The walls are closing in

by .

The walls are closing in, 2019/20 seasons are gasping for breath, the Premier League is clawing desperately to survive… but it’s not looking good. Ligue 1 is cancelled, PSG has been crowned champions with an *. The Dutch league is over without a champion, Belgium is finished, the Sports Minister in Italy reckons they are likely going to follow suit. Germany, England and Spain are still clutching, but it seems ever more likely this is optimism in the extreme.

The Premier League is absolutely desperate to dodge a voided season. July TV money is due soon and the clubs are fearing the nightmare of having to give back £37.5m they have probably already spent.

There is some hope, Arsenal players are back at training, there are some fun shots of the players on shooting practice. However, the solutions being put forward by the league look utterly desperate and fragile in the extreme. They are somehow going to guarantee twice-weekly testing for players and supporting staff. Quite the number considering that testing for everyone else is so badly lacking. Someone worked out that could be 1800, how will that work for the normal person on the frontlines?

What happens if ONE player gets the disease and infects 8 players during a game? You cannot account for how bad that PR would be. It’d look very reckless.

There are also lots of reporters indicating the players aren’t exactly over the moon about being thrown into the mixer. Statistically, the chances they’ll have longterm problems is low. However, there are plenty of horrible side effects that athletes would want to avoid. Scarring of the lungs (lowering lung capacity would be horrendous for pro athletes), strokes, even brain damage. Even though the risk is minor, who wants to be the one? The bigger concern will be for their families. No one wants to take a disease back to the family pug.

Starting the season is not about sheer greed, it’s about surviving death. The finance wizards at the AST have DIRE news for Mesut Ozil and his team that are currently thumbing through our finances as they pontificate on whether to take a pay cuts.

Covid-19 is likely to take Arsenal from a situation where they would have reported a small profit of £4m for this current season to one of recording a loss of £19m. If behind closed doors (BCD) becomes an issue that affects all of next season then the club could face reporting losses of £144m.

“So we can see that the reduction in income from playing BCD for the rest of the season will knock £23m ($26m) from available cash at the end of the season as will the absence of season ticket renewals.

“The combined impact will leave little spare cash this summer, especially if sponsors withhold part of their advance payments for season 2020-21.

“Arsenal’s available cash reserves heading into the summer of 2020-21 could be wiped out and a new borrowing requirement of over £50m ($62m) being required by the end of July if the club is to meet its commitments to pay other clubs instalments due on player transfers and finance wages in June and July. So we certainly don’t predict a big spending transfer window!

“Whilst the money set aside as security for the bondholders, who have lent the remaining £170m ($210m) of stadium related debt, cannot be touched, it is almost inevitable that Arsenal will be drawing on its short term £50m ($62m) loan facility made available by Barclays.”

Absolute stinger.

If you believe that a club run sustainably should look to internal solutions to solve downturns, then you have to say, the 12.5% wage cut really does look like a drop in the ocean given the severity of the monster hiding under the bed. Bigger concern is how the club reacts if the worst case happens? They might have to go back again.

Back to the original theme, if Europe is anything to go by, it would seem very unlikely we’ll bring the game back, which makes it more likely the worst-case scenarios come to fruition.

On the podcast, Matt and Aash argued that this sort of nonsense works for the ambitious billionaires. It’ll be disaster capitalism. My view is that we’re more likely to see clubs come together as a cover to get the game under control.

We are about to see who is right, the game is in deep trouble, someone is going to have to lead the way out of this mess. Survival at the highest level is essential, even more so at the lower level. There is a lot to protect, let’s hope everyone comes together and football can look as close to normal when it returns.

Right, listen to the podcast. x

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188 Responses to “The walls are closing in”

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  1. Tony

    Dissenter you’re wasting your time with Marc.

    A guy who talks incessantly while never making a sensible C19 comment and whose life evolves around drinking beer with ‘The Lads’ in the pub and his Arsenal season ticket/football.

    A guy who dogmatically sticks to a point even when offered a more rounded POV, such as you’ve laid out in recent posts that just fly over his bigheadedness.

    Basically an Emiratestroller protege just lacking in pompous skills at this stage, but no doubt they will come as he enters his 50s.

    A questionable salesman who believes marketing guys are sales prevention people. So probably a glorified order taker.

  2. Useroz

    I’d agree economic recovery is going to be much, much tougher than the GFC from 2008/09 this time round.

    Interest rates were expected/ forecasted to return to hit 5% mark a few years ago but never quite made it by and large due to unsustainable / inconsistent business activities in some major economies.

    We all still enjoy cheap mortgage , commercial rates in low single digit. Or look at yields of long dated US bonds.

