Whilst fans of Manchester United and Liverpool fret over the economic future of their clubs and protest against their American owners, at Arsenal, fans can rest easy in the knowledge that Arsenal are in financial terms arguably the best run club in the Premier League. Whilst their rivals are bulging at the seems with debt accrued under new owners, Arsenal are steadily paying off the debt of building the Emirates Stadium and are consistently posting a profit year after a year. Arsenal Football Club is a sustainable, profitiable business and it is set to stay this way for many years to come, and you could not say this with much certainty about many other clubs in the Premiership.
Whilst Arsenal are in rude health financially, in the North West two giants of the English game face worrying economic times. Manchester United recorded a £83 million loss over the 2009-10 season and whilst various figures are bounded about depending on who you ask regarding the club’s debt, everyone is in agreement that it is an astronomical figure. It is a situation made more worrying by the personal predicament the Glazers are currently facing, their NFL club the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fared very badly in the last couple of years and are facing tough times financially. The Glazers other interests include a series of malls in the United States, and they are losing money on these portfolios hand over foot. The fans have made their opinion of the Glazers very clear and the Green and Gold movement shows no signs of running out of steam.
The owners of Liverpool are also despised by their fans. Tom Hicks and George Gillett were welcomed when they took over in 2007 but it has all gone downhill from there, and similarly to Man Utd the club have a huge amount of debt hanging around their necks. RBS have been circling Liverpool for some time and there was the apparent danger of administration and a nine point penalty, but at least the club looks like it may get some new owners after a court ruled against Hicks and Gillett.
All this is in stark contrast to the situation at Arsenal, where fans can afford to be very optimistic about the future of their club in financial terms. Arsenal posted a profit of £56 million for the year ending 31st May, as the club recently did well out their housing development at their old ground at Highbury. The debt on the new stadium is being repayed and it is entirely manageable, and the club have firmly established themselves as one of the best run in England, and have a sustainable, and profitable future ahead of them.
Looking forward Arsenal fans can be very excited about what is going on at their club. Whilst Liverpool and Manchester United face uncertain economic times Arsenal have business plan mapped out for the years ahead that will ensure they remain successful. The experience of Livepool and Man Utd certainly goes to show that having rich owners is not always a blessing, Chelsea have done well out of it but Roman Abramovich actually seems to care about the club he bought, the same could not be said for Hicks and Gillett and the Glazers. Arsenal fans might well be thankful then, that the prospect of a takeover by Stan Kroenke or Alisher Usmanov seems to have faded in the last year.