Arsenal’s Commercial Income & The Need To Spend What We Have

I read Swiss Ramble’s excellent new blog post earlier, wherein he dissects the accounts of all the top English clubs (and Spurs). And I noticed something I hadn’t thought about before regarding FFP. I was aware that clubs with wage bills over a certain amount could only add £4m a year to the wages budget. I was also aware that Arsenal’s commercial revenue has been all but static over the past few seasons, despite much talk of the brilliant commercial team now in place. What I didn’t realise was that apparently you can get round the wages increase limit rule by increasing commercial income and paying the extra wages from that!

So is it that Arsenal have been extremely cunning and deliberately not increased commercials in the past few years, saving up all those juicy contracts for 2014 so that we can do what the hell we like with the wage bill? Can that possibly be true? Is Ivan sitting there quietly biding his time until he can emerge and soak up the adulation when we are the only top club who can sign anyone at all? To be honest this probably isn’t very likely, but it’s a nice thought.

We are in the money anyway of course, because Arsenal are due a £1.5m top up on the Van Persie fee as a result of him winning the league. This probably pays about half of Giroud’s annual wage – which is fitting, as he is about half as good as Van Persie. Alternatively, it pays about three quarters of Ivan’s wages. Surely an even better bargain?

Man Utd and RvP may have walked the title this season, but with just three (or four for some) games to go this season, there’s no certainty of Champions League football next season for anyone except the Surrey Reds. City look safe, then it’s any two from Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea, with Everton still an outside bet.

Some Arsenal fans have expressed a desire to see a trophy – any trophy – rather than another season of ultimately fruitless CL football. I’m tempted by shiny silver things myself, but as that can’t happen now, CL qualification is still the next best thing – I don’t subscribe to the view that we are in such desperate straits that it’s better to fail completely to provoke managerial or Board change at the club.

However, there has been talk of an odd message from the club: there is £70m to spend (and this is the minimum if you read the accounts), but some sources say it will only be spent if Arsenal are in the Champions League. A spot in the Europa League will mean significantly smaller spending.

This seems a bit backwards. For one thing, surely you need to invest more if you have fallen further? Is this not the problem Arsenal have landed themselves with by not spending enough for the past few years? Normally when a top team has a rough year they go out and spend enough to get them back in contention. Man Utd (who admittedly usually have more cash swilling about than Arsenal) certainly do. It’s not the only factor of course, but it seems to be working there.

It’s not as though the Champions League is the only trophy that Arsenal compete for. Aren’t they interested in the others if they’re not in the CL? Not spending to recover their former position sends the wrong message to fans and also to all those new sponsors Ivan is lining up. Just when new deals are coming into place – for example we now have an official gaming partner, Betsson as well as an Indonesian telecoms partner and others – Arsenal will be saying, ‘Actually we’re not that bothered about improving.’ How is that going to drive more revenue?

With luck this will prove a moot point if a top four finish is once again achieved. Arsène Wenger has only one year left on his contract, but I don’t buy the argument that he shouldn’t spend if he’s leaving. We can’t risk falling further and giving whoever the new man is an even harder job. Arsenal fans, spoilt as we are, need to see improvement from larger – but still wise – spending this summer. That way we get a squad fit for 2013-14 and beyond, whoever the manager is.

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10 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Commercial Income & The Need To Spend What We Have

  1. Pingback: Wenger to leave Arsenal this summer – why he’ll love this story | Arsenal to make big ticket announcement later today – Le Grove – The Arsenal blog for news, opinion and transfers

  2. On past record (here and in the States), Kroenke will spend the least he can. The mere idea of handing £70m to Arsene would have him reaching for his tranquilisers. Thus far Arsene has had to sell to buy – and less than he brought in. It’s clear that the pair were at loggerheads last December over the Brit pack wages raises, Theo’s contract and Jan signings – battles which, for the most part, Arsene seemed to win. Since which time Arsene has made it clear in many statements (with help from his mate Dave Dein), that he expects to be given the money this summer to buy the exceptional and quality players required to bring the squad up to speed – £70m at the very least, one imagines. And from Arsene’s tone and demeanour, it seems he suspects that Kroenke will not come through and has made the matter a resignation issue. Will Kroenke gtive way? On past record, not a chance.

