Tag Archives: economic

League two team Morecambe open their turnstiles for free to local supporters as attendance numbers drop

League Two side Morecambe open their turnstiles for free to local fans

Liv Lee


13:36 GMT, 7 January 2013



19:24 GMT, 7 January 2013

The economic climate has left some small football clubs in such dire need of support that they are having to offer free tickets to the locals.

League two side Morecambe have suffered low attendance rates all season, and are now allowing any supporters free entry to their tie with Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday.

‘It’s a chance to get the community behind the team and see if we can generate some atmosphere,’ club boss Jim Bentley told BBC Radio Lancashire.

Morecambe has had an average attendance of less than 2,000 this season

Struggling: Morecambe has had an average attendance of less than 2,000 this season

‘If we can get three points and play well, hopefully they’ll come back as paying customers.’

‘The situation that the club’s in is not ideal,’ said Bentley of the lack of funding that’s left him unable to search out additions to the squad.

‘Everyone’s feeling the pinch and attendances haven’t been what we predicted.

‘We’re not in a position to go out and get players. We’ve got to work with what we’ve got and we’ve got a squad that will give their all.

‘It will be great if we can get a good number (of fans) in and, as I say, they can come back as paying customers. It’s the town’s football club and we need more and more people to back it.’

The Globe Arena has had an average attendance of fewer than 2,000 this season. It comes close to being the least supported team in the League. The highest it’s reached this year has been 3, 635 for their draw with Bradford on New Year’s Day.

Those in attendance have had little to cheer for so far, with Morecambe currently sitting at 19th in the table.

West Ham owner David Gold says crazy spending in the Premier League has to stop

West Ham owner Gold says crazy spending in the Premier League has to stop… as Hammers weigh up move for Chamakh



10:39 GMT, 21 December 2012

West Ham co-owner David Gold says the crazy spending in the Premier League has to stop and has predicted next month’s transfer window will have lowest amount of money spent for some years.

The Hammers chief has said that fans need to realise that their dreams of a big signing in the window often does not make good business sense.

Gold – who was previously chairman at Birmingham before taking over at Upton Park with partner David Sullivan in 2010 – used the example of Portsmouth as a warning of what can happen when spending gets out of control.

Warning: West Ham joint chairman David Gold says it is time for the crazy spending to stop

Warning: West Ham joint chairman David Gold says it is time for the crazy spending to stop

Writing for Sports Direct News, he said: ‘We have to put a lid on the crazy spending which has seen so many clubs coming to the edge and I believe there's a new reality coming in at last.

‘Personally I believe this will be the lowest spending window ever and that's a good thing. We really can't, must not go on as we have been.

‘For every Manchester United there's a Portsmouth and whilst I understand what supporters mean when they talk about signings ‘taking us to the next level’ it isn't an argument that makes a great deal of economic sense.

Falling on bad times: Portsmouth have fallen into League One after years of financial struggle

Falling on bad times: Portsmouth have fallen into League One after years of financial struggle

Hammer time Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh could be heading to Upton Park in January

Hammer time Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh could be heading to Upton Park in January

‘For what they are really saying is that a couple of big signings would move them from perhaps tenth to eighth place or ninth to seventh. That's an argument which if repeated in other businesses would see the people responsible sectioned.’

Meanwhile, Arsenal reject Marouane Chamakh could join Sam Allardyce at Upton Park in January.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger looks set to allow Chamakh to leave the club next month with former club Bordeaux also interested.

According to Goal.com West Ham are keen to explore the option of a loan move until the end of the season.

And Arsenal will also listen to offers for Andrey Arshavin, Andre Santos, Johan Djourou, Sebastien Squillaci and Emmanuel Frimpong in the January window.

Didier Drogba will not be going to Juventus, according to their manager Antonio Conte

Drogba not going to Juve: Conte rejects a move for the Ivorian



00:11 GMT, 17 December 2012

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has ruled out making an approach for former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba in the transfer window.

A report in the Gazzetta dello Sport today suggested Juve had made 'significant progress' with an approach for the Shanghai Shenhua forward, who made an appearance at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, who could be tempted back to Europe after failing to settle in China.

Untrue: Juventus manager Antonio Conte (right) has rejected claims that he is lining up a bid for Didier Drogba in January

Untrue: Juventus manager Antonio Conte (right) has rejected claims that he is lining up a bid for Didier Drogba in January

Juventus' coach Antonio Conte blows a kiss to the crowd

The Serie A champions have also been linked with Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente, but Conte insists Juventus are in no financial position to sign 'top players'.

