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Roman Abramovich and Michel Platini. Who is kidding whom?

By Tony Attwood

For Arsenal to win the league this coming season we need four things to happen.

Quite obviously the team needs to play well.  I know it is patently obvious, but sometimes I like the obvious.  Equally obvious is that the under 10s say there’s no chance of that, and they are doing everything they can to undermine Arsenal, by scaring off potential in-comers through their stories about how every player at Arsenal is useless.

Which leads to the second point: we need to find some sort of way of dealing with under 10 element of the Arsenal support.  Like the guys who say “I’m not racist but…” they churn out the “I don’t hate Wenger but…” stories, and it is having a strong effect.   The Bergkamp in Italy story is a reminder of just how this sort of action can harm players – and we can see how it is making it less likely that players will re-sign for Arsenal or come to Arsenal.

The only way we can deal with these people is to expose the effects of their actions.  Since the effects are wholly negative, they can be readily seen as the enemies of the club’s success, and we need to keep reminding anyone willing to listen that this is the case.

Third we need to beat the other top teams by 10 points or more in fair play, because there is no fair play.  We are in the world of ref match fixing, so we need to compensate and do far better than our rivals in order to win the league.  At least we know that the match fixers know we are watching them and will be highlighting each and every one of their awful decisions so there is a chance that matters won’t be quite so flagrant this coming season.

But there’s a fourth element that needs to be considered, and that’s what I want to focus on here.  What we really need is for Uefa to show that they are seriously going to utilise the financial doping rules.  Sadly however it looks like Uefa is backing off.

When Michel Platini launched his financial fair play initiative he said (amazingly) that Mr Abramovich of Chelsea had asked for it.  He suggested that the benefactors like Mr A had asked him to control wage inflation.  Otherwise they thought the big spenders would be stuck in an endless spiral.

This was a worrying sign, and that worry has been justified as on the eve of the new regs coming to pass Mr A spent £74m on Torres and David Luiz.  Oh and £5m compensation for Carlo Ancelotti.  And £13.3m to Porto for Andrés Villas-Boas.  (That’s £739m since he came to power.  Quite a lot really).  And it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that there might be one or two more pounds spent before September 1.  (I hear today that they want to buy Nasri).

The word from west London is that expenditure fits into the strategy created by Ron Gourlay: namely the club will break even next year, and will use the youth system to bring through new players.  I could repeat that but it would be as odd looking second time round as it is the first.  Just read it again.  But sit down first, if you aren’t already.  Oh and remember that “this year” was “this year” last year too.  It just moves forward a year, each year.

There’s another issue.  The Chelsea squad is getting old, and the wages bill is 82% of income.  Yearly losses are still around £80m and could go a lot higher which put the club utterly outside of financial fair play.

One might have a little faith in the future of  this project if Platini did not continue to say that the financial doping rules had already caused clubs to reduce their spending.  You only have to look at the spending of Man U, Chelsea and Man City in the last nine months to know this is a bunch of turnips.

The fact is that I really had some hope for this arrangement up to about a year ago.  Then we heard that Uefa had not, contrary to our hopes, put a big team of lawyers and accountants in place to handle the issue.  It has been obvious from that moment that Uefa was never serious; can you imagine the legal and financial team Chelsea, Man C, and Man U will put together if anyone even begins to suggest they can’t play in the Champs League?

Although this coming season is the first one that counts for the records, no one is actually going to check the club accounts until the summer of 2013 and even then over the next two years the clubs can still make a loss of €45m.  Of course Chelsea and the rest will struggle to meet that criteria, so edges are being smoothed down to help them.

First off, clubs can then ignore the wages of players signed or put on a new contract before June 2010.

Nevertheless Chelsea will get rid of some of their older players, and the question everyone is asking is (apart from the under 10s of course, for whom the concept is a little bit complex), what will this do to the value of players in general?  A bit of a glut usually means a discount – which is another reason why a lot of transfers are being held up.

Chelsea has another problem: it has virtually no chance of increasing matchday income. No new stadium, the marketing has been huge already but to limited effect, and really there isn’t much else to do.  There isn’t much sexy attraction to the club to bring in overseas supporters, and that “one in seven people in the world is a Chelsea supporter”  as the club proclaimed two years ago, didn’t help them much.   Man U has had worldwide support since before it was fashionable, just as Real Mad and Barca have.  Arsenal gained it through their reputation from the 1930s and the attractive football we play.  But Chelsea?  Like Man C, a bit of a wasteland.

So, will we get financial fair play?  Yes, the regs will come in.  Will they have any effect.  Not with this type of attitude from Uefa.  Sadly, a great chance wasted.

Refs and scandals: the latest update

The Match Fixing Index

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47 comments to Roman Abramovich and Michel Platini. Who is kidding whom?

  • Shard

    I don’t understand why you ever felt the FFP would actually achieve their stated aims. All it would do is keep the status quo. Keep the poor from barging into the big leagues, and let the existing top clubs make it a battle between themselves. Forget legal teams employed by clubs to challenge their bans. You’d have half of UEFA rebelling against itself because of the loss in revenues from axing one of the big teams.

