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Archive for September, 2010

Exclusive – New exec signing signals new era at Arsenal 33

Posted on September 30, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

The era of bad deals is over as the club decide to go it alone by appointing another senior executive.

Information has been made available to me that in 18 months time, the commercial revenue stream will be massively improved due to the expiry of an awful business deal at the club. It is especially shocking when it is considered that in the past ten years, the club has brokered deals capable of making the club one of the richest (based on income), in world football – if not the richest.

This deal is believed to have been originally brokered by former managing director Keith Edelman, the man who agreed the deal to sell 10.05% of the club to Grenada Media and secured a groundbreaking sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines to enable the club to move forward with the plans to build the new stadium, hence why its called ‘the Emirates’.

However, for all the brilliance of getting that deal together – which at the time was extraordinarily rare in football business – he also agreed some years later to effectively outsource one of the main commercial revenue streams, retail. Limiting the profit drastically.

Retail basically covers anything with an Arsenal emblem on it, replica shirts, branded clothing, scarfs etc.

The club gave over the rights to each and every one of their stores (including the Armoury), to George Davies, a retail mogul. Due to this they do not earn 100% profit on all the sales in these stores, in fact they earn a very small amount, but they are tied to this deal for another 18 months, after that a new retail director will take over the reigns and if everything goes to plan, significantly increase the revenue from that particular strand of the commercial business at the club.

George Davies founded a sports retail business in 1995, named S’porter Retail, it is currently unclear whether it is under the name of this company he runs the Arsenal retail stores.

Full of Arsenal branded clothing - but the club only get a few pennies profit

The retail director, I can reveal, has already been appointed and will take over as the current deal with George Davies finishes. Plans are already being drawn up to carry everything forward and make the most of this revenue stream. Three more senior directors will follow suit to take over the head of marketing role, the head of global partnership development and a new business development analyst will also be appointed, these roles have been created by Ivan Gazidis and new-ish chief commercial officer, Tom Fox. This was confirmed in a statement released by the club earlier this year when Angus Kinnear was promoted.

The way the arrangement currently works is that the George Davies owned company buys and sources the products and then pays Arsenal a percentage after. The club have been missing out on millions, enough to have brought Mark Schwarzer many times over!

This graphic from the brilliant Swiss Ramble website, shows just how much Arsenal lack on the commercial front:

Given that much of Arsenal’s future income is planned to come through commercial revenue, the expiry of the Edelman deal and appointment of a new retail director is big news. He, along with Tom Tox and Ivan Gazidis will oversee the growth in what is really the clubs future profit, the money that – providing we are not taken over – will fund transfers, wages and overall development of the club and stadia.

Just last week the club announced stunning financial results and despite the record profit, the future of the club is still a work in progress and it just goes to show how much work is going on behind the scenes to secure the club for the future generations of Arsenal fans.

The club still are looking to expand their commercial revenue stateside (nudge nudge, Walmart), and hit the Asian market where Man United have been so successful in recent years – could this also be why Arsenal looked at Keisuke Honda so closely in the past?

For any readers of this that may doubt the importance of this appointment in the grand scheme of things, look at this: Real Madrid managed to effectively pay off the £80 million fee they paid Man United for Cristiano Ronaldo in his first season through shirt and memorabilia sales – that is how powerful that side of football business is and how it can influence player purchases and wages.

With the financial mess many clubs find themselves in right now, Arsenal really are an oasis of hope in a landscape that looks all too gloomy.

Things look very bright indeed for the future, a trophy now would do nicely though.

Update. Nick Peel has been revealed to be the new retail director. This story has made the Guardian’s Digger column.


Absolutely Fab 16

Posted on September 29, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Partizan Belgrade 1-3 Arsenal

That was a very good win. Traveling to Serbia is not easy, traveling to Serbia, facing a capacity crowd creating a fearsome atmosphere, fielding a team without your core players and preparing for the game via the light of mobile phones (good Cashley weren’t about, eh?), due to a power failure and getting a win is a very good thing indeed.

You could tell from the images in the stadium that the crowd was a hostile one, it was so loud and when you see a fan at the game claiming that they were throwing bottles full of urine at them it just shows why so few fans traveled out there.

The build up to the match centered around one player, goalkeeper Lucasz Fabianski and I am delighted to say that when he was called upon he did his job very well, there was not one single fumble. I think that is when the mistakes happen… when Arsenal are up the other end and a player loses the ball, and all of a sudden the keeper has to regain their focus.

