fit or something.

‘I said to our physio to keep an eye on him and if there was anything wrong with him, tell me because when you’re 1-0 down, you want to keep your offensive players on the pitch.

‘I am deeply shocked. He wasn’t involved in a collision with anybody.’

Now, this reads to me like it was his decision to keep him on the pitch. He’s made a medical assessment of a player that he’s not trained to do. This isn’t just a Wenger thing, we’ve seen it with players and head injuries over and over again. Point is here, Ozil was having a total stinker anyway, so throwing caution to the wind was hardly going to kill us.

‘It was just after making a pass with the outside of his foot that he injured his leg so it’s very hard to believe that you can damage your ligament with just making a simple pass and it’s very difficult to take that he will be out for a while.’

So clearly here, we have a total lack of understanding. Now, I’m not saying I’d have an understanding, merely pointing out that it’s crazy he’s making the decisions without having all the knowledge at this finger tips. I’ve seen players break their legs without making contact with other players (Camara when he was at Marseille the second time), so the idea that you can’t bust a ligament without a collision isn’t an informed one.

‘I am not a great believer in coincidences but this time it really is coincidence.

Arsene is the manager who, without an ounce of sarcasm or irony, stated hair pills could be a problem with his injuries. Players who are drugs tested all the time do not take illicit back ally hair pills because it could result in a lengthly ban (See Kolo), so he does beleive in coincidence or luck. Because he had no scientific evidence backing that statement.

It’s such a car crash of an interview and it gives you a pretty good view of why the Shad thing hasn’t worked out. If he’s leading the decision making over injured players and can’t understand where they come from, you can imagine how he feels when someone presents data based on statistical modelling and science that tells him to rest a player. Unfathomable we’re this backward in this day in age.

Main story of today is going to be the answer Arsenal give about the London Living Wage.

Why, is a club with our wealth, not supporting it’s poorest staff with the basics so they can survive in London?

We need answers. I know some bloggers are working on presenting something to the club today, I totally back their stance and I hope to hear Ivan give us the lowdown on this. Those low paid workers keep Arsenal ticking over. If you can afford it, always look after your staff, because valued staff do a better job. I know I’d certainly feel better about my club if they budged on such a massive issue.


See you in the comment you naked disgrace.


506 Responses to “£20m warchest figure is a pre-AGM PR tactic”

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  1. Ishola

    Monreal at CB? Jesus Wept.

    One of the most glaring weaknesses of Monreal at fullback is his lack of grit on more than enough occasions when it starts getting physical. If he is shown up for this at fullback what could happen to him playing CB?

    Dreadful that this scenario may happen against whatever opposition.

  2. andy1886

    Wallace, we may have spent a net £53m but that’s just another example of weasel words isn’t it? Oh look, they forgot to point out that almost certainly NONE of the purchases will have been paid up front and in fact they will probably be paid over 3-4 years as happens on most transfers making the actual outay this season around £13m to £18m at an estimate.

    Same applies to outstanding fees – not all due this year, plus Swiss Ramble pointed out that the actual figure for reserves was £203m when you see through some financial shannanigans in the statement. Also there is no figure for monies owed to us on transfers from previous windows.

    I should also add that the last accounts did not include any new sponsorship deals such as the Puma one which was reportedly front loaded. So basically this was a whole bunch of lies, deception and half truths. Let me know which of the above you’d like to dispute.

  3. Jeff

    We’re going to have to start pre-empting the excuses for the AKBs before the actual even now to save them the trouble. So what do we think they’ll say if we lose or draw on Saturday? Here is a list to choose from in probability order?

    1. Injured players
    2. Bad luck
    3. Referee
    4. Kroenke
    5. Gazidis
    6. No Money

  4. Moray

    Monreal at CB? Well, we all knew it would come to this. We may or may not have estimated that this moment would arrive in mid October, but it was sure to come at some point in the season, with our long injury record and our thin defensive cover.

    Wenger has already pointed out that he tried to buy defensive cover in the summer, thereby covering himself from blame, and that he will try again in Jan, when it will be too late to compete and we will most probably be out or almost out of all decent competitions. Again, not his fault when we again limp over the line.

    Really a great shame for the club. We laugh at Man Utd’s attempts to replace their long-lived manager, but we are too afraid to try it ourselves, settling instead for this shambles season after season.

  5. Jeff


    Honest to god I was going to put that as No 7 but the game is at Emirates and the grounds staff do a good job.

