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Groundhog Season: where did it all go wrong?

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Groundhog Season

By Sammy The Snake

Writing something positive about Arsenal is a real challenge these days. As some of you may have noticed, and most of you haven’t, I’ve been quiet for some time. As the saying goes, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I’ve been awfully quiet recently!

We all feel the pain of the past few weeks, it’s been hurting in all the wrong places. We all are looking for solutions. We are desperate for a way to feel better, more optimistic, or perhaps a bit more alive.

This is turning out to be yet another groundhog season. We start by expecting nothing. The pundits and the media tell us in early August that Arsenal will not be competitive this season, and that we’ll be lucky to qualify for Europa League. By October, it’s decided that ManC and Sp@rs will definitely overtake us, and that Liverpool is certain to pip us to 4th place.

We are suddenly upgraded to Championship material by Christmas… And we are declared fit to lift all trophies by the end of the season. Unfortunately, even Wenger gets carried away and starts talking about the quadruple. The fans start flapping their wings.

When every Gunners’ ego is boosted to perfection, the media start using words like “bottlers” for the Arsenal. With that in mind, our season starts to deteriorate sometime in early March, and we are reaffirmed as failures by around April Fool’s Day!

Groundhog Day, I tell ya! Every freakin’ season. The fans are left feeling inadequate.

It’s at this time of the season that suggested solutions are aplenty. Sack Wenger. Get rid of the failing players, all 52 of them! Buy, buy experienced players, just buy. Sell Cesc and buy 22 new experienced players with the proceeds. Shoot the ground staff. Kill the ball boys… After you hang the board!

Is Wenger to blame? Are the players at fault? Is the board going overboard? Gazidis gone Ga-Ga? Are the fans impatient, over-expectant and delusional? Is the media over hyping it? The pundits having it in for us? Blind refs changing the natural course of the season? Luck?! Bad Luck?!! Surely, everyone must share the blame.

Arsene, the players, all back room staff, the management, the board and the owners are all responsible. Let’s just sack them all. Hey, wait! We can’t get rid of the owners because they own the club. Sacking all players and getting 25 shiny new ones will destabilize the team. The back room staff can’t take all the blame. And Ivan Gazidis just got the job. Hmmmm? What do we do to save Arsenal?

Let’s just sack Wenger, and get it over with. That’s the easiest thing in the world. Sack him, I say. And then…

Let’s imagine Arsenal swallow their pride and buy a one-way ticket for the professor back to Paris at the end of the season. What’s our best option after Wenger? Finding a brand new experienced head coach shouldn’t be that hard. Right? Just ask Dark Prick for advice.

As my first idea for a Wenger replacement, I would like to nominate Mr. Ego himself, the special guy, Mr. Mourinho. Oh, wait! He just lost last night and his glorious Real Mad is 8 points behind the leaders. And would you like his ego to land at the Arsenal grounds? I thought not.

My second choice would be the all-conquering Pep Guardiola. Would he leave his galaxy of stars? I don’t think so. Is he seriously thinking of leaving Barca? He’d be stupid if he did, but that is probably a great bargaining tool. Could he have ever been so successful without his ensemble of players? I highly doubt it. Would he ever come over to the Emirates? Unlikely. Can we bet on getting him? Definitely not!

Let’s get Rafa Benitez or Roy Hodgson. Let’s just take a shot and see what happens since Liverpool had such a great experience with both of them. We’ll first hire Rafa, when he drives the club to the edge of extinction, we’ll replace him with Roy Boy to complete the job. No way!

How about Steve McLaren? We’ll even throw in an umbrella, in case we keep losing under the rain!

I propose giving Mark Hughes a shot. But he got kicked out of ManCity, and got replaced with Mr. Mancini! Let’s get him, our scarf sales will go through the roof, and we’ll barely manage 5th place (which is better than 2nd place after all). He’s great at spending money too, what a great match! No, no, no!

Oh, I got the best candidate! Ranieri is the man for the job, especially if we plan to kick him out mid-season in his first year in charge. That’ll be so much fun!

If we want to really progress in football, Arsenal must place Mick McCarthy in charge. He’ll surely give us the steel required to win major trophies. He’ll toughen up the players. Can’t you see how Wolves are shoveling all trophies back home?

If we want to have a jolly good time and laugh out loud, I suggest the highly rated comedian Mr. Ian Holloway. We can then win some of our home games, and lose all the away ones. Won’t that be splendid fun?!

How about dirty ‘Arry?! The scum bag can bring us momentary near-success followed by financial ruin. He could groom Arsenal for tax evasion, wheeling, dealing, and buying players above market price. Only if he wasn’t such short sighted Sp@rs dick!

How about Leonardo? He first drove Milan down the table, then showed his loyalty by moving to Inter, where he has managed to make them look less than ordinary (same team that was so great less than a year back). His tactical naivety will bring us lots of great memories! I don’t think so.

Success is rarely accidental, and it’s never instant.

My fellow Gooners, be careful what you wish for, it may come true!

Sammy The Snake

The failures of Herbert Chapman. Was the great man really that great?  Or just another Wenger.  Time to find out.

The failure of Arsenal – when we went bust

The failure of Untold Arsenal to keep its index up to date

101 comments to Groundhog Season: where did it all go wrong?

  • walter

    Sammy, I bet there are hundred out there who would do a better job than Wenger. They all win the league with Arsenal on their playstation.

    What some fans don’t realise is that Arsenal is (once again) setting the pace for the rest.

    Even this week the president of FC Twente (league leaders in Holland) said: “Michel Preud’homme should become our Arsène Wenger”.

    I think many people who never take a look outside England and the English media don’t realise what a lighting example Arsenal and Wenger are for the rest of the world. The president of Twente said even this season that the big example they are looking at to develop them further as a club is Arsenal and the way Arsenal are doing things.
    And Twente have succes in copying this but they play in a league where there are no rich sugardaddy-teams with lots of money. They play in a more even league and thus succes is easier to come if you go the path Arsenal is going

    The English press is just looking at : “what was their last result” to see if a team is good or not.
    In the rest of the world many people in football have more an eye for all that is surrounding football and not just: what was their last result.

    I think many clubs in the whole world are looking at Arsenal and thinking: if only we could copy them.

  • Dark Prince

    Hmmmm…actually you are right…what options do we have??
    I mean, we all knew Wenger would be the right man for the job when he first entered Arsenal, right??

    Hey, wait, What are we gonna do when Wenger actually retires?? Have we even thought about that possibility?? Or maybe sammy thought Wenger will be at Arsenal forever??

    Ok, lets go what you say, lets be very leisurely on our ambitions. Afterall who cares about trophies??

    So let me get this straight, the fans at the stadium at the last game, who booed the players are actually Spuds just wearing an Arsenal jersey and having an Arsenal season ticket. Maybe next time, the whole stadium might be just full of rival fans, right? Oh wait, you one of them too??

    On a more serious note, if Wenger or the players or the Board thinks they can take the fans for granted, then they are in for a big shock. The players just got a good reception last time, its gonna be even better the next time when they underperform.
    Maybe the Board will start understanding the club is not their’s , its of the fans.
    Maybe the players will start understanding that they are eventually paid the money from the spectator’s pockets.
    Maybe even Wenger will come to terms with what is the primary objective of a Football Manager/Coach.

    Also, for the more sensible fans who really want to think of who should replace Wenger when eventually he leaves, maybe its this year or in 2014 when his contract expires, your suggestions would be helpful…
    My choice would be either Guardiola, Dragan Stjokovic or Andre Villas Boas.

  • va cong

    you man are awesome! I’ll take Tiger woods to replace wenger…

  • Allan

    I think Big Sam is missing from that list, to watch the “beautiful football” of lumping the ball upfield and whacking the opponents

  • walter

    Let me state that I don’t want Wenger to leave but if he ever does I would go after Andé Villas Boas.

    I don’t know what it is with Portugese coaches but they have something special.

    Never a real player himself, member of the staff at 16 under Brian Robson at Porto. He then worked onder Mourinho for years until he became a manager in the season before this. He rescued his first team (Academica) from relegation. Then went on to Porto and brought them the title and is unbeaten in the league.

    He plays an attacking style of football but also is very strong in tactics it seems (only from what I have seen written about him) and even after working in the staff and thus under Mourinho he seems to be a real gentleman. And I mean Villas Boas is the gentleman. But then again doesn’t every body els look like a gentleman compared to Mourinho. 😉

    I’m not sure on how he sees the youth thing project but in his first year he bought mostly young players when he bought a few around 22-24 years. So well, he looks to be a younger version of Wenger. 😉

    But then again if he would come after Wenger calls it a day people will be saying: André Who?

    And once again I have no problem with Wenger but at his age he could stop after this contract and then we have to look forward.

    Oh, and one final thing: his grandmother was English and he also speaks English.

    But all this doesn’t means he would be a succes at Arsenal. It’s not like getting a new TV in the shop.

  • gooner

    great article sammy. and id like to point to flipside of the arguement too: can you imsgine how many clubs would fight for wengers signature should he leave here and still want to carry on? i think fans dont often realize the situation their club is in but owners and chairmen would do a lot to get their hands on a manager that wins trophies and doesnt spend the club to the brink of extinction. admittedly im not well versed in managers worldwide but i dont know of anyone yhat is a guaranteed improvement on monsiour wenger

  • DeeDee

    Great article! “My fellow Gooners, be careful what you wish for, it may come true!” – I have been saying this line all year long. People blame me for being an Arsene fan, and not an Arsenal fan, but I can not see any manager doing a better job at Arsenal then Wenger.

    We all know that Wenger will retire some day (and personally I hope that that day will not come any time soon) and then I start thinking who can actually come and take his place and at the same time continue the great work of Wenger. I always come up with only one name – Dennis Bergkamp.

  • Dark Prince

    Its quite funny to see that the editor of this article sarcastically asked for a suggestion for the replacement of Wenger, and one of the authors of this site backed the suggestion given by none other than Dark Prick himself…lol

    On a more unsarcastic note, lets face a hard fact, i still believe no one, and i mean no one among the Arsenal supporters want Wenger to leave. Not even me, not even Dark Prick. But it would be a different case when you ask how many Arsenal supporters want a handicapped manager?? A manager who is not given his free will to go out and strengthen his squad??

    Honestly, i’ve always believed that the only reason that our squad even qualifies for Champions League every year is only bcoz we have Wenger. But it also means that our squad would not even achieve half of what they could achieve under Wenger. We have overachieved almost every season since 2006. Thats why when any of our players go out to other clubs, they perform pathetic. We have to face the facts that Wenger will never be given the freedom to purchase a player if he’s costly. Some would say, he doesn’t want to buy. And you are right, Wenger now has come at a stage where he’ll not abandon the players even if they underperform consistently for many years. Wenger is the nice guy and unfortunately the Board is taking advantage of this. They know Wenger is good enough to qualify for Champions League ever year with whatever squad he gets. So they wont complain. For them, the usual match day income and sponserships from qualification of champions league will provide them with enough money. What they lack is the sense of fighting spirit, which unfortunately flows down to the players themselves. Thats why, as i’ve said earlier, David Dein was instrumental in the success of Arsenal a decade back.

    I, for one, will not want my Manager to be handicapped especially after the burden of the debt has gone. I know Wenger is the right man for Arsenal. But I also know how he protects his players even if they dont deserve that protection. Unfortunately, the professionalism at Arsenal is more than the winning mentality. The Board forgets that Arsenal fans are not emotionless. The stadium is filled every year because there are some expectations from the fans, which unfortunately the Board ignores.

