Barton Debtor's prison

Maybe it would be better if they had kept the plastic pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium? UEFA chief Platini has been so focused in on his role in eradicating debt in the various football leagues that he failed to oversee the installation of a proper grass pitch for the Champions League final. But no matter, because due to insane Russian visa policies, hyper inflated costs in the world’s most expensive city, and the scary thought that Chelsea supporters aren’t really all that ardent, there won’t be a full stadium to see the crappy football on a crappy pitch anyway.

Yes, it’s true, it’s a slow news day Arsenal fans. In fact there are only two actual “Arsenal” stories: the Nasri story (which is reprinted daily) and a pretty cool story on the dot com about the season highs and lows. I know, exciting stuff.

I have to mention Joey Barton, my favorite madman, because he got 6 months for that assault at a McDonald’s last Christmas.


That means he’ll be out until at least November. Fingers crossed that Arsenal play both their matches against Newcastle before he regains match fitness. But really, I have to wonder why this guy is even allowed to play at all? If you read the description of the assault in the link above and combine it with his glorious career as a criminal you have to pause and wonder what kind of lunatic would sign him to a contract? Oh yeah, Sam Allardyce… Good on you, Sam, how’s retirement?

The only other story is that a little bit more detail about Chelsea and Man U’s debts has been revealed in the Guardian; it turns out that this year’s Champions League finalists collectively owe £1.5bn. The funny part of the story is Chelsea’s insistence (through Peter Kenyon’s rabid drivelings) that they don’t have any debt. Oops, I mean “outside debt.”

In their rather Orwellian manner, Chelsea are claiming that they have no debt because, as it turns out, all that money that Abramovich is pouring into the club is actually just “interest free loans.” Which isn’t really a debt right? So, while the Guardian maintains that Chelsea currently owe £736m, Chelsea says “we owe no external banks.”

Right, you just have collateralized debt obligations to the tune of £578m issued as bonds in the name of Roman Abramovich and payable within 18 months of his demand. David Dein once famously described Abramovich’s spending as “Roman’s sitting in his tank firing £50 notes at us.” As usual DD was wrong, because if you look closely at those notes, they are IOUs.

Debt? What debt?

The other interesting fact in this article is that both United and Chelsea are actually running annual deficit spending as well. So, not only do that have enormous, unsustainable, club killing debts, but they run nearly £80m in the red every year. And every year their debt gets bigger and bigger and the prospect of their wealthy owners ever earning a dime on their billions in “investments” gets smaller and smaller.

I can’t see any future for these two clubs that doesn’t lead to a financial collapse. If you look, the signs of crisis are already in the offing; United can’t even pay off their transfer fees from last year‘s foray into the market. How long before teams stop selling them players on IOU? What happens to United if their banks demand payment on their debt (they currently can’t even pay their interest)? What happens to Chelsea if Roman gets sick of losing £100m a year and stops funding their unsustainable salary structure? Or worse, demands a portion of his £600m debt be returned?

There was a time, when I, like many Arsenal supporters, saw the free spending ways of Man U, Chelsea, and Liverpool and wished that we had some rich guy to help us compete in the market. I no longer have any lingering doubt about the course the Arsenal board is on.

So, enjoy the Champions League final tomorrow; I’m sure the trophy will be for sale soon on Ebay.


  1. The pitch in ruskia looks like the one we play our indoor games on.
    poor Drogba and Ronaldo’s knees are going to burn like Tibetian protester today, or tonite.

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