Following today's 3-0 victory over Atalanta, he told the Corriere dello Sport: 'Speaking about the transfer market seems a bit disrespectful to my current players, who have showed great desire and dedication to my ideas over the last year.

'We are just fine keeping our feet on the ground. This is a difficult time given the current economic climate, not just for Juve but for all the other clubs.

Unsettled: Drogba (pictured) has failed to adjust to life in China and is seeking a move back to Europe. His appeal to FIFA for an emergency loan move back to Chelsea was rejected last month

Unsettled: Drogba (pictured) has failed to adjust to life in China and is seeking a move back to Europe. His appeal to FIFA for an emergency loan move back to Chelsea was rejected last month

Suited and booted: Didier Drogba made an appearance at the SPOTY awards

Suited and booted: Didier Drogba made an appearance at the SPOTY awards

'I won't be bringing in any top players because we don't have the means to support them.

'We have to make the most of what we have, we have to work hard and try to improve our current players into top players.

'Some have already got there and some will become great.'

Juventus will lead the Serie A table going into the new year as Conte looks to win a second Scudetto in just two years of stewardship in Turin, with the Bianconeri also through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Top: Juventus will be top of Serie A at Christmas, seven points clear of Inter Milan

Top: Juventus will be top of Serie A at Christmas, seven points clear of Inter Milan

Big rise in football ticket prices revealed – Arsenal most expensive

Arsenal revealed as most expensive day at football as fresh figures show how fans are being priced out at matches



09:03 GMT, 18 October 2012

Year-on-year average cheapest ticket price (2011-12)

Premier League: 24.87 – 28.30

Championship: 20.37 – 21.07

League One: 15.52 – 18.54

League Two: 15.29 – 17.06

Overall: 19.01 – 21.24 – an overall rise of 11.7 per cent

Despite the economic gloom gripping
Britain, the cost of attending football matches has risen more than FIVE
times the rate of inflation since last year.

The cheapest adult tickets in the top
four divisions of English football have gone up by 11.7 per cent,
according to the BBC's Price of Football survey, which recorded the most
expensive and cheapest, season and adult matchday tickets across
Britain, as well as the cost of a cup of tea, a pie and a programme.

Arsenal have the most expensive adult
matchday ticket at 126 and season ticket at 1,955, while Scottish
Football League Division Three side Montrose's are the cheapest at 9
and 90 respectively. The cheapest season ticket available to watch the Gunners still costs more than the most expensive season tickets on offer at all but three of their Premier League rivals.

It'll cost you: Watching Arsenal play remains an expensive past-time for most supporters

It'll cost you: Watching Arsenal play remains an expensive past-time for most supporters

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation stood at 2.2 per cent last month, down from 2.5 per cent in August, but the BBC's survey found the average cost of the cheapest ticket had gone up 11.7 per cent.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the
Football Supporters’ Federation, has called for clubs to cut the price
of tickets, calling Arsenal's pricing 'shocking'.

'Despite the difficult economic times
we live in, prices at some clubs and at some levels of the game are
still exceedingly high,' he told the BBC. 'It is quite shocking that at Arsenal, for example, the cheapest season ticket is only 15 short of 1,000.

Matchday essentials


Most expensive:

Manchester City, Manchester United – 2.50


Alloa, Brechin – 50p


Most expensive:

Kidderminster Harriers – 4


Alloa, Abion, Forfar – 1


Most expensive:

Leeds United – 4


Inverness Caledonian Thistle – 50p

'We would like to see a much greater
effort to reduce ticket prices and in particular give the benefit of the
massive amounts of media income that comes in at the top of the game to
the match-going fan.'

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis
defended his club's ticket-pricing policy, saying the cost rises are
reflective of a wider issue in sport and insisting that the club still
offers good value tickets.

Top-price matchday tickets at the
Emirates Stadium are 126, but the cheapest league ticket is 26, a 9
reduction on last season.

'We’ve seen ticket prices rise across the game,' Gazidis said. 'This isn’t just a football issue.

'If you look at the prices of
entertainment across the board they have gone up significantly in recent
years and clearly we now have an environment where people are
economically challenged.

'What we have done is try to hold
those prices down, for example our Capital One Cup prices have been 10
for adults and 5 for children.

'What we know, because of the
tremendous take up, is that there are people who want to watch top class
football but for whom price is a factor. That is something we have to
be continually conscious of.'

