As regards ‘Arsenal Past’ we all are aware of the fantastic trophy filled past successes of Arsene Wenger in the period from his appointment as coach in 1996 and through until 2005.
In the eyes of some fans, it has been all too easy to judge his amazing impact on the club only through the microscope of trophies, and to simply ignore the extraordinary and direct impact he has had on Arsenal, and, indirectly, all the other Premier League clubs and more generally on English football as a whole.
Let us not spend too much time on debating this, other than to note the incontestable revolutionary training, dietary discipline, worldwide scouting prowess and administrative genius that he brought with him, and which has since been widely copied by every other Premier League manager, hungry for success, and that has set the groundwork for our future financial and on-field success.
So what of ‘Arsenal Present’, post the move to the Emirates stadium, and the sad leaving behind of our venerable and much loved old home, Highbury?
Clearly we have already had a somewhat disappointing season, if it is to be judged solely from the perspective of challenging for the Premier League title, or one of the other Cups that we would so desperately have hoped to win.
It cannot be denied that it has been yet another of our interminable transitional seasons, with yet another huge turnover of first team players resulting from the acquisition of Podolski, Cazzorla and Giroud, following the shock departures of our captain, Robin van Persie, to Man United and Song to Barcelona.
Indeed, for every promising step forward we have made in the current season, with an away win over ‘Pool and a good draw at Man City, there have been unedifying setbacks, not just to money bags Chelsea in the league, but also to the ‘lesser’ clubs like Blackburn Rovers and Bradford City in the Cups. Oops!
The fantastic Wengerball football produced at the beginning of the season, particularly driven by Cazorla and Wilshere, gave us, the fans, a certain optimistic confidence that perhaps, against all expectations, Arsenal would do very well after all, especially after the stunning 5:2 beating of the Spuds in the North London derby in November 2012 to add to the victories mentioned above. However, the net effect, of these patchy performances, has left us fighting hard to qualify for the ECL next season, with success still very much in the balance.
Before we leave ‘the present’, let us dwell for a second on the firm promises made by Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, in which they have made it clear that Arsenal, while remaining in a financially self sustaining mode, would be able to compete with the other top clubs in the transfer market this summer, and will do so.
This bodes well for our future trophy success, and commensurate enjoyment for long suffering Gooners.
OK, it cannot be avoided, but before we look at ‘Arsenal Future’, we need to briefly look at the club’s financial performance in recent times.
In the year 2011/12 Arsenal produced ‘another healthy set of full year results’ as our Chairman, Hill Wood declared, with a very creditable profit before tax of £36.6 million.
This is very much in line with an average annual profit of £38 million in each of the previous 5 years, and confirms our club as being among the very top echelon of the most profitable clubs in the world.
Remember, the recognised top Spanish clubs, Barcelona and Real, only made £41 million and £27 million profits respectively, last year, and Manure made a £5 million loss before tax in the comparative year, after a measly £30 million profit in 2010/11.
Incidentally, let’s not even bother to look at the humongous hundreds of millions of pounds losses made by the oligarch and state sponsored clubs like Shitty, Chelsea and the likes.
Now we are beginning to touch on our future prospects which are intrinsically linked with the fortunes of the other competitor clubs, because the impending arrival of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, now in post implementation mode, which have already started to have an impact, with many Italian and Spanish clubs having to sell their ‘big-name’ players to the highest bidders, because of their own, and their countries’, financial and economic difficulties, while City have had to cut back on their transfer market dealings, until they can offload other players in order to conform.
With the imminent arrival of the new EPL deal with Sky, and our strong push for better commercial returns, which is already the 5th largest in Europe, and also, now that the initial necessary deals to help fund the building of the Emirates are reaching completion, the future profitability of the club will take on an even rosier glow, with the knock on beneficial impact on player purchases.
There is still much to be done to match the revenue incomes of our biggest competitors, but the Arsenal management are aware of this, and great efforts are being made to reduce the difference, between ourselves and the top earners, by concentrating more on sponsorship from the Far East, helped by promotional pre-season tours.
It is likely that Arsenal’s revenue will soon place them in the world top tier of revenue earners, with a clear division between that group and the rest of the pursuing clubs.
We are still a long way behind the top four clubs in generating revenues, particularly given the size of Arsenal, but unlike most of the other clubs we have a lot of wriggle room to enable us to build on our financial success, and that will have dramatic consequences on our ability to land trophies, in the very near future.
A well known adage tells us that every business has to invest before the revenues start flowing in, and in a football business this means buying, not just new players, but top quality new players, and to do so, the club has to be prepared to meet the very high wage demands now currently expected by the very top players, and they will help us in our bid to continue to qualify for the lucrative Champions League competition, and then to go on and win it.
What then of our peek into ‘Arsenal Future’ and where will we be in 5 years time?
There are, as we have seen, two distinct reasons for being quietly confident that Arsenal will rise to the top of the footballing world.
First, our revenue streams will exponentially increase as a result of our growing worldwide support, and with it the attendant increase in sponsorship money, as a consequence of competing for the very best players, which will result in the trophy cabinet starting to creak with our on field success, which will create a virtuous circle of increased funds flowing from that success, which will then be ploughed back into player acquisitions et seq.
And secondly, the UEFA, FFP regulations, as well as the Premier Leagues own version of FFP, will ensure that the heavily oligarch and state sponsored clubs will have a cap put on their non-football funded spending, which will, at last, curb their current advantage in hoovering up every top player that comes onto the market.
In five years – expect us to have regularly won competitions, courtesy of Arsene Wenger. We are all set to go!!
Written by: Red Arse.