Tag Archives: Bayern Munich

Arsenal fans ripped off in Napoli

For a long time English football clubs – and mainly Arsenal – were heavily criticised throughout Europe for ticket prices.

In 2015, we saw Bayern Munich fans protest at a Champions League game against having to pay £64 for a ticket.

In recent years we have seen things reverse, European clubs charging extortionate amounts for English clubs to visit, and yet the media in England and throughout Europe have been oddly quiet about it.

For the Europa League game between Arsenal and Napoli, Arsenal are charging just £26, meanwhile Napoli are charging visiting fans £53.

We also see Barcelona charging Manchester United fans €120 a ticket – the highest they would have paid for an away game in history outside of finals.

In response, Manchester United are charging Barcelona fans the same – and passing on the extra money to their travelling fans subsidising their away ticket.

We have seen this happen a couple of times in recent years – with both Sevilla and Atletico Madrid hiking up prices for visiting English clubs. On both occasions the English clubs in question also hiked the prices up, and then subsidised the away fans with the profits.

It means that travelling fans of Barcelona, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid ended up subsiding fans of Arsenal, Manchester and Liverpool.

The English travelling fans paid a “fairer” amount, the travelling Spanish fans paid a premium, and the only ones to really benefit were the Spanish club. And we are talking about an additional €150,000 in revenue. Not exactly much in the grand scheme of things!

In the Premier League, clubs have to charge away fans for the same as home fans for the “equivalent area”. So at Arsenal, away fans in the corner of the lower tier pay the same as home fans in the corner of the lower tier.

This pricing rule does not exist in Europe – meaning that European sides hike the prices up looking to profit from visiting English fans.

You often see “fans” of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and other European sides boast about how much more reasonable tickets are on the continent than in England. They are then silent when English fans are ripped off when abroad.

These pricing games only push up ticket prices for fans.

If an Italian club increases their price for visiting English fans, and the English club matches it, the only people to lose out are the Italian fans.

Fans abroad are quick enough to protest against English clubs, but seemingly slow to protest against their own club causing them to pay more.

I wonder if in response Arsenal will charge visiting Napoli fans northwards of £50 and then offer discounts to travelling Arsenal fans?



Arsenal fans unrealistic to expect Stan Kroenke to pump in billions

Last week Stoke City announced £30.1m pre-tax losses for the 2017/18 season. When you consider that they received £98.8m in TV money for that season, to lose £30.1m is huge mismanagement.

Due to the huge TV deals, football (in the top flight at least) is in an era where clubs no longer make huge losses. That they tend to spend within their needs, and turn over a profit.

In 2016/17, Stoke City made a £5m profit, to then turn that into a £30m loss shows how much they overspent in an attempt to remain in the Premier League.

Why clubs are still willing to get themselves hugely into debt, chasing what they deem to be success, it beyond me.

Whether that success is winning the Premier League or remaining in the Premier League, surely clubs have learnt their lessons from the likes of Portsmouth and Leeds?

That whilst getting yourself into debt might help you to be a success in the short term, it is detrimental to the long term stability of the club.

The fact that in 2016/17, 19 of the 20 clubs made a profit showed that every club was spending within their means, and not getting into huge debt chasing the golden egg. Stoke City getting into huge debt in 2017/18 is just silly.

Only really Manchester City in the Premier League are racking up huge debts – but these are being covered by the owners who have recently been exposed for flouting FFP rules and pumping in £2.7bn.

I bring up the situation with Stoke City as some Arsenal fans have consistently called for Stan Kroenke to put his hand into his own pocket, and finance Arsenal to success.

The truth is that Kroenke is not rich enough to finance us to success, and the only way he could do it is to take out loans against the club to free up cash.

Reality is, Manchester City and PSG are the only two top level clubs who are being bankrolled by owners. Every other club – from Real Madrid to Bayern Munich, Manchester United to Juventus, Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona – operate a self sufficient model. They spend what they bring in.