Former FA chairman Lord Triesman has
warned that watching football could soon become the preserve of the
wealthy and blamed spiralling player wages for the price hikes.

Value for money Manchester City offer season tickets at a bargain 275... but a cup of tea costs 2.50

Value for money Manchester City offer season tickets at a bargain 275… but a cup of tea costs 2.50

'I think it will prevent the next
generation from really seeing live football other than on very unusual
occasions every so often when clubs will give the tickets away,' he

'Most of the causes of the increases are driven by the salaries paid to players.

'As it is, it will become a sport in
which relatively well-off people will be able to go and watch it live
and nobody else. That seems to me to be a tragic historic reverse.'

The cost of watching Premier League football in 2012

ClubCheapest season ticketMost expensive season ticketCheapest matchday ticketMost expensive matchday ticketCheapest day out (ticket, programme, pie, tea)ProgrammePieTeaArsenal 985.00*
1,955.00* 26.00 126.00 34.30 3.00 3.30 2.00Aston Villa 325.00
595.00 20.00 45.00 28.30 3.00 3.20 2.10Chelsea 595.00
1,250.00 41.00 87.00 49.60 3.00 3.60 2.00Everton 399.00
672.30 31.00 43.00 38.90 3.00 2.80 2.10Fulham 399.00
959.00 20.00 75.00 29.30 3.50 3.90 1.90Liverpool 725.00
802.00 39.00 48.00 47.30 3.00 3.10 2.20Manchester City 275.00
695.00 26.00 58.00 35.00 3.00 3.50 2.50Manchester United 532.00
950.00 30.00 52.00 38.60 3.00 3.10 2.50Newcastle 322.00
909.00 15.00 70.00 23.00 3.00 2.80 2.20Norwich 471.00
790.00 30.00 50.00 38.00 3.50 2.50 2.00QPR 499.00
949.00 25.00 55.00 33.00 3.00 3.00 2.00Reading 350.00
595.00 37.00 50.00 45.00 3.00 3.20 1.80Southampton 495.00
780.00 28.00 48.00 36.20 3.00 3.20 2.00Stoke 344.00
609.00 25.00 50.00 33.10 3.50 2.60 2.00Sunderland 400.00
845.00 25.00 40.00 33.00 3.00 2.90 2.10Swansea 429.00
499.00 35.00 45.00 42.80 3.00 3.00 1.80Tottenham 730.00
1,845.00 32.00 81.00 41.20 3.50 3.70 2.00West Brom 349.00
449.00 25.00 39.00 33.10 3.00 2.90 2.20West Ham 480.00
850.00 36.00 67.00 44.50 3.50 3.00 2.00Wigan 255.00
310.00 20.00 – 27.10 3.00 2.30** 1.80**

* season ticket covers the 19 Premier League home matches plus a further seven cup credits (eligible for FA Cup or European competitions).

** pie & hot drink meal deal 3.90.


Liverpool will not rename Anfield

Liverpool avoid fans' wrath by ruling out Anfield name change



08:43 GMT, 16 October 2012

Liverpool have ruled out renaming Anfield to help fund the proposed 150million redevelopment of the stadium.

The Reds had previously held talks with a number of interested parties when they were considering building a new 300m ground.

But after deciding to remain at Anfield, managing director Ian Ayre has confirmed the stadium will retain its famous name.

Staying put: Liverpool will redevelop Anfield to increase the capacity

Staying put: Liverpool will redevelop Anfield to increase the capacity

‘There won’t be a naming rights deal for Anfield,’ he said. ‘It was only something we looked at when we were assessing the option of a new stadium.

‘Naming rights was a difficult process but we weren’t without our suitors. We have had and still have interest around it.

‘A new stadium would never have happened without it but that was only one part of it.

‘We had to balance the two possible options. It was about finding the best solution for the club and we feel very strongly that this is the right one.

‘Our preference was always to stay at Anfield and this is a major step forward.’

Changes: Sybil Road is one of the streets that will be affected

Changes: Sybil Road is one of the streets that will be affected

The planned project will increase the capacity from 45,000 to 60,000 and will involve a number of streets behind the Main Stand being demolished.

Under the plans, Lothair Road, Alroy Road and Sybil Road will be cleared and residents affected will be rehoused.

The redevelopment has been designed to avoid a reduction in capacity while the work is carried out while Ayre has denied that manager Brendan Rodgers will see his transfer budget slashed.

