Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Ground Will Put ,Arsenal Back at No1; Profits from the Stadium Will Help Us See off Rivals,says Fiszman

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Ground Will Put ,Arsenal Back at No1; Profits from the Stadium Will Help Us See off Rivals,says Fiszman

Article excerpt

Byline: LEO SPALL

IT IS a sign of the times at Arsenal that as they prepare to play the Premiership leaders their biggest shareholder has other things on his mind.

Overshadowed by Chelsea's success this season, tonight's game at Stamford Bridge is unlikely to be more than a footnote in the story of Jose Mourinho's march to the title.

But Arsenal are already looking to the future and director Danny Fiszman is confident that moving to a 60,000-seat stadium at Ashburton Grove next year will give the club new clout.

He said: "Our ambition is to be the number one club and it is not a pipedream.

It will not be easy but we have the building blocks to enable that to happen.

We have the financial strength to come through from the new stadium, we think we have the best manager in Arsene Wenger and we are constantly moving up a level.

"But there has always been a feeling we are fighting above our weight.

Certainly, we have over the last few years with the success which Arsene has brought us without the financial strength of a Manchester United or an AC Milan.

"Emirates Stadium will allow an extra 22,000 fans to come to see Arsenal play and as high as the profile of the club is now, to have a major stadium in the middle of London will add to it. When it is up and running it will put the club in as strong a position financially as any other club generating its own funds."

Fiszman's exclusion of rivals funded by rich benefactors is significant.

No one in football can pretend they have a moneymaking scheme which will make their club as wealthy as Chelsea could be with Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's full backing.

But Fiszman thinks the [pounds sterling]357million Emirates Stadium will transform Arsenal's finances.

By allowing more fans to watch, introducing a luxury Club Level and accommodating more than 150 executive boxes the club will have more money for players.

Repayments on the loans which paid for the stadium will be reduced by spreading them over extended deals once the ground opens in August 2006.

The board believes the extra money generated by the stadium, coupled with Wenger's acumen in the transfer market, will finally allow the club to make big strides in the Champions League. …

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