Last updated : 17 September 2004 By editor

Mihir Bose in the Telegraph:

‘Arsenal are having such success on the field that it may seem churlish to raise financial questions but their fans might care to look carefully at the accounts for last season, ending May 31, 2004. They have just been posted to shareholders and should prompt a few questions when the annual meeting is held on Oct 7.

‘The football business lost £6 million on an operating level after buying and selling players, while in the 2002-03 season it made a small profit of £700,000.

‘Arsenal proudly claim they are now paying a smaller percentage of their income in wages to players. Wages made up around 45 per cent of income last season compared to nearly 52 per cent two years ago. But this incorporates some nifty accounting footwork with income from property being added to football income. This income from property is only a temporary situation, as Arsenal sell off excess land bought as part of their stadium development plans. Take the property income away and you find wages are at an alarming 60 per cent of income.

‘Arsenal, of course, are carrying a lot of debt as they build their new stadium. That presently stands at £158m. It has cost £15.3m in finance fees to raise the debt, which will rise until 2006, by which time Arsenal will move into the new stadium they so desperately need.’