Now some of these clubs might have some dodgy account, be in huge debt, and have flouted EU state funding rules, but for long term success and stability of your club, the aim is to generate and spend your own money.

Arsenal have ran a self sufficient model for as long as I can remember.

The move to the Emirates was part of this. To increase income from gate receipts to close the gap on those clubs at the top who had 60,000+ stadiums.

By promoting Sven Mislintat to Technical Director shows that we plan to continue this self sufficient model.

Intelligent recruitment, exceptional coaching and solid commercial deals are the key to success for almost every club across Europe. Not just sling a load of money at something and hope it works.

Expecting an owner to bankroll you to success is unrealistic. It is a rarity.

Some have pointed to Liverpool recently, but their owners are no different to what Stan Kroenke is doing at Arsenal. Liverpool spend what they bring in, the owners put in nothing.

Overt he last 5 years, Liverpool have spent nearly £200m more than Arsenal in the transfer market. But this additional income has not come from the owners, it also has not come from better commercial deals – both clubs have similar revenue prior to player transactions.

The extra £200m comes from better recruitment over a period of time.

In recent years, Liverpool have bought better than Arsenal. they have also sold better. Think Coutinho. signed for less than £10million, sold for over £100million.

By buying low and selling high, you can continue spending big to improve the squad. And it is the selling that is important.

Over that last 5 years, Arsenal have sold very poor.

A mixture of having some average players on high wages has resulted in us having to accept low transfer deals from other sides just to get the wages off the book. Overpaying some poor players was a huge part of Arsene Wenger’s downfall.

Liverpool have generated nearly £250m more in player sales than Arsenal in the last 5 years. This means that whilst they have spent nearly £200m more gross than Arsenal, their net spend is over £40m less.

Improving recruitment and pay structure are two key reasons why Mislintat and Huss Fahmy were appointed and, more recently, promoted.

But Stan Kroenke is worth $8.5bn, he has enough money to bankroll us to success i have seen some claim.

This shows a lack of awareness of people between net worth and available income.

Net worth is the total value of all your assets. Cash, property, shares, businesses, and more, minus what you owe. Theoretically, your net worth is what you would have in cash if you sold every significant possession and paid off all of your debts. You can have a high net worth but have no cash in the bank.

Think of things on a smaller level.

You can have an ordinary man living in London, owning a house and a car, have a pension and own a few shares. Lets say his house is worth £450,000, he owes £150,000 on his mortgage. He recently bought a 2nd hand car for £6,000 and has £25,000 in savings. He has no other debts, credit cards or finance. He would have a net worth of £331,000.

But in his current account, for his day to day spending, he has just £178 – he does not get paid until month end.

What this means is today, if he decides to pay for a holiday, lets say Antigua in the new year, he does not have the cash to pay for it. If he wishes to pay for that holiday, he needs to get into debt. whether it is pay on a credit card or take out a loan.

Say he also wants to get his kitchen done. It will cost around £10,000. For that he might need to go to the bank, release some equity in his house, increase his mortgage.

He might have a net worth of £331,000, but he would need loans and mortgages to pay for holidays and his kitchen.

Kroenke is no different to the ordinary man, he just has a bigger net worth.

He does not have £2.7bn sitting in a bank account, ready to splash on Arsenal.

To buy out Alisher Usmanov, he took out a £550m loan. He was able to get a loan of that size due to his net worth, basically leveraging the debt against his current assets.

Remember the theory above? if he sold all his assets, he would be able to pay off all his debts.

Kroenke has another well known loan also outstanding.

Earlier this year, he and his wife, Ann Walton Kroenke (heiress to the Walmart fortune) took out a $2.25 billion loan for the construction of the LA Rams new new Inglewood stadium.

He still has a net worth of $8.5bn, and his wife $6.8bn, so the eye watering loan is easily manageable. The loan is 14.70% of their net worth. The equivalent of the ordinary man we described above (who has a £310,00 net worth) taking out an additional £45,500 mortgage on his house.