‘The right solution is the right economic solution,’ he added.

‘Rather than it detracting from our spending in the transfer market, the whole point of doing this is to actually increase our revenues.

‘If we look at our biggest competitors with a bigger capacity… their matchday revenue is significantly ahead of ours.

Plans: John Henry (right) had considered moving the club

Plans: John Henry (right) had considered moving the club

‘This whole initiative is designed to generate additional revenues so the ultimate solution has to be one that increases the overall output through the process rather than decreasing it.

‘We’ll find the right financing solution, the right return on investment to deliver the right amount of additional revenue to support the long-term future of the football club.’

Radamel Falcao available to Chelsea and Manchester City for 48m

Sign cheque for 48m and Falcao's yours! Atletico name price to City and Chelsea



05:32 GMT, 11 October 2012

Radamel Falcao will be allowed to leave Atletico Madrid if either Manchester City or Chelsea stump-up the 48million demanded by by the club's chiefs in Spain.

City boss Roberto Mancini flew to Spain to check on the striker at the weekend. And the Italian saw the Colombian hotshot score his eighth goal of the La Liga season as Atletico beat Malaga 2-1.

In-demand Falcao scored 36 goals last season and the fee received for his transfer would clear the club's mounting debts.

Hot-shot: Falcao has been valued at 48million by Atletico Madrid

Hot-shot: Falcao has been valued at 48million by Atletico Madrid

But with a price-tag as lofty as 48m, the list of clubs with the financial clout to buy him is limited to just City and European champions Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League.

Atletico general manager Gil Marin said: '€60m (48m) for Falcao would solve all the economic problems at Atletico.

'I can say for sure, though, that he will stay with us until the end of the season.

'Not only will he stay, but so will all the players that the coach wants to stay.

'We will fight to perform a miracle which is what we are doing with what we have available.

'In Europe there are 50 clubs with more income than we have. If we were to sell Falcao for €60m, then that would cover our debts.'

International duty: Falcao has linked-up with his Colombia team-mates

International duty: Falcao has linked-up with his Colombia team-mates

Castleford seek to redevelop Wheldon Road after scrapping new stadium plan

Castleford seek to redevelop Wheldon Road after scrapping new stadium plan



10:28 GMT, 10 October 2012

Castleford are considering shelving plans for a new stadium and may instead re-develop their existing Wheldon Road ground.

Tigers chief executive Steve Ferres
made the revelation at a meeting at Castleford's Civic Hall on Tuesday night
which he called to update fans on the club's 'precarious' financial

Cash-strapped Castleford need new investment

Cash-strapped Castleford need new investment

Castleford signed a deal last year with developers to sell and redevelop their ground as a supermarket, which would then fund a new 12million stadium at nearby Glasshoughton for which they have received full planning consent.

A move to a new stadium was said to be key to the club retaining their Super League status, especially with neighbours Wakefield making progress on their planned move to a new home.

However, Ferres, who until recently worked as a club support officer for the Rugby Football League, says RFL regulations are being relaxed because of the country's economic difficulties and admitted the club's efforts to build a new stadium had stalled.

'The board of directors agree we need to look at alternative stadium options, including re-development of the existing Wheldon Road site,' Ferres said.

'The RFL are mindful of the testing economic climate and how it is impacting on the game generally.

'As a result, licensing requirements are being relaxed to enable clubs to explore different routes to ensure they achieve Super League status.

'The redevelopment is, therefore, a realistic and much more cost effective option and, after the support we received for it from fans tonight, one which will be given serious consideration.'

Ferres, who is a former chief executive of Wakefield and succeeded Richard Wright at Castleford in July, told the meeting that the club urgently needed new investment and had targeted 5,000 season-ticket holders to ensure its survival.

'The current business model is not working,' he said. 'We are falling short of the Super League's model club and we, therefore, need to look at ways to work smarter and generate new revenue streams.

'We are working in extremely difficult times and it is clear that we aren't the only club to be facing difficulties. Hull KR is one example who has already given an honest assessment of their current challenges.

'Identifying a new investor is integral to the club's future and will be a priority for me as CEO.'

Castleford finished next to bottom of the 14-team Super League in coach Ian Millward's first season after ending the campaign with seven straight defeats and Ferres, a former head coach of Huddersfield, warned fans that the team face a potentially difficult year ahead.

The club have lost 11 members of their 2012 squad and signed new six new players and Ferres revealed that there is little prospect of further additions without extra outside investment.

