Belfast Telegraph

Gunners in profit once more

Arsenal have posted a £4.7million profit and reported increased turnover in their latest financial figures released on Friday.

The results, which covered the year ended May 31, 2014, also revealed the club had cash reserves of £173million.

The profit was down £2million from the corresponding 2013 results with turnover up to £301.9million from £280.4million, driven by improved broadcasting income, new commercial deals and their FA Cup success.

Wages were up by £12million to £166.4million, representing 55.7 per cent of football revenue, with key players such as Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere having all signed new, improved contracts.

For the first time in several seasons, Arsenal did not sell any star players last season - and indeed went on to sign Chile forward Alexis Sanchez after the World Cup as well as France defender Mathieu Debuchy and England forward Danny Welbeck from Manchester United on transfer deadline day.

Profit on sale of player registrations up to May 31 was reduced to £6.9million from £47million in the same period for 2013.

With Arsenal's £390million switch to a new 60,000-seater home at Ashburton Grove in 2006 being funded by a long-term fixed-rate bond repayment, the group reported cash balances up to £173.3million, from £119.6million last year.

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis vowed the board would continue to support manager Arsene Wenger in aiming to keep Arsenal challenging for honours.

"The club is in excellent shape, both on and off the pitch," he said.

"There is always more to do and, whether investing in the team or in training facilities which will provide long-term benefit to the club, our guiding principles are the same and our focus is clear, on delivering more on-field success.

"This remains the shared ambition of our majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, the board and everyone connected with the club.

"We are well placed to deliver against those ambitions."

Following the 2013 sale of the Queensland Road development, Arsenal went through a low-key year in their property business with revenues of £3.2m and a small operating profit of £400,000.

The latest balance sheet showed a total £207.9m cash reserve, inclusive of £34.6m annual debt-service on the stadium repayments, up around £54m from the same period last year.

Overall net debt was reported as £32.6m, down from £93.2m.

Even though the latest figures do not include the summer transfers of some £60m or the wages associated with those deals, Arsenal clearly remain in a strong financial position going forwards.

The next set of results are also expected to show an impact from the new Puma kit deal, worth some £150m over five years.

That, though, will not appease some fans, who felt shortcomings on the pitch this season, which culminated in a 2-0 Champions League defeat at Dortmund on Tuesday night, could have been avoided with the purchase of a defensive midfielder and more cover at the back.

Gazidis, though, insists Arsenal, whose majority shareholder is American tycoon Stan Kroenke, remain committed to the number-one priority of taking the club forwards on the field.

"We continue to drive forwards across every aspect of our activities. We are making significant progress but there is plenty more to be done," he added in a statement to shareholders.

"We are investing in new staff and looking at the very latest techniques in sports science and physical development.

"We are also looking to strengthen our global scouting networks to ensure we find the very best young talent in the game. This is important to our long-term success and it is a policy we will continue to pursue vigorously."

Chairman Sir Chips Keswick echoed the board's determination. He added: "Our ambition is to put Arsenal Football Club at the pinnacle of the game here and in Europe.

"We all want to savour a repeat of the joys of last May."

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