How does Arsenal’s pay cut help the NHS? It doesn’t in any way…


I must admit to being completely bemused with the whole situation regarding the reason behind the decision of of Arsenal players to take the 12.5% pay cut.

It is not my purpose to look at any individual player’s decision, but what was behind the thinking that led to our club being the only one to have brokered this kind of deal.

We were told by our official website that Stan Kroenke had guaranteed to pay all the staff at The Arsenal during the coronavirus outbreak, and I certainly didn’t expect anything less from a multi millionaire, after all, we are The Arsenal!!!

So, as far as I was concerned, this all started when a politician, Matt Hancock, announced that the premier league players in English football should set an example and donate a percentage of their salaries to the NHS and the army of other wonderful people who were putting their lives at risk during this coronavirus.

Again, I do not want the politics of this to get in the way of my problem, it is mentioned as a starting point to what followed.

There was an outcry from players and their representatives who felt that the players were being targeted unfairly and should be allowed to decide how and if they spent their money.

Of course, this was met with howls of protests, with said players being accused of greed, and the media had a field day naming and shaming players, clubs and owners for not doing anything to help in this time of a vicious pandemic.

Our club, decided to ask the players to agree a voluntary pay cut, despite the PFA advising all of their players not to do this until further discussions with each club’s representative (Bellerin being our man).

Days of wrangling and media frenzy bought no response from any club, while certain players were pledging to do things of their own back (again we see Mustafi donating money to feed 16,000 children).

Then the announcement was made that The Arsenal and its players and manager had agreed to cut their wages by 12.5% to help the club….no mention of the NHS etc here then, just a statement saying it will “assist the club” during the coronavirus pandemic!!!!

So where did the emphasis change from the request by Matt Hancock that players should show the way with its support for the NHS, to helping our multi billionaire owner to cut costs??

How has the NHS benefitted in any way from our club being (to date) the only one to announce a pay cut? If anything, the loss in tax revenue could actually affect the NHS in a negative way.

Plus, it is being reported that our younger players are unhappy with the way they were put under pressure to accept the pay cut. What an own goal, and this is while holding contract negotiations with the likes of Saka.

So, after all the media screaming, the backlash from the fans towards individual players and the club being singled out by the media once again for scorn and derision…. who actually benefited?

Not the NHS and others who are risking their lives, just our multi billionaire Stanley Kroenke, who had already promised to pay all Arsenal staff anyway and who now finds himself, reportedly, able to put out this statement from the club “the resulting savings will help cover some of the financial risks we have this season in relation to our matchday and commercial income.”

All wonderful and heart-warming, but what has this wage cut done for our NHS? And wasn’t that the original aim regarding premier league players reviewing their contributions?

Have I missed something here and are we Arsenal supporters being conned once again?

Are the players doing what they wanted to do in the first place? Supporting the NHS in their own way, just with less gross pay?



  1. Admin Martin says:

    I totally take the opposite view but this is a well written and well thought out piece. It should create debate, hopefully, a pleasant one today. Well done Ken.

    1. jon fox says:

      Nicely phrased MARTIN!

  2. SueP says:

    Where to start is the problem!
    In many respects I agree with your sentiments, Ken
    Being grossly overpaid (I know it’s market value ) and then being expected to bail the club out is not the answer. Generally speaking I think Matt Hancock comes over as a decent bloke and he probably didn’t engage his brain as he should with his remarks. That doesn’t mean to say that PL players should get away without doing their bit and many have been extremely generous
    This all boils down to whether Kroenke has poured any money into the club to bolster it up. I read an article on JA that suggested that he was going to put in a significant sum. It went quiet after that so I don’t know if he did
    My stance at the time was that as so many people in the country were being furloughed, losing their jobs or taking wage cuts then a modest pay cut seemed reasonable for the players to accept. I stand by this view as long as it supports the club. I have no idea how healthy the club is bearing in mind it is being used to prop up Kroenke’s other interests. I’m not a financial expert and certainly wouldn’t want to be helping him out of a hole. There are risks in business and whilst returns can be great there is also a flip side. Kroenke should be helping the club
    I personally don’t think taking a pay cut should be about the NHS which should be supported through our taxes. In times such as these we all have come together, knowing that governments all over the world could not have foreseen the devastation to our lives. All of us have been raising money or volunteering etc to support the NHS during this crisis.
    Once this can be contained I very much hope that the government will review how we manage health and social care. I also hope that the obscene growth in pay throughout elite football has a rethink but that is another issue

    1. jon fox says:

      SueP, I am increasingly in love with your mature and compassionate wisdom in your regular heartening posts.

