Angry Arsenal fans quiz board on lack of spending

Supporters Trust wants to know if Wenger really has £50m to spend or are funds being held back?

The Arsenal Supporters Trust has demanded to know whether Arsène
Wenger has been given all of the club's cash reserves to spend by
the board, amid increasing disquiet at the team's direction this
season.

In a financial paper issued at an AST meeting of record attendance last night, the trust stated the club has roughly £50m in available cash reserves. Given the frustrations with the limited transfer activity, the AST plans to put to the club the question of whether Wenger was allowed to use that money.

"Did the manager have the option to use all or some of these cash reserves in summer 2011 and January 2012?" the AST will ask, "or are resources being held back as a contingency for failure to qualify for the Champions League?"

The AST estimates the club would lose roughly £45m in annual revenues should they fail to qualify for next year's Champions League. They are currently ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea on goals scored. Television revenue, ticket sales and merit payments would all drop, with uncertain consequences for the club's financial security.

With Arsenal in fourth place in the league, and effectively out of all cup competitions, supporter disquiet is higher than it has ever been under Wenger. The club's majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, is expected to attend a routine board meeting at Arsenal on Thursday, along with Wenger. The AST will meet club representatives this week and its members very much hope to meet Kroenke, who said last year that he would engage with supporters' groups.

The trust is also expected to survey its membership for their views on Wenger's future as manager at the end of this season. This is likely to include more direct questions than have been asked about the Frenchman before, suggesting that a seventh consecutive season without a trophy risks exhausting the goodwill he has accumulated over the years.

Last night's paper also condemned Arsenal's wage spending as "inefficient": player salaries for the 2010-11 season totalled £124.4m, the fourth-highest in the Premier League and a 12.4 per cent rise on the previous year. "In the view of the AST," the paper ran, "there is clear inefficiency in wage spend evidenced by poor performances on the pitch and the number of players the club have either on loan (ie who can't be sold) or deemed not good enough to play in the first team."

AST claim there are 71 players on the wage bill. One-time first-teamers Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson and Carlos Vela are out on loan at Sunderland, Sao Paulo and Real Sociedad respectively. Andrei Arshavin, the record signing when he arrived in 2009, is now a fairly peripheral figure, having started just eight of Arsenal's 25 Premier League games this season.

The AST is clearly concerned: Tottenham, currently 10 points ahead of their local rivals in third place, posted a wage bill of £91m for the 2010-11 season, significantly less than Arsenal's figure. "Our wage spend is 40 per cent higher than the payroll at another club in north London and Arsenal are in danger of being overtaken more than temporarily by those who spend their wages more efficiently."

Should Tottenham finish ahead of Arsenal, it would be for the first time since 1994-95, before Wenger took over at Highbury, and when Tottenham were managed by Gerry Francis. Spurs could well seal that result when the two teams meet at the Emirates on Sunday lunchtime.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits