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Gazidis Q & A Report

As mentioned yesterday, I was fortunate enough to have been allocated a place at Ivan Gazidis' Q & A with the Arsenal Supporters' Trust, along with a few other supporter organisations. The AST asked me to minute the meeting for their website, you can find a full synopsis here.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday June 7 2012

Time: 2:50PM

Your Comments

I say, what a lovely chap.
Good simple common sense conclusions that most supporters should be able to arrive at unaided. While FFP only applies to UEFA competitions its impact is going to be inhibited though it will have an effect. For it to really bite though the PL would need to introduce it but as the PL is only about money and no longer has any pretence to be sporting competition there isn't much chance of that ever happening unless FIFA ever get brave enough to impose rules for financial governance.
So you don't think it'll work then Amos?
It will take a few seasons before the resolve of Uefa will be tested. If they pass that test successfully it will work but the game changer will be domestic leagues implementing similar rules. That won't come voluntarily from the PL.
I knew all along the board never thought Abrahamovic invasion when they decided to go on the Stadium Plan which was a big risk NO ONE as ever taken since then. The only way to know if we will change direction is if FFP doesn't work, and AFC can only follow the model they believe in until it fails. So fellas we are in for another ride of 1 or 2yrs of BSM "Business Sustaining Model". I am very sure ManCity and Chelsea have a surprise in the coffin that nobody else has thought about.
As I posted it in the other thread.. FFP is a farce. Man city et al will find loopholes and we will still be stuck in *****.
Amos you don't fill me with any optimism, I thought you were definitely bullish on our future because of this. This makes me sad. Ivan's pretty much done a Wenger except changed it to "judge me in 3 years".
i have a question here. since the cost of the stadium is leveraged on low interest long term bond of which we have no intention of paying off anytime before maturity, why keep over 160 mil in the bank (figure based on financial report 2011)? the amount was generated over years of the group's profit. we do not clamour for a 20 mil signing digging from any billionaire's pocket. surely we can afford one using our current self-sustaining business model. also, why not willing to pay exceptional players what they are worth of?
I don't see why you shouldn't be optimistic with or without FFP. Neither Chelsea or City can continue to spend they way they have been indefinitely. It will come to an end one day. We are the only club to have won something in each of the last 9 successive historical decades. The current, and tenth one has only just started. The sustainable model will ensure we continue to compete. There's no better club to follow if you're a lifetime supporter. I'm most definitely bullish about our future.
Why will it have to come to an end? And relatively soon? 5 years? 10 years? Leaving the on the pitch issues as an aside (and there are lots) The same thing happens every year at this new stadium we built cos we're so forward thinking. I can't see it, sell.
Joe, it's clear as day we can afford it, it's just that the price isn't right, and it's not just the transfer fee, remember? How much was Mata? Now, let's talk about his wages, phew, dodged a bullet there. Best of waiting for players to reach near the end of their contract, if that's not the case, forget it.
It will come to an end because it is unsustainable. When depends on those involved but their appetite for pouring money away will fade in time. It always does. I'm not sure what you have against the new stadium but we'd be far more financially restricted now, and would have been over anything other than the short term without it. Cash position at the end of November 2011 was 115m not 160m which might sound a lot but includes season ticket and other upfront income some of which is spent on operating costs over the rest of the season. Stacked up against the 750m plus spent over 10 years and a similar amount spent over 5 years by City the blowing it all in one or two seasons wouldn't guarantee an awful lot other than ensuring we'd spend the next 5 years or more trying to repair the financial damage. Then you would have reason to be pessimistic.
You've been optimistic for a good few years now, fair enough, but I don't see anything happening soon to change what happens to us each & every season at the Emirates.
You won't ever see it coming until it does. It's been that way more often than not if you've followed them long enough.
that's why top players are leaving every year. it's a fair argument that those stars that left were not who they were when they first arrived. but then again, we were always maybe 2 world class players short of winning anything. young potential players are treating us like a stepping stone for the next club. those who do not fulfill their potential at least still guaranteed big money walking into the team
Top players do leave the team but not, when they're still useful to us, every year and then other top players come into the team. When has it ever been any different? Every team that hasn't won a trophy is always 2 world class players short in some supporters eyes but more often we're just a couple of injuries too many, or the bounce of the ball away from silverware. Even in this barren spell we've made 3 finals and mounted a couple of creditable title challenges before imploding. These are fine lines and the difference is rarely just about signing two other players.
