Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gunners Top United as Profits Hit [Pound]33m; Football

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gunners Top United as Profits Hit [Pound]33m; Football

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID BOND

THEY might have been beaten 6-1 by Manchester United at the weekend, but Arsenal today surged ahead of their rivals in the money table as they reported a rise in pre-tax profits for the last six months to nearly [pound]33 million.

Buoyed by the [pound]30m sale of Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit to Barcelona last summer and the sale of internet rights to Granada, who now own five per cent of the club, Arsenal eclipsed United who last October reported a slump in their full year pre-tax profits from [pound]22m to [pound]16m.

For the same six-month period between May and November 1999 Arsenal made a pre-tax profit of [pound]22m.

And with the Gunners still involved in the Champions League and FA Cup, analysts will be forecasting a bumper year for the High-bury club when they report their full year accounts in August.

In a statement issued to the stock market, OFEX, this morning chairman Peter Hill-Wood said: "With the team progressing to the second phase of the Champions League I am hopeful we will return a positive profit for the second half of the year."

With United, Chelsea and Newcastle all recently announcing falling profits, Arsenal are one of the few sides to announce an increase.

But the gains are likely to be short term.

Costs are set to spiral following the club's decision to relocate to a new [pound]250m ground at Ashburton Grove, just half a mile from their traditional Highbury home.

Although the sale of Highbury will help finance the move, the bulk of the money required will be raised through a City loan.

Submitting their plans to Islington Council is one of the explanations for a [pound]3m rise in costs for the last six months and with turnover taking a sharp downturn during the same period last year, an operating profit of [pound]5m became an operating loss of [pound]5m for the same six months last year. …

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