Arsenal Fans: Let’s Unite

There’s a scene in The Young Ones (1980s comedy starring the late Rik Mayall, for those too young to remember) where, as usual, there is an argument going on and the character of Rick says:

“Guys! Guys! Look at us! Squabbling, bickering. Like children. What’s happening to us? We never used to be like this!”

And Vyvyan replies:

“Yes we did.”

And this is how it seems with Arsenal fans. We always have something to argue about. Arguments about whether 4-4-2 is better than 4-3-3 or 3-5-2, or whether Wilshere is better than Ramsey, will never be resolved and that’s fine. We all have our opinions. But we also argue about facts from history, which are easily distorted through the lens of time. And ignorance.

I feel that if we all accepted a few basic facts and agreed on them we could perhaps move towards being a more harmonious group. So I’ve devised this little quiz  to see whether we can all agree on some basics, and then maybe we can use this as the foundation for more unity and perhaps even “Victory Through Harmony”.

1. Do you accept that Arsenal have been better off financially since moving from Highbury?
a. Yes, not much immediately but it has ramped up gradually
b. Only since the new sponsorship deals with Emirates and Puma
c. No, Arsenal would definitely have been better off staying at Highbury

2. Do you accept that when Arsenal had the second highest budget behind Man Utd they usually came second in the Premier League and sometimes won it, when Chelsea started spending more Arsenal dropped to third or fourth place in the League, and when Man City started spending more Arsenal remained third or fourth – in other words, Arsenal tend to consistently perform on par with or slightly above their budget?
a. Yes, I accept Arsenal tend to perform in the League on par with their budget but sometimes exceed it by one place (and on one occasion in the Wenger era were one place below par)
b. No, that’s rubbish – Arsenal do much better than their budget suggests

3. Do you accept that Arsenal’s debt was restructured in 2006 and has cost the club approximately £20m to service every year since, and will continue to cost around this figure until it’s paid off in 2031?
a. Yes
b. No

4. Arsenal’s gross debt is over £200m and there is no expectation or plan to pay this off early, ie before 2031. With this in mind, do you accept that Gary Neville was wrong to say Arsenal’s debt is nearly paid off?
a. Yes
b. No, Gary Neville must be right because he’s a good pundit

5. Do you accept that no Arsenal director in living memory has put money into Arsenal*, even though Tony Adams started a myth that Danny Fiszman put his own money in to buy Bergkamp and Platt?
a. Yes
b. No – how dare you suggest Tony is wrong!
c. They’ve all put money in – they’ve bought shares haven’t they?

*apart from 1 – David Dein put some in by buying some unissued shares – see comments below. However this was a six-figure amount, nowhere near the £50m incorrectly claimed by Tony Adams on behalf of Danny Fiszman, in case you were thinking that maybe Tony just confused the names.

6. Do you accept that Arsenal’s cash balance has been over £100m since 2009, and therefore the club could have spent Özil-type money at least four years earlier than they did?
a. Yes
b. No – if the money was there Arsène would have spent it
c. I accept the cash was there but the Board wouldn’t let Arsène spend it even though they consistently said he could, so all the Board are proven liars and Arsène has covered for them

7. Do you believe that Arsenal couldn’t sign expensive players before 2013 because they couldn’t afford all the wages of a four-year contract, even though only year one wages come out of this year’s budget and the rest comes from future income (and no other club in the world uses this as a reason not to make signings)?
a. No
b. I believe everything Arsenal tell me (except when the Board are lying and Arsène is covering for them)

Now I must tell you that the answer to all questions is A. That’s A. And surely we can all agree on that, can’t we? Can’t we? Guys?

Guys . . . . ?

. . . .

. . . .

Twitter: @AngryOfN5


17 thoughts on “Arsenal Fans: Let’s Unite

  1. Dont agree with A on 6 – if we had a profit of 100 million for a year and didnt buy a player would agree with A.

    Reg. 5 – No one knows.

    Reg. 4 – We don’t know how the debt payment is structured so cant comment.

    Reg. 7 – Oversimplification.

  2. Yes the answer is A to all of the questions except for number 6.
    Just because we had £100m in the bank doesn’t mean we could’ve spent it all in 2009. That’s before the property money came even. According to Alex Fynn Wenger missed an opportunity in summer 2010 when profits from the property sector gave us the highest turnover in world football (for a short amount of time)
    Arsene has had over £50m to spend from 2010-11 onwards.

    But there’s no way Arsenal could have made a £42.5m singing in 2009 without some trouble.

  3. Here are my answers, with no abuse attached.

    1. A+B. In another world, where Chelski is still Chelsea and Manchester City is still not mainstream, the financial benefits of a new stadium and new deals would have been enormous. But there is no way football as an industry can compete with oil wells in the long run.

    2. A.

    3. A

    4. A. Well we could prepay it, but the you need to know how bank relations work. The alternative which is getting the Usmanov to finance us for the stadium…..nah. Usmanov has a bone to pick with RA, and we were supposed to be an extension of his fight with Roman.

    5. A

    6. A. There is another argument. We were constantly in the red when it comes to operating expenses vs revenues. Only property and transfer sales kept us in the black. During 2008 when the economy crashed, I think the board was right to keep in the black. Arsenal is a big club, but if we do not show that we can service the debt, I am sure banks have no qualms at all in recalling loans if their survival is at stake. That and it will be nigh impossible to refinance the debt during that economic climate with another entity.

