Gunners' debt spirals


Arsenal's debts have again risen, with the effect of the recently completed Emirates Stadium sending the club £262.1 million into the red.

Last year the north London club's debt stood at £153.3 million, and operating profits have also fallen in turn.

Profits for the last 12 months stand at £7.9 million, compared to 2005's value of £8.3 million.

The Gunners have unsurprisingly pinned the spiralling debts on the cost of building the 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium, which was completed on schedule at a cost of £357 million.

However, chairman Peter Hill-Wood today revealed that all executive boxes, club tier seats and general admission season tickets had been sold for the new season, while almost one-third of the 711 residential units being developed at Highbury had been snapped up.

Arsenal bade farewell to Highbury after 93 years at the ground on the final day of the last season.

Hailing a "very busy and historic year" for Arsenal, Mr Hill-Wood said: "Emirates Stadium has been completed on schedule and will now provide the group with substantially increased match day revenues; it is clear that all our hard work over the last few years has paid off to provide a simply magnificent playing arena for the team and unrivalled facilities for our supporters.

"As well as completing the new stadium we have also refinanced the related debt. The refinancing is strongly beneficial as it secures the group's financing arrangement for the long term and, by extending the repayment term and reducing the annual debt service costs, frees up significantly more of the group's future cash-flow for investment in the development of the team," he added.

The unfamiliar surroundings of Emirates Stadium have not proved a happy hunting ground for Arsenal so far, with the team failing to win in either of their two home Premiership games this season.

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