  • Great Article, Wenger must stay because he is crucial to the development of Arsenal right now. The youth system is working because we are producing good youngsters right now. All we need is experience players and 3 /4 world class players to become winners again. Yes i am hurt as fan that we have not won anything for 6 years. Apart from the premiership & the champions league i will take finishing in the top 4, qua for the champion league than winning the FA CUP OR the CARLING CUP. The fans are ruining the club right now by fighting each other, making it hard for the players to perform at home. To me the players perform better away because they r more relaxed. The last 2 clubs wenger managed before arsenal saw the most successful period in the history. ( AS Monaco sacked him since then the club as gone down hill.) We would have won something if Adebayor, flamini, Helb and Diara were still at the club. All this players were bought by wenger, which proves that he has the eye for talent, and giving enough money he can get the players we need to be champions again. Wenger must & will spend & get rid of the dead weight this summer or quit. The media will not rest until wenger is sacked because that his what they do best. They build you up when you are winning and put the knife in when you are down. The media are making noise, the fans are joining the bandwagon and the other big clubs are praying that Arsene go so that can pass us.If Arsene is sacked now without amending his mistakes then this is what will happen. The youth system will collaspe, all our best players will be sold, we will drop out of the top 4. Spurs will be the top team in NL, we might win the carling cup or fa cup & it will take us another 4 / 6 years to be a force again in europe & premiership. I am frustrated just like any other fan but hohestly if it wasn’t for the mistake between scez & kosc we would have beaten birmingham like we did twice in the league. if wilshere took his chance against Blackburn or arsenal scored from the chances they created we will be closer to mutd. Arsenal are not a big club we have not won the champions league. We have reached the final once & wenger his trying to make us into europes elite. The problem with wenger is that he as build us up so much with what he has done in the past that it is hard to take less.The say once you taste something good you want the same taste for ever or better but not worse. I say it is time for wenger to make us taste good again.

  • walter

    Dark prince, we all can do the name calling game.
    So yes I kind of like him because he reminds me a bit of Wenger.

    But just with like players there are a few questions to be answered:
    1. Is he free?
    2. Does he want to come?
    3. Does he agree with the financial things?
    4. Does he agree with restrictions (=not spending money we dont have)?

    All questions on which we don’t know the answer. But yes I like hime, like I can like players from other teams and admire their skills.

    Like I like the tackling skills of Crouch…. 🙂 LOL…. but this doesn’t mean I want him at Arsenal… 🙂

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    “Maybe even Wenger will come to terms with what is the primary objective of a Football Manager/Coach.”

    What is the primary objective of a Manager? I guess you mean to win trophies.. But that is not a primary objective. The primary objective is maximisation of resources. Which even you seem to say in your later post, that Wenger is doing.

    “Wenger is the nice guy and unfortunately the Board is taking advantage of this. They know Wenger is good enough to qualify for Champions League ever year with whatever squad he gets. So they wont complain. For them, the usual match day income and sponserships from qualification of champions league will provide them with enough money.”

    Provide them with enough money for what? To not run the club into the ground? Is that a bad thing?

    “David Dein was instrumental in the success of Arsenal a decade back.”
    Yeah, so was Thierry Henry.. Things change.

    “The Board forgets that Arsenal fans are not emotionless. The stadium is filled every year because there are some expectations from the fans, which unfortunately the Board ignores.”
    Au contraire.. I think the board are very acutely aware of the emotions of Arsenal fans. They also have to set emotions aside when making decisions. Have they always made the right decisions. I would guess not. But the thing is, what is the reason for you doubting the intentions of the board? What do you think they want to achieve?

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- I think you’re expecting too much from the future manager. You expect him to be money-restrained, and use only the players we currently have?? Thats too much to expect, there is no other Arsene Wenger in this world. Infact each and every Manager has his own style and his own set of player list which he would be comfortable with. The best example is Wenger himself, he too brought his own choice of players from around the world (mostly france). But after this ‘we’re in debt’ situation, he has been severely handicapped. Dont think he would have ever even opted for a youth policy. But coming onto the point of our future manager, i dont think there would be any manager who will want a job with so many restrictions. Whoever comes, there will be a change in squad and playing style also.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- 1st point-
    What is the primary objective of every manager/coach?? You have given that answer yourself, yes, the primary objective is winning trophies. ‘Maximisation of resources’ is the primary objective of a factory manager, not a football manager, unless ofcourse that football manager is working in a factory.

    2nd point- the board are provided with enough money to keep Arsenal as a successfull business at the expense of major trophies. Remember, Arsenal is not business company first, its a football club first.

    3rd point- yes, david dein was instrumental for arsenal’s success. Remember he backed Wenger to buy even a costly Thierry Henry for almost £10 mil a decade back.

    4th point- you think the board are very acutely aware of the emotions of the arsenal fans?? Are u sure about it?? Can u explain the 6.5% increase in ticket prices?? Or are u sure about the board being aware emotions of the fans in the last match??

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I respectfully disagree about the trophies being the primary objective of any Football manager. By definition then, every year there can only be a maximum of 4 succesful managers, and everyone else is a failure. Why do we hear of any managers from the lower clubs who don’t win anything. How are they allowed to stay in their jobs. Because they do what their job requires them to. Make the most of the resources they have. ManU, and Chelsea do not do anything but achieve the minimum required. Arsenal constantly overachieve. That’s not to say that we have achieved the maximum of our potential of course.

    I’ll answer the third point.. Regarding David Dein. I’m not denying that he did very good things for Arsenal. He brought in Wenger after all. He was very influential behind the scenes. But he was not, and is not the cure for all ills. He had to go, purely and simply because he was not of the same viewpoint as the board. Now you may call that a dictatorial attitude, but a team has to be pulling in the same direction. If Dean had his way we would have got in Usmanov as owner to challenge the likes of Abramovich, and the Sheikh, and we wouldn’t have had the grove. Basically, there was a reason he left, and it was a good reason. No point calling for him as if he’s some sort of messiah.

    Points 2 and 4 are about the board. You still haven’t answered, what do you think their motivation is? As for the ticket prices. I am against an increase, because I do not want fans to be priced out of their seats, regardless of demand. But is it avoidable? As I said, emotions have to be kept out of the decision making process (though it should never go overboard)
    But let’s be clear about this. So far, the board has only announced the rise in prices for the Club level and corporate box tickets. Basically, the fat cats among the stadium. Still undesirable if at all avoidable, but hardly the anti fanbase step its being made out to be.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- lol, you seriously believe that the objective of a manager of a club like Arsenal is ‘Maximisation of Resources’?? Dont make Arsenal a joke here, we are talking about our club. You really think thats what Wenger wants to achieve- Maximisation of Resources? Tell me shard, is Arsenal a football club or a factory?? Secondly, yes, if a big club like Arsenal or chelsea or ManU dont win any trophy in a year then that year is called a failure. Remember, there are no trophies for coming 2nd in the league. If a manager like Alex Ferguson has not won a trophy in any year then also it would be called a failed year. Thats why managers make amendments in squad and tactics every year. They make changes to finish 1st.

    Regarding David Dein, first of all he’s no messiah, neither is Wenger. But he’s what Arsenal was all about – Passion. It eventually comes down to everyone’s choice. Do we want Arsenal to get a new stadium now and sacrifice its competitiveness or go on winning trophies at Highbury. I’d take the latter. Infact i had a strong desire that we complete a 100yrs of top flight football at Highbury. That would hav been some achievement, eh? But the fact is that we were not in a desperate need of a new stadium that time. Yes, bringing in a new stadium has increased our revenue, but were we in desperate need to increase our revenue at that point of time? no!! Even today, look at the difference between Emirates and Highbury – there’s no passion in Emirates, it spills out tons of professionalism but the passion of Highbury is missing. Plus we had to become less competitive and even after earning so much of money from the new stadium, hardly anything is spent on quality players (stadium debt excuse is ruled out as confirmed by the chief executive of Arsenal- Gazidis)

    Regarding the board’s motivation – Everybody knows what is the motivation of any corporates, in 4 words – ‘Show me the money’. Thats one of the biggest reasons David Dein was removed, bcoz he first looked at the trophy cabinet and then the financial statement. Unfortunately, as of today, Wenger is first looking at the financial statement and then the trophy cabinet. As you said, ‘Maximisation of Resources’. Funny but disappointing.

    On the issue of ticket prices, it was really shameful for not just the decision of increase in ticket pricing but also in the timing, when Arsenal went out of 3 competitions in 2 weeks. I mean, r u still sure about the Board aware of the fans’s emotions??

  • Goonerman

    I am undecided whether Wenger should go or not. If he gave a commitment to buy some world class players I would keep him.

    But we must be careful what we wish for, look what happened to Charlton after Curbishley left. Same won’t happen to Arsenal but changing managers is a dangerous game.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince
    First you said the primary objective of a football manager. Now you say a manager of a club like Arsenal. What sort of a club is Arsenal that the same rules don’t apply to us? A big club? What does a big club mean? With a rich history? Well then Chelsea is not a big club.. With an abundance of trophies in recent times? That would mean we aren’t a big club right? My point was that viewing success, either of a manager or a club, solely from the gleam of shiny silverware is a totally incomplete parameter.
    What you fail to get is that maximisation of resources while being an economic term, doesn’t only apply in the field of production. For us, our maximisation would be winning. But winning doesn’t necessarily come ONLY by maximising our resources, nor by maximising our performances (by winning I mean trophies here) We could do everything right and still not win due to bad luck, bad decisions, or just bad timing in the sense that a team may just be better than us that year. Trophies usually follow performances, but not always. I believe that our performances have merited a trophy in these lean years, but they haven’t come. I can live with that. Please note. I do not think Wenger has ‘maximised’ our potential on the field. But he’s gotten as close as I think any manager could, and maybe more,considering the constraints he’s had to work in.

    Does that mean that Wenger has failed at his job? No. Does that mean Wenger could have been better at his job? Of course.. He has made mistakes, as I’m sure have the board. Where you are right is that Wenger is honourable enough to not disassociate himself from the board.

    As for showing the money. Yes the board wants to make money. You say that. I agree with that. My question is why do they want the money?what do you think they intend to do with it? Do you think they put it in their pockets or under their beds at night at feel richer? The money they get into the club makes Arsenal richer. It does not make the members of the board richer. Arsenal do not pay dividends. The only way they benefit personally from Arsenal financial success is if they sell their shares when the share price goes up. So again I ask you. What exactly are you accusing the club’s board of?

    You are saying David Dein somehow showed more passion? How? Only because he wanted trophies in the short term too? But what was he proposing we sacrifice? We get in one sugar daddy (a ManU fan allegedly, and a lot more too), we not build a stadium and use Wembley (not highbury as you mention), and Wembley wasn’t even constructed then, and we all know how long that took, and how well it went. If you think the Emirates lacks passion, you might want to think what playing at Wembley would have been like. The club tried it once before at the Old Wembley for Champions league games. Didn’t go too well. Of course the other option was to share a stadium with the Spurs.. How’s that for passion?

    Regarding the stadium move.. Apart from the sentimentality of Highbury, which I share.. You would actually say we shouldn’t have moved? Why? Because we weren’t in a desperate situation? It’s called planning and forethought Dark Prince. You cannot sit on your hands and act only once you are desperate. If we lagged too far behind ManU financially, we would never have been able to stay competitive, AND build a new stadium, AND recover from it. Now that would be a desperate time.

    It’s one thing to make an argument and point out where mistakes have been made, or are being made, and point to mistakes in the logic of any thoughts I may put forward. It’s quite another to simply change the parameters of argument as you go along.. To justify why our lack of trophies represents failure and why the board is wrong, you go back and change the very starting point of the whole issue. All of what we’re discussing would never have arisen if the stadium weren’t built, obviously. Other issues would have. If your main contention is that the stadium should not have been built when it was then that’s a whole different discussion. But it is not relevant to this one.

  • night negro

    u talk like a fat lump or a spolit brat. get real….
    leave your pathetic comments for all the thicko’s out there….

    Remember only ManUre & Chelski have won the FA CUp and league out of all our rivals….and they spend money that they do not have or have earnt..
    Be honored & proud to have ARSENAl as your team & what they have achieved…

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I can understand why you feel we need someone like Dein, but I don’t know where you get this idea that Dein was about the football first and money later. Dein was a member of the board too and not distinct from it. His vision differed from the rest of the board as to the direction the club should take..Subsequent to being removed from the board, David Dein still tried to get in Usmanov by selling his shares to him, and making a lot of money for himself in the process. 75 million pounds if I recall correctly.

  • It takes no thought to say, “Wenger out.” It takes plenty of thought to answer the question, “Who in?” And the Wenger Out Brigade, many of them BNP types who forget that Graham’s last 3 seasons with that all-English back 5 were 10th, 4th and 12th, don’t bother to provide that thought.

  • wen_detta

    too young to win

  • Shard

    @dan

    Do you have tourette’s syndrome?

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- firstly, for the point of the objective of a football manager, i dont kno whether you really seriously believe that the objective of Wenger is to ‘Maximise his resources’, you seriously remind me of our board which are more interested to maximise its profits rather thn win any trophy. but i guarantee you that most of the fans dont see that as an objective. Seriously, i have never heard of a more funnier objective for such a reputed club like ours.
    Also if you really think that is the real objective for Wenger, then do you know why so many disapproving voices have come forth from within the stadium itself, let alone the online world??
    Cant you see the warning signs?
    Season ticket prices falling down, fans booing the players, young players wanting to leave the club even before reaching their prime,
    The voice has been raised already, its only going to become more louder next time…

    As for the board, you say they used the money to make arsenal richer?? Are u sure about that?? In what ways are we richer?? Have they invested in some quality players are positions which were required?? In what ways do u think Arsenal got richer?? By climbing up in the Deloitte’s rich club list?? Is that also one of Wenger’s objective?? Or is that a part of ‘Maximisation of Resources’ plan??

    Also, what is so wrong about having a Sugar Daddy?? David Dein was one of the biggest reasons why Arsenal were successfull then and why Arsenal are not successful now. If he wanted a Sugar Daddy then what is so bad about it?? We would have invested in quality players?? Is that wrong??Look at Chelsea, they have a stadium of almost the same capacity of Highbury and still they earn as much as we do. What was wrong about staying in Highbury?? I cant see any valid points…yes, we have increased our revenue but really whats d use of increasin the revenue if we are not going to use it to invest in the squad?? Cant believe that our club has become from a football club to a financial institution…..thats why you will see more of the resentment from the fans steadily, but surely, increasing…..

    The fans have had enough as much as i have seen…
    And this casual attitude taken by the Board will hit them hard. Real hard and where it hurts them the most – their pockets.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- also seriously, i seriously dont want Wenger to leave, but eventually, the pressure of the fans will get too much to handle. Its better for Wenger to bring change to his methods and come back to what he used to do best – be a world class coach winning trophies. Thats why he was brought to Arsenal. He was not brought bcoz of his Masters in Economics degree.

    Howmuch ever big legend he is for Arsenal, Wenger wont be tolerated a lot if he continues to fail year after year. Not even George Graham was tolerated. So just for Wenger’s own sake, i hope he starts to do what he’s best at – bringing in quality players of his choice and start winning some trophies. Or else i see a sad ending to his career.

  • Shard

    @dark Prince

    Can we get over the word maximisation since you either don’t get it, or don’t seem to like it. The fact remains that trophies are not the sole or even the primary purpose of the manager. No manager.. Not even Jose, can guarantee results. Ultimately results are not in one person’s control.

    Fans don’t see it that way? What do fans see? Is this site not full of fans too who DO see it that way? Other fans may not, but they do not represent all of us, and I’d even say the majority of us.
    Season ticket prices are down? That’s the first I’ve heard of it, but if so, why were you criticising the board for raising ticket prices just a little bit before?

    I never said they use the money to make Arsenal richer. All I said was that the money coming in goes only into Arsenal’s account. Not the board members’. I asked you what you allege they use the money for, since you think the board is to blame for something.

    I see some problems, a lot of challenges, as also a lot of opportunity to grow and improve. I see positive signs along with some issues. But warning signs? Of what? Impending doom? No my friend, that would be the ManU, or Newton Heath fans’ voices. They are more at risk of that than us, because of the work our board and Wenger have done.

    The fans have had enough of what? Enough of Arsenal? Enough of not winning trophies? How about enough of the media agenda and the rivals’ jibes being rammed down our throats? How about enough of finishing in the top four? You want warning signs.. there is a real danger we could drop out of the top 4 if fans have their way, and Wenger leaves.

    If you cannot see what the problem with having one person as the owner is then well.. you are totally against the philosophy of the club. I cannot say anything to change that. You have the right to that view. But there is no discussion to be had about that as far as I’m concerned. I do not want my Arsenal to become what Chelsea is. Never.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    Re your last post.. I agree that Wenger needs to make a few changes to the squad. But I disagree that it would be a change to his methods. His methods have always been what the team needs, tempered by what the club can afford, or rather the larger needs of the club.. Letting go a few players, or buying a few players does not represent a change of strategy. It simply reflects a change in the situation. In terms of finance, in terms of reserves giving him more options, and in terms of certain players having exhausted the opportunities that they were afforded.

  • Ant

    I’m surprised no-one mentioned Owen Coyle or David Moyes.

    Coyle is the best replacement I can think of. As far as I know, he’s improved each team he’s managed, I can’t think of anything negative I’ve read about him, and I personally think we owe him some gratitude for Jack Wilshere’s great loan spell at Bolton. wish Vela had gone there, personally.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- well, trophies aren’t the sole property of any manager, but they fight for it. Thats what a Jose does at Madrid, or a Guardiola does at Barca or a Ferguson or Ancelloti doing at ManU and Chelsea respectively. I believe even a fully free Wenger will fight for it, but what we have now is a Manager who has his hands tied. He knows he can only take this team as far as it can go, not as far as he can go.

    Also the money earned goes into Arsenal’s account, but is it ever available for Wenger completly?? Doubt that….so what exactly are we having so much money for?? Surely the property debt is gone…maybe For the Delloitte’s league?? No valid reason i suppose…

    I too see some problems, and lots of room for improvement as well. Impending doom? Yes its possible…

    The fans have had enough of certain issues not being tackled head on….

    Regarding the ownerships of clubs, yes, its a subjective topic. But i’d be surprised to see whether you’d think that Arsenal will be doomed if tomorrow Kroenke or Usmanov actually tried to takeover Arsenal. Well, they’re quite close to it, right??

  • cannonfodder

    Owen Coyle? David Moyes?

    Dear god man. Wash your mouth out.

  • GoonerTerry

    @ Sammy: don’t you think it’s a bit too early to be dubbing this a Groundhog Season? I mean second in the league with 8 games to play? How many teams below us would love to be in this position, eh? Its certainly interesting to be watching this from afar because I discern a sort of collective paranoia – perhaps even a collective psychosis among us Gooners. The one single positive I can muster is that at least it shows how much we have all invested in this club and this team. But I don’t know: I think we need a little perspective. The reason we got knocked out of the Carling Cup final is because we got there in the first place: many, many teams – apart from Birmingham – didn’t! Ditto with the CL: who in their right minds expected us to beat Barca? Which of our rivals could? Yet by the grace of God we almost, nearly, and freakishly would have gone through if Bendtner had kept is cool and tucked that ball away as he should have. In the league we are behind by 7 points with a game in hand. But how close were we to actually being in the lead now? Think 1-0 up at Sunderland and gaining a penalty which Rosicky skies; think 4-0 up at Newc and 2 penalty against us that shouldn’t have been. Think about Sunderland the other week at the Em: nailed on penalty and a sending off denied. And the Arsharvin’s perfectly good goal denied. Those are 6 points right there and we would still have out game in hand! Most of us are carrying on as if we are hovering above the relegation zone. Ask and Man City, Spurs or Liverpool supporter if they want to swap places with us? This is not the end of the world for us. The failings are just part of the developmental process of a team that has clearly gone off the boil. The manager knows that he need to shake things up and the end of the season – whatever happens between now and then..Let’s not be labeling this a Groundhog Season just yet: things have a way to suddenly change in football and there is plenty of time left for something unexpected to happen to Man U and Chelsea’s campaign..

  • walter

    Dark Prince,
    I think Kroenke and Usmanov clearly don’t want to take all the shares.
    The shares of Lady Bracewell-Smith (sorry if not correct spelled) are up for sale.
    So if the would they could go over the 30% mark but they choose not to do so.

    If I would win the Euro Millions I would buy them. 😉

  • Wrenny

    Haha, as soon as I saw the cutting sarcasm of the article I knew it would generate some very interesting comments! I’m not going to get into that discussion, and Shard is putting forward the arguments far better than I could.

    But speaking of promising young managers such as Villas Boas, Thomas Tuchel of Mainz 05 is very interesting. He got the job last season (his very first senior management job by the way) and led the newly promoted Mainz to a 9th place finish. This season he’s doing even better and they’re currently 5th in the Bundesliga, after a barnstorming start to the season that saw them win their first EIGHT league matches. It’s a young team playing attacking football, and Tucher’s shown himself to be tactically very astute. He is just 37, retiring from football in his mid-20s because of injury.

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- yea i kno the present situation…kinda like reminds me of the nervy moments in the cold war – nearly on the edge of a full fledged World War 3. For me, its jus the silence before the storm. Both Kroenke (U.S) and Usmanov (U.S.S.R) are in a cold war themselves. The situation can blow up any moment. Though for now, its on the edge (29.99).

  • Gooner

    @walter btw Lady Bracewell-Smiths shares are considered a tad too expensive. If either of them go over 30% then they would have to offer to buy the remainder of the shares at the cost of the last purchased share, so I guess they are holding back for the moment. I am not quite sure why they are shareholders though, if they are not fans, they’re not making money from it (no dividends)

  • gooner80

    For Me wenger needs new back room staff, he has no one giving him a fresh idea he just has a bunch of yes men around him, pat rice has become mute.

    How about this a bit controversial but how about making fat sam assistant coach lol I know, i know but I think he could help wenger and he is available, if anyone knows how much sports science and new age coaching he does they would realise how much he has to offer, and he would help the defensive side and he rarely leaves a stone unturned when studying an opponent and he certainly wont shirk at airing his point of view and arsenal dont mind paying decent wages. If fat sam is too much I would give zola a job my point is there is some really good managers who could assist Aw and help bring fresh ideas,we dont need a new manager when we have one of the top 5 managers in the world we just need better support staff who have become stagnate

  • Mandy Dodd

    Dein was great but ultimately he was a fan, on the board. I wish he was still there for a number of reasons but he is not.
    Wenger actually offered to resign after Deins removal (ref Arsenal – Making of a Modern Day Super Club – by Fynn and Whitcher)- however Dein talked him out of it, saying it would not be in the interest of the club if Wenger went. AMG Deinites should take note of this.
    I wish we had a man of Deins clout in the corridors of power – maybe we would not suffer so much at the hands of refs. I wish we had Dein to drum home to the board the need to win one for the fans. I wish Wenger still had his great friend and supporter at the club. Dein seemed in touch with everything – the current board seem removed. Deins motives – for the actions that got him sacked were in large part to ensure Wenger had a huge transfer kitty to compete – maybe he saw weaknesses in transfer policies there. We have won nothing since Dein left – coincidence..maybe, maybe not…
    BUT I am so glad we did not move to Wembley.
    Dein was great, but not perfect. And unfortunately, he is gone.

  • Busch

    “Is Wenger to blame? Are the players at fault? Is the board going overboard? Gazidis gone Ga-Ga? Are the fans impatient, over-expectant and delusional? Is the media over hyping it? The pundits having it in for us? Blind refs changing the natural course of the season? Luck?! Bad Luck?!! Surely, everyone must share the blame.”

    —————————

    So with sarcasm you attempt to divert any attempt to figure out what the problems with this current squad are (unless you don’t believe we should be fighting for anything, which means we are doing just fine) by acting like to “blame” anyone is the same as blaming everyone and since everyone can’t be to blame, there is no one to blame.

    Interesting… and fairly poignant for how many fans view the current state of the club and possibly how those within the club excuse themselves from any fault.

  • Shard

    In reference to above.I agree.. Sammy.. How very sarcastic, slithery, sneaky, snake-like of you.. One thing I will grant you though Sammy, that you are not the one throwing a hiss-y fit about this article.

  • GoonerTerry

    Dark Prince you made me laugh when you wrote this: ” Even today, look at the difference between Emirates and Highbury – there’s no passion in Emirates, it spills out tons of professionalism but the passion of Highbury is missing.” Highbury? Passion” OK then why was it often called the Highbury Library?

    I can’t believe that you are trying to deny that we had to build a new stadium for the very best of reasons – financially and otherwise. The problem is that Arsenal is in the midst of a long-term project and us fickle fans have become impatient at not keeping up with Man U and Chelsea! We see the money flaying around the likes of Man City & the Spuds and we think that we’d be better off with some of that! Really? I am with Shard in all his points: we maximize our resources so we can quickly pay down our debts, survive this recession, build for the future and keep us in the top 4 of the EPL while we do all former. That’s is for me a wonderful achievement. Dark Prince is a little “old school” in his opinions: but the modern sport organization is more of a business than a social enterprise. Stan the Man understands this coming from the United States as he does. Remember it was his breaking with Dein that led to his demise. Selling his shares to a Russian Oligarch is tantamount to treason IMHO. He opposed everything the board was trying to achieve: it was his idea that we played our CL games at Wembley; He then wanted us to share Wembley with the FA; He was involved in a war of attrition with the board and lost – plain and simple. And I for one am glad he lost because I believe all the moves we opposed are in the best long-term interests of the Arsenal Football Club. This will turn around. Investments will be made during the summer I am certain. You can see how disappointed Wenger is with the current situation. To imply that somehow Wenger does not want success as much as us fans is clearly ridiculous. This is not the time to panic. There is still the league to fight for. We will have the long summer to conduct the post-mortem if things don’t work out between now and then..

  • Shard

    @GoonerTerry

    That’s the point about Dein. He contributed a lot to Arsenal. He was also very influential within the darker corridors of football. But in the end, he was removed for the right reasons. The board made the correct decisions as regards our long term future.

    I do wonder how much money really has been available these past few years. But maybe posting record profits (at a time when losses are the norm) has actually had a negative effect, with people equating that money with signings. But as I see it, we do not know what the compulsions of the board, and by extension, Wenger, really are. When the board is criticised for sitting on the money, what are we actually ascribing as their motive? Maybe it is to push up the share prices with an eventual view of getting more money for themselves when they sell out to Kroenke? That is the only negative, and I must say, even for a cynic like me, a very cynical view to hold. I must stress, I have never heard this view expressed. I’m just trying to figure out what, if any, logic there could be if the motives of the board are not benign.

  • Dark Prince

    GoonerTerry- if you really think that the atmosphere at Emirates is more awesome then, in one way you are right, the fans are getting vocal now, like in the last game. You’d love that, dont you?
    Also just think about our home performances since shifting from Highbury to Emirates. I think that answers it all. And dont worry, there’s gonna be a better reception at Emirates when the players underperform the next time. As i said earlier, for too long Wenger has been protecting his players and has been unwilling to give them the stick when it is required. Now the players are gonna get one right on the pitch.

    On the stadium point, you can refer back to what i said earlier, we weren’t really in a desperate situation that time. And if you think that Arsenal could not have earned so much without a stadium then i’d want you to look at Chelsea who earn as much as we do even with a stadium of similar capacity like Highbury.

    Also you say, we’re in the midst of a long term plan?? How long term is this plan?? Its sad to see that you’re still making the feeble excuse of stadium debts even though Ivan Gazidis himself has said that the property debts have gone and all the profits will be used to strengthen the squad. For how long you want to carry this excuse of stadium debt??

    Regarding Dein, just look at what Mandy Dodd has written, he has put it forward the best way.

  • Dark Prince

    Mandy Dodd- Completly agree with your post. I was really shocked when David Dein was sacked. For me, he was one of the man who wanted it do for the fans. Maybe he did have some ideas which may not have been the best, but surely, overall he was very important for Arsenal in the Board. Its no coincidence that we haven’t won anything since he left. All he wanted was Arsenal to win, which unfortunately our current board dont have it on their priority list. As people say, – ‘Maximisation of Resources’. Thinking what David Dein would say about Arsenal’s current main objective. Unfortunately, he’s gone.

  • Ugandan Goon

    Same old Dark Prince! always whinging!

  • Ugandan Goon

    Re. David Dein,
    If it isn’t obvious to some , let it be said again the man was a whore! the same people calling for his return might remember the truism that there is no one person bigger than the club!
    Dark prince might consider joining Liverpool or Newcastle where the board listens to the fans with the obvious results- disorder!
    No amount of screeching is welcome espescially when it so muddled, so you want a trophy, go out and buy one why bother waiting for arsenal to win one? your solution for everything seems to be buy, buy, buy, suck, suck, sack. is this how you would deal with your garden or your children?

  • Dark Prince

    Same old Arsenal too, eh?? Still not realising its issues….

  • Dark Prince

    Re. David Dein
    I think people are too diplomatic about the Arsenal Board. They have started to think the Everything that our Board does is right. If david dein is sacked then he’s a whore, if tomorrow they sack Wenger, then he’s too might become a whore for these same people. Real hypocrites to the fullest i’d say.

    David Dein was the man who brought Arsene Wenger to the club. He’s the one who supported Wenger to manage without any restrictions. And because of that, we got some of the best moments of being an Arsenal fan. And people say Dein’s a whore?? Yea, now i really realise why the fans have started to become vocal.

    To be honest, i’m feeling sad for Wenger that his legacy is gettin tarnished bcoz of a unambitious Board. I guess this is the same Board which was targeting a champions league qualification of once every four years after the move to Emirates?? How ‘Maximising of resources’ it is!!!! Really proud of our Board for that. I’d still say, where is David Dein?? I’d like to know how he feels about a football club’s ‘maximisation of resources’ objective. Really, is that really the objective that the Board has laid down on Wenger??

  • RedGooner

    I think what is missing is balance at the club.
    A better balance between how much we focus on a youth policy and how much we are prepaired to spend on players like VanDervart or similar qualities when they appear for the price Sp*rs paid for him.
    Each season for the last few we possibly needed an extra experienced player added along with continuing the youth project.
    They need a better balance to keep the likes of Cesc, Clychy and Nasri. we need to show a little more commitment to winning than just focusing on a youth policy especialy as we possibly have the funds now to do so.
    The board could loose AW along with those 3 players if they dont wake up soon.
    Its not ground hog season just yet even if its pretty dam close.
    fingers crossed fulham do us a favour against Utd the weekend.

  • TommieGun

    I think that the biggest point of THIS season is missed.

    True, it might feel like groundhog time – but in reality, and it might be totally subjective, but in contrast to other seasons, I do feel a bit overfed with the way things are going.

    For almost every season since 2004, Arsenal had encountered very difficult circumstances – (a) injuries to key players in crunch moments; (b) very strong opposition (be it KGB or Manure). On top of that, we suffered season defining moments such as Eduardo’s injury or Adebayor’s underperformance, etc.

    But my point is, that there was always a very good reason to not being able to win the league. My point is that, for example, a team that boasts a front line of C. Ronaldo, Teves and Rooney, is a very good team, that by all means should be able to win the league. Or having to deal with injuries to ALL of our forwards except Arshavin for more than half a season, can understandbly cripple the season. And I’m sure all of you can – if you’re being honest with yourself – come up with other examples and reasons to the way previous seasons had ended.

    But not this time, and I’ll use last season as a point of reference. Last season we suffered a lot more injuries, and had to face a lot stronger opposition – and it didn’t seem to matter. The team played well, players fought and wanted it, we were winning matches with 90th minute goals, and looked like the whole is larger than the sum of it’s parts. This season, however, with a better team, less injuries and very weak KGB and Manure, it seems the opposite. When we didn’t have Robin, we had Chamakh. But he is nowhere to be found. And we had Nasri – who faded out. When Cesc was injured in the beginning of this season, we had Jack to perform. And Arshavin, who was immense last season, performing as a center forward for 1/3 of the season – is not really here.

    Is it something that has to do with mentality? I don’t know. Is it because Wenger doesn’t drop underperformers to the bench? I don’t know. I dislike all the 2-dime psychologists who seem to have all the answers to our mental breakdown – but one has to admit, that if there’s one thing lacking, is a sense of commitment and will.

    And that’s, my fellow gooners, is Booable.

    Mind you – I don’t think we lack balance, or leadership, or talent, or tactics. The team we had last season, is by no means different to the one we have today, in all those terms. On the contrary – it’s better. And yet, the players look like something isn’t there.

  • Laundryender

    When we turned the corner in the mid eighties we went to Millwall for their manager, Millwall from Div 2. Then when we pushed on in the late nineties, we went to Grampus 8 Japan. On this occasion if we feel the need, I would suggest Norwich. A great young manager, a proven winner as a player, played in Germany and captained Celtic, won ECL I believe with Dortmund.

    I would offer him no2 next to AW for a year, which would send a message to AW, and to the players. Other than that Steve Bould sitting next to AW would rock my boat. I feel Wenger needs someone strong to question his methods and substitutions.

  • Laundryender

    On the question of substitutions, Wengers decisions at Wigan last season, Newcastle this season, and again at home against Blackburn this season was bewildering. Also the failure to adjust to Spurs changing to 2 up front at Emirates this season, just poor decision making by a man who should do better.

