Tag Archives: Chelsea

Great time to play Man City – PL fixtures announced

Manchester City at home

Chelsea away

Welcome to the Premier League Unai Emery.

Whilst a lot of people have winced at Arsenal’s tough start to the Premier League season, I prefer to look at it another way.

The beginning of the season is a great time to play both sides due to the World Cup.

Arsenal have just 8 players at the World Cup – Granit Xhaka, Mesut Özil, David Ospina, Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck & new boy Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Only really Ozil, Monreal and Xhaka start in our strongest XI.

This means for the opening day of the season, we could line up the following line up:


Bellerin Mustafi Sokratis Kolasinac

Wilshere* AMN Ramsey


Aubameyang Lacazette

*If he signs

The only place we are looking lightweight is in midfield, as both Xhaka and Elneny are in Russia, and likely new signing Lucas Torreira will also be out there.

Manchester City, meanwhile, have 16 players at the World Cup.

The likes of Kyle Walker, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne strut their stuff around Russia

John Stones, Vincent Kompany, Ederson, Danilo, Fernandinho, Fabian Delph, Benjamin Mendy, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and David Silva will also be out there.

Looking at their squad, you struggle to make a competitive XI out of those players who have not gone.

If they rush some players who will be knocked it early – the likes of Stones and Walker – they might be able to put out a decent XI; but an XI who would not have had much of a pre season.

Chelsea also have a lot of players at the World Cup. 14 in total.

Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and loan man Michy Batshuayi. Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Olivier Giroud N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Willy Caballero.

Kenneth Omeruo and Victor Moses will be playing for Nigeria.

Going into the first few games of the season, they will be without a senior goal keeper and have just senior CB – David Luiz – to choose from.

Emery has a chance of starting the season off with a bang. Two wins against two top 6 sides.

Other fixtures to look out for are:

Spurs (a): March 2nd

Spurs (h): December 1st

Boxing Day: Brighton (a)

New Years Eve: Liverpool (a)

New Years Day: Fulham (h)

Last game: Burnley (h)

The post-Europa league games are also friendly. They will all get moved to Sunday and for away supporters, we have avoided any long trips:

Everton (h)

Fulham (a)

Crystal Palace (a)

Wolves (h)

Tottenham (h)

Southampton (a)

Two of the post Europa League away days in London and the furthest to travel is Southampton. Not bad.

With the transfer window closing on the eve of the Premier Leaghe starting, clubs have to get a move on with any business they have to do.

Arsenal have fairly nice fixtures in the last 8 games of the season. If we start well, we could be in with a shout towards the end.

Up the Arsenal



Exposed: Chelsea’s Financial Problems

We are now self sufficient Chelsea fans cried after showing a pre-tax profit of £13,113,000 in their 2017 accounts.

What was not made clear was this was simply clever accounting. And this week it has been exposed how dangerous having a single owner that you rely on to keep a club afloat and moving forward can be.

On Thursday, Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich put the club’s stadium plans on hold. Chelsea issued a statement saying the club had delayed work on Stamford Bridge because of “the current unfavourable investment climate”.

This comes on the back of delays to Abramovich’s renewal of his UK visa, which expired earlier this year.

The delay in issuing him a new visa comes amid increased diplomatic tensions between London and Moscow after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

And those delays have since led to him cancelling his visa application.

Rumours are that Abramovich is unwilling to invest in a major project in a country where he is not allowed work.

The new stadium has been hit with problems over the years, with the estimated cost for a new 60,000 seat Stamford Bridge increasing to £1bn after delays, which included a disputes with local residents.

The club added added: “No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur. The club does not have a time frame set for reconsideration of its decision.”

The fact that the decision to pull the plug was made by one man, Roman Abramovich, shows what a precarious position Chelsea are in.

When the Russian first took over, way back in 2003, I remember the discussions on the message boards.

“What will happen if he gets bored?”

“What will happen if Putin takes him out?”

“What will happen if the money disappears as quickly as it came?”

The answer to all was simple. Chelsea would be in a lot of trouble.

No one was saying that issues would happen soon. Abramovich had moved to London and seemed happy. His family lived here, and he owned numerous houses throughout Kensington and Chelsea.

His 2007 divorce saw him give his ex wife £1bn and four houses throughout the world, including an £18 million Sussex estate.

Over his 15 years a the club, he has bankrolled Chelsea to the tune of £1bn. A few years back, those loans were reportedly written off by Abramovich, but under a complex structure, he is stil lowed nearly £1bn.

A look at Chelsea’s accounts shows how much trouble they would be in if he decided to call it quits in England.

When Abramovich loaned Chelsea the money, he did not loan it direct to Chelsea Football Club Limited (the Companies House registered limited company that deals with the football side of the business). He instead loaned it to Chelsea Limited, the group holding company.

