Arsenal did not have the same financial ‘muscle’ as Newcastle United do now – even when the Gunners were regulars in the Champions League.
That is according to David Dein, the club’s former co-owner and vice-chairman, who worked at Arsenal for 24 years and was the architect behind the formation of the Premier League in 1992.
It was Dein who brought manager Arsene Wenger to Arsenal and the Gunners went on to lift 18 trophies during his spell in the boardroom.
However, by the time Dein was ousted, in 2007, Arsenal were no longer the Invincibles of old. The Gunners were counting the cost of building a new stadium, the Emirates, and Dein felt the club needed help to compete at the time
Dein spoke to billionaires Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov – going on to sell his shares to the Russian’s Red and White Group – after recognising what was coming down the line with Newcastle and others.
“I was fairly high-profile and I think the rest of the board were upset that I was trying to source outside investment, talking to Stan Kroenke about my shares,” the 79-year-old told the Daily Mail. “They wanted to keep it a closed shop. But I could see where the game was going.
‘You look at football now — Chelsea, Manchester City, even Newcastle. We didn’t have the same muscle. We had wealthy people, but not billionaires. We didn’t have enough money to finance the new stadium and finance the team. We were trying to dance at two weddings.”
You look at football now — Chelsea, Manchester City, even Newcastle. We didn’t have the same muscle. We had wealthy people, but not billionaires. We didn’t have enough money to finance the new stadium and finance the team. We were trying to dance at two weddings.
Newcastle’s owners’ wealth dwarfs that of even their counterparts at Man City and PSG, which has seen the Magpies repeatedly be referred to as the ‘richest club in the world’ by outsiders. However, that is not strictly true.
Although Newcastle’s owners have spent more than £210m in the transfer market since taking over the club last year, the financial regulations in place mean the Magpies have not simply been able to spend their way to the top in those two windows.
That is why the hierarchy are focused on boosting revenues and driving the club’s commercial operation moving forward so Newcastle,
in turn, can spend even more while also complying with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability regulations.
FFP [Financial Fair Play] was definitely a big hurdle for us to deal with this transfer window,” head coach Eddie Howe admitted last week.
“I think we’ve gone over the guidelines given. I’m not sure whether it’s affected future budgets. It’s probably not for me to answer but, certainly, it was a hurdle for us and we have slightly exceeded where we wanted to be.”