No titles but no splurging for Arsenal
By Rob Harris ,APLONDON -- In the Arsenal boardroom, maintaining a diligent financial approach is as important as ending the team's title drought.
February 27, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Releasing the latest set of strong half-year results on Monday, Arsenal demonstrated the financial benefits of resisting demands to recklessly recruit players — even though it is facing an eighth straight year without a trophy.
The American-owned club disclosed its cash reserves had risen year-on-year to 123.4 million pounds, and that it made a net profit of 14.9 million pounds (US$23 million) in the six months to Nov. 30, 2012.
The regular profits are largely due to the annual departure of top talent, with 42.5 million pounds (US$64 million) generated in the 2012 offseason transfer window by selling players — much to the annoyance of fans frustrated by the failure to reinvest significantly.
It was the decision in August to sell striker Robin van Persie to one of Arsenal's biggest rivals, Manchester United, that infuriated so many Gunners fans. The anger has only intensified as Van Persie's goals have helped United surge 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League, while Arsenal is 21 points adrift in fifth place.
Having been dumped out of the FA Cup and League Cup by lower-league opposition, Arsenal's title hopes now rest on overturning a 3-1 deficit at Bayern Munich next month to reach the Champions League quarterfinals.
Even in the face of widespread fan discontent, chairman Peter Hill-Wood maintained Monday that the club wouldn't veer from its strategy and embark on spending sprees in the hope of winning a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.
“Our ability to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe is underpinned by our financial performance, which gives the club strength and independence,” Hill-Wood said. “Our desire is to make everyone connected with Arsenal proud of the club.
“We know that comes through winning trophies but also through the way we do things, and that will remain our constant guide.”
That ethos has enabled Arsenal, which is owned by U.S. sports tycoon Stan Kroenke, to take a leading role in Europe and the Premier League in driving through cost-control regulations to ensure clubs are self-sustaining.