Ferres admitted the club would be prepared to sell England international Rangi Chase, the 2011 Man of Steel, who has three years left on his contract, if the deal suited the Tigers.

A proposed move to Hull recently fell through but, speaking on the eve of his departure with England for their training camp in South Africa, Chase revealed there is still interest from his former Australian club St George Illawarra and claimed Castleford would be happy for him to go.

Ferres said: 'Any potential interest will be given due consideration and decisions will be made in the best interests of both parties.'

Lewis Hamilton to choose between McLaren and Mercedes before Japanese Grand Prix

Hamilton to decide whether to quit McLaren for Mercedes before Japanese Grand Prix



19:03 GMT, 27 September 2012

Lewis Hamilton is to make a decision on his Formula One future before next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton's answer, on whether he remains with McLaren or opts to move to Mercedes, could potentially come as early as Friday, although it is understood the situation is not 100 per cent finalised.

The likelihood is Hamilton will continue his partnership with McLaren that now stretches back 14 years after he was initially signed up as a 13-year-old.

Decision to make: McLaren star Lewis Hamilton's future remains unclear

Decision to make: McLaren star Lewis Hamilton's future remains unclear

A source close to McLaren said after the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday that a contract to stay loyal to the Woking-based marque was '85-90 per cent' resolved.

Given the current economic climate, McLaren's initial offer saw them slash the 27-year-old's yearly salary by a third from 10million to around 6.75m and on a par with team-mate Jenson Button, resulting in the need to look elsewhere.

With management company, XIX Entertainment run by impresario Simon Fuller, known to have entered into negotiations with Mercedes, the German manufacturing giant then put in a sizeable bid.

It is understood Mercedes also offered Hamilton greater freedom with regard to his image rights and less impact on his personal time from corporate sponsorship appearances.

With McLaren's hand forced, they are believed to have increased their annual salary offer by a further 2m, and more in line with Mercedes.

Further negotiations have taken place behind the scenes these past few days since the race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit where team principal Martin Whitmarsh and Hamilton both appeared more relaxed.

Rollercoaster: Hamilton has had an up-and-down season at McLaren

Rollercoaster: Hamilton has had an up-and-down season at McLaren

It was in stark contrast to the tense atmosphere that pervaded the paddock at Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix as Hamilton landed in hot water with the team for tweeting telemetry data from qualifying.

A few days later, when former team boss and current BBC television pundit Eddie Jordan remarked a deal with Mercedes was done and an announcement imminent, it sparked a feeding frenzy at Monza ahead of the race in Italy, with Hamilton bombarded with questions.

Hamilton, however, kept his cool on the track to win from pole and thrust himself back in the title hunt, following which McLaren began their concerted push to retain the 2008 world champion.

Another pole followed in Singapore, yet despite what Hamilton described as a 'heart-breaking' gearbox failure when comfortably leading, he was positive and upbeat when he spoke after the race.

It was similar with Whitmarsh who claimed McLaren and Hamilton 'are a good team together', with the latter dealing with his disappointment 'as a world champion'.

Flashing the cash: Mercedes have tried to tempt Hamilton to their team

Flashing the cash: Mercedes have tried to tempt Hamilton to their team

Whitmarsh refused to speculate on whether a deal would be done before Japan, which starts next Friday in Suzuka, but it now appears certain that will be the case, with McLaren seemingly beating Mercedes to Hamilton's signature.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn today indicated talks were ongoing with Michael Schumacher, whose three-year contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

'It's still under discussion, I'm afraid,' said Brawn on BBC Radio 5 Live.
'I can't comment very much on that, but Michael's been a huge asset to the team, he's really taken us forward.

'I do think Michael contributes an awful lot, so I think the decision for Michael to stay or not continue is a difficult one.

'Obviously he's very involved in that decision, and discussions are ongoing at the moment.'

Asked whether Hamilton could be joining Mercedes, Brawn naturally ducked the issue, adding: 'I think any ambitious team looks at the top drivers and we're an ambitious team.

'But I think there's an awful lot of speculation. We will have some things to say in the next few weeks, next few months, and then all will become clear.'

When contacted, McLaren issued a 'no comment'.

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal will soon win the title again

Wenger: New rules will make it much fairer in Premier League



22:00 GMT, 1 September 2012

Arsene Wenger is convinced Arsenal are
about to have the last laugh over the Premier League big-spenders –
and will soon win the title again.