    I don’t believe that AW should go, but I do believe that the fine line between principle and stubbornness is one he transgresses all too often. And that he needs someone next to him who is ambitious and questioning.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    Chelsea make as much money as we do? Show me the proof of that. I would say that they are likely to earn more through commercial deals at the moment than us. But that’s only because in order to build the stadium we tied in to long term deals which were cash heavy up front, but as a result paid less over the long term. The shirt sponsor deal runs out in 3 years I think, and the stadium naming rights in 10. (again as I recall). We could of course try and break those deals and negotiate new ones, and I must admit I’m torn on this one. Is that a good way to conduct business? Do the ends justify the means in this case? As I said, I’m not sure. My feeling would be that it should be done only as a last resort, if at all.

    But lets be honest here. Chelsea MAKE no money. Yes, they earn through sponsors, and match days and TV and Prize money. But they do not operate at a profit. And the only reason they aren’t something like 700 million pounds in debt is only due to some accounting wizardry of Abramovich. Chelsea rely on him, in order to survive. They would not do so without him, as indeed their failure to do so is what led Abramovich being able to buy the club in the first place.

    Dark Prince.. Not everything the board does is right. I don’t think anyone will say that. But the fact remains, you still haven’t put forward any case as to what they are doing wrong. Yes you, bizzarely, say the stadium shouldn’t have been built, and that can be attributed to the board. You also say we shouldn’t have fired Dein, which can be attributed to the board. But that just shows a difference of opinion. Not wrongdoing. Have any of their actions been inconsistent with the strategy that they have chosen? I think that at times they have been too conservative (I’ve had a discussion with Tony before because I disagree that they budgeted for Champions League once every 4 years, I think it was to finish outside the Champions league places once every 4 years) and perhaps they could have been more ‘ambitious’ as you put it, though I would say adventurous. I still don’t think there’s enough evidence against their actions though. We are a well run club. That much is in the boards and Wenger’s control. Trophies are not. (especially with all the biases and cheating we all see)

  • Shard

    @TommieGun

    I’m sorry, but I disagree that we’ve been worse this season. The results have generally been better, and defensively we look better despite TV’s absence. Regarding mentality, it’s one of those things that can be painted either way, but in any case, I think whatever flaws are there, were there last season too. The loss to Wigan, the loss to Spurs, showed the same mental failings, in some cases even worse than this year.

    Meanwhile, in my view, the refereeing against us has gotten much worse than last year. Refereeing performances like Newcastle only exhibit sheer desperation to deny us victory. The bias has never been so blatant. Not through the course of a season.

    Since this sort of refereeing continues against us, while ManU quite clearly are being helped by referees almost every week in some way, do you not think that at SOME point, no matter how competitive and determined a player may be, he will at least subconsiously start believing that nothing he does will be good enough to win. Please note, I am not excusing poor performances, since even if they do not win, the players have a responsibility to us fans to give their all. But players are human, and it can have an effect.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- sad to see that you require proof for something that is so publicly declared every year.
    Anyways, here is the proof for those who are really unaware of the financial world-

    In 2010, Arsenal had a revenue of £274 mil and Chelsea had a revenue of £256 mil

    In 2009, Arsenal had a revenue of £263 mil and Chelsea had £242 mil

    In 2008, Arsenal had a revenue of £264 mil and chelsea had £269 mil.

    So i hope you make your arguements before checking the facts.

  • TommieGun

    Shard – I didn’t say that last season was better, what I said was that circumstances were a lot harder and opposition was tougher. Those flaws – which I agree existed last season – had good explanations. Those circumstances don’t exist nowadays.

    I don’t agree about the refs bias, since most of our bad results this year weren’t down to ref decisions but rather bad performances.

    Like I said I’m not a psychologist and I hate commenting on stuff that I have no idea about. But just to answer your comment – professional athletes are expected to show great mental resilience. Even after losing, they need to have belief. There is something which is just weird in this sense with us.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- also i think its funny to see that you’re arguing for Chelsea having better commercial deals. I mean, are they doing something wrong that they earn better in commercial markets?? Its, as you said, we were tied to a super long contract with Emirates only bcoz the Board thought we needed a stadium desperately. I bet we could have earned more if we hadn’t built the new stadium. Our commercial deals would have improved and we would have not stick to a full fledged youth policy and instead brought players of Wenger’s choice and would have done better than what our current team is doing.

    Also your arguement of Chelsea having a massive debt is equally funny. You fail to remember that Chelsea brought a whole new squad which cost them the £700 mil you are talkin about. Does Arsenal require a whole new squad?? no!!
    It just shows the mentality of certain people in here…if you need a quality player in certain position then some people in here start talking as if the club will go bankrupt. C’mon guys, its jus few quality players. Atleast then, the number of points lost bcoz of Almunia and Squillaci would have been saved and we would have been more successful. Remember, you earn better commercial deals by being successful trophywise.
    Its called basic common sense in my world.

    Are we a well run club?? Yes we are…so is Wolves. But is that what you want Arsenal to be?? Just a run well club?? Are you also like those Board members who are just concerned about the balance sheet?? Then i guess, you too lack ambition and winning spirit. Believe me shard, all the fans out there appreciate that the club is well run, but most of them want Wenger to come out the shell he has gone in. Everybody knows what are our squad issues, and almost everyone wants the players brought to solve the issues. And everybody knows, we have the money to do it. Thats why we’re seeing resentment, not just among online fans, but among the stadium faithfuls as well.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Just been looking at the usually reliable Arseblog this morning.
    According to this blog, recent rumours /internet chatter suggest there is going to be an announcement on board issues very soon.
    In fairness, the blog was not sure what, if anything this means in the grander scheme of things but there have been rumblings about takeovers for a while

    What could it all mean? Anyone else know anything?

  • Tasos

    Personally I feel extremely frustrated with the way things have panned out recently, frustrated by the fact that success is close, so very close and yet its as if someone is deliberately tormenting us. We can almost smell the victorious rewards only for them to be swiped away from under our noses.

    Analysing what the missing ingredients appear to be, mental strength, experience, will to win, spending large amounts of money, ousting certain players, re-instating former board members the list goes on and on. Debate is everywhere amongst Gooners, does this team need something added to it or something taken away from it in order for it to become successful?

    It appears everyone has their own simple or not so simple solution.

    Myself, I firmly believe the difference between success and failure for this present team is small. Arsenal do not require a major overhaul or radical changes in methodology. The football club cannot reach semi finals, finals and currently sit second in the Premier League without already having many good attributes installed. Many of our players are clearly talented enough to win honours, whilst others will be moved on come the end of the season in order for fresh faces to be introduced.

    My own solution will not sit comfortably with some but I believe this is not the time for radical changes, this team has competitively challenged for honours, they are very close and so we must stick with the main plan, it is continuity that breeds success, continuity will ultimately bring its rewards.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- also i hope you dont get me wrong about the stadium issue. Its a good thing we have a new stadium, but we were not in desperate need at that moment of time. Infact the board was not even prepared for it. They had to rely on Emirates to fund them. What should had been done was to start the youth policy along with experienced players and earn more from commercial deals and other departments to save enough money to build a new stadium during this decade without creating debts.

    But what we got was, a new stadium with a whole load of debts and our best players already left and a manager who is not allowed to spend.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    Must you take everything I say, twist it around and make it unrecognisable from what my point really was? Sheeeeshh.. So my argument would be that Chelsea are doing something wrong if their commercial deals are better?? Would that really be what any sane person would argue? So if not that, then you are missing something in my last post obviously.

    And as I’ve said before, if we’re talking hypothetically about the stadium not being built, that is a totally different argument. These issues, the ones we have today, would not have arisen if the stadium were not built. A totally different set of issues would have. But your insistence on contrasting it with Chelsea, in any case is hardly a close parallel. The closest I can think of is Liverpool. They have been looking for a stadium for years, but I guess they aren’t in a desperate need to move. They have signed a massive shirt deal recently too. Does that prove that they are better off than us?

    But parallels with other clubs only take you so far. If you really want to debate what the situation would have been if we hadn’t built a new stadium, then you also have to address why the new stadium was considered in the first place. Why the club could no longer continue at Highbury (even Dein said Wembley) All of those issues will require a little more research to discuss since it is some time ago now, and its very easy to forget what things were like back then. Least of which was that no one had heard of Abramovich.

    Also, Dark Prince, there is middle ground in all arguments. Just because I largely agree with the direction the club has taken, and agree that certain sacrifices have to be made in order for that vision to come to fruition, does not mean that I do not see mistakes that have been made. The only thing is, that a lack of trophies, for me does not necessarily constitute lack of success because as I said, I knew certain sacrifices would have to be made. Also because I can see other factors which have made it more difficult, and even denied trophies to Arsenal even in these transition years. All I’m saying is. That those mistakes notwithstanding, and the fact that certain things could be better, does not mean that the club has chosen the wrong path or that we need a massive rethink of our strategy.

  • Shard

    @TommieGun

    As far something not being right is concerned I agree with you completely. There is something, something intangible, just missing from this team. JUST… I wasn’t denying that. I was only trying to find reasons for it. And as I said, I wasn’t excusing poor performances. You cannot deny however that the referees have made a huge swing in the title race this year. Whether it’s through design, or it’s just errors, the fact is that refereeing has gone in ManU’s favour more often than is statistically probable. And it is not the first time this has happened.

    Again. Just so as to not end with the referees.. I do agree that our team has to do better in certain situations. Even now, if they fight and give 100% every game, I do not think the title is out of reach. In any case, that much is expected from them anyway.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- yes, its quite a subjective opinion on whether the stadium should have been built or whether we should have gone on debt.

    I dont think anything regarding the stadium can be done now.

    As far as this season is concerned, as it brings me back to where we started our discussion, we have failed again. And the most frustrating part about it is that we have failed because of the very same reasons we had for last 3-4yrs.

  • Edda

    Dark Prince – I have one question for u if u please can take the time to answer :

    Lets say that AW had 30m pounds he could spend in the January transfer window, do u really think that there were ANY player(s) out there that would guarantee us to be either beat Barcelona in the CL or to make sure we would beat Man Utd at home to win the Premier League ?
    I sure dont think u would get far with 30m in an inflated market where Torres went for 50m pounds (is it 12 games no without a goal ?).
    The thing is that to make our team better we need to get players that are better than the ones we have, and u have to get players that are better than our first 11-13 because no player that comes to us for 30m will be happy to sit on the bench.
    I for one can guarantee that if AW knew that spending 30m pounds would make us win either CL or PL then he would do it without hesitation, the man is a true winner and it really bothers him not to do well. Leave the man alone pls we will win something soon, if not this year maybe next ? U never know…

  • GoonerTerry

    My M8 Dark Prince is as stubborn as he claims Wenger to be! For the love of Riley managing the Arsenal Football Club is not as simple as buying and selling players. It may have escaped DP but we have been involved in the worst world recession since the Great Depression. Most – if not all – football clubs – are on the brink. The lucrative TV deals is what keeps many, many clubs from closing down all together. Back to the debate:
    1. It has generally been accepted that Arsene sold the board a 10-year plan in 2006 and as far as I know there has never been any suggestions that the board is at odds with this plan. The manager has always had transfer funds available if he really needed it. We also know that the manager is not given to spending money if he does not see the need.
    2. We may need Walter or our other number-crunching aces on the site to verify this but I believe that results at the EM are not worst than at Highbury. If fact Arsenal as a team has always had a better away record than at home (relatively speaking) in that we have always dropped stupid points at home. Even the Invincibles dropped home points they should have not!
    3. I live in Jamaica so I can’t debate the EM atmosphere issue with you, but, I can tell you that even up to half time during the Blackburn game the ESPN wanker that was covering the feed I was watching remarked how the Arsenal supporters were getting behind the team – you could hear the noise. My mate who lives at Highbury Hill just by the old main West Stand gate says there is generally more noise coming from the Emirates than at Highbury and he’s been living there for the past 40-years!
    3. I totally understand the frustration people feel about our annual capitulation but I feel that we are getting closer and closer. Its pure speculation I know but had we won the Carling Cup instead of losing it in such a manner, the confidence gained might have made a world of difference. Then again winning it hasn’t seemed to have helped Birmingham has it? Who knows?
    4. The foundation for long-term success is all but laid. The potentially ruinous debts are under management. Only the $20M annual mortgage on the stadium remains. I believe that if a takeover is planned now is as good a time as any. I hope that its Stan K and not the Russian. Stan K will (arguably is already bringing along with the General Manager) modern sports franchise management to the Arsenal. He won’t run the club as his personal plaything like the owners of Chelsea, Man U and City. Nor, I fear, like the Russian would run Arsenal if he succeeds in a takeover bid..