In the first ten minutes we were outplayed which was pretty worrying, was it the light or the atmosphere? Who knows, but it wasn’t looking too good until Arshavin got the ball and ran right at the defence, he poked the ball to Jack Wilshere who somehow managed to roll the ball to the side and back heel it back to Arshavin in one movement. Arsha finished the job.

Wilshere is an amazing talent. It is far more influential than Cesc and Ronaldo were at 18, more-so than Wayne Rooney too. I’m not going to make any comparisons in a public forum but there is one player I would liken him too in respect to his influence on the pitch. It is quite scary.

It is encouraging that we were not really under threat from set-pieces, instead it was in open play when we looked at our weakest with the defensive combination of Squillaci and Djourou not clicking early on – however they improved as the match went on and only a harsh award of a penalty for a handball in the area gave Belgrade a route back into the game. Fabianski was deceived by the eyes and the fact we should have been out of sight didn’t matter at all.

Arshavin and Wilshere combined mesmerically after our first goal, however Partizan were spurred on and until we made it 2-1, were right in the game despite never really threatening.

The header from Chamakh, his 5th goal in a row in the Champions league, and 8th in 9 games (I think), was very, very important. Soon after Squillaci netted his first Arsenal goal, job done… but there was still time for one more story to be made.

Gibbs lunged into a clumsy tackle just outside the area, the ref gave it as a pen. Fabianski dived to his right again and this time pulled off a brilliant save, the resulting cross into the box was also claimed like we had not seen him do in a long, long time. He repeated that trick again before pulling off a stunning point blank save. Redemption? No, but it was brilliant to see. He knew he was under the microscope and would be the most scruitinised player on the pitch regardless of the score and this is the reaction the penalty save drew:

photo from @jaxxbizkit

Maybe that will be the turning point for him, hopefully it is because he has bounds of natural talent and it is amazing what a little bit of confidence can do. It certainly lifted the spirits of the fans who now will hopefully get right behind him, the boss has a selection dilemma ahead of the Chelsea game that is for sure.

Given the circumstances last nights win was a very important one, it means we can travel to Ukraine in the deep winter with no pressure – though hopefully Arshavin will thrive – and one more win will put us as good as through. Two games, nine goals. Not bad.

It was also the first win away from these shores in Europe since the comeback over Liege last season for us.

Now for Chelsea…


Fab starts: mess it up again and he must be a gonner 15

Posted on September 28, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Looking back in history, Arsenal hate traveling to eastern Europe, yet this is where they must try and re-ignite their season after West Brom stomped all over what was previously a great start.

It is not that the defeat has deflated me, it is the manner in which is was done, however that is old ground and today brings us a different game with different problems.

With Fabianski starting he must be in the very last of the last chance saloons. If he sinks I don’t see how the manager can persevere with him, yet if he swims it may well give the manager a dilemma ahead of the game against Chelsea depending on the fitness of Manuel Almunia – that is how quickly things can change.

Lucasz has brilliant talent, his natural reflexes have been lauded ever since he arrived at the club, you just have to question that thing between his ears sometimes, is he cut out for it mentally? That is where my doubts are aimed at.

In front of him he should have a similar defence to the one that played on Saturday afternoon, Koscielny and Squillaci will probably form the center back partnership, with Sagna on the right. Hopefully, having passed a fitness test, Gibbs will start on the left giving Gael Clichy a massive boot up the jacksy because believe me, it is needed.

Jack Wilshere returns to the side and will undoubtedly start in midfield, I put my money on Denilson and Song partnering him which I am fine with and understand completely in Europe, they offer greater protection for the back four and it suits our slightly altered system when we play away from home. I think the fact that we now talk about Wilshere as an essential player in the team just shows how bigger impact he has had on the team this season. He is quickly establishing himself as a talisman, I can’t wait to have Cesc back alongside him in midfield.

The front three will probably consist of Samir Nasri, Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin, there is no way that any one of those three can be dropped right now, Arshavin for his capability of producing a piece of pure genius, Chamakh for his hard graft and Samir Nasri for scoring four goals in two games and becoming a much more influential player since the end of last season.

Again, on the surface we should sweep Partizan Belgrade away pretty quickly, they are not a team jam packed full of stars, yet there will be one hell of an atmosphere there and it is not a pleasant place to be traveling to at all from what I have been hearing, though these days things have apparently improved a hell of a lot.

Tonight we just need a positive result, any win on offer, and get the hell out of there and prepare for the Chelsea game. A win tonight and the doom is partially lifted, a win tonight and a good result against Chelsea and it will be relegated to history. However, it must start tonight.

We need to see the hunger, hard work, precision and discipline that class teams are made of, we need to see the basics done well.

Come on Arsenal, and Lucasz.


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