    It’s chicken and eggs again., and complex problems for economists and business leaders alike. Forget governments tbh. If you look at the past decade, most of the recoveries didn’t really correlate with Gov economic stimuli Some supportive policies of course but private sectors and mainly the confidence of the public large fuel whatever growth we saw.

    If confidence isn’t going to be up soon, say because of sustained high unemployment rates around the world, V shape or U turn are just pipe dreams.

    ‘Lucky’ thing is, at least in/around APAC , residential property markets sort of holding up. 10/15% here and there shouldn’t hurt too much. As long as there isn’t pervasive negative equities people wouldn’t cut further spending hopefully. Commercial properties are another matter entirely and bargains are everywhere for the brave, and well heeled.

    As for Arsenal, we are fucked as long as these KSE mafia is controlling, couldn’t see any light at end of the long, long tunnel.

  3. Spanishdave

    We are a poorly run country
    The WHO have recommended all along that 1 m distancing is ok. We imposed 2m which is very difficult to run businesses on.
    Now they are all looking at each other asking who suggested it and nobody seems to know.!
    And if you are within a metre it takes up to 15 mins to get infected.
    Stop the doom and gloom and work with 1m get back to work .
    The economy is going downhill rapidly so time is the essence.
    If the government accept the premierships proposals the matches start mid June.
    Will the players be up for it though.?

  4. G

    Rip David Rocastle.. 53 today. Still can’t believe GG sold him
    One of my top 5 Arsenal players ever

  5. Batistuta

    See the premiership is still wanting to put lives at risk and deplete the resources available by planning to carry on.

    Some players from Bundesliga club Cologne have now tested positive to the virus and that’s from a league that was gearing up to resume, quite daft if you ask me, the British govt better so the right thing and postpone all sporting activities like it’s been done in France and the Netherlands and Belgium too.

  6. Pierre

    This is good

    And this

  7. Graham62

    I’ve been absent from the blog for a couple of months but it seems we still have the same few clowns out there.

    Marc seems to relish his position.


  8. Marc

    It’s strange that one of the reasons many are saying this is going to be at least borderline catastrophic is because of the lack of consumer confidence but criticise me for trying to take a positive position that we can get out of this – we will get out of this.

    I have not claimed that this isn’t serious, I have not said we shouldn’t have put the lockdown in place and I have followed the lockdown rules.

    Some of you seem desperate to wallow in things being as bad as they could possibly get rather than look forward to things improving and us being able to get back to work and see friends and family again.

  9. Spanishdave

    Well said.
    If we did everything certain scientist said we would not go outside at all.
    They all have an agenda and they get paid for doing research paid for interest groups who have blinkered ideas. How can WHO say that one metre is ok and we do two making it impossible to live with.
    They also say that children cannot catch the virus under ten years of age as the don’t have the receptors. So why are they at home?
    There are very few deaths in many of the rural area around the uk but we have to stay at home because all the urban areas have it more, there’s a surprise.
    Every week 10,000 people die in the Uk for all the various ailments and accidents,
    Each week 2000 people die from flu and pneumonia.
    Life goes on it has to.

  10. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    I’m afraid I don’t agree .
    Sky n Bt can carry on showing matches of their choice.

    But if we have a season behind closed doors then it’s something that will have to be considered.
    Ok so 500 per season home and away games gets you 500 million..

    And more than a million will be sold in uk.

  11. Marc


    Mate we’ll see quite soon – I’m not going to get into an argument over it.

    What I will say is if it does happen especially with the sort of numbers you’re talking about then it’ll be here to stay – will that affect attendance numbers?

  12. Uwot?

    Yeah.sick to death of the doom n gloomers.A bit of positivity never hurt anyone.( tinged with a bit of reality).There WILL be a vaccine soon I.e within 5/ 6 months.Then perhaps a further year to eighteen months slowly adjusting.Will that be enough to revive economies to pre pandemic.who knows?

  13. Marc


    It amazes me some of these people can cope with life. This is serious, there’s a lot of misinformation out there and as the government scientists have said this is a new virus so they’ll learning about constantly.

    What I don’t get is how people can think this is a genuine doomsday scenario when as you say people die all the time. Fuck knows how they’ll cope when something really serious does happen.

  14. Marc


    As I’ve already said I think the governments of the world will put in place stimulus packages (hopefully they have the sense to coordinate them but we’re talking about politicians!) to help kick start the economy.

    We have to be positive otherwise we might as well just give up.

  15. Jamie

    I’d happily pay £50-100 per month to Arsenal Online if they showed all our games live. I pay less than that for beIN sports and I get all PL games live..

  16. Graham62


    Who said anything about a doomsday scenario?

    We are all doing our bit to make things work. Helping others in less fortunate positions than ourselves. Ensuring our families are safe and healthy. Respecting the rules and regulations and remaining upbeat and positive amidst all these changes.