  • Sammy

    One thing I’ve learned in life is to look to improve things that are under your own control, rather than blaming others for your failures. Sadly, the responsibility for Arsenal’s reason failures does not lie on the ‘under 10s’, as you like to describe them, but on Wenger himself.

    In past 6 years, for every step ahead, the team has taken two steps backward.

    In 2007-08 season, we were 10 points clear on the top of league, but needed some reinforcements for the misfiring Adebayor and injured Flamini. Wenger, didn’t sign anyone and the season exploded. Result? We lost Flamini and Hleb in the summer. You may argue they went for greed, but winning provides that extra incentive for players to stay. Just ask the Chelsea/Man Utd players; how often you hear them talking of leaving their club; even though Arsenal’s wage bill is not too far off.

    In 2008-09 season, fans expected to Wenger to use the funds to get a cover in midfield for the departed Hleb and Flamini. He didn’t. By midseason it was clear that we may not finish in top 4. Signing of the mercurial Arshavin provided respite from that danger, but we again failed. However, at the end of the year Adebayor and Toure left us.

    In 2009-10, once again, people expected Wenger to get replacement for Adebayor and the perennially injured RvP. He didn’t. Instead he made the diminutive Arshavin play as as center forward in the toughest and most physical league in the world. Arshavin hasn’t fully recovered from that experience yet. He also didn’t sort out our defensive problems.

    In 2010-11, Gallas left. We hoped to Wenger to sort out the the defense. He signed a rookie from French 2nd division and another wannabe to man the defence of Arsenal – a team once renowned for its defending. He also refused to solve the problem of the two jokers we had in the goal. By mid-season, we didnt have a replacement for the injured RvP; even though we had identifed Chamakh, Wenger refused to spend money and waited another 6 months to sign him for free. The season suffered, but profits were more important.

    At the end of every season, we hear promises that the squad will be strengthened very early. But the summer is full of stories of more players wanted to leave, and some wannabe professing their dreams of playing for Arsenal (note that no established name ever talks about joining Arsenal, only those who want to get CL experience and then go to a club where they can win things and get paid more). After Wenger keeps dillydallying on the fee (if at all he makes an offer),the offers are too late or too little. Eventually we’re lucky if we manage to cover the players we lost in the summer.

    This has been the story for past 4-5 years. Not only have the fans seen the bluff (except the Untold faithfuls), but also the players. Nasri not only want a higher salary, but also reassurances about the squad. So did RvP when he renewed his contract couple of years ago, but news is he’ll reconsider his future next year after winning nothing in past 6 years. Would you be surprised if he does leave? I wouldn’t be.

    This year, we are gonna lose Clichy, Fabregas and possibly Nasri. We may sign a few wannabe’s like Gervinho and some other unknown players which may be good, but not great or good enough to help us win something. Then a few more players like RvP and Wilshere will reconsider their future. Whilst Wenger keeps on his mental masturbation about how much money he saved!

    The future looks bright indeed! Atleast for the Arsenal shareholders!

  • Arsene Wonka

    I am not sure what people expect. The reason United have so far been able to bring in 3 players is because 5 players have left the squad. Van der Saar, Neville, Scholes and Hargreaves have all left the club permanently and Bebe has gone out on loan. As it stands Arsenal have had 6 players join their squad as they have all reached 21, Vela, Walcott, Gibbs, Traore, Botelho and Randall. This took us to 27 players, Randall has since left the club and Botelho has been told he is staying out on loan. That still means we are on the maximum number of 25 players, 21 and over. Players need to leave and that is what is going to happen. Sure we would all like it to be the “deadwood” players. But in reality it is more likely to be the players that are running down their contracts.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Shard,
    are we getting too cynical in our teens? the inclusion of mr. abromovic the philanthropist in any press release by an already corrupt organisation is a clue to completely disregard that statement and follow the money. the very idea that there organisations that exist to check the vagaries of serious money making monkeys has long faded into history for for the under 10’s.
    I am sorry but michel platini, sepp blatter? what qualifies these individuals to run anything? apart from the innocence and gullibilty of most football fans? imagine just what you could get away with with these two geniuses on the look out. as front men they are just as useful as a certain Dubya while the real business takes place in the background.
    the thought that abramovic might want clubs hamstrung when selling players to him is credible but that he is working to cut his own throat, now that is laughable.
    Christ, i am almost tempted to find out why he made the statement at the time but sadly i suspect it might just be that the egotistical little twat wanted us to know he was mixing with extremely rich and miserable nobs.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Sammy,
    Mental masturbation, eh?
    I dont get it, why would he be happy that he could’nt compete for ribery four years ago or so many others we know he wanted but could’nt afford?