Great work LD. A couple of take aways for me is the acknowledgment of the mistakes (which is good) in the salary structure and the lack of growth in commercial revenue. However, I'm not very sympathetic to this since the CEO and his Team are paid a lot of money to drive outcomes on this. Its hurting the team in the meantime and 3-4 years to regularize the salary structure is too long. I don't see why they have to wait till 2014 for commercial deals- Man U has done very well in signing all kinds of commercial deals that do not relate to stadium rights or kit sponsorship. 2014 will only impact these two. The whole point of the stadium was to reduce the financial gap between us and ManU (I'm not considering the Chavs and Man City in this) but the gap has only grown over the last 5 years. A lot fantastic work has gone on which I'm not ignoring, but for the CEO to say his hands are tied till 2014 grates with me a bit.
As for FFP, there are enough loop holes. Chelsea almost complied last season (since they can ignore certain one-off expenses and investment in the youth squad) and will almost certainly comply this season onwards. It sounds unbelievable but swissramble has the goods on that, as usual. It remains to be seen how the new expensive signings impact their financials. Man City will not comply for another 2 seasons at least, but that will depend on how their 400M deal with Etihad is viewed by UEFA. When we built the stadium, it was based on certain assumptions that were blown out of the water with billionaire investment. The same thing might happen again in 2-3 years, if we're assuming today that reliance on FFP will lead to success.
Don't understand this amos "Top players do leave the team but not, when they're still useful to us" unfortunately that clearly isn't the case any more. And to say that you won't see it coming until it does, that's pretty much pie in the sky nonsense, i've definitely followed Arsenal long enough to know what to expect in regards to success on the pitch unfortunately, I wish i could follow in blind optimismsuch as that but over the hundreds of games I've seen, even in the last 6 years or so there are clear differences to the previous (successful) team's approach and attitude on the pitch.
Whether you like him or not, Platini's heart was in the right place on this one, shame his brain wasn't. If only FIFA and that fat sack of s*** in charge could grow a set big enough to impose these rules fully on ALL club competitions then we might see a return to the days when football was about sport and competition, not some Arab/Russian douchebag raping his countries wealth to pour into medicore football clubs.
Scotch Eggs Rule
shewore - I think Mata's 20+ assists and 12+ goals this season from the wing, more than justify the chavs investment in him. Not saying we should of spent that amount of money, but he has proved he is giving them some value for money.
Scotch Eggs Rule
prits - How can the chavs comply? They've been running up massive losses EVERY year since Abramovich took over. They spent over 175 million (reported) on players transfer fees these last 2 years alone as well as spending over 75% of their entire income on wages. There is absolutely no way in hell that the chavs will be able to comply with FFP as it currently stands. Personally I don't believe FFP will make a s*** of diference anyway. Call me an old fashioned cynic ;o)
Scotch Eggs Rule Actually Chelsea ren't as far off as people think. I'm totally going with Swiss Rambler here because he knows his eggs, but their losses according to FFP were only something like 7m last year. Now they have a lot of income as CL winners and have big earners like Bosingwa, Ferreira, Kalou and Drogba off the wage bill. Seems like they're spreading the pain of amoritsation. If they'd have lost to Munich, they would have been absolutely *****ed. Shame really.
Little Dutch
FFP is rather incentivised too. It's incremental and even if you don't quite hit your targets, you'll probably be ok if you can at least demonstrate you're moving towards it or have a plan to move towards it. In that respect, it's much like equality duties in employment law, if you can demonstrate "due regard" you're not hit with any levies.
Little Dutch
LD they may have scraped close to it last year, still not making it though. those figures do not include the huge amounts spent recently as they will be amortised into the numbers gradually to minimise their impact, but impact they will. They have to replace an aging squad and even though the Swissramble says they are close (for one season only I might add, the previous losses of over 100 million in a single season not more than 3 years ago seems to have been forgotten), they still won't achieve that target. Close only counts with hand grenades no?
Scotch Eggs Rule
I think you have misunderstood shewore because you've over looked the 'every year' caveat. Most of the top players that leave us have served their purpose. In the case of some like Cesc, Nasri and Cole it would have been useful to keep them if their heads were in the right place. Other top players still come in to replace them eventually. It isn't optimism, blind or otherwise, just simple pragmatism really. As for 'not seeing it coming' do you really imagine that the Chavs saw this season and their team as being their best chance of winning the CL? As long as we're still competing then there's always a chance of picking up a trophy - with a bit of good fortune alongside us.