    Tell me Marc, what have you been doing with yourself these past few months.

    I lost a dear relative in the States two weeks back because of coved-19. 37 years old with no underlying medical issues.

    Have a nice day!!

  17. Ernest Reed

    “What I don’t get is how people can think this is a genuine doomsday scenario when as you say people die all the time. Fuck knows how they’ll cope when something really serious does happen.”

    Gee dunno, maybe cause people are, hmmm, Resilient?

    Marc, honestly you should just stop. Every time you say something you just make it worse for yourself.

    Life is life, live it cause you only go around once.

  18. Ernest Reed

    “Life is life, live it cause you only go around once.”

    And yes, i can say this because i am acutely aware if how precious life really is. Its what keeps me going because its a promise that i made to my wife, the same she made to me when when we both got sick. I live for today because tomorrow i am not promised. That is what keeps me going now as i look to a changed life.

    Please stay safe and stay sensible all. We will all get through this together, you have to believe in that.

  19. Ernest Reed

    Agree with you, Batistuta. There will always be football, whats the rush? I guess when footballers keel over will the brains in charge realize that perhaps football really is just a game.

  20. Spanishdave

    Money doesn’t grow on trees so we have to get back to work to pay for this.
    The government can print money, but it just drives the debt up.
    Those that have work will have to endure higher taxes on basic items.
    The government doesn’t have any money it only has what we give to them in taxes.They just borrow money against future returns.
    Every day is two billion in borrowings with no returns.
    Perhaps tap up Ozil for a loan!

  21. Marc

    “Tell me Marc, what have you been doing with yourself these past few months. ”

    Mostly stuck in doors like everyone else following the lockdown.

  22. Marc


    As much as football would be a distraction at the moment I would much rather see this season written off with preparations for next season put in place properly maybe moving the start of the season back a month or two, starting behind closed doors and hopefully moving to being able to attend when the time is right.

  23. Ernest Reed

    I have a feeling that further waves of outbreaks may change even the most optimistic re-start plans, Marc. 2020 will be the forgotten year in more ways than just football. Honestly, who would have even imagined it let alone it actually happened?

  24. Marc


    So much depends on the development of a vaccine – the lab in Oxford is making some very bold claims and a easy to use, reliable anti body test.

    I hope they’re right about the vaccine.

  25. Ernest Reed

    I hope so too, Marc. By the way, just last week i was finally able to taste my food fully again. I had gone for weeks without it and was never sure if my food or drink was off. Imagine my joy when i finally could taste my coffee!

  26. Pierre

    ” I would much rather see this season written off with preparations for next season put in place properly maybe moving the start of the season back a month or two, ”

    It wouldn’t be that difficult to move the season back 4 months.

    1)For a start there will no international matches in 20/21 as there is a competition that has been put back a year si we dont need qualifying matches.

    2)European ties should be straight 2 legged ties, no group stages.
    This will reduce the amount of European games by at a guess, around a half but dont quote me on that.

    3)Cancel the league cup completely and probably the FA cup.

    4)This will allow ample time for league and European games to be played , starting November, ending May and then play the international comp in June

    Job done ..simple

  27. Ernest Reed

    Indeed Marc, and yesterday I donated blood because they asked and because they want to learn more from my experiences with Covid-19. Im feeling physically good these days and my spirits remain decent. Im still struggling emotionally and i suppose that i will for time to come, but i accept that it is life. I have a lot to be thankful for and some to feel sad for. Day by day.

  28. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    No argument

    Sky were going to do it in 2000

    Now they may have to…

    I think it will come ,,.
    But that’s my own opinion.

    A monkey a year for all your teams games
    Spilt it between the teams in premier,

    Clubs earn sky earns we watch
    Why not.?

  29. China1

    Ernest keep on going and surround yourself with everything you can that provides any bit of meaningful joy.

    Whether it’s something big or just appreciating a really good brew of coffee. Day by day. Step by step.

    Much love.

  30. China1

    Ernest I lost my brother way before his time (he was only 29 at the time)

    The sadness, frustration and longing to see him hasn’t disappeared 7 years on to the month as it is now, but as cliches as it is, time has a magic way of healing the bulk of the wounds such losses cause.

    I’m happier now in many ways than I’ve ever been. But ply me with alcohol and put on a bit of Pink Floyd (his favorite band) and you can still get me sobbing like a baby haha.

    Better to avoid alcohol in the coming months as it is a depressant, anyway…

  31. Pierre

    We could actually finish off this season’s FA cup next season…
    7 games to be played , easily done with a showpiece occasion at the end of May.

  32. Ernest Reed

    Thank you China1, your words are most comforting. Hang in there yourself, memories are a wonderful thing.