Arsenal football club released it’s year end financial report which showed a very healthy balance sheet and ironically makes the club’s continued austere spending policy indefensible.
KEY POINTS IN THE REPORT:
Turn over from football increased from £350.6m in 2016 to £422.8m in 2017
Additional £58m from increased broadcasting rights and UEFA Champions league distribution.
Wages rose from £195.4m in 2016 to £199.4m in 2017
Wages cost 44.7% of football revenue in 2017 while it was 55.7% in 2016
Player registration rose from £59.2m in 2016 to £77.1 in 2017
Group profit before tax rose from £2.9m in 2016 to £44.6m in 2017
No Short term debts
The group has an account designated as debt services reserves. This debt services reserves reduced from £191.1m in 2016 to £144.3m in 2017.
Had Arsenal qualified for this year Champions League, the financial report could have been even better, the club Chairman Sir Chips Keswick reckons the FA Cup victory was a compensation for failure to qualify for Champions League and dropping out of top four which the club have achieved for 20 years in a row.
The CEO Ivan Gazidis claimed the Club’s ambition is to be better that it’s competitors in everything and to win major trophies. Gazidis then took extra pain to emphasize the club’s investment in the past three seasons as a pointer to that ambition.
“At the top of the pyramid, we have scaled up our investment in our first-team squad significantly in recent years, spending a net £203 million in transfer fees in the last three seasons. We have transformed our training ground and completed a total rebuild of our Academy. We are focused on ensuring that the structures, in terms of people, expertise and facilities, in place around the manager and the players are the best that they can be. By getting that environment right, down to fine tuning the detail, we optimise our chances of achieving the results we want on the pitch.”
The Clubs chairman and Chief executive reaction or enthusiasm about the financial report is exactly the reason many fans are unhappy.
The emphasis on profit and lip services to the ambition of winning major trophies without proper investment in the squad are at odd.
The astronomical increase in profit before tax from £2.9m in 2016 to £44.6m in 2017, over a 1500% increase is a good news to the club executive hierarchy but did nothing to enthused the fans.
Arsenal won the FA Cup for the 13th time, a credit to manager Arsene Wenger but have failed to win the League since the invincible year of 2004, while the club reached the final of the Champions league in 2006, it has seen a significant drop in competitive abilities.
The rise of Chelsea and Man City in that period have complicated matters but many fans have attributed the failure to win the league to lack of spending.
In the summer, Arsenal made net profit from the transfer market by taking in more from the sale of Alex Oxlade-Chamnerlain and Co and only bringing in two players, one of them on free transfer.