Over at Run of Play, Brian Phillips (who, I must admit, writes rings around me and most other people who pretend to write about sport) offers an interesting analysis of Arsenal’s financial situation.
Essentially, the football business is good—and I was surprised to learn that a single Carling Cup game is worth a couple of million to the bottom line. Perhaps that competition should get a bit more respect, if advancing an extra round means a club can buy the odd Ukrainian midfielder for exclusive use in next season’s Carling Cup. Sustainable industry!
Meanwhile, the club’s decision to go into the condo business: not so good. It turns out that Highbury was actually more valuable as a football ground than as luxury apartments—especially if you believe the club’s claim that a drop-off in stadium tours, which might conceivably benefit if the premises to be toured is soaked in history and tradition, is significantly depressing profits. Who could have predicted that?
It seems to me, however, that the really sinister thing is the obvious fact that Arsenal’s financial plans are structured around Champions League revenues. If it’s Aston Villa playing in the Big Cup next year instead, I could see things unravelling rather quickly.