I'm not sure where you get the idea that the financial gap between us and ManU has grown over the last 5 years prits but you need to take another look at the numbers. It takes 3-4 seasons to restructure players wages because contracts are generally for periods in excess of 4 years and the opportunities to revise them downwards aren't automatic. Not all commercial deals wait until 2013/2014 just the main kit/stadium sponsorship ones. Plenty of smaller deals are being signed all the time but these are the bigger money items.
Re Chelsea yes probably, the main reason being they've got a team of winners who've won a lot of shiny pots, we simply, do not, I'd fancy them in a final, i'd fancy us to bottle it, again. And the "every year" is a bit of a broad caveat, if you can call it that. Fact is our best players have left us last year and if Van Persie does it this summer then it's a very very sad and reflective trend of where the club is heading in the immediate term, which, by the way, is extremely important to the long & intermediate term
It's almost 9 years since Abramovich bought Chelsea and they've won the CL once with probably their weakest team in that time. It's a knockout competition and if you can continue to compete in it the percentages will fall your way eventually as it did on this occasion for the chavs. It has nothing to do with having a team of winners or losers as you're only one or the other depending on whether you win something or not. ManU were losers last season but they were a better side than the Chavs. Liverpool on the other hand were winners but I wouldn't swop places with them. If Van Persie goes we'll replace him with another irreplaceable player just as we have always done.
I agree we'd replace him but that's not the point you were talking about before, it'd be another best player leave (not talking about his replacement). I think a team with seasoned winners throughout their squad will always fancy themselves in finals, I don't fancy this team to win anything, not until there's a complete overhaul or *something* that I can't put my finger on changes. If we can bottle that Brum final we can bottle any final.
amos, "we'll replace him with another irreplaceable player just as we have always done", that's why we are always in transition. 7 years and still counting
And yeah 9 years since the Rusky crook bought them and 7 years since we've won something, in that time how many trophies have they won? Whether you like it or not, they have a squad with winners throughout.
Every football team is always in transition. It's the nature of football teams. Chelsea have a bigger and deeper squad of more experienced players than we do. They are less likely to be disrupted by injuries. The reasons for that are clear enough to anyone who has followed the game for any length of time. It hardly needs any explanation does it.
Amos, ManU's revenue in 2005 was 166M while Arsenal was 115M, gap of 51M. The same numbers for 2011 are 331M and 227M, a gap of 104M. Arsenal revenues over the past 3 seasons have been flat at around 225M while ManU has grown 278M to 331M in the same time. I'm not talking about the bottom lines since ManU is highly leveraged and are repaying significant amounts of debt. What numbers make you feel differently?
And on commercial deals, ManU recently signed up with DHL for sponsoring training kit (different from the jersey sponsorship), which is bringing them a decent sum of money. I'm sure that the Arsenal commercial team is trying, but at this level and with the amount of compensation paid, they need to show better results. On the rationalisation of the wage structure, if fans have realized (with access to a lot less info) that this is an issue for the past 2 seasons, why didn't the Exec team / Board wake up earlier? They should be well on their way to fix this issue, not ask for ANOTHER 3-4 years to fix this.
The larger point I'm trying to make (which I'm not obviously articulating so well) - Is this the best management team to lead us over the next 3-4 years? What is the guarantee that they will strike the best commercial deals in 2014 that maximise Arsenal's potential (given their current track record)? What other issues are they not seeing right now which they should be fixing, to ensure that they do not blow up after 1-2 years when it becomes obvious to fans?
Revenues aren't a great indicator of a financial gap in any meaningful sense. It's easy to build revenues. If you were to sell luxury cars at 20% below their production costs you'll quickly build very substantial revenues (in effect that's what Chelsea and City are doing). It won't make for a successful business though - not that I'm saying ManU aren't a succesfull business but they are reasonably constrained on spending too. The gap we have is mainly with commercial revenues the primary reasons for which are clear enough. The fans haven't woken up to anything. They've just repeated half informed gossip but the simple logic is that you can't arbitrarily undo contracts signed 5 years ago and as they'll all unwind at different times and have different values they would have to have adopted a different policy at least 5 years ago and at a time when Chelsea and City were distorting the market in order to be in a different place now. Is this the best management team to lead us over the next 3-4 years? I don't know the answer but the only objective criteria is the job that they've done so far. On any rational commercial basis it's a pretty good one and they've used resources pretty well.

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