  • Dark Prince

    Edda – you say nothing much can be done with £30 mil?? I say only 2 names – David Luiz and Suarez. Both bought within £25mil, both quality players.

    Yes, you are right that the market is inflated. But it is only for the players in Epl. You go outside of EPL and you get more realistic prices. For eg, Compare £35 mil for Carroll and £34 mil for David Villa.

    Lastly, you’re definately right when you say that Wenger would have made certain signings if he wanted us to win. But can you say the same about the Board?? Remember, this is the same Board which refused to pay an extra £2mil for Schwarzer. Can u believe that? An extra £2 mil for a gk who is atleast better than Almunia. Just think, how many points did Almunia cost us this season.

  • steven

    I’m going insane. Are we dealing with :-

    1. A totally stubborn manager who ignores all the evidence on the pitch that we are woefully short of players in key positions who are good enough to drive Arsenal on to win things; or…

    2. Someone who has completely lost it and cannot organise and set up the team to defend? We still don’t get players into the penalty area on the end of crosses/passes either; or…

    3. A still superb manager who is being starved of transfer funds while the club is made cash rich by its sales each summer?

    I wish someone would explain the answer to me.

    I thought Gilberto was an excellent captain of Arsenal. He led by example, could head the ball, tackled and scored more than his fair share of goals before he was unceremoniously replaced as captain of Arsenal by Cesc and bundled out of the club. Gilberto was still good enough to play for Brazil (no less) and was the type of highly experienced, midfield soldier we all hope will arrive in each subsequent transfer window. Gilberto’s departure for me was as much the catalyst for our current woes on the pitch as the move from Highbury to the Retail Park.

    I hope my faith in Le Boss is repaid by him doing a “Gilberto” on the players who have let him and the Arsenal down on so many occasions and follow this up by acknowledging that standards must improve and doing some genuine strengthening of the side, buying in some real talent along the spine of the team. But we’ve been here before in seasons past and the same players who are frequently identified on this website as ‘never beens’, continue to re-emerge in the legendary Red and White the next season to further disappoint, nauseate and frustrate us all in equal measures.

    I’m praying that the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach yesterday morning was a combination of too much weekend booze and Monday morning at work rather than the symptoms of watching a wonderful and once untouchable manager in terminal decline.

  • Dark Prince

    GoonerTerry- to continue with your points,

    Point 3- each and every Arsenal fan knows that when the crowd starts making a noise then it means, they are frustrated. If they are backing a team then they start to sing songs in a choros rather than making noise. Its simple understanding of the fans which usually goes unnoticed on television sets.

    Point 3 (again?)- we are definately getting closer, like every year b4. You should seem to know from where our downfall started – Carling Cup final. Winning it could have made it worse?? Ur bluffing again, aren’t u?

    Point 4- whoever comes in the ownership, i jus hope he frees Wenger from the handcuffs. We’ve seen how good Wenger can be, so pls allow him to do it his way.

  • Dark Prince

    GoonerTerry – Yes you are right, managing Arsenal is not just about buying or selling players, but dont we have professional managers/staff who are gettin paid in the millions to sort out the manangement part?? I mean, do we fans really have to make some kind of protest to show our Board/Management staff the right way to do their jobs?? Is it hard to see the issues on the pitch and rectify them?? Then why is it that we face the same set of problems every year?? Sad to see that no1 at this site tries to even answer one of the above questions

    Also you say about the Great Depression. I still cant see how it has affected Arsenal or any of the clubs. The january signings are a good proof for that. Not a valid point to make i guess.

    Back to debate-
    Point 1- i think you’re clearly bluffing on many statements in this point. Arsene selling a 10yr plan in 2006?? Lol!! Do you realise that Wenger just signed a contract extension till 2014?? He signed it only bcoz he felt he can continue physically. If he was not sure about his own physical health to do the job then he would have never sold a 10yr plan in 2006. Maybe a 5yr plan…but then i guess he failed in it. Also you’re bluffing on the statement that Wenger had the funds available if he really needed it. If this statement is true then, he would have signed Chamakh in 2009 itself when Bordeaux asked for £20 mil, rather than a year later on a free transfer. Also the Board would not have hesitated to pay an extra £2 mil for Schwarzer in last summer when Wenger was after him.

    Point 2- lol, i’ll give you the stats myself.
    Arsenal’s home at Highbury under Wenger (1997-98 to 2005-06):
    Played – 171 , Won – 127, Draw – 31 , Lost – 13 , Win% – 74.3

    Arsenal’s home record at Emirates under Wenger (2006-07 to present):
    Played – 92 , Won – 62 , Draw – 21 , Lost – 9 , Win% – 67.4

    So you can clearly see the difference.

  • Ma

    dark prince says it all…its true some of us fans have become too diplomatic with the board..we see everything they do as right when the matter of fact is they arent and the only thing they care about is the money..they dont care about us fans and neither do they care about wenger..fact is they are just hanging on to him because he brings in the money…i really feel sorry for wenger he deserves so much better than this and he can make us soo great than we currently are but no they money monging board wont let him…and the players lets him down even more..spoiled brats they are…Arsene deserves so much better

  • Shard

    @GoonerTerry

    I don’t know whether I actually believe that Wenger went to the board with something like a 10 year plan. More likely it was a general strategy that was decided on b/w both Wenger and the board. Also, I don’t think it would have been 2006. A more likely time would be 2003. Isn’t that when the stadium was announced? When the likes of Fabregas and Djourou started coming in to the club?

    Regarding the takeover, I genuinely hope it doesn’t happen. I think we are almost at a point where we don’t need it. In many ways, it would be a betrayal by the board if they upped and sold their shares now. I would take serious issue with the board and the club then. With arseblog mentioning some sport editor talking about the Arsenal board about to release a statement soon, I feel a little nervous. It could turn out to be nothing, or it could be about the future direction that our club is going to take, and in a direction I don’t want it to.

  • Shard

    @steven

    Considering it’s Thursday night, you might want to go for a check up. If weekend alcohol is lingering that long in your system, then it could be your liver in terminal decline. Which would be more worrisome if your brain hadn’t already gone down that route of course.

  • Mahdain

    i really think the players and the board are the ones who should bear much of the blame especially the board..they are making wenger as their puppet..then you have the players mostly of whom dont give a squat about the shirt they play for…as long as their bank accounts are full of $$$ they are happy..no desire,no passion,no commitment and certainly no winning mentality they give up way too easy…they dont deserve the trust wenger gives them and its about time he became more ruthless with them

  • Edda

    Dark Prince – thx for the answer. I would say that I agree that David Villa is a player that would strengthen our first 11 and would make us more likely to win something, BUT i dont think he would join us in million years. We have to face the fact that we cannot attract superstars that Barcelona, Real Madrid and also Man Utd are after, the only reason Chelsea and Manchester City occasionally sign some superstars like Yaya Toure, David Silva is that they pay salaries that i NEVER want our club to pay. If we had signed a player like David Villa would u think it is fair that he should make twice as much a week as players like Nasri and Van Persie because that would be the only way to make him even a tiny bit interrested.
    And I also have to agree that a new keeper in the summer would be great too, but Schwarzer ??? come on, then i would have taken Shay Given instead, but dont think City would sell him to us. But right now i dont mind that we didnt sign a keeper, because i dont think many keepers around would be better than Szceczny in a couple of years anyway.
    And u mention David Luiz, is he that much better than Djourou or Kocielny ? Look at the performance Koscielny had against Barcelona, there is no guarantee that even Vidic and Ferdinand will come up with a performance like that in the CL final against Barca. Our first 11 is good enough, you just have to look at the first half performance against Tottenham at home and Newcastle away, when we start to do 90 mins performances like that no other team can live with us, so we just have to keep the faith !

  • Backourteam

    No one mentioned gus hidink he’s a good coach had some success with Chelsea then left

  • GoingGoingGooner

    To answer the title in a different way…Where did it all go wrong? It didn’t.

  • GoonerTerry

    Dark Prince: Thanks for the stats – you are a Wiz. I have to concede to you on that point. But you have taken my other points out of context and I would need far too much time to unravel my points from your response to deal with them properly – so in the interest of time I will concede those as well. I have enjoyed the debate between you and Shard but now I am getting weary of it. We will see when it all come out in the light whether you or Shard is right or wrong. Just a small couple of points: Mark Hughes was never, ever going to agree to sell Swartzer to us – he was just trying to pull Arsene’s plunker. And who could have predicted that we’d be without our first & second choice GK’s at the same time! Also the boss would never, ever pay (it was actually 8M Pounds) for a player in the last year of his contract – especially a player he knew wanted to play for no one else but Arsenal. Can you even appreciate how much money Eight Million Pounds really is? The boss knows the value of money but he’s not afraid to splash it out on a player he really wants. But he’s not going to pay silly money for players not that much better than the ones he’s already has or the ones he knows are coming through – and no real Gooner should condemn him for that.

  • Dark Prince

    Edda- you’re right on one thing – do superstars want to come to Arsenal?? No.
    But do you know the season why superstars like Cristiano, Villa, Schweinstger, Buffon, etc dont want to come?? Only one reason – Because we dont have the team to win any trophies.

    But are you sure we cannot attract quality players who are not superstars?? Yes.

    Players like, David Luiz, Suarez, Subotic, Stelekenburg, Hazard, Sakho, Cahil, and many other quality players would love to join a club like Arsenal. I mean, which player would refuse to go to one of the biggest clubs in the world in one of the best cities, to play under the best manager, in one of the best stadiums with the best training facilities in the best league of the world?? Hardly few i suppose….

    Also remember, superstars like Cristiano, Drogba, Rooney were supposed to join Arsenal. Wenger wanted them and was close to bringing them But unfortunately, our Board refused to pay up.