This highlights the cash flow of billionaires.

Kroenke did not have $2.25bn to finance the stadium just sitting around. Nor did he have the £500m+ for the rest of the Arsenal buy out. His finances were tied up in other business. Arsenal, the LA Rams, other sporting interests, working ranches and a huge property portfolio.

Do people really expect him to liquidate a billion pounds worth of assets to free up cash to spend on Arsenal?

The other option could be that he could take out another huge loan, and this brings us back round to Stoke City.

Kroenke’s loan to buy Arsenal was taken out by his English subsidiary KSE UK inc. The only tangible asset is Arsenal Football Club Holdings. The loan was not directly taken against Arsenal, it is against the company that owns the club.

The £600m Kroenke spent buying the whole of the club valued the Gunners at £1.8bn. It is safe to say then that KSE UK inc is also worth around the £1.8bn mark.

However KSE UK inc owes the £550m loan. This would leave the company with a net worth of £1.25bn.

If Kroenke was to do what fans want, and spend £1bn spread over an extended period, he would basically have to take out further loans through KSE UK inc. With Arsenal being the main asset of the group, it would be a loan against Arsenal in everything by name.

So what fans want is for Kroenke to take a £1bn loan against Arsenal to chase success.

This is terrifying.

The loan would be used to cover huge outgoings by the club. Transfer fees, wages. Basically Arsenal would run at huge losses chasing the title, using the money from the loan to cover those loses.

But at some point the KSE UK inc and therefore the club will need to start paying back that loan.

In 2003 Arsenal secured a £260 million loan to finance the stadium. This was due to be paid back over 25 years.

What some fans are calling for is a nearly 4 times that amount. What they do not seem to be concerned about is how the club will pay back that loan, and how long it will take,

If a £1bn loan was taken out, and the money spent over a 10 year period, it could take 50 years to pay back. So we are sacrificing our long term future for short term success. Adults demanding that Kroenke finance Arsenal to the title now, at the risk of the club not winning league titles for their children and grand children’s time. How selfish is that?

And what happens if the TV bubble bursts, or Arsenal struggle for a few years in mid table, or good forbid get relegated. Arsenal would be stuck with a £1bn loan, a business model making huge losses every year, and no way to pay it back.

And £1bn over 10 years old not guarantee any success. Manchester City owners have spent £2.7bn over that period!

Anyone that thinks Stan Kroenke has the means to finance Arsenal the way Sheikh Mansoor finances Manchester City is clearly uneducated and do not understand business and net worth.

And anyone that is happy with the club taking out a £1bn loan to chase success is selfish.

Arsenal need to concentrate on replicating what Manchester United have done. Increase spending by increasing revenue.

During the stadium build, it was often said we were look towards Bayern Munich as how to run a club. That still stands.

A strong academy, good recruitment, quality coaching, solid commercial revenue.

This is how Arsenal not only return to title challengers, but ensure we are up their for future generations.

High spending over a short period is boom and bust. It leads to Stoke City, to Leeds United, to Portsmouth.

Back the club, back the new management team, and understand how finances work.

The club are moving forward. They are in a good place. There are improvements that can be made, and these are happening.

We might not be buying our way to success, but only Manchester City and PSG are currently doing that.

For long term stability, long term success, we need to do it the right way, not the easy way.


Aaron Ramsey, Ousmane Dembele and future Arsenal wingers

After the joy of watching England over the summer, the national team has reverted to type since.

Gareth Southgate has lost almost all of the good will gained due to the decision to pick Wayne Rooney for a goodbye cap, make Fabian Delph captain, and select some horrendously average players – the likes of Delph, Michael Keane, Lewis Dunk and Harry Winks.

I did not watch last night games. I could not care less for it. Mainly due to the Rooney fiasco, but also due to what Southgate is doing to the national team at the moment.