  • Stevie E

    @Sammy – in all of your above comments, you failed to mention several major factors which has prevented AW signing any big names or established players in the last 6 seasons.
    1. The Emirates – to move the club into a brand new state of the art stadium without landing us into serious debt whilst still maintaining our top 4 status. Something which is often overlooked/ignored by the “AAARRRGGGHHHH 6 YEARS WITHOUT A TROPHY, GET WENGER OUT” brigade.
    2. Billionaire owners – The emergance of Chelsea as a PL contender is down to one reason, a billionaire owner who is able to just spend £739 MILLION just to win stuff, and he still hasn’t got the champs league. In addition, they can easily outbid us for any player we go for, agents know this so and will try to get as much money as possible. Thats why AW keeps his cards close to his chest and we dont hear about any potential signing until it’s deal done.
    3. Man U bias – even the most blinkered of football watcher had to admit Man U get given results in games they had no business even scoring in, let alone winning. How else do you think SAF got 19 after his team played so poorly all season?
    4. Youth – even with the restrictions placed on english clubs, we are producing some of the best talent in world football. How much do you think it would cost to sign Jack? How much do you think it as cost bringing him through the ranks?
    5. Players are players, not supporters – to these guys they are going to work, playing football is their job. The majority haven’t, unlike us, supported the team they play for since they were kids. If I work in one place for 8 years, why shouldn’t I go work somewhere else? Why shouldn’t I take a pay rise offered by another company?
    6. The press – google Arsenal news rght now then come back and tell me how many positive articals you can find about Arsenal… Don’t bother, I’ll you, NONE! The press have a field day making up stories about players wanting to leave, not being happy, AW losing the plot. It’s an absolute disgrace but goes on unabated and unfortuanelty, the punters lap it up. Cesc has said he is happy at arsenal and doesn’t want to , yet the papers have the deal done bar the actual signing and who do you choose to believe? The press who are making these things up to SELL papers and MAKE MONEY! Nasri wants a pay rise, thats fine but you seem to think he’s wanting out and will sign for city, or chelsea or man u…
    At the end of the day, if a player wants to leave the club and go elsewhere, that’s their business. Don’t assume you know what the motivation is because you have no idea. Don’t assume AW didn’t try to keep them because you have no idea. Don’t blame AW for stories you read linking us to players not happening, because he didn’t write them. To achieve all we have since AW took control without spending hundreds of millions or going bust is unbelievable, but to you and your like, it’s not good enough because the press say not winning anything for 6 years is an absolute failure. Ask yourself why they aren’t on Liverpools case for not winning anything for 6 years…
    Finally, the reason AW “dillydallys” about the fee is because he hasn’t got unlimited finances unlike others, running a real life football club they way Arsenal is, is being held up by WORLD football as how it should be done, an example to others. It’s very sad that the so called supporters of that very same club can’t see it.

  • FartyFoulke

    “Bit of a wasteland”?

    You pride yourself on your ‘research’ but know sweet FA. Chelsea gave been the best supported side in England eight times. We were the first club break the 40k per game mark, and our average gates up to the 1910s were three times that of Plumstead Arsenal’s. We drew 67,000 in 1906. Our 82,905 (against your mob) in 1935 is the second biggest attendance in England. The 29.5m UK viewers of our FA Cup replay v Leeds in 1970 remains the highest ever football audience apart from the 1966 World Cup final.

    I can’t stand Arsenal, but I’m not ignorant or childish enough to deny your celebrated history. It’s an indictment that so few of your fans can reciprocate.

  • Stevie E

    The Evening Standard is owned by a Russian “businessman” (very tenuous link to the article, sorry Tony) and have a very anti-arsenal approach. Why? I’ll let you be the judge of that, but for all those who read this blog and aren’t in London, let me give you a taste of the daily sh*t this paper produces from their no.1 sports man Dan Jones (who I’m ashamed to say is, like me a Welsh man).

    Adios, Cesc, but it’s time to ‘fess up…
    Cesc Fabregas will almost certainly become a Barcalona player this summer. Everyone knows it. The clubs has basically acknowledged it. But isn’t Fabregas’ faux-diffident attitude getting a bit annoying? His latest statement: “If a player is on the market it is because the club does not want him.” No, Cesc. It’s because he has made it very clear that a five-year contract doesn’t imply a five-year commitment. It’s merely insurance against a player deciding, on a whim, that he wants out. See you around…

    Now, I’m not sure what Dan has against our captain, but it’s pretty clear to me he doesn’t like him very much. Taking a quote which is simply stating a truth (read Anne’s translation on the full quote here http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/13008) and try to manipulate it to mean something entirely different is just about the cheapest, lowest journo trick there is. On a slow Arsenal news day, lets spit out some hate just to keep the fire burning. How charming!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    FFP was always going to be tricky to implement because of the vested interests of certain parties. Those clubs operating for political/personal reasons are only going to support FFP so long as they are winning. As soon as their aging overpriced mercenaries need replacing FFP will be shown the door. Torres being a prime example. Those clubs operating for profit will lap these opportunities up and those clubs operating for their fans will most likely cooperate as well.