  3. “Resignation”? Nope – he has been in serious discussion with PSG, who can certainly afford the compensation on to Arsenal for the last year of his contract. And if Arsenal demands that Wenger stays, he could probably demand in return that Kroenke gives him funds to spend or assume constructive dismissal if not.

    To be fair Kroenke has paid half a billion for control of the club – you cant exactly call him cheap. And it is his club. Unless you want to pay him for his shares.

    This is football in 2013 – like it or lump it.

    At the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, which Kroenke also owns, there is a deliberate and openly acknowledged “starless” strategy i.e. assembling a team that is balanced, relies on team play rather than individual genius, and cannot be stopped by keying on any single player. This team produced quite decent results in the regular season, although they are struggling in the current round of the playoffs.

    • ‘Starless’? I guess that pretty much sums up AFC right now and confirms (if there are still any doubters) whose hand is on the tiller. Headlong into mediocrity. And (with respect) this is not ‘football in 2013’ (nor any other year), at any rate not as we know it. The point being that when you buy a Club like Arsenal it comes with obligations – noblesse oblige, one could call it – whether you’ve paid half a billion or half a dollar. Kroenke has taken over a fiefdom and with it comes responsibilities. Which he has signally failed to fulfil. Monarchs have lost their heads for far less.

      • “Noblesse oblige”? Are you for real?

        Situation these days is the rich are no longer noble – well let’s face it they never were. Nonetheless, the world we live in to day is one in which the rich are raping our economies and slashing what little we get for the privilege of paying the taxes that they themselves refuse to pay. They have privatised roads, railways, even the water God gave mankind. They have commercialised damn-near all social institutions including our sporting leagues and the clubs. And yet, amidst all this, you how believe that such a thing as “noblesse oblige” exists. And that it actually pertains to a money machine that Dein & Fisman floated the stock of them, cashed in on to the tune of half a billion?

        At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if your next fantasy involves a shadowy bizneezman, who having robbed central asian peasants of their national jewels, has miraculously discovered this “noblesse oblige” of which you speak – and wishes to redress the wrongdoings which have made him literally filthy rich, by raining money on the noble fiefdom that is Arsenal FC.

        Where do they find people like you. Casting agencies? Asylums? Open mic tuesday at the pub?

        Apologies, I’m being harsh. But you’re severely out of touch with the realities of football today. The schedule you are reading is no longer valid and the train you are expecting no longer stops at the station that you’re waiting at. It’s not going to come again – ever.

  4. Just wanted to interject with a little gem I came across in the Irish Daily Mirror today (30/4/13) . I know it has nothing to do with the current topic but I found it priceless. It appears our old friend Roy Keane has discovered to his “disbelief” that his only son has admitted that he supports Arsenal !! Seems young Aidan Keane at 13 has more understanding of the finer things in life than his auld fella !! Go Aidan !!!!!

  5. Ziontrain: Mate, you haven’t been harsh at all. (Misguided, yes, but not harsh.) You are probably feeling guilty that you’ve shattered all my illusions, rather like telling a child that, really, there is no Santa Claus. So allow me to reassure you: I stopped watching out for him ages ago. Yes. it’s a dog-eat-dog world. But a glance at the map shows that serfs, pushed too far, often turn their plough-shares back into swords. With Arsenal, the revolution will be organic. No need for mass protests or violence. As a matter of fact, it’s already begun. Kroenke is an obstinate cuss – but even he cannot survive a half-empty Emirates.

    • The real money in football is not in stadium seats. It helps but really it is the TV audience. As for the seats themselves they are actually fairly priced considering costs of any entertainment in central London.

      As such basically the club could fill the stadium fairly easily by dropping prices a little bit – as long as they are playing attractive football and have a youth story. Commercial and TV money from Asia, the CL participation and so on is what they are after – it is why they spend this kind of money on a club. And yes that includes Genghis Khan too.

      You can read history however you chose, my personal interpretation is serfs have never had a chance and the only fleeting moments they have had were a result of aristocratic weakness. Other than that, the natural order remains. Go look at your government today and its decisions and priorities. It might look like a democracy but its merely a smoothly disguised form of aristocracy.

      This is real life. Stop pretending its not about money. Even the players dont bother any more. Where is Van Persie again?

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