Arsenal Wages Breakdown – Where Does It All Go?

Arsenal’s wages are a source of endless fascination to many, especially with Arsène coming out recently and defending his ‘socialist’ model. All kinds of figures get bandied around as to who exactly gets what, so I thought I’d have a quick go at some elementary maths myself. (As that is the only kind I can do.) I won’t try and convince you that I know for a fact Podolski gets £12k a week more than Rosicky (or whatever), but I’ll look at some approximate figures.

Don’t bother coming on here and saying:

  • I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know (because I don’t care)
  • X player actually gets £x thousand a week, not what I’ve said (unless you have proof; actual proof)
  • I’ve added something up incorrectly (unless I have, in which case thanks for your help)
  • You’re not interested in football finances and you wish everyone would shut up about it (because you shouldn’t have clicked the link; the title is pretty plain)

However, there are lots of words and numbers in this and no pictures, so you could always go and look at these instead.

Back to the subject in hand. We know Arsenal’s total wage bill and we know exactly what the Board get. We also know how many employees Arsenal have. All those facts are in the published accounts. So let’s look at the non-playing staff first. There are more of them, but in general they earn rather less.
The total wage bill for the year ended in May 2012 was £143.4m, or £143,448,000 if you prefer to see how long that number really is. However, this is broken down into three parts:
Wages and salaries           £123,298,000
Social security costs        £16,321,000
Other pension costs           £3,829,000

So really we’re looking at the ‘wages and salaries’ figure only. I don’t think the players and their agents want to take social security costs into account in their own budgeting, and pension costs usually seem to be largely connected to Ivan and Ken.

So, to see where that £123m goes. I’ll start at the top:

The Board took the following:
Ivan Gazidis                      £2,050,000
Ken Friar                             £571,000
All the rest in total               £117,000
Running total:                  £2,738,000

Then there’s the other junior executive types and heads of departments, like Tom Fox, David Miles and so on. Let’s say there are 20 of them getting an average of £400,000 each. I hope there aren’t 20 on that money but I’ll go with what I think is the safe side.

Heads of Departments       £8,000,000
Running total:                   £10,738,000

Next the coaches. The Arse website lists 41 coaches, but the accounts say ‘training staff’ numbers 55. I’ll go with the upper figure, though that may include the manager. Some of them are of course with the ladies and youths, and they don’t earn a fortune. The first team coaches don’t do too badly, though. Let’s say an average of £80,000 each over the whole coaching staff (manager excluded). So 55 x 80 . . .
Coaches                           £4,400,000
Running total:                 £15,138,000

The accounts also say the total employee number was an average of 496 for the year to May 2012, and along with the 55 training staff and 70 players, there were 271 admin staff, 100 ground staff and an average 845 temporary staff on match days, who I assume are pretty much all stewards and programme sellers.

I’ve already accounted for a few highly paid ‘admin’ staff, but put the remainder in with the ground staff and there are about 250 in total. If they get on average £30k a year (which is higher than the current UK average wage), that’s:
Admin & ground staff                 £7,500,000 (or one fee for a Dennis Bergkamp)
Running  total:                          £22,638,000

Arsenal are not renowned for generous pay to the majority of non-playing staff, so this is possibly on the high side. I also understand there is some cost cutting going on, and people having to reapply for their own jobs – much like Theo recently, only with a smaller wage.

The ‘temporary staff’ must get at least minimum wage, currently £6.19 an hour, but I’ll round to £6.20, and I think they do about a 5 hour shift each matchday, of which there are about 25 a season, plus pre-season and other events, say 33 in all. So 845 x 5 x 33 x £6.20 . . .
Temporary staff               £864,435
Which I’ll round to           £865,000
Running total:             £23,503,000

Then there’s the manager. The commonly accepted figure for his salary these days is £7m, though some say £7.2m. Let’s not quibble over a lousy £200k a year. I’ll use the upper figure:
1 Manager                £7,200,000
Running total:        £30,703,000

That leaves the players. The latest accounts stated: “Although further headcount was added to support and drive the Club’s commercial business objectives, the increased total wage cost was very largely attributable to the player wage bill and, to a lesser extent, wage costs for the training and support staff around the first team squad.”