  • sahil

    We would be fooling ourselves if we believe The FFP would bring a level playing field.Look at the people preaching FFP ‘Michel Platini’ and ‘Sepp Blater’,do i need to say anything else.Wasnt blatter the one who said he would root out corruption from FIFA….Bollocks!
    As sad as it is in order to win we need to spend more. We have seen the ref bias against us so we need more quality in our squad so as to regularly(even in case of injuries)outplay our opponents.Of course going out and spending like chelsea and man city is not a viable option.Spending 15-30 mil net in a season is something we can afford without adding to our debts.It is a fact that we have low purchasing power in the market but it is also true we have not spend as much as we could have without affecting the level of debts.

  • And_Arsene_Said...

    On SIMB re Wenger, even our rivals see it…….

    The best thing ARs*n*l have going for them is Wenger. Take Wenger out that side and you have a team scraping around for the europa spots. Oddly enough I guess half the Ars*n*l fans want shot of him because of they success they crave that he himself brought them. I wonder what would happen if Wenger and Redknapp swapped places. My guess is that Ars*n*l and Spurs would swap league positions. nt
    Posted on June 30, 2011 at 12:08:24 PM by NTY

    (no message)

    Replies:

    ha they have won shit loads with Wenger and got to a champions league final and are in it every year.ok they havent won anything for while but i think that will change *isnt an arsenal fan* – By james June 30, 2011 at 12:11:05 PM

    Agree entirely. Arsenal will not fail to qualify for the CL until Wenger is gone – By Dougal June 30, 2011 at 12:09:42 PM

  • Dark Prince

    Tony- i can only tell you one thing – i told you so.

    Maybe a year ago, when you were saying that ManU, Chelsea, Man City will fail to qualify for champions league due to the new FFP rules, i told you the same teams will go around these rules. Also i told you via UEFA need the above teams to market themselves and their competition. As i said a long time b4, UEFA wont hit themselves on their feet by removing the biggest teams from their own competition.

  • Countryboy

    @Ugandan Goon, @Stevie E,
    I find it hard to respect a man who comes to the public and says he is going to be “busy” in the summer only to come out later to say he’ll wait till the end of July before doing any business. He even had the gall to say every other team was standing still. Yeah Right. Everybody in North London maybe. Since Spurs hadn’t made any headline grabbing signings we could wait. Just goes on to show what our ambitions are. Competing with united (current champions) OR trying to stay above Spurs. And i thought that was their dream not ours.
    The sad thing is this is not the first time he has promised to strengthen only for him to come out and say Rosicky, Diaby and Denilson were like new signings. These players are good in their own right but that was not what fans were promised.
    Having Tony admit that the FFP may not work makse me want to ask – So Whats The Point? Have we been long suffering all for nothing?
    Before anybody starts to say, he’s just keeping his cards to his chest, i am not saying he should tell us who he intends to sign so as not to drive up the price, all I am saying is that he should HONESTLY assure the fans that he will do the business. One of the cardinal rules of good PR is Do Good and BE SEEN To Be Doing Good.
    Most fans agree that we should not live beyond our means but we need to LIVE. Period.

  • Tony i doubt either UEFA or any other football governing organisation would like to stop the illegal ways earning by stealing the public money (i.e) to impose FFP and stop the inflow and outflow of cash done anonymously. I always doubted FFP and its influence which could be easily altered by elite teams in europe. I can’t imagine FFP ruling out chelski,manu and manc out of champions league along with barca and real. So imo, all this is a self-promotion by platini and other corrupt officials and nothing else.

  • Countryboy

    @Stevie E,
    You realize that the reason that man has not gone into extinction is his ability to adapt. Not so some extinct creatures. Emirates Stadium or not, Russian Billionaire or not, Arsenal-Hating or not, Crooked Refeeres or not, Bent FA/UEFA/FIFA, you dont get acclaim for having excuses, you get acclaim for results.
    Wenger is respected for his business sense but his respect for the sporting side of Arsenal is waning. Dare I say he will probably be best for the post of Chief Executive? I know i will be labeled AAA in the comments of “better informed fans”

  • Shard

    @Countryboy

    Fair comment. However, the other side of the coin is that being busy does not mean that a signing will happen immediately. He, and others at the club, are busy right now.(assumption yes, but not illogical) Identifying targets, asking around for other targets, negotiating all of these is indicative of effort. Yes, I want the signings we need just like you. But I’m not going to start casting aspersions on our ambitions because of something ManU have done. ManCity and Chelsea haven’t bought yet either.

    If FFP doesn’t kick in properly (and I think it won’t), does it mean we have been suffering for nothing? No. We have been building for a better, stronger and more stable future. Maybe other clubs can outspend us, but that can always be the case. Chelsea can now be outspent by ManCity. All it shows is that football exists in a bubble. All bubbles do burst eventually. All we can do is make sure we are in good shape when that happens. My only concern is that if a bubble that size bursts, usually the ones who have been responsible in their behaviour actually lose out. (note banks that had financial misdeeds. None of them suffered really did they?) So that is a concern to me, but then what are we supposed to do? Knowingly follow the irresponsible path and hope for the best?