  6. Jeff

    Monaco could offer Wenger £20m a year and he still wouldn’t leave. You know why? Because a bird in hand is wroth two in the bush.

  7. Wallace


    “I should also add that the last accounts did not include any new sponsorship deals such as the Puma one which was reportedly front loaded. So basically this was a whole bunch of lies, deception and half truths. Let me know which of the above you’d like to dispute.”

    you saying Gazidis got up there in front of everyone and just made some shit up?

  8. tunnygriffboy


    As I said, people will not believe anything now. We’ve past that point. Until we see change nothing will be right


    To be fair there’s not many now that will use those excuses, certainly not on here, maybe on Untold or PA. I think most supporters are more discerning than that. Even if they do make excuses, who cares.

  9. Jeff


    But those are the sort of excuses that people are making right now and will make. I’m not saying you personally will do it but a lot will – even people on here – trust me.

  10. leprofessorknowsbest

    “you saying Gazidis got up there in front of everyone and just made some shit up?”

    andy is right.

    The lot out to end this fucking joke.

  11. andy1886

    Half-truths Wallace, if you read my post you’ll see it’s what he DIDN’T say that makes the whole statement disingenuous.

    As I said, if you or Tunny disagree with any of my specific points please tell me where I am wrong. Or you can carry on with the bluster in place of any substantive points if you prefer 😉

  12. Jeff

    “As I said, people will not believe anything now. We’ve past that point. Until we see change nothing will be right”

    Tunny, I see hope in that statement but the change will only come if the majority of fan opinion turns against the controllers. Since chief controller appears to be Wenger – I think we have to start with his removal first. It’s not likely to happen because the set up is strong on all sides – i.e. there appears to be no infighting and no power struggle – not at the moment anyway.

  13. Emiratesstroller

    Wenger won’t leave Arsenal, because if he did so he would not last 5 minutes in any other job.

    No other organisation would tolerate his stubbornness and arrogance unless it was backed up by success.

    The reality is that Wenger managed ‘moderate success’ last season by winning FA Cup, but other than that his performance level in last 9 years has been

    Now that the Club renewed his contract we are stuck with him for 3 years, because the Board will NEVER SACK HIM.

  14. Ishola

    Shame indeed Moray.

    The only position Monreal should be considered to fill in as emergency would be further up the field as a makeshift winger. He’s an attacking fullback who has shown enough weaknesses defensively in his time at Arsenal so far.

    Should be Hayden in there and that is worrying enough.

  15. tunnygriffboy


    There won’t be many on here. Untold will but that’s a few hardcore fans. I think majority of fans realise we fucked up not getting a CB. That is probably worse than not getting a DM. At least we have players who can do a job there if not very well. The tide is starting to turn and blind loyalty to Wenger is starting to be questioned but obviously not to the sometimes OTT level on here

  16. andy1886

    Tell you what I will list them again plain and simple so that you can address each one if you wish:

    1. We may have spent a net £53m this year BUT this will be payed in installments over 3 or 4 years typically. AGREE/DISAGREE?

    2. Any oustanding fees are also unlikely to be due to be paid in full this year, bearing in mind last year we only bought Ozil how could we be due to pay in excess of £40m on these? AGREE/DISAGREE?

    3. Swiss Ramble, a highly respected expert in financial affairs says the true reserves figure is in excess of £200m. DO YOU WANT ME TO COPY AND PASTE THIS?

    4. This does not include any monies owed to us. Show me where this is even mentioned. AGREE/DISAGREE?

    5. The Puma deal IS NOT in the latest accounts. AGREE/DISAGREE?

    There you go, simple questions for you.

  17. Dissenter

    In footballing term, the difference between October 17th and the start of the January transfer window is an eternity.

  18. Wallace


    “As I said, if you or Tunny disagree with any of my specific points please tell me where I am wrong.”

    but let’s face it, unless you’re an accountant working for Arsenal we’re both in the dark here…right? if the guy who runs the company says one thing and you’re saying he’s lying surely it’s up to you to prove it. not me.

  19. tunnygriffboy


    If we don’t do something this season and things get awkward and angry I think Wenger will go. I believe he was close last season. I have a huge amount of respect for the man and what he’s done for the club. I wanted him to have a 2 year deal so that we could plan the succession. I wanted him to do well in those 2 season. He still may, we have a good run of fixtures now to gather some momentum and slowly we will start getting players back.

