Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe Pride of Prudence - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The Pride of Prudence - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The Pride of Prudence

Let’s firstly rejoice in our first victory of 2012. It took us over a month but we finally produced an exhilarating display of attacking football. However if you looked at our performance closely against Blackburn you will see that out of the seven goals, RVP was directly involved in 5 with 3 goals and 2 assists. Take him out of the equation and we would have scraped a 2-1 victory against a 10 man team with no confidence and looking like relegation fodder. I appreciate that RVP is world class and is having the season of his life, without any injuries, but where is the quality to back him up? Our second highest goal scorer, Theo Walcott, has scored an amazing 22 goals LESS than RVP. I would honestly hate to think where we would be in the league without him. In fact I am starting to worry what there is at Arsenal to convince him to sign an extension to his contract. Let’s just hope he repays our faith that we placed in him throughout all his injuries.

I have read a lot of blogs and press stories talking about the financial stability of our club and that the prudence of our Board of Directors will benefit our club in the long run. To some extent they all have valid points. We are self sufficient, have plenty of cash in reserves and our accumulated profits as at 31 May 2011 were in excess of £210m (and that’s before the sales of Fabregas and Nasri). Our consolidated net debt (gross debt less total cash held) was reduced by £37.8m from 2010 to 2011 and our group wage bill in 2011 was less than 50% of total group revenue. We should also not forget that we have one of the greatest stadiums in the world generating double the turnover per match in comparison with Highbury. Overall we are in a much better financial position than several of our closest rivals including Chelsea (whose recent financial results were woeful), Tottenham and Liverpool. So on all these aspects the Board of Directors are to be commended.

However the question remains has their transfer policy of buying low and selling high really benefited our club? Personally I think that in the short to medium run the current Boards spending policies will actually COST our club financially. There are several reasons for this:


1.           Season Ticket Renewals:

Currently Arsenal has the most expensive season tickets on average in England. Part of the reason for this is the guaranteed 3 games in the Champions League which are included in the price. However if we do not qualify who would be willing to continue spending the money required to support Arsenal? In fact who likes the idea of spending top money to watch a club whose ambitions over the last 7 years has been to merely qualify for the Champions League?

2.           RVP’s Contract Extension

He is easily the most sought after striker in Europe with no shortage of admirers. Unfortunately this summer he will be on the last year of his contract. The question is what can we offer to keep him when he can win more trophies and earn more money at Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid? Loyalty in football only goes so far. RVP and his advisors will know that the next contract will probably be the last lucrative one he signs as a football player, so he has a huge decision to make. I am sure he will wait to see who, if anyone, we decide to buy in the summer. Personally I think that if he leaves it will be to go to an overseas club

3.           Attracting the Best Players to Come to Arsenal

If we fail to qualify for the Champions League, which is very strong possibility, then how will be able to attract the best players to come to our club? Just take a quick look at Liverpool who had to spend £100m last summer in a desperate push for Champions League qualification and they didn’t even sign one world class player (I still have my doubts about Luis Suarez). It’s bad enough that we have to wait for Real, Barcelona, Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd to finish their purchases before we can make a move in the transfer market but can you imagine how embarrassing it will be if we start losing out on players to Spurs! This nightmare scenario will soon become reality the way things are at the moment.

I have never understood our transfer policy. Our representatives, Wenger included, keep telling us how big and well established our club is yet we act like complete paupers in the transfer market constantly complaining that we cannot compete or that we refuse to pay more that what a player is worth. The Board have failed to realise that if you pay a premium for a player who ends up helping the club to win a major honour then he has virtually recouped his entire fee! They also do not understand the marketing potential that a big name player can bring – an extreme example of this is David Beckham.


4.           Shirt Manufacturer and Sponsor

At the end of the 2013/14 season both the contracts with our shirt manufacturer (NIKE) and our shirt sponsor (Emirates) will expire. This should enable us to secure a much better contract, especially because we are earning £16.5m per annum LESS than Liverpool and Man Utd from our current shirt sponsor. The main problem however is that we need to be successful in order to attract the biggest and best sponsorship deal. Is this really likely with our current squad the way it is? We could end up in a downward spiral of failing to qualify for the Champions League, failing to sign the players required to improve our squad and then continuing to fail to qualify for the Champions League. Arsene Wenger has obviously realised this threat which is why he keeps telling the media that it would be a disaster if we failed to qualify this year. What sponsorship deal will we be able to attract if by the end of the 2013/14 season ends we have continued our trophy less drought and failed to qualify for the Champions League?

It may appear that Arsenal Football Club is financially secure in the long run but we are approaching a critical part in our history. Unfortunately our Board have got lazy and have taken it for granted that Arsene has qualified for the Champions League for 14 consecutive years from 1998/99. However now that the Premiership has become more competitive than ever can they really afford to sit back and just hope that Arsene can continue to work his magic?

Nicholas Charles @TNCHARLES

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