    Oh and I take your point about good PR. Kind of hard to do when the media is determined to paint everything about you as blacker than black, and your own fans seem to lap it up and throw around accusations of greed and stupidity.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Perhaps Arsene should announce derisory bids for players we don’t want/could never afford, to give the fans something to talk about. Other managers talk to the press about nonsense, why not ours?

  • Shard

    @Woolwich

    My instant reaction was because we are Arsenal. We don’t do things that way. But I think we should start to consider other options. Partly we are a ‘soft’ target precisely because we do not comment on media speculation. Look at ManU’s David Gill claiming yesterday that ManU were hard done by the FA the past season and that other teams would not have ‘suffered’ the same punishment. Can you imagine our CEO coming out and saying that referees were a bit ‘harsh’ on us and that other teams mybe were not as unlucky as we were? I agree it won’t make sense because the media will jump on it. But if we do it long enough. If we call them out on their nonsense, maybe it will stop. Right now the media know that Arsenal will never contradict anything they say, so they are free to spread whatever venom they want.

    Maybe it has started to happen a bit. The BBC article that cited an Arsenal source was totally unreliable of course. But in my view, most BBC publications tend to not be fabrications (will anyone dispute this please?) I think it might have been a plant by Arsenal to force Barcelona to show their hand. One article today says Barca only want to pay 8.5 million this year and the rest of the 34 million over 3 years for Cesc. That too might be Arsenal feeding this information so as to stop the stupidity of it being certain that Fabregas is leaving.

    the above is just a thoery, and I feel this angle might be better explored if bob’s idea of media watch is taken up. Seeing which journalist writes what. How often during a season he contradicts himself. How often he may get stories which though not sourced properly, seem to benefit Arsenal in one way, might lead us to better examine each journo’s bias, and their links with our club, if any.

  • Stevie E

    @Countryboy
    I think Shard has got in there 1st while I was watching the tennis and taken the words out of my mouth. However, can I ask why, in your reply you point out “Emirates Stadium or not, Russian Billionaire or not, Arsenal-Hating or not, Crooked Refeeres or not, Bent FA/UEFA/FIFAEmirates Stadium or not, Russian Billionaire or not, Arsenal-Hating or not, Crooked Refeeres or not, Bent FA/UEFA/FIFA”, but you fail to mention the positives, ie top 4, sustained future, youth development etc? You’ve pointed out all the things we can do nothing about yet have ignored all the things we’ve done to try and compete against it. In all honesty, we should be nowhere near the top 4. Just because we’re Arsenal, that means eff all in the real world. Why not give the man the credit he deserves for the achievments he has made instead of critising him for us punching well above our weight. I don’y know if you’re AAA, but if tottenhom fans can see it, why can’t you?

  • Farty – hello. I guess as you are a newcomer to the site (and welcome, no problem with supporters of other clubs here) you perhaps don’t know of the Arsenal History site and the associated book “Making the Arsenal”, but in essence Chelsea was created from an idea in 1905 and given a place in the league with no supporters, no club, no players. The original franchise in fact. To compare crowds at the time is a bit odd since Woolwich Arsenal played at a ground that could hold about 34,000, so of course could not compete with the larger stadium at Chelsea. Odd comparison really, but the 1905 formation is a bit more interesting to most historians.

  • Countryboy

    @Stevie E, @Shard
    You see, the problem with self righteous know-it-alls is that even when the truth is staring them right in the face, they cant see. They are so absorbed in their righteousness that they find it impossible to believe that anybody with a different opinion is unequivocally wrong.
    I never suggested that we should be irresponsible in our spending (check the post “Wenger is respected for his business sense but his respect for the sporting side of Arsenal is waning”). And this is the problem that with the perception about some Arsenal fans that offer constructive criticism. If you accept the without question everything that happens in the club, then you are the true arsenal, but if you just stretch your imagination, accept what is essential to your club but question what is a whim, impractical or obsolete – all in order to move the club forward through adaptation of our methods to meet present and future realities – then you are seen not be a worthy fan. I am sure these same kind of people would have questioned Arsene’s way of bringing in continental players early in his arsenal career. They would have labelled it atrocious. But the manager brought in some world class out-of-the-box thinking that made us very successful. Saying that he should do the same now is not sacrilege, but simply reminding him of what made him great.
    Strengthening does not equal being irresponsible. Arsene’s way of trying to unearth gems is not wrong. But the scouting network that has been vaunted as being second to none should start producing results.
    He should not also contradict himself. If you are not not going to be signing players, just say so. But to say we’ll be busy only to come out weeks later that we’ll have to wait till end of July is confusing. Wouldn’t it be better to have done all we could in the window so that our team can havwe sufficient time to blend in pre-season. Remember our opening fixtures, it is imperative that we hit the ground running.
    Our transfer policy should not be trial and error or reactionary but forward looking enough to unearth new Toures, Kanus, Vieras. And that without breaking the bank or being Irresponsible