  3. jon fox says:

    A well put over point of view with which I both agree and disagree ,in that Ken is confusing two totally separate matters, though linked in a sense. This cut was never intended by the club to aid the NHS, but simply to save the club,ie Kroenke, money!

    All moral fans andplayers fully believe in helping the NHS by supporting in any way possible, whether as volunteers or direct financial help. But the club wage cut already accepted is done for reasons of helping the club survive in Kroenkes ownership and nothing to do with the NHS, which is an entirely separate matter. NOW, if – as I assume all badly wish – we Gooners are intent on forcing Kroenke to sell Arsenal, which is our only hope of ever winning another title(be in no doubt of that please!) the best long term outcome for us is that our club gets in deep financial peril of even continuing and its asset value to Kroenke plummets hugely. In that scenario , we can be sure that Kroenke will be shrewd enough to see the danger before most others and would be keen to get rid of us.

    But that treads a perilous tightrope, as no one can accurately predict the world economy or who might even want or even be able to take us over. Even Dangote, perhaps, as he too will be badly hit financially. So, along with all clubs, we are in a degree of peril the longer this virus lingers.

    What this highlights IMO, is that all bets are off now and we are in the grip of something that seriously threatens to overwhelm football for years to come. Our best outcome for the game as a whole is that fan power and social attitudes force players to adopt a realistic attitude toward the relative unimportance of players to society and that events force all Prem players to vastly and permanently reduce wages.

    I would hope for an 80 % eventual cut and predict a vast reduction , though in steps and over time , whether or not that figure is reached , But massive and long term change is IMO certain and will in the end be best for the game.

    1. ken1945 says:

      But that is my point Jon, the initial remarks (forget the politics that doesn’t matter) were aimed at premier league players donating to the NHS – somewhere along the line, either deliberately or not, the wage cut taken by our club has “seemed” to lift any perceived guilt that players should have felt – when in actual fact, it has done nothing of the sort!!

      Morally I would suggest that every decent person wants the wealthy in our society to be seen supporting the NHS and that was the point of the initial statement surely?
      As we know,individuals are/have been donating quite a lot of money anyway, so I am stillconfused as to the merit of the pay cut.

      So, I ask again, what has the pay cut done for the NHS, what was the purpose of the pay cut, considering the amount of flack the players took and, are we any further advanced with players donating directly to the NHS etc?

      1. AndersS says:

        I have not seen the club using “support to NHS” or anything like that, as the reason for asking the players to agree to a pay cut. Neither before nor after the agreement. Only the drop in income for the club has been used as an argument.
        The fact that fans here and elsewhere have used NHS and compared player’s salaries to slate the players’ initial unwillingness is an entirely different matter.

      2. jon fox says:

        Ken not sure I agree with the “lifted perceived guilt” comment . Guilt is surely something that people feel individually according to their own actions and moral code or lack of a moral code. I don’t personally believe any can load guilt onto others; it is entirely uo to them personally to do or not do as they see fit. And no ones elses business, to boot. But that itself is also completely separate, again, from the overwhelming need to vastly lower wages in general.
        I try not to confuse issues or link them unless they truly ARE linked and I also think that many whose intellect is not as developed as we oldies, who have seen life, mistakenly make false links and thus come to wrong conclusions.

        I CAN and DO agree that HANCOCKS remarks have proved unhelpful and been an own goal but as you say, that is politics and I don’t wish to go into that too much on here, though I very much do elsewhere and will be, shortly.

        The pay cut has only helped Kroenke as we know and as a recent article of yours said may even prove counter productive to our club in the longer term, as we all crave Kroenke out. My point is that this is a completely separate matter from player guilt and the NHS.

        I hope you will now read my first longish part of my morality of football articles on here at 11.37 this morning, refuting “the Prem will start soon nonsense” and would love your thoughts please. Speak soon old chum!