    Regarding Schwarzer and David Luiz, you have to jus ask a simple question to yourselves- Are they better than Almunia and Koscielny?? The answer is Yes.
    You say Koscielny played superbly against Barca?? You are right about it. But did he have a consistent season? No. David luiz on the other hand has had superb season overall. Have you noticed that Chelsea’s resurgence in epl is mainly bcoz of David Luiz?? Where is our inspiration??
    As for Schwarzer, i’m not a fan of him. I dont support him coming here. Not even Shay Given. But the fact is both of them are better than Almunia any season. And Wenger was after the former but can u believe it?, it got stuck bcoz of £2mil!! How miser can we be??
    As for Szczesny, remember that he had actually expressed his desire to leave. And he was only given the play time bcoz Almunia and Fabianski were injured. Or else Wenger would have stuck to Almunia whole season. Disaster i say.

    As for our starting 11, you’re right, it doesn’t need any changes. But can you be honest and tell me how many games this season did we play with our best starting 11 players??

  • Dark Prince

    GoonerTerry- you’re right on the point that Wenger knows which players have the quality. He’s quite good at it. This is the same guy who bought Thierry Henry for £10-12 mil 13yrs back!!!! Can u believe that? £10-12 mil back then is like about £30 mil is today’s market. So Wenger was clearly given the backing to buy players regardless of the price. But what happenede after our New Stadium-New Youth Policy?? Since the Board took the new route, we lost out on players like Cristiano, Drogba, Rooney (all 3 who were so close to joining us) and many others. Simply bcoz, at that point, we were unable to pay a required amount.
    As for me, i dont condemn Wenger for anythin, i condemn the Board. They tied him to a plan which was almost impossible to pull off. Maybe we can win the league this year. But they shouldn’t have made it so tough for Wenger in the first place. Respect for Wenger for the doing it the hard way.

  • Mr Venger

    Dark prince , you spk nonsense esp re transfers of Henry being equivelent to a 30 mill purchase today. Players like crespo , ferdinand , vieri and others were all being sold for 30 million plus in those days. Henry was a bargain in the market of the time. Also , today clubs like chelsea/man c distort the market to higher level than was ever experienced in those days.
    We could never pay 30 million for a rooney whilst at highbury, in fact I read somewhere that 10 yrs ago we were taking less revenue than teams like Newcastle. If we hadnt bitten the bullet and built the stadium when we did, we would never be able to borrow the money in todays banking climate to do it now so would be stuck like Liverpool and tottenham are ( shamelessly trying to take the olympic satdium in an alien area ) , and without doubt slip down the league due to lack of revenue

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger – Sorry to see that you have absolutely no knowledge of the forces of Inflation and Development. To explain u in common words, as development comes, prices increases and with it the purchasing power also increases. Just think for what amount, we bought Koscielny for in last summer. So yes, a Koscielny of today is as costly as a Thierry Henry of a decade ago. Still want more proof?? Just tell me what was the cost of the best footballed of those days and compare it with the cost of Messi or Cristiano for today. We’re not living in 1990’s, Mr Venger.

    If you say that if we had stuck to Highbury then we would not have increased our revenue then simply look at Chelsea who have a revenue as good as us even after having a stadium capacity as good as Highbury. Strange eh?

  • Mr Venger

    Actually its not only about currency inflation , its also about the market forces of the the subject you are talking about. what I’m saying is that the prices plaid for players is affected by the supp and demand at the time, and how much money is in the the sport. In the early 2000s clubs across the board had far more money to spend on transfers than they do now. Its only the anomalies of chelsea etc so its not an exact science , to be able to say that Henry would cost 30 million in today s market. because the circumstances in football are completely different

  • Mr Venger

    maybe what we need to do is ask Chelsea for some financial advice and see what we can learn from them. Then offer if they would like to swap stadiums as there model is obviously a better long term one than ours.

  • Mr Venger

    Really tho dark prince , I think im missing the true point which in my opinion is, yes we could afford in those days to occassionally splash out on astute gambles like Henry when we were only really competing against man u (with a lot less funds), but post abramovich,players like henry et al were being completely priced out of our range, even without the new stadium, and then even more so due to the debt taken on. The only way fwd either way was to speculate on unknown young talent and use the best man for the the job in world football at bbringing them through and creating world beaters, which has been extremely difficult but deserves a lot more credit than it gets. But we can never compete with the sheiks moneywise so still have to box clever and speculate in the transfer market overall

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- i’ll talk about each topic specifically:

    The Stadium- yes, i agree, as i’ve agreed b4 also, our revenue increased a lot bcoz of the new stadium. But we were not prepared properly to take that step. Our Board knew that we’d have to take on a massive debt (remember, not even ManU and Chelsea had such a massive debt that time). Bcoz of that massive debt, we had to be less competitive. The most frightening part being that our Board itself only targeted Champions League qualification only once in four years!! Shocking, but its true, you can ask the authors of this site. Also to take on that massive debt, we got tied down by long term commercial deals, something which has hit us hard in the last 3-4 yrs. And we’re tied to them till 2014 (if i’m not wrong) which will might actually bring us down the ranks in revenue as other teams will earn more in the coming years but we wont. Perhaps this is the reason why the Board has increased our ticket prices?? But its not the right way to go…

    What i’m tryin to say is that the stadium was a right move but at a wrong time. We had to shift completly into the youth policy forcefully so as to tackle the costs. What i’d saying is that we shouldn’t had taken on the stadium project during last decade, it should have been done in this decade.
    The youth policy is a very good idea. I support it, but not in the way we did it. What we did was remove all of our experienced players and depend completly on youth. Thats where we faltered. Today we have issues like lack of winning mentality, lack of fighting spirit, lack of leadership. Such things isn’t taught in our training facilities. Such things are learned from experienced players. And the reason why we had to sell off our experienced players was bcoz of the new stadium debt. What our Board did wrong was to bring the new stadium along with a new youth policy. What should had been done was to start with our youth policy during this decade along with the help of experienced players and shifted into the new stadium in this decade. Bcoz by then, our youth policy would have been at better position to tackle the stadium debts. Plus we would hav had better commercial deals too by now which would have helped a lot in the building of the new stadium. Maybe then we could have kept the name of the stadium as ‘Ashburton Grove’ rather than sell it to some corporate.

    I’m not saying we did the wrong thing to move to the new stadium, its the timing of the plan, which i felt put a lot of undue restrictions on Wenger.

  • Dark Prince

    Correction In my last post,-

    The youth policy should hav started in LAST decade (around 2005, exactly as Arsenal had done) and our stadium plans to be shifted in this decade (probably around 2013-14)

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- to continue on other points:

    Inflation, demand/supply force: i think there are many things that can be a factor in this topic-
    The rise of many teams like Chelsea and City, but to negate this point its also true that many more quality players are available today than those days. Football as a sport as become very popular since those days. And now, unlike those days, we have many players to chose from many different countries.
    Also yes, the prices of players hav increased a lot, but the revenues of teams have also increased. As you yourself said, Arsenal’s revenue during 1997-98 would be around £120 mil and yet we bought a player like Henry for £10-12 mil which is a big amount considering our revenues. Today our revenues have touched £260 mil but the Board has not let Wenger but anyone he would really want to buy. So basically, the prices of players will increase every year. Bcoz every year, epl is growing, its spreading to different countries and cities thus bringing more television revenue which in turn increases the team’s revenue. And hence, as you said, the demand-supply forces tak into place and the teams have more money to purchase, leading to bigger transfer amounts.
    But either ways, the fact remains the same, a player like Henry who was worth £10 mil 13yrs ago will be worth atleast £30 mil today.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I can’t believe I’m getting myself into the whole stadium debate with you again, but here goes..

    What about the environment today makes you feel that it would be better or easier to build a stadium now? Commercial streams have grown hugely since then. It is true. But those commercial deals are still not enough to build a new stadium. They can help you tide things over better maybe. But in all of your talk of inflation you forget that the cost of building the stadium would inflate too. So we may have had more money, but we’d have to spend a lot more to build the stadium too, not to mention that getting a location and then planning permission are not mere formalities. There was an opportunity to get the area around the grove then. What guarantee that you’ll get it later? or even any area around Highbury? Would you want the club to move to a different part of London? I wouldn’t. Plus, tell me how we would get a bank loan, especially on as favourable terms as we had back then (I THINK it was 5% fixed rate of interest)in this financial climate?And none of that even takes into account that all the while we would keep falling further and further behind in terms of revenue, to an increasing number of teams.

    Also, one reason the youth have progressed the way they have done is that they have got a lot of experience playing for the first team, making mistakes and learning along the way. If we did have experienced players, they would have played less…which is not a bad thing. But the point is that the youth project would have been moulded differently and we would not have had the same impact with them. So you cannot say that if we’d brought the youth through sooner then we could rely on them as much as, or more than now. There are too many variables there. They COULD have been better, but they equally COULD have been worse. (Also, I wonder how fans would have taken to us buying all that youth, and playing them in the first team, when we actually did NOT have a stadium, since they seem so incensed by youth when we actually have something to show for the sacrifice?)

    I’m sorry Dark Prince, you have this entirely the wrong way around. The stadium was not built in a haphazard fashion. It was meticulously planned for. An opportunity was taken advantage of, before our need became borne of desperation, and it has only been a success. Going back with the help of hindsight and trying to argue what changes should have been there is an easy thing to do, but even there you don’t do a particularly good job of it. And in my view, that’s because there is no case. You’re barking up the wrong tree here. The board could have done some things differently, and should have done some things differently. The timing of building the stadium is not one of them.

  • Shard

    We bought Henry from the proceeds of the sale of Anelka.. A fantastic piece of business that was too. 23 million pounds I think in 1999!! We got Suker (the leading scorer at France 98), we built London Colney, and we got King Henry. Not bad..

  • Mr Venger

    Godd points,
    I understand your points dark p but you have to look at the financial situation now and see that we were so lucky to act when we did, and lucky to have survived in the top 4 through a property price crash etc during a vital time in our development.
    Thank god the board allowed ( not aimed as you put it ) to only qualify for the champs league 1 every 4 yrs which must have given us some financial leaway to see us though those times. whilst up against the glzers and abram unnatural investment ( amongst many others below us )
    You also have to take into account the wages now, which are in my opinion completely mutated by the pressure from chelski and man city. I think this is mainly what has caused so much debt throughout the leagues as the wages at the top spread upwards pressure into the rest of the market. This is wahts so wrong with football atm. clubs overspend to keep up and end up in massive debt when things go wrong. Im no accoutant tho

  • Mr Venger

    btw is not true that there are more good players around now days. to find another viera or henry is impossible without major competition from top clubs nowadays, even when they are unproven young athletes. Ie : essien 24 million. a few yrs earlier would have been 5 -10 million max

  • goonergerry

    It certainly does not feel like we are currently the second best team in the EPL-probably the third or fourth-but even to be there is something. Most debates completely overlook the advances made by several of our players this year-like Wiltshere-now an established international-and Nasri a contender for footballer of the year, Szcesny-huge strides, RVP when fit has been brilliant, Koscielny for the most par excellentt, Djourou-performed way above any previous expectations and Walcott has improved a fair bit too. Yet despite this we still struggle to beat any determined side without Cesc Fabregas -and the reason for this is the underperformance of several others injuries and referees.
    If the team does not win a trophy this year-it still could-it is disappointing but not the end of the world. It is not as if we dont have a platform to build on. I also wonder why Wenger is being blamed to the extent that he is-where is the responsibility of the player?
    Are our players the only ones who underachieve? Look at Essien-not the same player as last year-does anyone blame Ancelotti for his poor form?