  • Ugandan Goon

    Hello Country-boy,
    I think i understand from your comment that you are calling into question the managers’ integrity because according to you the transfer window has been extremely busy while arsenal slept.
    I obviously respect the manager, and i cannot understand why after all these years you don’t seem to have grasped that at arsenal we try and keep the riff raff out! be it the media, the agents or billionaires. to that end everyone involved in an arsenal transfer is more or less gagged until the business is done it shows a fantastic amount of respect for our business partners and of course the players themselves.
    About the FFP rules, arsenal are the only big club in the epl who are walking the walk when they talk of sustainability, if you love the club and think you will support till you die, isnt it logical to want the club to be there to support, perhaps even after you shuffle off. the club are not doing this to please fifa, they are trying to stay competitive on a budget.
    As for PR, quite frankly it is an expense we could do without, we give to charity seriously, our owners are decent folk, the business is well run, we have built a fantastic stadium, we play fantastic football, if we needed to pretend to be good as well then we’d be like a woman wearing a lot of perfume- smelly in her head.
    So there it is countryboy, have a bit of patience , you are supporting the best club in the world and you don’t need to question yourself or the club, arsene knows best. Honestly.

  • Countryboy

    “They are so absorbed in their righteousness that they find it impossible to believe that anybody with a different opinion is unequivocally wrong.”
    Should have read
    “They are so absorbed in their righteousness that they find it impossible to believe that anybody with a different opinion can also be unequivocally right.”

  • Stevie E

    @farty
    I personally couldn’t give two farts about chelsea. I actually quite liked watching them pre-Abhororich, now it’s just boring and title buying. You lot just give me images of a bit old fat git with a young gold digger, yeah you’ve got the trophy, but you can’t get it up without a little blue pill.

  • bob

    The likes of Bladder and Platini chronically speak out of both sides of their, er, mouths. Amazingly, both of them denounce video technology straight after UEFA sends naughty Greece (the Greek FA) evidence that 41 matches (including CL sides) were “suspicious.” UEFA’s action leads to arrests of refs, owners, police chiefs and Bladder/Platini simply continue to openly denounce video technology as if nothing untoward has happened. However, that’s all for naughty Greece (probably to help divert mass attention from the causes of Greece’s careening economic crisis). It will not, however, be applied Hereabouts – to the Big Markets.

    This behaviour, in turn, runs parallel to your theme today. Their duplicity on FFP. As long as it serves the well-off, they champion reform; when it hurts the haves, as you’ve noted, the reform is (or will soon, in practice) called off. Not formally, but, as you say, the enforcement mechanism has gone missing. I do appreciate your disappointment Tony, but you were too credulous in your earlier expressed hopes for FFP, and now appreciate your saying so. Platini/Bladder are not – as most say – incompetent. Incompetence IS their job description; and they do it very well. The job: being witting and willing and well-paid lightning rods for whatever discontent (and too little of it) that today’s football-business-as-usual gives rise to. They absorb a portion of the public’s ridicule as a matter of course. The survive scandal after scandal. And they get re-re-re elected. This cannot happen without the backing of an “x” factor. Instead of screaming “conspiracy monger,” however, fans and readers might simply watch as FFP crumbles. By surviving all condemnation, Platini/Bladder generate hopelessness – the malaise that will keep them in power unless/until enough of the football-consuming public accepts hopelessness, P&B’s principal ally along with powerful backers in their continuance. In the run up to this season, they’ve openly declared video replay out-of-bounds; and, by inaction, are making FFP a pipe dream. They have bet that, like WWF, we fans will continue to consume the damaged goods on the pitch and turn against one another before we give up the brilliant escape from our daily woes that they offer, our shared remote controlled-religion. It all depends on our continued passivity and disposable income. This, in turn, gives fans the choice and opportunity to consider and pressure for something better – or not.

  • Shard

    @countryboy

    I think you protest too much. Maybe you’ve been called names before but you go out of your way to shield yourself from some perceived attack, not to mention attack someone else offering their opinion as a know it all. My reply to you was on the basis of your first post. Nowhere did I say you were being reactionary. But to compare our purchases or lack of with ManU has no meaning for me. They have their needs and their means, and we have ours. There is no direct parallel.

    I’m all for looking at improving etc, and a fair point again about the scouting system. Yet you have to temper that with the acknowledgment that it is far more difficult to succesfully purchase a player now. Every club is out there scouting. The market has been distorted enough that any player, no matter how little known, is suddenly worth a lot of money just because Arsenal is interested in him, and of course we have certain work permit issues meaning we miss out on certain players who find it easier to go to France or Spain. All in all, that makes it much much harder to conduct the business in a way that we realistically can with the constraints we have.

    As for only ‘results’ and not ‘excuses’, I say that the results is exactly on the basis that I am arguing. The result is that with the new stadium, bent refs, financial constraints, xenophobia in the press etc etc, we produce such and such result, ie not finish outside the top 4. We WANT more, but wanting more shouldn’t cause you to destroy all you have. You are of course right when you say we should be doing a better job. That much can never be untrue. But all of those are the landscape that we exist in. They are not excuses.

