You have announced today that the Club has made a profit of £36.6 million. What are the key headlines?
Firstly, that the Club is in a healthy financial position. The important thing to keep emphasising is that we exist, first and foremost, as a football club not a business. The reason we talk about the financial results at all is that it provides the platform for us to be successful on the field. This is a healthy set of financial results once again. We are in a good position and we can look forward with confidence that our manager has the funds to drive the Club forward and we will continue to be successful in the future.
I understand there is £153 million in the bank. How much is available to spend on the team?
Obviously at over £150 million that is a big cash balance. Not all of that is available to spend on the team. In fact most of it is not. This is the high point of our year in terms of cash position. It is when we have all the season ticket revenue in. We use those funds throughout the year to pay our expenses, including player wages. But it is a very healthy cash position and we do have money to spend as and when the manager feels it will push the squad forward. But it is nothing like £150 million.
How would you assess the commercial position?
We are in a really healthy commercial position. Growing these revenues has been a major aim of ours and we have made good progress. In the year we are reporting, commercial revenue with retail went above £50 million and that is the first sign that our commercial side is beginning to reap some reward. Since these results, we have announced some new partnerships but commercial revenue is growing at a healthy rate, above our expectations. And we have the renewals of our two major deals - our shirt sponsor and kit supplier – in the next year or two. That will push us forward so it is a good set of results on the commercial side
Looking ahead. there are those deals and the new broadcasting revenue is yet to kick in so what position might the Club find itself in two years from now?
Well we’ve been on a long and sometimes challenging, 10-year journey, which involved taking the Club into a new stadium and really providing it with the platform to be one of the world’s leading clubs. Along the way, that’s had some challenges. We’ve been restricted to some extent, in the revenue that we have available through the process of the move. The world also changed in ways that nobody really expected – in terms of the spending power of clubs like Chelsea or Manchester City coming in. It’s been a challenging journey for us but we’re reaching the end of the stadium move. The last phase of that is the renewal of our commercial deals and our stepping forward as a really global football club as you’ve seen us touring in recent years. As we look ahead, in the next year or two, we’re going to see the Club developing its revenue streams very rapidly and really stepping into the elite group of world clubs. That’s really what the stadium move has all been about. So I think this is a really positive period of time for the Club. As we look forward over the next five years, I think fans can be really optimistic about the future.
It also seems that Financial Fair Play will come into play both in Europe and here in the Premier League?
Financial Fair Play is in place in Europe and the first year of enforcement will be next summer. I think UEFA is giving every indication that it will enforce those regulations quite strictly. There’s a tremendous movement among the Premier League clubs in favour of better financial regulation domestically within England. We’ve already seen the Football League move to a Financial Fair Play system and there are serious discussions at Premier League level among the clubs to find a way that we can create an environment that is more sustainable for all of those clubs and healthier for football and better for fans. I expect that that will yield some positive results for the league over the next months.
And on the pitch Ivan, the team has shown an extremely positive start to the season?
I think we’ve got a really nice blend of experience and youth. We’ve still got a very young squad but there is some steel to the squad as well – and some real experience and knowhow. We’ve got a fantastic team spirit – the unity is tremendous among the players. Beyond that, the unity between the players and the fans is stronger than it’s been in a long time. Our traveling support, as always, has been magnificent and, here at the Emirates, it’s been a tremendous feeling of unity and of people getting behind the team. There’s a real sense of optimism about this season ahead, and a real sense of unity.