Good morning and welcome to Tuesday, and what I think is my last day as caretaker.
The main news this morning is the financial results Arsenal posted yesterday for the year to 2013. The main headlines are:
- Group profit before tax was £6.7 million (2012 – £36.6 million).
- Profit on sale of player registrations amounted to £47.0 million (2012 – £65.5 million).
- One-off charges related to the impairment of certain player registrations and associated costs amounted to £10.0 million (2012 – £5.5 million).
- £58.7 million of investment in new players and extended contracts pushed amortisation charges up to £41.3 million (2012 – £36.8 million).
- Turnover from football increased to £242.8 million (2012 – £235.3 million) driven mainly by commercial activity including the Club’s extended partnership with Emirates.
- Taking account of increased costs, principally wage costs, operating profits (before depreciation and player trading) from football decreased to £25.2 million (2012 – £32.3 million).
- Property revenue rose to £37.5 million (2012 – £7.7 million) inclusive of the sale of the market housing site at Queensland Road. However, the Queensland Road sale was essentially at break even in profit and loss terms. Overall operating profits from property increased to £4.4 million (2012 – £2.2 million).
- The Group has no short-term debt and continues to have a robust financial platform from cash reserves, excluding the balances designated as debt service reserves, of £119.7 million (2012 – £120.1 million).
You can read the full results here. I’m not your man for interpreting financial results, I’m afraid, but I do understand they’re a solid, as expected, set of accounts with no great surprises. Which is good, I think. I suggest you follow the as-ever excellent Swiss Ramble on Twitter for a more insightful analysis than that of which I’m capable. I expect he’ll have a blog post up before too long too. The numbers are just astronomical, and remind you that this is big, big business – and you need a brain for it, which I sadly lack.
One thing I thought worthy of note was that in the statement accompanying the results, chairman Sir Chips Keswick noted the importance of the tours to the far east that have happened in recent pre-seasons, describing their success as key to the commercial progress made by the club. I know many people feel these are annoying distractions from the start of the season, and that they interrupt pre-season preparation, and that one of those people might even be the manager, but the reality is these things simply have to happen now. Arsenal have chosen a path they believe can be self-sustaining, and tours like the recent one to Indonesia are simply a necessity if that’s to be the case (not to mention the enjoyment they give the fans in those countries who might otherwise not see the team in the flesh).
Next up is Kieran Gibbs, talking about tomorrow night’s trip to West Brom:
It will be a different mentality in the cup games so we have to switch on to that and make sure we are ready for West Brom on Wednesday. We have a momentum now and we want to keep that going.
It’s going to be very interesting to see what team the manager picks for this game. On the one hand our injury hit squad could do with a rest, but as Kieran points out, momentum is a great thing to have. It’s a shame it’s West Brom we’re playing and not, say, someone like Blackburn, or even Bradford. Oh. Erm. Okay, not someone like them then. But it would be nice if we had the opportunity to play some youngsters – and maybe that will yet happen – but you’d have to think we’d be risking that precious momentum, and you can bet West Brom will be fielding their strongest side. A tough one for the manager to judge.
Gibbs also had good things to say about the new kid:
He’s really enjoying himself. He looks very determined and happy and he’s a humble boy as well. Coming from a club like Real Madrid you would expect a player to come with a bigger head on their shoulders but he’s very down to earth and he’s passionate.
It’s positive for us and a signing like Ozil is going to push our squad forward because you don’t want to let him down. You want to perform for him and he will take us to the next level.
He was hardly going to say “he’s an arrogant cunny who’s too big for his diamond encrusted boots!”, or even just “yeah, he’s alright I guess”, but it’s good to hear another player speaking about his excitement over the signing. It’s another example of the lift Ozil’s given the club, and anything that motivates the players to perform better is alright by me.
Speaking of Ozil, I came across this today which I hadn’t seen before. I think it’s from a couple of weeks ago now, but interesting nonetheless.
Fresh from his Orc killing goal at the weekend, Bacary Sagna has described it as his gift to the team:
I’m trying to be more decisive. Today I tried my luck and it went in. I have to try and be more decisive for my team.
It’s like a gift for the team. When I was injured, they helped me a lot and as long as I can help them, it’s good for me.
I’m not sure he doesn’t mean club rather than team, but either way, Bacary Sagna is a man who I think needs a gift from us in return in the form of a new contract. He’s an excellent right back, versatile enough to play in the middle as well when needs be, and despite Carl Jenkins’ improvement, we need to keep hold of Sagna. Arsene Wenger once described Pat Rice as “somebody you’d like to be in the trenches with”. Well, Sagna is someone I’d trust to have my back. He’s had a couple of bad injuries, worked very hard to get back to fitness only to suffer exactly the same thing again which must’ve been so demoralising, but now he’s back to his best I think we need to make sure we extend his stay at the club.
Finally for today, writing in the Telegraph, Alan Smith says that the signing of Matthieu Flamini is as important as that of Ozil’s, and while I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, he’s certainly a great addition in an area of the pitch we needed strengthening. He’s a more combative player than Arteta, and there are definitely games – like this weekend just gone – when it may well make more sense to play him rather than Spaniard. A nice choice for the manager.
That’s your lot for today. I’ve been up since 4am with an uncooperative software deployment, so I’m off to get some sleep.
As always, it’s been my pleasure, and I’m sure I’ll speak to you the next time Arseblogger decides to have himself a holiday. Oh how some of us can only dream of holidays… 😉