This loan was then passed from Chelsea Limited to Chelsea PLC – the company that runs Chelsea Football Club Limited as well as Chelsea Football Club Women Ltd, The Hotel at Chelsea Limited and various other companies related to the non-football side of the business.

Chelsea Limited was renamed Fordstam Limited in 2009 – when Abramovich reportedly wrote off the debt that Chelsea owned him. This meant that whilst recapitalisation of loans happened at the level of Chelsea FC PLC, it did not happen within the holding company (Fordstam).

So whilst Chelsea FC PLC do not owe anyone £1bn, the overall group holding company Fordstam Limited have horrendous financials.

Fordstam Limited’s accounts are so bad that they do not actually get a credit limit. A recent credit search on them showed “cash transactions only”.

Underneath Chelsea PLC is the football business, Chelsea Football Club Limited. This is the trading name of the real club, having been established in 1985. Chelsea FC PLC was established in 1990 (originally named Chelsea Village) to oversee both the football club, and the surrounding “village” that was built around Stamford Bridge under Ken Bates.

Chelsea Football Club Limited is in equally as bad shape. They get just a £500 credit limit. That is not a typo. They basically get the same credit as a teenager at University.

As a comparison, the Arsenal Football Club Public Limited Company – which is the equivalent of Chelsea Football Club Limited in terms of that is the company which oversees the football side of Arsenal – gets a £47,100,000 credit limit.

In between Fordstam Limited and Chelsea Football Club Limited is Chelsea FC PLC. As explained, this is the company that owns Chelsea Football Club Limited, and other companies such as the hotel. This is the only major company within the complex structure that gets a credit limit, but in football terms this is not huge

Again, for a comparison, Arsenal Holdings PLC gets £22,000,000.

When you delve deeper into the accounts of all 3 companies involved in the running of Chelsea, you get an understanding of just how problematic things will be if Abramovich decides “enough is enough” and walks away.

Chelsea’s accounts do show a profit last year of about £15m, but this was mainly driven by player sales. A £50m loss turned around due to the sale of Oscar to China.

In their next accounts (up until June 2018) that will be announced later this year, it will once again show a huge operating loss, bought back to break even due to player sales – they raised over £100m last summer.

It means that Chelsea are in the situation where they even need another injection of cash from Abramovich or need to continue to sell to buy.

The club is on the verge of breaking down.

The likes of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois want out. Both had team mates begging them to stay in their post-game interviews after the FA Cup. The sale of both will be key to raising finance to ensure the books stay even. In 2019, Chelsea will once more post an operating loss before player sales, especially with lack of Champions League football.

If they fail to sell either Hazard or Courtois, they will struggle to invest in the playing side of the club, unless they are comfortable posting an pre-tax loss. Clearly recent actions by Abramovich show that he does not want either Chelsea Football Club Limited or Chelsea FC PLC to make a pre-tax loss. He does not want to put any more of his own cash into the club.

Add in the future of Antonio Conte, the cost that it will be to get rid of him and his coaching staff – and the problems at Chelsea are really starting to mount up.

Abramovich might use the situation with his UK visa to get out of the club. He has two options that I can see.

The first is to liquidate Fordstam Limited. This is the holding company that oversees the entire group structure. This will then lead to administrators coming in to sell off parts of the club. It will be one of them £1 deals that happen in the lower leagues (and I think how Ken Bates originally bought the club).

Administration would see points deduction and potential relegation for the Premier League. The debt would disappear and what would be left is the football club. Players contracts will be considered null and void, allowing them to leave on a free.

A new owner would come in and have to rebuild from the bottom up, like we have seen with Leeds.

Alternatively, before putting Fordstam Limited into administration, Abramovich could sell Chelsea FC PLC.

Chelsea FC PLC carries no debt, but high costs.

A new owner would be unlikely to want to spend big on such a loss making enterprise, one which he might have to pump £50m a year into to ensure it stays afloat. I would be surprised if Abramovich gets much for the club if he decides to sell due to its poor financials.

If he sells Chelsea FC PLC, the club does not enter administration, it does not lose points, players or gets relegated. It just needs an owner with deep pockets willing to service the debt.

Once sold, Abramovich will send Fordstam Limited into administration, with its £1bn debt.

Some might claim “Abramovich will not want to write off £1bn”, but he is a man worth £10bn. Remember, he was happy giving his ex-wife £1bn and 4 houses!

Abramovich has always had a questionable background with links to the KGB and Russian government. Abramovich was the first person to originally recommend to Yeltsin that Vladimir Putin be his successor as the Russian president.

His friendship with Boris Berezovsky saw him purchase numerous companies after the break up of the Soviet Union for “25 times less than the market price”.