    If only winning is what is required, regardless of everything else, then there are many ways to do this. Portsmouth is an example of winning and going down the drain. We could also conceivably ‘purchase’ refs like Juventus did, or ‘purchase’ trophies like Chelsea did and ManCity will do. All these are alternatives, and they have led to success in some cases. It remains to be seen if we can win by our model. So it is good to be doubtful and looking for alternatives. Don’t dismiss our achievements though. they have been well fought for and it is most certainly something that is undervalued and taken for granted.

  • bob

    p.s. so sorry! I meant, in my goddamn haste, to write “reject hopelessness” above.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @bob,
    i love you man, spot on.

  • Stevie E

    @Countyboy
    To start a reply in a blog with an insult not only shows bad manners, but also a lack of respect for those with which you wish to debate. But to retort in kind, I find your comments pretentious and ill thought out. To suggest that, because I dont agree with you I’ve dismissed your legitimacy as a fan is ridiculas.
    I’ve posed questions to you in earlier comments which have yet to be addressed, if you would like to have a debate, please dont ignore my replies.
    Finally, your closing statement struck me as particulary dense – “Our transfer policy should not be trial and error or reactionary but forward looking enough to unearth new Toures, Kanus, Vieras. And that without breaking the bank or being Irresponsible”… this is why we have a world wide scouting network, a youth development policy and don’t spend £100millions on players… just look at cesc, nasri, rvp, theo, clichy, sagna etc etc. had you heard of any of these guys before they signed for arsenal? were they not forward thinking enough for your? Did they break tje bank? Please note, these are questions to which I expect no reply…

  • bob

    Shard,
    I left a couple for you on the previous blog. Also please find Andy Kelly’s amazing follow up link to a new Ref named Paul Taylor’s failed attempt to “get” Arsene in the 2000/2001 season. Cheers, Bob

  • Countryboy

    again these guys are missing the point. No use arguing with you since you so conveniently dismiss the thrust of the argument. Havent you read somewhere in my post about rosicky et al being good players. But every arsenal fan knows we need strengthening.
    Hoewvwer, since y’all more righteous, than I am, i concede the point and nread other interesting things on the site.
    Within my rights, ya think?

    PS. never insulted anyone (again read the post – never used the second person pronoun when talking about those who dismiss opposing views. ) However, if you felt insulted, wasnt my intention – but it makes one think, doesnt it? As we say here in Nigeria “Gunners for Life”

  • bob

    @Ugandan Goon, so glad it spoke to you!

  • Stevie E

    @countyboy
    as we say in london, jog on treacle 😉

  • Richard B

    Don’t look at what is happening now in the market. The short term impact of any change is always exaggerated – the long term impact usually underplayed.
    FFP will only have an effect when someone is actually banned from Europe for not operating within the ‘rules’. It doesn’t need teams of lawyers and accountants to be in place all the time (although Ivan Gazidid told me to my face that he knows that they exist on the UEFA payroll.
    The crunch will come when a team is excluded from the CL by finishing too lowdown in the table and they believe that a team above them has ‘cheated’ the FFP regs. They will then challenge UEFA to ban them and (I’m guessing here) be told to provide proof. This may involve them paying for the accountants and lawyers to crawl all over the accounts of the team that finished higher in order to make their case.
    If those accounts are held in some tax haven and are purposely opaque there may be a problem – but it may be that the onus will be on the investigated club to prove that they are innocent. All of the calls for greater transparency of both ownership and balance sheets are a preamble to such events. It will also have the support of the taxman who is ultimately far more powerful than UEFA and is seeking to be moved higher up the list of people to be paid when things go wrong.
    Some elements of corruption (and large elements of financial doping) will be eliminated from the game. Other scams may take their place but it is pretty much inevitable that Arsenal will benefit and that this benefit will be reflected by what happens on the pitch.
    John W Henry (this years owner of Liverpool) was quoted recently that Americans have become increasingly interested in owning EPL teams because of the promise that FFP holds out. He described it as leading to ‘greater predictability’ in constructing a business plan for a club – presumably meaning that you’re not going to be surprised by the owner of another club suddenly finding £50m down the back of the sofa and blowing you out of the water in the transfer market.
    If he is right then the American owners within the EPL (who are all used to a highly regulated system back home) will also see it as being in their interest to ensure that FFP works.
    The last time I looked we had just such an owner and he doesn’t look the sort to be pushed around to me.
    And, by the way, Abramovich was said to have decided to support FFP only after the Man City situation reared its head. When two sides have the bomb its best to negotiate peace rather than continue the war.

  • Stevie E

    @Sammy

    I’ve just spent an hour typing a response to all your points and then I had an epiphany. I realised that no matter what I say, you’ll disagree. I cant be arsed. So I deleted all of it (except @Sammy). If you want to hate, carry on. If you think you could do a better job, you’re probably right, you’re an undiscovered footballing management genius. You must be, you’ve won the league 20 times in a row on your computer.