    7. A. Well, you can’t answer question 7 without thinking of 2 right? They are related.

  4. No great surprise that your answers to the questions that you have constructed are the answers that you have constructed. The answer (and the question for that matter) to question 6 is particularly misleading because the club spent more than they spent on Ozil on transfers in both the preceding years. Even then the question is flawed without first pointing out that short term debts (amounts falling due within on year) were £314m in 2009 and £149m in 2013. It’s a cash flow question that you’ve presented in such a way to be able to give the answer you want. Does the answer to question 2 which states ‘tend to consistently perform on par with or slightly above ‘ require a qualification that on one occasion in 18 years you claim he didn’t? How does that concern a ‘tendency’ to perform consistently? The answer to Q7 could have been only ManU, City and Chelsea have consistently had a higher wage spend than Arsenal in that period. If you’re honest your intention has little to do with promoting unity as much as it was an attempt to reinforce your prejudices.

  5. Pingback: Arsenal Fans: Let's Unite | angryofislington |

    • As far as I can see only two others have accepted Phil’s chosen answer to question 5 though even if everyone did how does that mean their other answers can’t be trusted?

  6. You had a valid point in your blog on the increase in the ticket prices at the Ems.
    This blog by asking that all your ‘a’s are the correct answer is invalid.

  7. About the ‘debt’ Arsenal have stated that if they may off the debt before time but that will have to pay extra. The £20 million debt payment each year is manageable. Other clubs have committed themselves to debt they cannot manage the payments on and have gone under. In contrast Arsenal go from strength to strength. There is the common and well proved maxim. ‘If it works don’t fix it’. The Arsenal situation works, only an enemy would want to fix it.

  8. The answers options available for questions 4, 6 and 7 are too simplistic to be meaningful.
    Also, Gary Neville was right: We are clearly “nearly there” in our income vs debt situation.

    I don’t expect Neville to be an accountant. But I do expect him to know when a great club is ready to push on:
    “They’ve spent £9million net in 10 years and maintained the level of consistency of getting in the Champions League.

    “They’ve built a football stadium, they’re paying off their debt and they’re nearly there. If they move up now it will look like one of the most magnificent managerial performances when you look back in history.

    “Half the Arsenal fans are annoyed because they think they should be doing more and should be doing better, but of all the madness and debt that surrounds football, what they have done is absolutely the right thing.

    “What they now need to do, having nearly paid off their debt, is they need to go now. I think he knows, Arsene Wenger, that moment is now.”

  9. The season is coming when Arsenal fail to finish in the top 4;it has happened to Liverpool, United and even Chelsea though they got away with it by winning the damn thing thus ensuring their future participation. If we accept that City and Chelsea are pretty much nailed on then there are two spots available for 4 clubs. By the law of averages it will soon be our turn to miss out; contrary to AKB opinion I don’t believe that Wenger is a genius, i think our squad is woefully short of quality in certain areas ( up front, def mid,LB and CB)and that our players are not quite as good as we like to believe .In fact wenger has managed to keep Arsenal in the top4 more by others shortcomings rather than his own managerial abilities; I consider him to have been a lucky manager over the past decade. The point of this ramble is this. When that day comes, possibly at the end of this season, maybe next, there will be much handwringing and finger pointing when the implications of the loss of the CL revenue becomes clear. Unlike United we certainly won’t be doing any buying of players to help us get back in, just the opposite with the sale of some of our better assets in order to trim the wage bill and keep the cash balance up. Maybe then we will look back longingly at the “wasted “years where we had the funds to strengthen but whether through stubbornness,too much loyalty or just plain bad decision making,the manager failed to do everything possible to try to win the PL or the CL. If we go into this season relying on Arteta and Flamini as defensively minded midfielders, fail to get top drawer CB and keep faith with Monreal as back up Lb then I fear next summer may not be very pleasant.Sanchez is a good signing but,imo,a “cherry on the cake” signing, and I feel that we would have been better off concentrating on our weakest areas . And yes,the answer to each question is A.

    • You said the same stupid things in the pays when we had worse teams than this current one. Wenger has his faults but people like you are just deluded.

    • “In fact wenger has managed to keep Arsenal in the top4 more by others shortcomings rather than his own managerial abilities”

      You can use that argument for anything (Chelsea won CL because of BM shortcomings, ManU won league 3 times because of Chelsea shortcomings, Porto won CL because of ManU shortcomings etc etc, on and on).

      To dismiss his achievements like that completely invalidates any point of view you may have.

      The truth of the matter (as always) is somewhere in the middle.

      I dont think Wenger is a genius but he has been/is a very good manager who has kept us high up the chain when other managers wouldn’t.

      Was there money to spend? yes.
      Could we compete for ‘top top’ players? no.
      Did we use the money we did have well? a matter of opinion.
      Should we have spent all the funds? again a matter of opinion (could have won us loads of trophies or could have killed the club).

      Sorry but your ramble makes it sound like you have a real downer on the manager and the stuff about us failing to qualify for CL this year or next almost makes it sound like you want it to happen so you can say “I told you so”

  10. 6A or 6C? If 6A, then the inference is that you believe that Wenger had the power to spend the £100m, but chose not to. It may well be true – but can you explain why he chose not to spend the money? I certainly don’t know, but my guess is that the terms of the austerity period had been agreed to, and the finishing line delineated, between Danny & Co and Wenger from the beginning (a policy rigorously adhered to by Kroenke.) Was austerity ever necessary? Not a bit, if the shareholders had raised cash by a Rights Issue. And there is a strong case to be made that they would not have earned less from their holdings. Lady N appears to have that view.

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