He strikes me as the type of man that will do things on the whim, and out of spite.

Whatever happens with the future of Chelsea and Abramovich, one thing is clear. Arsenal fans would be crazy to wish for Alisher Usmanov to take over at Arsenal and be subject to a single mans control, relying on him financially.


Arsenal set for “double your money” kit deal

In 2014, Arsenal announced a new, long term partnership, with Puma. A deal worth £150m, or £30m over 5 years. It was, at the time, one of the largest deals of its kind in football.

Arsenal had been with Nike for 20 years, but in the early 2010’s, had decided to seek a new kit manufacturing partner. Adidas were in prime spot and were expected to sign a deal, until Puma swooped in late, gazumping the money Adidas had put on the table.

At the time, Cardiff City and Newcastle United were the only Premier League clubs to have their kit made by Puma, so the Arsenal deal was a massive coup for the German company.

“Arsenal represents a major commercial and marketing opportunity to reinforce Puma’s credibility as a global sports brand,” chief executive Bjoern Gulden said in a statement.

The deal Arsenal signed with Puma back in 2014 was one of the largest in world football lat the time. But as with our shirt sponsors, we are always at the beginning of the new cycle of mega-deals, and it was soon gazumped by Manchester United and Adidas:

It is clear that Arsenal are getting well below from Puma than what they could command in the current market. Half the value of Chelsea, 40% of the monster Manchester United deal. Not much more than the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham; whom we sell significantly more shirts than.

One interesting thing to note is the Chelsea deal. It is massive. Worth £900m at the time. But it is also a deal signed until 2032.

Whilst they might be getting more than they would “naturally” command now, you have to think in 5 years time, that deal could be considered poor.

Clubs usually sign 5 or 6 year deals, to enable themselves to not be caught out if there is jump. Arsenal suffered when they signed a long term deal with Emirates to help finance the stadium, and found themselves receiving a lot less than other sides in commercial revenue.

The Chelsea deal will be judged in the course of time.

Despite being fairly average, Arsenal are still amongst the runners for most shirts sold. It is this that makes Arsenal such a good proposition for manufacturers, rather trophies won.

Reports are that Puma and Manchester City have entered negotiations. With Manchester City looking to cut their £18m a year Nike deal short, and sign a £45m one with Puma.

This rumour is interesting, as it shows that Puma are concerned about not sponsoring a top Premier League team. Were the Arsenal deal to end, they would not have a major club in England wearing their shirt.

It also highlights how poor Manchester City are still seen abroad.

Despite running away with the league this year, the deal with Puma will still be a lot less than the Chelsea and Manchester United ones.

Puma base what they are willing to pay on the shirts they can sell – and not on the trophies won. Manchester United outsell every team in the Premier League (and the world) hence where there deal is the biggest.

It should also be remember that clubs do not get a “cut of global sales”. The only extra money a club makes on top of the licensing and manufacturing agreement is when they sell the shirts in the club shop or online. “Buy Direct” as Arsenal say.

When it comes to selling shirts, Arsenal or Manchester United are no different to Sports Direct or JD Sports. They make their money on the difference between what Puma (or Nike) sell the shirts to them for, and what they sell them on to us, the consumer, for.

Sorry for digressing.

Despite not winning a league title since 2004, Arsenal will still be considered by the likes of Nike and Adidas as a premium band. Someone that they want to supply, and pay big bucks to supply. Only 5 clubs in world football sell more shirts.

Barcelona have recently signed a £150m deal with Nike. Manchester United’s is at £75m a season. Chelsea £60m a season.

Adidas pay Bayern Munich £65m a season.

It is the Bayern Munich deal that is most comparable.

Arsenal sell a similar amount of shirts as the German giants, and Adidas want a London Premier League club after losing Chelsea to Nike. The deal will be done between Arsenal and Adidas.

Munich is the jewel in the crown for Adidas. A German based company, German’s biggest team. It is a match made in heaven. Despite this, they get less from their deal than Manchester United. Ultimately it comes down to business. Manchester United sell more shirts, so get more money.

Personally, I can see Arsenal signing a deal with Adidas in the region of £60m a season, doubling our current Puma deal.

I also do not think we will join Chelsea in a 15 year long deal. We should look at the Manchester United deal, expiring in 2024, and look at an expiry date of around that time.

In 2024, Manchester United might double their deal again, taking themselves to £150m. That would dwarf every other side in the Premier League.

Arsenal would not want to be sitting there in 2024 on £60m a year with 8 years to run, whilst Manchester United have a £150m a year deal. That could create a long term deficit of £720m. A lot of money.

Arsenal need to close that commercial gap between themselves and Manchester United. House deals with Emirates and a new kit manufacturer need to be just the beginning.