Posts Tagged ‘liverpool lost £33m in 2007

05
Jun
09

More fun with statistics, plus Arsenal in for another Toure?

He's ready for his close-up

Lies, damn lies, and Arsenal Stats

The blogoshpere is all atwitter (see what I did there?) about the dot com’s article detailing Arsenal’s supposed statistics.  Ahhhhh, I’m calling bullshiat on this.

I don’t trust statistics that are so obviously false. Denilson completed 164 passes all year? What the hell? Here’s a chalkboard showing that he completed 117 passes… in two games. 164 passes all year would equal less than 5 passes per game. Now I don’t know what kind of fools they take us for, but everyone knows that every Arsenal player completes more than 5 passes per game. Almunia probably completes more than 5 passes per game.

Or how about the stat that Song supposedly had only 17 tackles all season? Hmmm…. Here’s two games where he made 21 tackles and won 17 of them.

So, I have no idea what’s up with those stats, where they got them, who compiled them, how they were defined, or anything. I just know that they are utter garbage.

I mean, who would believe that Adebayor was offside only 43 times?

Lies, damn lies, and football economics

The other day I put up that “transfer anatomy” handout, you remember, the one with the little bit in the corner that shows how much teams have spent over summer transfers?

Right, well yesterday the folks who audit football clubs’ accounts released their findings of last year’s accounts and we got two major stories out of that research. First, Chelsea spent £172m just in wages in 2007. And second, the accountants found that Liverpool lost £43m during the 07/08 fiscal year.

These three things are related, I swear!

What this shows, to me, is that a club, that isn’t Chelsea, has to make a choice: they can either pay high wages, or they can spend a lot of money in the transfer window.  Which, in my mind, utterly destroys the simplistic “Arsenal need to spend” argument.

So, look at the first link there where you see that Tottenham spent £47m in transfers from 2004-2007. I’ve always wondered how they could afford to do that and still report profits, considering the much smaller fan base than Arsenal, the fact that they don’t have a billionaire owner, no European football, and they have a mediocre sized stadium and don’t charge much for tickets. They can afford to do that because they basically pay half the salary that Arsenal pay. Arsenal paid £100m in salary in 2007 and Tottenham paid £50m.

Now, ignore Chelsea and Man U — they spend what they want irregardless common sense, I mean Chelsea is coming close to £1bn* spent over the last 6 years.

A BILLION.

POUNDS.

So, ignore them, they are a reality distorting black hole of a cunt.

Instead look at Liverpool and you can see a serious problem. Liverpool have spent nearly £100m in salary every year and nearly £90m in the transfer market. The other lode stone is that they have a £300m debt that Hicks and Gillette piled on the team when they bought Liverpool.

The point here is that Arsenal and Liverpool have a very similar financial situation; both clubs have large debts (albeit for different reasons), both clubs have large wage structures, and yet Arsenal have saved money every year and Liverpool have borrowed and spent.

And now, the crows are coming home to roost and Liverpool’s debt is due, evermore. I’m not suggesting that Liverpool won’t find someone foolish enough to become a partner with Hicks and Gillette and then they’ll fail. Instead, I see this as a test case. See, Man U has a huge line of credit that they can’t even make the interest payments on due, I believe, next year, and I think what happens here, this year, with Liverpool will be indicative of what will happen with Man U next year.

The second thing I’d like to take away from this is that yes Arsenal are being fiscally prudent by not spending large sums in the transfer market but what I wonder about is the huge wage bill. Who, exactly, are we paying all this money to? Sagna? Clichy? Almunia? Bendtner? Song? Denilson? Nasri? Walcott? Those are the majority of our starters there folks, and they must be making damn good money if our wage bill is £100m.  Furthermore, I have to wonder if any of these players would be willing to take a modest pay cut in order to bring in some more players? They all talk about bringing someone in, but I’ve never once heard them say “I’d take a pay cut if it would help, because I want to win a trophy for the fans.”

And the last thing I want to bring up is just how important Wenger is in all of this. Yes, he’s set this wage scale which is stifling our transfer ability but just the fact that for four years he’s kept Arsenal at a very, very high level of play, all the while helping to manage the books and keep Arsenal fiscally sound for the long term is, I think, going to go down in history as one of the all-time great managerial feats. Compare these 4 years to Rafa Benitez, who’s constant clamor for transfers makes me wonder if he won’t get lumped in with Hicks and Gillette as the three reasons why Liverpool’s future is so uncertain.

I think this gives us all a bit of perspective on why Arsenal spend the way they do and what is likely to happen this summer with transfers. Which is to say, very little. Given our history, what I’ve shown you of the finances,  and the fact that Wenger is increasing our wages yet again (I mean, van Persie did have 10 goals this season, that’s worth another £1m or so a year) I would expect there to be just a little left over in the kitty for transfers. In fact, selling before buying is very likely.

That said, what I’d like to see is the point where the board feel like they are comfortable with the amount of cash in the reserve (at last count over £100m) and they start spending some of these annual profits that you and I are generating for them.  Maybe this year is the year? All signs point to an even bigger windfall over last year, when they netted more than £20m in profits. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

Daily Transfer Rumors (The Poop Scoop)

Ah, I love the smell of last year’s rumors trotted out as this year’s signings! Supposively**, Arsenal are again interested in Udinese defender Christian Zapata, which is probably a bunch of crap considering that the player is both confirming and denying that Arsenal are after him.