  4. AndersS says:

    There are 2 issues, and it makes for confusion, if they get mixed up.
    The Corona Virus has put football on stand-by leaving the clubs without any income for an unknown period of time.
    Some of the income may be recovered at a later stage and some may not. And on top of that the clubs could very well be facing permanent drops in income in the longer term. All depending on the seriousness of the economic impact, all the World will be facing eventually.
    Under these circumstances most, if not nearly all clubs simply will have to cut costs eventually. Simply to survive as businesses and we are seeing it all over the place. Stadium plans scrapped, wage deferrals etc.. The 12,5% pay-cut for our players, could well be only a small beginning for Arsenal.
    The moral/ethic side of things is an entirely different matter. Even before Corona, you could ask if the huge salaries to footballers are moral. On top of that you can now ask, if footballers (and others?) with huge incomes should contribute directly to those fighting the virus in hospitals, laboratories etc. etc..
    And you can of course ask, if it is a football club’s moral responsibility to demand it from their players.
    The point is, cutting salaries because of the economic situation will most probably be an absolute neccessity purely related to the survival of the clubs, whereas the moral questions are more difficult to define and more difficult to agree exactly on.

  5. ken1945 says:

    Anders, good points you make – but I go back to the initial statement about Premier league players “doing their bit”.

    That was when the players reacted, along with their PFA and the likes of Rooney, Keane and Collymore got so involved.

    So, if the issue is that one topic has got involved with another, I ask you two questions.

    As a multi billionaire, one of twelve currently owning clubs in the Premier league, why was it deemed necessary for our club to be the only one who, if we believe the reports, to have to ask its senior staff and players to take a paycut, benefitting only one person, the billionaire owner Stan Kronkie?
    The spuds have enormous debts, yet their players have not been asked to do this.

    Secondly, if it was made clear to the players that this was the outcome, do you think that they were entitled to know how the club was going to use that money?

    Thirdly -(yes it was three not two sorry) does the work that ANY individual player does regarding charitable work not become a significant part of how we assess these individual people?
    After all, none of them have the wealth of kronkie and yet are asked to help him out with keeping the club afloat – the club he has invested nothing of his own money into.

    1. AndersS says:

      Neither you nor I know what has been said during negotiations f the pay cut. I can only say, I believe the club’s statement, that it wanted the player’s to take a pay cut in order to help the club. Nothing else. It is logical to me that this move is neccessary given the club is operated as a self sustainable business. We have just come out of a financial year with quite significant losses and with no income, we are in a vulnerable position.
      As to whether Kroenke will, and indeed can sustain the huge losses, his sports entertainment “empire” will take, is pure guesswork.
      Anyway, as Arsenal is a business unit of it’s own, it is logical that costs, will have to be cut, and that will happen to many more clubs. As I see it, it has very little to do with benefitting the owner, and my guess is, the players eventually realized this.
      As for statements from pundits, press, fans etc., it generally only adds to the confusion, and I find it impossible to discuss.
      As for your third point, it really does have to do with your premise, that is has to do with helping a “filthy rich” person stay rich, and it is just not the way I see it.
      But yes, I think more of any person who helps out as much as they can. Footballers or non-footballers.

  6. Jah son says:

    at ken 1945
    Sir you are a very mature person I personally think the likes of Jon fox and the Admin are no where near your class. A senior in the room. Thank you Mr Ken.
    The words some #1 fans call players I just cringe. Mr Ken it’s honestly your view that keep me coming to this site long may you continue

    1. ken1945 says:

      Jah son, while thanking you for your compliments, I disagree with your comments about fellow gooners.
      We all have our own opinions and variety is the spice of life.
      The difference of opinions on this site is what makes “just arsenal” such a great place to comment and be challenged.
      In actual fact, my friend, Jon Fox and I have a very friendly relationship – we just disagree on certain things.

      I certainly agree with you regarding the names aimed at some of The Arsenal players and it is sickening to think they are Arsenal fans.

      OT Jah son, did you read my article on Arsene Wenger in the “statue” series?

      Stay on the site and your views are as welcome as everyone else’s – just be more open minded.

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