Just bear in mind that this is up to May last year, so long before new deals for Jack, Ramsey and the assorted others who got a rise – I mean extended contract – recently, and of course before the new Theo Walcott megadeal.

It’s also before some players left last summer and some new ones arrived, so to try and work everything out to the last measly £10k a week is pointless. I’m not going to include Alex Song and Robin van Whatshisface, but the new guys are on similar deals. There was another blog in November that listed everything to the last penny, overlooking the fact that it was balancing this season’s players with last season’s accounts. We were expected to believe it was all meticulously researched, though. Ho hum.

I’ll split the players into two groups: youngsters and first team squad.
There are 35 ‘young professionals’, including five on loan. I’ll assume the loanees wages are not so astronomical that they have to be subsidised, so call it 30.
Let’s say they get £1,000 a week, £50,000 a year, each. Possibly slightly generous again, but if it’s really only £500 or £750 a week it’s not going to skew the total much.
Young Professionals:    £1,500,000
Running total:              £32,203,000

Now the exciting bit. Don’t forget we are aiming for a total of £123.3m and so far we have reached £32.2m.

So we have 32 people left and we have to split £91,000,000 between them. If the wage structure was communist instead of ‘socialist’ (ho bloody ho), then they’d each get £2,844,000 a year, or £54,700 a week.

Let me repeat that in bold:
I estimate that the AVERAGE wage of the Arsenal first team squad, including junior members and no-hopers, is over £54,000 a week.

Don’t forget that does include bonuses, so it’s not just the headline wage figures we hear so much and yet so little about.
(I’m including the five first-team loanees in the total of 32; I’m sure we subsidise wages, and anyway as I’ve said there’s no point trying to match this season’s players exactly to last season’s accounts.)

No one outside the club and their bank manager can say for sure who gets exactly what, but we can guess the rough hierarchy within the 32 players. Opinions differ about who is the highest paid. Some say Podolski is on over £100k a week. The Times believes Arshavin and new-deal Walcott are joint highest on £90k a week basic wage.
At the bottom end again some say there’s no way Frimpong gets more than a couple of grand a week, others say everyone is on at least £20k a week.

I’d guess the high to low list looked something like this before recent new deals, with my estimated figures:








Up to 20

If those figures are right and we assume those in the top group actually get £90k a week, those in the bottom group £20k and others in the middle of their scale, then the total bill would be:
(6 x 20) + (3 x 25) + (4 x 35) + (5 x 45) + (4 x 55) + (5 x 65) + (3 x 75) + (2 x 90) x 52 x 1,000, which equals £78.5m.

That allows for bonuses of just under £13m, or about 14% of the total, which seems like a realistic punt. There were quotes that Theo’s £90k a week will be about £105k with bonuses. The total of £91m is probably a bit higher now anyway, because without wishing to labour the point I’m using last year’s accounts figures with this year’s list of players.
As I said, I don’t claim to know who gets what exactly, but if you’re going to disagree too much I’ll be expecting proof.

As it happens, by coming at it from the opposite angle I have got the almost the same total for first team wages as the November blog I mentioned. Whether that means anything I don’t know. Probably not.

Leave a comment with any thoughts, or tweet me: @AngryOfN5


29 thoughts on “Arsenal Wages Breakdown – Where Does It All Go?

  1. I remember when Arteta signed much was made of him taking a paycut, i believe it was down to 70k a week. chamakh was widely reported to be on 55k a week and Giroud is apparently on 40k. Can’t quite see Rosicky being on that much neither. other than that seems accurate.

  2. Your overview of the football staff omits scouting entirely. Arsenal has a large scouting network included in this overall salary number.

    Also your assessment of salary bands way off in several places. Premiership average salaries are like 40K per week and you are claiming that England players are signing brand new contracts for less. Pffttt….
    – No way Jenkinson is the lowest salary band after making the England squad AND signing a new five year contract. He likely was when he joined but no way he is still in that group.
    – Similarly Gibbs is an established first teamer, on the cusp of England squad AND just signed a new five year contract. But you think he makes less than Denilson. No logic there.
    – Ditto on Oxlade Chamberlain. He would have no reason to sign a new contract that left him that low in the salary bands, when he is an England squad regular. He’s simply run the contract down at his young age. No way he is on that low.