Meanwhile, the perennial “Yaya to Arsenal” story has risen again.  The player himself has insisted, repeatedly, that he does not want to play for Arsenal. But that isn’t stopping the World’s Least Reliable Newspaper from printing quotes from Yaya saying

It’s true that it would be great to play for a big club with my brother,that would be fantastic but you never know.

Well, if the Sun is reporting it, it must be true.

Meanwhile, in the “Players who are not leaving or coming in” department, Stephane M’Bia is heavily linked to Everton now. I will update the Players Who Didn’t Sign For Arsenal page if there’s confirmation of him signing for Everton. Also, I want to be the first to break the shocking news report that Andrei Arshavin IS NOT re-signing with Zenit St. Racistburg, it turns out that he just likes practicing with his old teammates. This is really a remarkable story, it’s one of those X player is not signing for Y team stories but it’s at the level of ludicrisness that the only equivalent would be Science News printing a story like “Scientists refute the notion that the sky is brown.”

Finally, the Vermaelen saga drags on. I’m starting to think there might be some truth to this story and Vermaelen is the “commanding” center back that Wenger seeks.

Ahem…

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow!

*add up their wage bill at an average of £150m from 2004-2007 = £600m, then add in another £150m in transfers and you get £750m, so sue me if I add a bit of hyperbole.

** unlike irregardless, supposively is not a word

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10
Jun
08

First Blood

Manchester United is delighted to announce it has agreed terms with Cardiff City for the transfer of Aaron Ramsey subject to terms being agreed and the player passing a medical.

Uhhh, not so fast there Man U. In the ongoing battle between Arsenal and Manchester United, it’s being widely reported that Aaron Ramsey, Rambo, has chosen Arsenal as his date to the prom. I haven’t seen anything on the dot com, but I feel good about reporting this as every single paper is printing a variation on the story: there’s a lot of smoke here folks.

Reports are that Sir Alex Ferguson was so busy cleaning up Ronaldo’s Jheri Curl drippings that he couldn’t even bother himself to show up for the meeting with the youngster. Meanwhile, Arsenal flew Rambo and his whole family out to Switzerland for lunch with Arsene Wenger. Over lunch in the bucolic mountain setting, I’m sure that Wenger simply listed all of the players who have been through Arsenal’s youth academy and gone on to play in the Premier League in order to turn the boy’s head. Then he mentioned that his youth teams play first team football in the Carling Cup and how there may be a hole on the left wing what with Alex Hleb off to Barcelona, no wait, Bayern. A world class footballing education, a boss with a personal touch, and plenty of opportunity for a candidate who wants it and it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that the kid chose Arsenal.

Meanwhile, United was offering not to educate the boy, but to simply ship him back to Cardiff. Which, while great for Cardiff, was not exactly a bonus for the boy: Cardiff isn’t exactly a hotbed of football achievement.

If all true, then Arsenal have done one over United and I consider it First Blood in the upcoming Premier League season.

The Squad

Walcott wants more playing time, which is great. He’s targeting more than 20 starts and more than 10 goals I guess. Well, I have news for you young fella: with Eduardo making an early comeback and Vela coming in to the club there are now a metric ton of strikers at the club (Bendtner, Ade, Eduardo, van Persie, Theo, and Vela). Which means that there will be some very stiff competition for places up front. Logically, Theo could slot in at the spot held down by the team jester (Eboue) but there are problems at that spot too. Because of the pace and movement of the team Wenger likes a strong defensive presence at that spot and for all his talents, no one has ever accused Theo of playing defense. Looks like Wenger will have a decision to make here or else he may have a very unhappy young man on his hands.

UPDATE:

Cardiff City boss Ridsdale is publicly claiming that Aaron Ramsey is going to Arsenal.  On their club web site Ridsdale claims Ramsey called him and explained he was off to Arsenal and why.  Still, I’m holding out until I read it on the dot com.

Other Teams

I know, everyone seems to love Luca Modric but some of us who watched that first Euro 2008 match were unimpressed. He’s undersized, a tremendous diver, and really didn’t show me anything special. Hey, maybe Spuds can put him along side their other £16m flops.

Meanwhile over at Liverpool, there’s some grave news about how much money the club lost last season. Reportedly, they lost roughly half what Man U lost last season; an astonishing £33m. Of course, they just loaded the losses back on the club and the fans, just like Man U and Chelsea have done the last 3 years.

I think, though, what’s probably going to burn the Liverpool faithful the most was that at a time of increasing debts, the owners were piling on £1.5m in personal expenses: like travel, personal assistants, and haircuts. It’s tough being rich. Who do you think pays for the hired car and burly bodyguards so the scions of these wealthy “patrons” can go out to a pub and have a beer?

And finally… Arsenal’s New Kit

I guess the guys at REDaction are in an uproar over the new Arsenal kit. I don’t like it, but then I’ve always disliked the kits where the white sleeves go all the way up to the neck. In my opinion, sleeves start at the shoulder and not the neck. The kit isn’t the problem, for me, because if you look at the history of the Arsenal home kit it’s really not that radically different. My problem is that when I first became an official supporter, they promised not to change the damn kit every year. They seem to have found a way around that and now they just change the away kit every year with this year’s away kit switching to a yellow and blue thing and the crummy white kit going to the third kit slot formerly inhabited by the Barcelona kit. White, Crimson and Blue, Yellow, Blue, Yellow and Blue… AAAAAAHHHHH stop messing with the away kits! Red and white for home and either all yellow or all blue for away. That’s it. Change the design every two years at most and leave it at that. Word to Nike: if you mess with the kits too much, people will stop buying them, and you want people to buy them, right?




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