  • I have three words for you Sammy: Louis van Gaal…

    after today’s comments AW made, I am positive that the big fella has completely lost the plot…

  • Dark Prince

    @Shard-
    @Mr Venger-

    I too cant believe we’re at this stadium discussion again…. 😛

    Yes, you are right that the cost of the stadium would have gone up bcoz of inflation and other factors. But u fail to realise is that this same inflation/development factors would have made our revenue grow much more (in the commercial side) to tackle the cost as of today. Obviously, the stadium is essential in long term, but we were not desperate to go into that situation of massive debts that time.

    To make it more simple, we sacrificed 3 things when we went into our stadium plan at that point of time – firstly, we sacrificed on commercial deals, which could have brought about the same increase in revenue as it was in the case of the new stadium (a clear eg is Chelsea who earn less from matchday but earn more from other sectors thus making them as good in revenue as us). There’s also one another thing we you both haven’t noticed, that is, commercial deals can grow on a very fast rate every couple of seasons but matchday income doesn’t increase every couple of seasons, (unless ofcourse the Board raises ticket prices every year, which i feel would have been stupid). Also commercial deals increases more times accordingly to our success on the pitch, which again, we sacrificed for the stadium.
    Secondly, we sacrificed our competitiveness by selling our best players and depending completly on youth who at that moment were not completly ready. The youth policy was definately a superb idea, but you have to realise that to guide the youth you need experience in the squad. Which leads me to the third point…
    Thirdly, we also sacrificed an important part of the youth policy – and that was the backing of experience of senior players. We all forget to see that our youth players still lack leadership, fighting spirit and the winning mentality. Thats bcoz they never had someone to look upto in the squad. Its not something you learn during training, you learn it from the senior players. Our young players excelled individually, as we can see this season for Nasri and Wilshere, but as a team they lack that inspiration from within the squad. For eg, look at Fabregas, a superb player individually and has been with us since last 8 years and our captain for last couple of years, but when all the youngsters look upto him in the squad, he too looks for inspiration within the squad, which unfortunately isn’t there. To make one more good example, our best leader today is still Vermaelen who himself learned it from his peers.

    Hopefully you guys can admit we did sacrifice these 3 things.

    Just think, if we hadn’t sacrificed these things, we would have been more successfull and would have been in better position to shift into the new stadium during this decade.
    To simply put it, we shouldn’t had gone for both the youth policy and the new stadium together. It should have been done in one by one rather than altogether. I’d have first made a successfull youth plan and then as we have continuous supply of players from the youth academy, then i’d have shifted to the new stadium.

  • Shard

    But by then Dark Prince, You wouldn’t have been able to build the stadium..You keep comparing with Chelsea which is totally a different case. What about Liverpool? Or Spurs? Both want new stadiums.. And they are unable to build them.. In any case, there is never an easy time to bring about such a huge transition. But it was a transition needed to be made. No one could have predicted the amount of increase in transfer prices and wages while the stadium was being planned. Nor the increase in commercial revenues. While matchday income was 1million less than ManU every game! that was real. We were operating way behind the revenues of manU, and we needed to do something about it.

  • steven

    There has been a lot of talk about “Civil War” amongst gooners lately. I think much of this stemmed from news that some fans got into a scuffle in the stadium after the last game at the Emirates. On top of that, twitter and the blogosphere has exploded with criticism of the team and Wenger with people calling for drastic changes. There’s been a lot of emotion, let’s say. I understand. Six years, no trophy and all that. Not spending money we seem to have. The endless injuries. The lack of confidence and crumbling under pressure. I see all of it and I don’t deny any of it. I just don’t particularly feel the need to get swept up in the “outrage” that has begun to spread throughout the fanbase. Does this make me a blinkered “AKB” type who is delusional and should not be listened to? Perhaps. That’s your choice if you want to listen to me or not and I don’t see the point in calling others names or telling them to support another club if they disagree. I do think though that we can have a reasonable discussion about the club without using massive hyperbole pertaining to our weaknesses. I just listened to the latest Online Gooner podcast. It features Amy Lawrence, Philip Auclair, and Tim Payton. They discuss the various trials and tribulations of our beloved Arsenal Football Club in a very reasonable manner and I would recommend people to listen to it. I don’t agree with all of it, but they do make a lot of good points on the whole and pretty much sum up the state that the club finds itself in now. Here are the links for Part One and Part Two.

    There are changes to be made in this team, whether we win the league or not (at this point, the odds would be miniscule). I think we will see changes, though not the massive overhaul people want or expect. That will come later, in the summer. There are no deals to be made currently, regardless of the transfer rumours you hear. All we can do right now is see out the rest of the season. This is the team we have. This is the team we will be watching for the rest of the season. Eight games. That’s all we have now is eight games. We need to be able to stick it out as fans and hope for the best, maybe even try to encourage the team, who I’m sure are feeling pretty low. If you don’t want to cheer them on, that’s fine. Sit back and see how the season’s end unfolds because there isn’t much else we can do for the moment. As for the team, they need to do some introspection. Even if the chase for the league title is futile, they still need to find a way to look deep in themselves and find that motivation that will get us through until May without completely imploding as we have in the past. Wenger must do his part and give them some sort of reason to keep fighting. I think he is feeling very let down by many of the players he has kept so much faith in over the years. At the same time, he needs to show the mettle he has as a manager and squeeze every ounce out of these players and then make the necessary decisions regarding their future when the time comes. Can they all do it? I honestly don’t know. Of course I hope that they go on and continue the unbeaten streak we are on, but I know it could all go sour in a heartbeat. It will be extra difficult considering we won’t be playing on Saturday anymore, but we will have to wait and see.

    I’d like to end by saying that I know there are many, many readers out there who do not comment or tweet to us, and I just want to say that we really appreciate the fact that you read the blog and our tweets. Lately, there has been a lot of shouting from angry and negative voices and I think it makes a lot of the less pessimistic gooners more reluctant to speak out and share their optimism and passion for the club. I just wanted to acknowledge that there is a silent majority out there and that it’s ok to still feel positive about the club, even if we are in a very difficult and trying period. When I get frustrated or sad about the team, I always try to stop and think about why I love the club in the first place and what drew me to Arsenal. I have never seen Arsenal win a trophy. I hope that I can. I would wait another six years for it. I truly enjoy watching our players when they click, like they did against Chelsea and Barcelona and when Theo van Nasregas led us on our best run not too long ago. We are still a big club and one with pride. Wenger is still one of the most successful Premier League managers in history. Previous managers in Arsenal history have been able to leave something behind; something that can be carried on to the next manager/era that may go unnoticed at first, but then is appreciated for years to come. Herbert Chapman gave us symbols and an identity and so much more that are engrained within the fabric of our football club. George Allison took up where he left off and continued winning while bringing in players that remain legendary. More recently, we’ve seen the resolute success of George Graham’s famous back four continue on and become a cornerstone within the Wenger era. Even Bruce Rioch in his brief spell, left a mark on our club by signing one of Arsenal’s greatest players of all time: Dennis Bergkamp. I believe that when Arsene Wenger leaves, we will see that he will also have left a mark on this club that will be evident in our successes in the future. While many have pointed out Wenger’s various errors during his time at the club (and that’s fair enough), sometimes we lose sight that with every mistake, there are many things that went right. At the end of the day, I still believe we have a great football club, not one that has been disgraced due to a lack of silverware. This is a tough moment for the club and I don’t know what will happen in the coming months. What I do know is that we still will be Arsenal. We always have been and we always will be

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- Infact, by then we could have been in a better position to shift to the new stadium. Simply bcoz of the points i mentioned in my previous post.
    Also the reason i compare with Chelsea is bcoz they too are in our same city and have been in the big 4 for quite some time now. Why i dont compare us with liverpool is bcoz their ticket prices are way below us. And the reason i dont compare City or Spurs with us is because their success has been very recent. You can see they have already started to climb the revenue ranks but it will take few more years of sustained success to bag commercial deals which is as good as Chelsea’s.
    As for Manu earning more than us from match day, you dont realise that bcoz of our poor commercia deals, we’re losing on ManU on that respect. The amount by which we’re behind ManU is as the same as in the case for Chelsea. So shifting to the new stadium so fast had no special benefit for us in last decade. Infact its has cost us 3 things which i’ve elaborated in my previous post. If we had shifted our stadium in this decade then those 3 sacrifices wouldn’t hav been made.

  • Mr Venger

    You’d make a good financial advisor d p, only thing is people want information like that as forsight not hindsight. What do you think the future holds now? How would you negotiate the sponsorship deals if we were building the stadium nxt wk?
    We accepted long term deals to get the funding for the stadium, knowing they would be below market value. Yes they messed up with those deals being too low,and thats allegedly why eldeman left by ‘mutual consent’.
    There’s potential to increase that side of the club , which is much easier than having better sponshorship deals in place now, but trying to build a stadium nxt wk.

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- The answer to your question is quite simple and, surprisingly, its almost, but not entirely, what Arsenal did.

    The way Arsenal carried about to repay that massive debt was almost to perfection. I say ‘almost’ bcoz there was only one thing which we did wrong and that was – yes, u guessed it right,- the long term commercial deal. Make no mistake, to give the naming rights to a sponsor is different to the commercial deals like shirt sponsorships. Combining both of them to a single long term deal literally handicapped half of our revenue stream. What should have been done was to just give away the naming rights. If i’m not wrong, we got a total of £100 mil for both the naming rights till 2021 and a shirt sponsorship deal till 2016. As of now teams like Liverpool, Chelsea and ManU earn £20 mil every season. 3-4 years later, that amount will increase to £25 mil. Now If those 3 teams can get than amount in shirt sponsorships then Arsenal can also. So from 2006 to 2016, we would have gradually increased from £10 mil in 2006 to £15 mil to £20 mil to £25 mil till 2016. So if we take an estimated average of £17.5 mil every season, we could have earned £175 mil till 2006 which is £75 mil more than what our current shirt sponsorship plus stadium naming rights gives us. Just think, £75 mil more EXCLUDING naming rights!!!!

    Lets look at the naming rights, what would you think Emirates would have paid us in 2016 for the naming rights of the new stadium?? Just think, by then, by inflation/development factors, we should get more than what we got in 2006. I’ll be conservative, and say £75 mil for 15 years and this is only for naming the stadium. So according to our current deal, we earn £100 mil by 2016, but by our new plan we would hav earned £250 mil by 2016. So by then, we would have been easily richer than £150 mil (75+75). That my friend, is that starting point of how you can finance for a stadium.

    Lets not forget that our stadium cost us £375 mil, so if you put in the same inflation factors in place, it would have costs us around £600 mil a decade later. Yes, we have to take a massive debt for it as we had taken last decade. But we now have £175 mil more in the bank. Now the only thing left to do to repay this debt is what we did till last year – selling of the new apartments made in the place of the old stadium. And this too would have yielded almost the double income by 2016 bcoz of the same inflation factors.

    Overall it almost the same thing what we have done already, but its without the ‘3 sacrifices’ i had earlier spoken about.
    I again reiterate, the stadium plan was good but the timing was wrong. And our youth policy too got affected bcoz of the movement into the new stadium as explained in my ‘3 sacrifices’.

  • Dark Prince

    Also, the above figures are obviously not exactly what we would have earned or spent, but its approximate by my views.

  • harrish

    Wenger will be sacked at end of season I hope not but no choice.

  • Shard

    @harrish

    Join a comedy club