Supporters' groups call on Arsenal to invest cash in team
Supporters’ groups have called on Arsenal’s board to ensure a substantial portion of its cash reserves of €142.8m are used to invest in the team, after the club announced a pre-tax profit of €20.6m for the six months to the end of November 2012.
The release of interim results showing the club continued to make a healthy profit on player sales and held cash reserves of €142.8m were criticised by fans’ groups who claim they underline the club’s lack of ambition.
Continuing the trend of recent years, Arsenal were able to post a profit thanks to the €49.3m recouped from player sales over the summer including those of Robin van Persie to Manchester United and Alex Song to Barcelona, and a modest upside from the property deals that underpinned the move to the Emirates Stadium.
As restive fans face the prospect of an eighth successive season without a trophy, the chairman, Peter Hill-Wood, used his statement to defend the board’s approach. “Let me be quite clear that our intention is to keep our best players and recruit new talent to make us stronger,” he said.
“Although we were disappointed to see Robin van Persie leave the club, we have taken steps to secure our best players and have recently signed Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson to long-term contracts.”
He also pointed to the acquisitions of Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud and the more recent purchase of Nacho Monreal. “Our ability to compete at the top here and in Europe is underpinned by our financial performance which gives the club strength and independence,” he said, highlighting the positive impact of new financial regulations introduced by Uefa and the Premier League.
Most of Arsenal’s revenue growth over the past five years has been driven by the centrally negotiated TV contract, which is due for another major rise next season after the Premier League delivered €6.4bn over three seasons. But Hill-Wood argued that new commercial deals with Emirates, worth “up to £150m (€174m)”, and other new contracts will boost that figure as the original long-term deals that helped bankroll the Emirates are being renewed.
The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust called for more investment in the playing squad, again highlighting the club’s high ticket prices.
“These figures contain few surprises. They show that Arsenal yet again made a profit from the sale of their best players and that the club has large cash reserves,” a spokesman said.