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Arsenal Supporters’ Trust make demands after Gunners’ half-yearly figures announced

Arsenal's Emirates Stadium Arsenal's Emirates Stadium

By Tom Moore
Monday, February 25, 2013
11:14 PM

Arsenal supporters have called on the club to spend money on the team after the Gunners’ half-yearly figures revealed a profit of £17.8million generated by player sales - and cash reserves of £123million.

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The profit, effectively achieved by selling Robin van Persie to Manchester United, covers the six months up to the end of November 2012.

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) believe the figures highlight the need for the club to spend more money on team strengthening as they face a battle to finish in the top four.

Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Alex Song and Gael Clichy have all left the club in recent years and the fans believe that they have not been replaced by those of similar quality.

An AST spokesman said: “These figures contain few surprises. They show that Arsenal yet again made a profit from the sale of their best players and that the club has large cash reserves.

“Arsenal fans have contributed to this financial health through paying some of the highest ticket prices in world football. AST members want to see this money used for more, and better, investment in the team.

“The results also show the club does spend considerable money on wages, approximately £150m per annum. But the football decisions made on player investment, player selection and player wage levels are not delivering a more competitive team.

“The AST believes the club are financially well set to improve on the decline of the last few seasons. The remaining question is whether it has the boardroom leadership and football decision making expertise to make the money count.”

The AST also felt that the figures showed Arsenal’s wage bill as close to £150million for the year, not far behind champions-elect Manchester United’s, but that had not paid off in terms of results on the pitch as they lie in fifth place, out of the Champions League places.

In what appears to be good news for Gunners’ fans, that model of selling players every year to balance the books appears set to change this summer according to chairman Peter Hill-Wood.

He said in a statement: “Let me be quite clear that our intention is to keep our best players and recruit new talent to make us stronger.

“Although we were disappointed to see Robin van Persie leave the club, we have taken steps to secure our best players going forward and have recently signed Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson to new long-term contracts.

“During this financial period we also invested £40.9million in the acquisition of new players, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, and the extension of other player contracts. More recently we added Nacho Monreal to our ranks from Malaga.”

The financial report states that the “profit on sale of player registrations amounted to £42.5million” - down from £63million in 2011.

Arsenal’s football turnover dropped from £113.5million to £106million as a result of four fewer home fixtures compared to the same period the previous year.

The report confirmed that an extended partnership with sponsors Emirates will be worth up to £150million.

Hill-Wood added: “The Emirates partnership is one of the biggest sponsorship deals in the game and is an endorsement of the commercial approach we are taking.”

The chairman believes that the Premier League decision to bring in Financial Fair Play-style spending controls would help Arsenal.

He said: “These new rules will be good for us, good for the Premier League and good for the game as a whole.

“It is important that we maintain the quality and level of competition if the game is to continue being a compelling spectacle and we believe the introduction of tighter financial regulation will assist all clubs to compete while remaining financially responsible.

“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.

“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.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.