With regards to Arsenal's financial reports for the year, Peter Hill-Wood said:
“The Group’s profits have now risen in each of the three years in which Emirates Stadium has been our home. This is excellent news although I should perhaps stress that making and reporting profits is not in itself the primary objective for the directors. First and foremost we are supporters of this great football club and, as such, our main goal will always be the achievement of success for Arsenal on the field. The Group’s profitability is important because it is a by-product of running the Club as a solvent and successful business, which in turn allows us to maximise the level of investment in the playing staff and in the future development of the Club.”
The board say that there is money, but they aren't spending money. They don't pay out dividends. The mortgage on the stadium is kept in check and doesn't require additional payments. So where is the money going?
There's a theory that they're asset stripping to plump up Arsenal's accounts, in order to keep the share price high to stop Usmanov from buying the Club. Kroenke's the preferred owner, and the Board want to delay Usmanov's advance until Kroenke feels like he wants to play. And that might be sooner than we think. Apparently he's on the verge of buying Nina Bracewell-Smith's stake.
There's another theory that they're using that money to hedge their bets with regards to Highbury Square. Gazidis mentioned that the property development and the football finances are fenced off from each other, but I'm not sure about that. I bet there's plenty of "mixed" bills that the footballing surplus could be used to pay off, allowing the freed-up money to go to propping up Highbury Square. Arsenal are a Club of creative accountants (remember their Cayman Island Player Payment Scheme in the early 2000s?) so I'm sure there are enough loopholes to allow the footballing department to finance the Highbury Square project.
There's another theory that Wenger's sitting on 50 million in transfer and wages, but he's got his head so far up his arse that he can't see that he needs to reinforce his squad. But I don't believe this, mostly because Wenger sees this team day after day, and he must surely realise that this team can't win anything for him. After all, Wenger is a pragmatist. He cut Vieira just as he started to decline. He cut Gilberto when Flamini became good. He bought Vermaelen and sold Kolo. He swapped Silvestre for Senderos for the experience, which just highlights how much Wenger knows we need experience. He bought Arshavin. So we know that he'd buy quality IF the price is right. It's just that the price has a ceiling of about 17 million (as Melo found out to our loss).
It leaves me wondering whether our 35 million pound profit is a good thing or a bad thing. It's good from a financial point-of-view. It's always nice to turn a profit. But if Arsenal are about the trophies and not about the money, isn't that 35 million an opportunity lost? 35 million would've got us that 'keeper we need, or that experienced DM we need. What's the point of proclaiming our financial solvency if it turns out that we're at risk of slipping out of the Top 4 this year? Not to mention that it does nothing for our attempts to establish ourselves as title contenders.
So what's happening with the Club? What are our priorities? I don't know. Who does? Maybe it's time to admit that it's way to difficult trying to second-guess the Club and just go along for the ride. Maybe it's time I learned to stop worrying and just love the Bomb.
2-0 win against Olympiakos this morning. Theo played for 60 minutes. Well done boys.