    Last but not least you are underestimating the salaries of the “young professionals”. They are better paid than you estimate.

    • If you’d care to read it properly, I said the figures are before recent deals otherwise I’d be comparing last year’s total with this year’s wages.

    • Why does Arshavin get paid so much? he didn;t play that much last year.
      I agree with Ziontrain about the scouts and the young english players. Surely Jacks’ gotta get paid more for signing a new contract. I can’t believe im saying this, But get a fresh young coach; pay him less and spread the residu cash out keep the players n non-playing staff happy. Ohh yeh reduce the entry ticket, coz i’ll be over at the emarites there this year.

  3. You people are always putting the club in a bad light. Most of these write up are creating negative feelings about the club. This is actually a disservice because in most of the other clubs things are worse than these but you will never see the fans disparaging the clubs as Arsenal fans often do. This is a big shame.

    • How is this highlighting Arsenal in a bad light? If anything, it highlights a symptom of the problem with modern day football. Unfortunately, the fans foot the bill through high ticket prices – again, I am not just talking about Arsenal.

      It is why there needs to be a salary cap in football.

  4. Congratulations on the detailed analysis. I did a similar exercise last week and came out at 143 million not including social security etc.

    I had many of the junior players in the first team squad and lower teir players at higher wages.

    Thank God for TV money as however much our season tickets cost we cover less than half of the wage bill.

  5. A question. I read that not qualifying for the CL will cost us north of £20 million. This is often used as an excuse for not buying players especially in January. How true is this?

    I ask as heaven forbid we don’t finish in the top 4 this excuse will come up again. But if we make the Europa cup we will reduce the loss of not playing in the CL. But I just don’t know by how much.


    • Off the top of my head getting to last 16 of CL is worth about £25m and winning it is worth about £45m; there are various factors that affect that including your country’s share of the TV market. No one makes more than about £6m-£7m from the Europa as audiences are much smaller.

      • And the Emirates deal has a clause that reduces the sponsorship money if Arsenal don’t qualify for the CL. Not sure how big that is though. I guess the difference between CL and EL stands at about 25-30Million pounds for us.

  6. Brilliant article the sums involved are mind-boggling and yet they say that we dont pay our players.When I think that Brady Stapleton Rocky and Michael Thomas all left over money these players make me my 9 year old son showed me a youtube clip of rvp singing ” glory glory man utd” at a karaoke .With players like that i wouldn’t pay them at all you’d probably get more thanks

    • As much as I hate the fact that he`s left us, one cannot run down RvP for his actions as a ManU player, praising the glory of his new club.

      It`s his job. He owns nothing Arsenal fc, and if he did owe something, he ceased owing it when he singed with SAF. The barstardo.

  7. Well done Phil….a beautifully speculative piece, but smacks of some truth, despite being based mostly on theoretical analysis and few hard facts. You are trying to match the Swiss Rambler’s expertise are you? LOL

    • Thanks Don . . . I think.
      Swiss does proper analysis of figures – I can’t compete with that. I take headlines and write my own plausible story!

  8. Really interesting Phil. I have no proof or internal knowledge! But I would never have placed Denilson so low. Following the talk in the media when he signed his last contract I got the impression that he was in the 60k bracket. I’d feel much happier if your instincts are correct but i’d also think he’d have left by now had he not been on such a high wage!

    Just thinking aloud here, but a couple of points;

    1. Assuming this comes out of the salary budget too, how much do we think the club paid out in Champions League qualification bonuses?

    2. Do we think that signing on fees (including contract extensions) and loyalty bonuses (including when we had to pay off the likes of Vela) come out of the salary pot?

  9. Hardly a ‘socialistic’ wage policy. I guess Le Professeur’s comment was tongue-in-cheek. I’d guess that practically everything he has said recently re money (wages and signings) has been tongue-in-cheek. Un homme subtle.

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