    Have a look at the banner at the top of this page, if you expect me to be anything other than pro Arsene you’re even more of an idiot then I already think you are.

  • bob

    Richard B,
    Your is the most interesting scenario to date and I truly hope that your insider account does hold up. The intra-ownership battle seems the only way forward and one wants to be re-assured that there’s a tinker’s chance of this helping to level the pitch.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    The UEFA-FIFA Fairplay rules were written by those clowns tongue-in-cheek, with the clear understanding that they’d NEVER really be applied against the Big CL clubs like Barca,Real,Inter, AC Milan,Manure,Cheatski,Arsenal and Bayern.
    Why? Because these clubs bring EUFA/FIFA billions of Euros from TV contracts, gates, merchandise sales, free publicity, advertising revenues, bribes, etc. What Sports governing organization or its directors in their right mind would put that at risk for a so-called level playing field as the Yanks love to say?
    Could you see the FA saying to Manure, Cheatski, Shitty, Arsenal, Liverpool, or the Spuds that they would have to sit out the FA Cup because they didn’t meet the EPL fairplay rules? What EPL fairplay rules you ask….precisely my point…there are none!
    The next few years will see one or two lesser CL Clubs (likely English or German) pilloried over ¨breaking¨ these rules while the big Clubs flaunt them with gay abandon.

  • Aaron

    Can i just say, as a persona travelling around this year, i have seen far fewer Arsenal supporters around the world (South America, Austrilasia and South East Asia) than i have Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool and of course Manchester United. It is only since i got into Maylasia that i have seen more Arsenal Shirts and clothing being worn. This also could be due to the fact we are about to play here in about a week and a half (which i luckily have tickets for).

    I was supprised in Brazil that many were Chelsea supporters or at least wore the shirt. At least 70% of EPL worn shirts that i saw were Chelsea related.

    I even ran into a Thai guy who had a knock off, new away shirt literally after 3 days it was announced… i asked im if he supported Arsenal he said no i support Man United… so yea, very interesting.

  • Shard

    @bob

    Andy Kelly’s link was fantastic. More interesting was the story he told with it. Oh and bob.. Your comment at 5:41 pm was absolutely brilliant.

  • Shard

    Richard B

    Excellent point. Highly insightful and actually a more hopeful scenario. Rich owners taking on others who have/may have bent the FFP rules could offer a way to proper implementation. The pessimist in me would scream the chance of cartels forming, but nonetheless, that is a great take on the impact the FFP might have.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Shard
    Would those cartels necessarily include the against-FFP clubs? Imagine the top six is MUFC, MCFC, Chelsea, us, Liverpool and Aston Villa. The Glazers won’t want to side with those for FFP but neither will they want to side with the not-for-profit clubs. Whereas the other three clubs would love to see the top three kicked out of Europe.

  • Pete The First

    UEFA and fair play. Now those two surely don’t belong in the same sentence!

    Platini has been groomed by Blatter. Again that tells you all you need to know about the man.

  • Just a reminder to all these ‘new’ posters – you need to supply a valid email address as if you supply blah@blah.blah – it is likely that your comment will be held in moderation and/or maked as spam.

  • Adam

    I don’t see what Sammy has said that is so wrong. The reasons for Wenger not strengthening are debatable and it is too convenient to say that all his critics want him to bankrupt the club. Nobody I know wants that and it is a really dumb argument. The transfer window gives teams a chance to strengthen their squads. I think that what Sammy is pointing out is correct in many ways. I am of the feeling that a decent centre half bought in during the last January window would have given us a much better chance at the title. Arsene obviously agrees because he tried to sign Samba and the deal was apparently “very close”. The fact that a club of Arsenal’s stature couldn’t wrap this up and had no other options is, I think, worrying.

  • Shard

    @Woolwich

    I was thinking less specifically than the FFP. If the interests of many of the bigger clubs are threatened, it is feasible that they would group together and try and pressure UEFA to change certain rules. The FFP exemption limit, The number of years one can default, a system of voting to decide who goes out, change the distribution system of tv money, increase/decrease the number of slots for a country in the Champions League. All these are just of the top of my head, things that are easily influenced, and really don;t attract the biggest of media attention. Keep saying we are committed to the ideal, and change the details to suit their designs.

    Of course, what you were hinting at is also possible, in that pro-FFP and anti-FFP groups form. That is less likely in my view, because the current product is too lucrative and too essential for many clubs to threaten that with such a visible breach.

    On a side note, though it isn’t directly related, the NBA has entered lockdown over disputes between the owners and the players on how to share revenues and the salary cap rules. Something similar could perhaps happen if there are pro and anti FFP groups and a clear split appears.

  • Shard

    Regarding the last paragraph above.. Something similar being club vs club, rather than players vs clubs.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Shard,
    I suspect a collective bargaining method will appeal to more club owners than not. We’re seeing the beginnings of this in La Liga. Madrid and Barcelona can’t afford a fairer distribution of TV monies but if the eighteen other teams withdraw from the league the TV money will evaporate as well.