Anyway, it has been the dullest of dull interlulls, but yesterday we had a bit of breaking news as Aaron Ramsey was close to agreeing a deal to join Bayern Munich next summer on a free transfer.

These things do have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Ramsey is not actually allowed to discuss anything with a foreign club until January 1st. Although I am not naive enough to think that his people have not spoken to top clubs around Europe.

Moving to Munich would (and would not) make sense for him. I would be very surprised if he moves abroad with such a young family – his wife gave birth to twins a month ago.

However Munich seems like a good fit, and I can see him doing very well in Germany.

They are one of the few clubs that would pay him what he wants, and with James Rodriguez likely to leave and Thomas Muller seemingly shot, you can see Ramsey starting in the advanced midfield position he thrives in.

There are a couple of bellends at games who seem to laugh at booing him. Whilst he wears an Arsenal shirt, we should be backing him. And remember it is Arsenal’s decision to let him go, not his decision to leave.

I wish him luck if he joins Munich.

Other news surrounds Ousmane Dembele.

A few days ago he was heavily linked with Liverpool. I posed the question on Twitter as to whether Arsenal should be in for him at a similar price in January.

The result was close, but ultimately the British people voted to leave Europe the majority would take him.

At £85m, he would take up almost all of our summer 2019 transfer funds, especially when you take into account that he is rumoured to be on £220k a week at Barcelona.

Despite this, I would still move for him.

Next season we need two wingers, a left back and a centre back. If we assume Reiss Nelson is going to continue his fine form and development in Germany, we can assume that between him and Alex Iwobi we have the right hand side locked down. Nelson will save us £30+.

What that means is we could double up on the left hand side. use the funds we would have assigned to signing a right winger and put them towards the left winger.

attempted to do some back of the fag packet maths yesterday to show how we can sign Dembele and still have enough in the pot to secure the centre back and left back we need:

Before people get hung up on the left back, I have since changed my opinion, that we should offer Nacho Monreal one more year, cash in on Kolasinac, and buy a left back who has the potential to be long term first choice. But that is a debate for another day.

I might attempt to expand on what Arsenal can and can not buy another day.

Whilst we are talking about wingers, I encourage you to read this excellent blog by Jorge Bird detailing the talented young wingers in Arsenal’s youth teams.

I have seen our youth play a few times recently, certainly not as much as Jorge (or JW who blogs here), and we do seem to have a lot of the same type of players coming through.

We have an abundance of rapid wide men throughout our youth system, but they are also technically excellent.

Nelson aside, the two I am most excited by Xavier Amaechi and Bukayo Saka.

Amaechi is a left winger and some have claimed that he is the quickest player at the club. Currently injured, he has a big future and next year would be knocking on the door of the first team squad for the summer tour and League Cup games.

Still just 17, he has a bright future. Will we follow the same route as Nelson with him? Send him abroad a year where his sort of talent does not get kicked out of him (unlike in the Championship), before he returns to Arsenal for 2020/21 to compete for a place on Arsenal’s left hand side.

Coming up behind Amaechi is Saka, who has only just turned 16. The youngster has taken advantage of his older team mates injury to cement a a place in Arsenal’s U23s. He has also appeared for England U19s.

Saka is perhaps a year behind Amaechi in terms of development. Despite both being born in 2001 (how old does that make you feel?), they fall into different English school years. That does have an affect on development and when they could start playing more competitive football.

I expect Saka to continue his development and we will see more of him in the summer of 2020, before he pushes into the first team in 2021.

That might seem a long time away, but Saka will still just be 19 when the 2021/22 season starts!

What is exciting is underneath Alex Iwobi, we have 3 very talented wingers in Nelson, Amaechi and Saka, all of whom will be given time to develop and make an impact over the next 2 or 3 years.

That’s all from me today, the cricket is on and I have some cleaning to do. Enjoy your day!