You can find the list of items the trademark is intended to cover here (thanks Arseblog), and if you read the list, it’s all clothing or ‘household linen’ – no need to worry about any trademark issues for Arsenal fan-sites, at least not yet.
There’s a chance that Arsenal will take this further and extend it to cover online intellectual property but I highly doubt it – it seems to be simply a strategic move to expand their range of merchandise and as a result, make more money from it. Still, they could just as well extend it to online property and then we’d have a real problem on our hands.
So will the new merchandise cover Arsenal’s debt? Of course not, but it’ll go some way towards generating extra advertising revenue, and like Myles said, why didn’t Arsenal do this sooner?
They probably didn’t feel the financial need to be so competitive before.