  20. Dissenter

    The tide is turning
    Untold was bare for comments
    The other popular blog is filled with negative comments about the state of Arsenal FC

  21. Wallace


    “Swiss Ramble, a highly respected expert in financial affairs says the true reserves figure is in excess of £200m. DO YOU WANT ME TO COPY AND PASTE THIS?”

    if you actually read all of swissramble’s blog he does say that figure was for May of this year. pre summer spend and all operational costs incurred since then. we probably go through 10m+ a month on wages

  22. Wallace


    “If we don’t do something this season and things get awkward and angry I think Wenger will go. I believe he was close last season. I have a huge amount of respect for the man and what he’s done for the club.”

    i agree.

  23. tunnygriffboy

    Wenger is under pressure due to the defensive cover or lack of it. People are starting to watch closely. Personally I would love us to go on a great run picking up as many points as possible. The big teams are now spread out evenly not in a bundle like last season. Slowly we will start to get our players back as well. I don’t hate Wenger and would love it if we could go on this run. We haven’t played well so far this season and I can see us getting better. However if we don’t go on a run things will get very difficult for him.

  24. andy1886

    Wallace, we know that, you’re dodging the point. The figure used was £173m and the true figure is over £200m. That makes a rather large difference no?

    I see you’re avoiding my points which are actually not in any grey area, they are simple facts. Like I said, cut the waffle and tell me which points I have got wrong.

    Or doesn’t that suit your agenda?

  25. Quagmire

    Yesterday meeting was a sham. They even chose which questions to answer. Imagine going for a job interview and picking the questions to answer the company.

  26. tunnygriffboy


    I don’t know enough about the accounts to evaluate your points. There is a huge disparity with what you say and what Gazidis says. Who do I believe ? I don’t think Wallace has an agenda, he just sees things differentl from you.

  27. Jeff


    But that was not a job interview. The blokes are already in the job f**** things up big time and have full control of it. Chips himself said that we shouldn’t make any mistakes about who’s calling the shots and not even the fans will have an influence on decisions Wenger makes. If he has a plan, they listen, if not, they keep quiet. Until the majority turns, we’re all whistling in the wind.

  28. Wallace


    “Wallace, we know that, you’re dodging the point. The figure used was £173m and the true figure is over £200m. That makes a rather large difference no? I see you’re avoiding my points which are actually not in any grey area, they are simple facts. ”

    ‘facts’?…so you do work for Arsenal?

    i mean, i might be wrong, but Gazidis misrepresenting the financial state of the club is probably illegal.

  29. Dorobucci


  30. Moray

    Dissenter, I think this season will be a particularly nasty one for us, all things considered. The footballing equivalent of Thatcher’s poll tax riot year. Maybe, just maybe, Wellbeck will help us squeeze into fourth, but it’s going to be tough this year as Wenger has pushed it too far IMO.

    Just to put things in context, so far we have won only 2 out of 7 games. We are a point behind LVG’s Man Utd, who we were all laughing at until very recently. And this with a relatively complete squad BEFORE the inevitable injuries. All Wenger can do is offer us forlorn signings in 3 months time (and even then he will probably cock them up).

    Once the fans realize what is happening and wake up, then we will see some action. Charging diamond prices for a 4th placed team is one thing. If we are languishing in the bottom half because of poor player management, absence of tactics and execrable transfer dealings, then that is a different matter entirely.

  31. andy1886

    Tunny, you’re missing the point again. As I said it’s not what was said, it’s about what WASN’T SAID. By deliberately putting in all the things that make the situation look as bad as possible while avoiding all the postitive aspects is FUNDEMENTALLY DISHONEST.

    For example, if you were filling in a benefits form and put in all your costs but failed to put in all your income details this would be fraud. No question. If you include your total loan repayments over several years as though they were all due in one single year that again would be fraud.

    Gazidis is a weasel-worded snake oil salesman. I don’t entirely blame him of course, that multi-million pay plan would be enough to make a lot of people sell their souls.

