So Arsenal’s half-year finances are out and in all fairness, for being in a recession, they did pretty damn good. When you generate more match day revenue (an increase of 3.3 million to 44.4 million pounds), more television revenue (an increase of 4.5 million to 28.9 million pounds), and end up with a bigger pre-tax profit (increase of 4.5 million to 24.5 million pounds), you simply have to stand back and applaud. A major factor in this would be the total amount spent in the transfer market, a profit of 8 million pounds.
If there is anything to worry about, the finances of the Highbury Square development are a small cause for concern. It just isn’t the big deal that the English media are making it out to be. Here’s what we do know: the 135 million pound loan is due in 14 months time. Thanks to the economy, the property hasn’t sold in the manner Arsenal anticipated. While there is still time for the economy to turn around and for this to be a story about nothing, Arsenal have smartly started preliminary talks with Barclays, RBS and the Bank of Ireland about extending the loan payment. That alone has them one step ahead of the eight ball.
Let us not forget that historically, finances for the next six months usually end up higher than the six months that are being reported. With the Champions League TV revenue added in, and gates continuing to be strong, Arsenal look set to have one hell of a financial year.
The other big story had to just make Sepp Blatter’s day. Then again, when FIFA commissions a report from the Institute of European Affairs, you just had to figure they were going to get what they wanted to hear.
In a nutshell, this INEA report simply states that FIFA’s six plus five rule that has already been passed does not violate any European Union law. When I see quotes like “We took no instructions from FIFA. INEA accepted this commission on condition that our requirements of complete independence were met”, it tells me that there is a serious possibility that there was something exchanged in order for FIFA to come out looking good here.
The European Union has yet to get in on this act. Expect them to shortly. When they do, it’s going to be very interesting to see who ends up winning this war. Something tells me the European Union will be the ones that come out smelling like a rose.
Salamon Kalou has expressed his desire to play for Arsenal and has admitted he will consider his Chelsea future at the end of the season. So instead of fighting to become a regular Chelsea starter, you just want to head off to Arsenal based on one interview Wenger did?
How serious are Hull City at getting out of their slump? Recalling Dean Windass is a possibility.