The manager is optimistic because he
believes that the tough economic climate and UEFA's Financial Fair Play
rules, which require clubs to only spend what they earn and break even
by the 2014-15 season, will now work in his club's favour.

Keep the faith: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Keep the faith: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

'Financial Fair Play will come through because big clubs who have been spending a lot are worrying now,' said Wenger. 'They ignored it until now, but finally we see that they are getting concerned.

'We are run in a very responsible way. We make a profit every year and I think that's where nearly everybody is struggling in Europe. We find ourselves in the situation of Germany in Europe.

'I'm convinced that society will force football to become more reasonable. The standard of living is dropping, and you cannot imagine that will happen in society while football continues to push up with inflation. That can't work together.'

That is why Wenger predicts that Arsenal will soon be back in a fair fight for trophies – and will also be able to keep their star players.

He explained how much it hurt to see Robin van Persie score against Fulham and then celebrate in a Manchester United shirt last week.

Wenger said 'It felt a bit strange. I was thinking, “He has the wrong shirt on. Why does he jump around like that in that shirt” Deep down I knew but I didn't like it too much”.'

Yet Van Persie has left a void at Arsenal, and Wenger said: 'If you lose a player who scores 30 League goals … there aren't 100 players in the world who could do that in England. So you need a solution.

'We are not completely at our best going forward, but it will happen quickly because we play as a team and fight together. This is a massive month and it will be a measure of how our season is likely to go.'

But even if Arsenal come off second best at Liverpool, or against Manchester City and Chelsea later in the month, Wenger will not quit. He has a young squad who will be in their prime when the Fair Play rules kick in.

'It never crosses my mind,' he said. 'I go into a game looking to win. And the aim is to win the title. I'm the first to be disappointed if it doesn't happen. But we have a fantastic squad with fantastic quality and I think it'll work out.'

Arsene Wenger says football"s money madness cannot continue

Money madness just can't go on! Wenger rallies against football's recklessness after RVP deal



21:31 GMT, 17 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Arsene Wenger has predicted a backlash against football’s reckless pay spiral after Robin van Persie signed his lucrative contract at Manchester United.

Van Persie completed his 24million transfer to United on Friday, signing a four-year deal worth more than 40m to the Dutchman, as Arsenal were finalising the sale of Alex Song to Barcelona.

A fee of 15m is close to being agreed for Song and he is expected to fly to Barcelona on Sunday to complete the deal.

Big move: Arsenal have lost Robin van Persie

Big move: Arsenal have lost Robin van Persie

Arsenal were prepared to make Van Persie the best paid player in their history but his 250,000-a-week wage at Old Trafford is double what any player earns at the Emirates.

‘We live in the economic reality which other clubs do not,’ said Wenger. ‘There are some things we cannot afford to do. It is as simple as that.

‘How much do you want to pay, 250,000 a week 300,000 We are here to make the players as rich as possible but aslo to respect our balance sheet.

‘Honestly, I think it is a short-term problem. You cannot imagine the world will go on just splashing money out without any return.

‘When you have lost the standard of living for normal people, and the football world always gets higher and higher, that cannot last because people will not accept it.’

Wenger, who signed Van Persie from
Feyenoord for 2.75m eight years ago, remained patient as the striker
struggled with injuries and refused to criticise him for joining rivals
United after an incredible 37-goal season.

‘This is a situation that is a
completely brutal reality of professional sport,’ Wenger said. ‘Robin
was captain of the team last year and until the last minute of the
season he fought like mad. That is professional.

This must end: Arsene Wenger (right) says the cash splashing will have to stop

This must end: Arsene Wenger (right) says the cash splashing will have to stop

‘It is a miracle we finished third. A big part of the miracle is down to him and you have to give him credit for that. He prepared for every game the right way. When he played the game he was 100 per cent committed.

‘At the end he chose to go somewhere else. OK, I don’t like it, but that is being professional again. He is a boy, born in Holland. We have taken him from Holland and we have to accept that when a player is professional, he can move again.’

Wenger admits the recent trend of losing his best players is ‘a concern’ but the proposed sale of Song to Barcelona was the manager’s choice.

Unlike Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Song wanted to extend his contract at the Emirates.

‘Midfield is different because we have nine or 10 midfielders of top quality,’ said Wenger.

Nuri Sahin is lined up as a replacement. Arsenal are confident that Champions League football will persuade the Real Madrid midfielder to join them ahead of Liverpool.