  32. Hunter

    Is Wenger just trying to wind us up?what does he mean he will try and sign one more defensive player in the January window?Everyone on this blog clearly sees the need for one new centre half and most definitely a specialist DM,why can’t that senile twat agree with us.Is it just pure stubbornness,stupidity or something deeper?IMO we could do with at least three more players to cove our wafer thin injury prone squad!.What is the true figure in terms of how much we can spend?Another thing that worries me is ‘what was the services from Kronkies organisation that cost us £3 million quid’? Did anyone explain what they were really doing for us cos I didn’t see it.This weekend against Hull I can’t see us getting our arse whipped and this will have a domino effect for the games leading into the Xmas period.With our squad and the next 8 fixtures each one will be a test and I can see us slipping further and further down the league and by Xmas we will be around seventh or eigth,of course injuries will be the reason and I hope that even more pressure can be applied on Wenger in repayment for his incompetence from the start of this season!

  33. Emiratesstroller

    Swiss Ramble has highlighted not only financial matters but in 2013 questioned Arsenal’s transfer policy.

    However, perhaps the most interesting statement made this week was by Gazidis suggesting that Wenger will be hard to replace. Frankly the manager is not hard to replace because there are plenty of options in the market who could do at least as good a ‘football’ job as Wenger if not better.After all it is
    one of best paid jobs in world football.

    The real problem at the club is not just that Wenger has ‘passed his sell by date’ but that we have a ‘back room coaching,fitness, medical and scouting staff’ which is also stagnant and it seems very hard to shift.

    When Wenger leaves the probability is that the new manager will also want to
    make wholesale changes and bring in his own people. If there had been a fresh
    influx of personnel as is case in most other football clubs and business/professions in general that would be less problematic.

  34. andy1886

    Wallace, I appreciate we may not see eye to eye on this but yes it is a fact that they included monies owed from previous transfers in their statement but neglected monies due from other clubs. Read your post again if you don’t remember.

    It is also a fact that the monies spent on transfers were not paid as a lump sum. They never, ever are. Doesn’t happen.

    And yes it is a fact that the Puma deal is not included in the figures mentioned which are for the period ending 31st May 2014. Here is the official word from Arsenal.com about the deal:

    “Effective from July 1, 2014, PUMA will become the official kit partner of Arsenal.”

    Clear isn’t it?

    And no, misrepresentation isn’t illegal, it’s just being selective with the truth which is why we should all challenge rather than meekly accept statements made by executives of any major institution.

  35. tunnygriffboy


    We will get better the more the team practices and plays together. Hugely disrupted pre season, two CL qualifiers when we should have been working on things on the training field and a pretty tough opening of fixtures as well.

    Don’t forget man u have played the 3 promoted teams, two teams that finished 16th and 17th in the league last season, West ham at home and Everton at home after they had travelled 4000 miles on Thursday and had a noon kick off. In both West Ham and Everton games they were hanging on at the end.

  36. andy1886

    Just for anyone who hasn’t read it here is the relevant part of SR’s post about the reserves:

    “Enough of the profit and loss account, the main financial topic on the lips of Arsenal fans these days is that huge cash balance. Guess what? It’s gone up again, rising another £55 million in the last 12 months from £153 million to £208 million. For some reason the club’s headline statement insists on reporting this as net of debt service reserves of £35 million, giving the widely reported figure of £173 million, but the actual cash balance is indeed north of £200 million.”

    North of £200m.

    Look, this isn’t me saying that we have hundreds of millions of pounds to spend, but I am saying that the statement you posted Wallace misrepresents our financial position and does it’s best to make it look as bad as possible.

    I’ll put money on the fact that come season ticket renewall time we’ll suddenly see our finances ‘spun’ the other way to make it look like we’re going to buy loads of top players in the summer of 2015. This isn’t me being nostradamus, it happens every single year and it’s dishonest.

  37. Wallace


    “According to the accounts, the club have £207.9m in the bank. But the chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, sought to debunk the perception that the board of directors, or Wenger, were sitting on “a huge cash pile” that they refused to spend.

    Gazidis pointed out that the financial year-end of 31 May represented the “high point” of the year “when season-ticket and many sponsorship receipts have already been collected”. He broke down the headline figure, saying the “vast majority” of it had already been accounted for.

    “We have committed a net £53m on new transfers since the May 31st date,” Gazidis said. “We have got liabilities of £29m still to pay on previous transfers and there is a further £17m of performance-related costs that we expect to have to pay on top of that. So that’s £99m of the published figure of £207.9m, which leaves us with £108.9m left.

    “We have to keep a substantial amount of cash in reserve at all times in order to comply with our debt obligations and most of the remaining cash after that is needed to run the club across a full season, with all of the costs, including player salaries, associated with that. We also do some complex modelling forward over a number of years to work out that we can meet our anticipated financial commitments.

    “We do try to keep a reasonable amount of cash available for further investment in the team. We don’t want to disclose that publicly because it’s obviously commercially and competitively sensitive but I’m afraid it’s nowhere near the numbers that are quoted and which fuel some degree of dissatisfaction. It’s quite untrue to suggest that the club is sitting on a huge cash pile that, for some unspecified reason, it refuses to use.”

  38. leprofessorknowsbest

    “the shit this wenger and his arsenal are giving us is equivalent to crack”

    And far away from the best quality!! That’s why we are so sick!! lol

  39. Wallace

    ps – that’s from the Guardian. i might be being naive, but Gazidis comes across as being on the level with his breakdown of the figures.

  40. Emiratesstroller

    The focus at the moment is too much on how much money Arsenal has got and too little on how the money should be spent.

    Apart from the striker position most people that I speak to ‘not just on Le Grove’ but elsewhere agree that in last couple of years Arsenal’s priorities were actually’defensive’ whether in midfield or at back.

    It was not just a matter of change of personnel, but how we played the game.
    We recruited wing rather than full backs who were too often out of position
    and then Wenger decided last season that he could rely on just 3 centre backs
    with one of his full backs operating in emergency as fourth string. This year we are down to two conventional cbs with Chambers operating as a utility.

    The defensive deficiencies in midfield are equally stark. We are lightweight
    in that department as well.

    However, perhaps my greatest concern is ‘tactical naus’ at corners and free kicks. We have conceded far too many goals there in recent years through the
    zonal marking system. Yet Wenger resists any change in this system.

    No team ever won EPL or its predecessor first division by playing pretty football and neglecting defence. That applies in the modern game just as it did in
    1940-80s. It is sadly a lesson that Wenger has forgotten or chosen not to prioritise.

  41. Bamford13


    Ok, so there is £109m left in cash reserves.

    How much of that was available for Wenger to spend this summer? Well, that depends on how much cash we are required to keep on hand per the debt agreement. I don’t know that figure, but let’s say it’s something like two years worth of payments or roughly £40m.

    That leaves Wenger £69m in cash. Even if you argue that he might not have all of that at his disposal, he clearly has had enough to sign at least one quality player (a CDM) if not two or three.

    And yet he has decided instead to try to get by with mediocrities like Arteta, Flamini, Giroud and Sanogo.

    And yet he has skimped and signed crocks on loan, like Kim Kallstrom.

    Even when he spends, he gets it wrong. Ozil as a 42m CAM? He doesn’t even play him as a CAM any more. We thus have an ineffective 42m wide player.

    More than anything else we needed a quality CDM and CF this summer. Where did Wenger spend big? On a wide attacking player — Sanchez — who Barca no longer had use for. Was this a smart allocation? 30m for another wide player? No. It wasn’t.

    As Keswick said, the manager sometimes doesn’t have a plan, and everyone simply sits back and allows the senile fuck to make a mess of things.

    Even when he has a plan it isn’t a very good one.

    Mediocrity and decline for nine years. Idiocy, absurdities, humiliations by rivals, pointless CL campaigns. Always trying to get by on the cheap, with substandard players.

    Enough is enough. Wenger out.

    Gazidis tells us they have to keep a certain amount of cash on hand per the debt agreement, so essentially we can assume that Wenger

    Look at what Gazidis says below:

    “We do try to keep a reasonable amount of cash available for further investment in the team. We don’t want to disclose that publicly because it’s obviously commercially and competitively sensitive but I’m afraid it’s nowhere near the numbers that are quoted and which fuel some degree of dissatisfaction.”

  42. Bamford13


    We don’t even play “pretty” football anymore, and I’d say the thing Wenger neglects most of all is athleticism. Quickness, pace, agility, power. This is what players like Giroud, Arteta and Mertesacker lack — and these are three of the “spine” players Wenger has relied on for two years now.

    As for set pieces, I’d say we’re even worse offensively than defensively. I’ve never seen any team as clueless and useless on attacking set pieces as Arsenal. Just fucking woeful. Not a single reliable dead ball specialist, and corners that run like we’ve never trained on them.

    Just woeful.

  43. TitsMcgee

    Wenger won’t leave Arsenal, because if he did so he would not last 5 minutes in any other job.”

    This is pretty much it.