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 . . .
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