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Project youth, and why we have to keep it going

Untold Arsenal.

The History Index

The story of the last time something odd went on

By Walter Broeckx

A lot of the criticism that is aimed at Arsenal and Wenger is about project youth.  Some of the fans have been saying that project youth has failed because we didn’t win anything in the last 6 years. Other say it will win you nothing at all. Never. Other say name me X players that have come from the project youth and still we haven’t won anything. It needs to be buried,  is the consensus amongst the enemies of project youth.

So let us presume for a minute that Arsenal would abandon the youth project completely.  Let us presume for a moment Arsenal  would give in to those from the AAA who say that buying is the only answer to win things again.

The first result would be that we never would have any chance of seeing players like Wilshere coming in the first team like he did. I could name Frimpong also because the way he played in pre-season last year was very promising and if he wouldn’t have got that terrible knee injury he would have been playing in the first team for a number of games. And I could add Rasmey, Fabregas,….  So scratch those players. But if we scratch them we need to buy players. Okay let us buy young and promising English players. What do you think about Carroll? 35M? Or Jones 18M? Or Henderson 18M? Young 18M? So let us suppose we buy 2 of those players. This would cost us around 36M.

And then we have 2 young and promising players but will they be any better than the players we have. Is a player like Henderson better than Wilshere for the moment? And remember Wilshere is younger than Henderson.  I really don’t think so, but I could be a bit biased as I am an Arsenal supporter.  But I do think that we can trust the coach of the national team and he has chosen Wilshere at a much younger age compared to Henderson. This could be a slight hint that Wilshere in fact is the better player or more promising of those two.

But if we would have given up on project youth we would not have those players and we would have to buy them. At very high and inflated prices. Just look at the few examples I have given. And then you have to keep in mind that the real big money spenders like Chelsea and Manchester City who can spend even more than the other clubs have not yet made their money moves. So prices could even go more up in the next weeks.

And then the question that we need to answer is: can Arsenal compete with those teams when it comes to spending money?  Could we spend  50 to 60M each transfer window? No we can’t. But because we abound in project youth, remember, we will not have to spend it.

Each of the last seasons we have seen a young Arsenal player making the step to the first team and be good enough to be a regular player. The season before the last we have seen Ramsey coming good. This season we have seen Wilshere. Next season I am sure another will step up. So this means that we will need some 15-20M each year spend on a Wilshere, Ramsey, Frimpong we will have to buy at another club. And with the danger that other clubs like City and Chelsea will buy them as they can offer more money than we have.

As a result we maybe would have to settle for players with lesser talent. Because we don’t have a rich owner who can spend money as if it is nothing.

So if we say Frimpong or Lansbury or Coquelin or JET will be the next Wilshere this season. And then we also have some other promising youngsters coming through the youth ranks like Jebb in the years to follow. Remember that name as he can become a really great player if all goes well. So for each of those names we will have to find another player that will cost of a lot of money.

Now you could say who cares? I want Arsenal to buy big names. Big and experienced players. Fine forget the young players that have been bought this summer by teams like Liverpool and Manchester United. Let us compete with the major stars in the game.  And I will not even talk about the really big stars out there like Ronaldo, Messi, Xavi or Iniesta. They are out of reach. Unless you have an Arab or Russian owner who is crazy enough to buy anything that moves on a football pitch. We can’t compete with them.

But we can see the prices those teams pay for other players and then we end up with prices in the bracket of something between £25-45M for a well established player. But as we had to spend already some £15M on a youngster (a cheaper one compared to the others  as we are Arsenal and we keep it cheap) we cannot afford such a player at all. Oh yes we could try to do it but will it help?

Look at Real Madrid. They bought the most expensive player with Ronaldo, brought in the best coach in the world with Mourinho and won 1 spanish cup in two years. Okay I admit one cup more than Arsenal did. We could have won one as we were in the final. We blew it ourselves but when you want to compare the number of finals we and Real Madrid have made in the last two years it is the same number:  one. And well, losing a final is well a painful part of the game.

But we simply can’t compete with the big money spenders. Chelsea spending £70M on one day in the transfer window is something we cannot do. Spending like City is something we cannot do.  We have to be realistic on this. We don’t have those resources at all.

So for all those shouting at Arsenal to stop the youth project it will be the fastest way to complete disaster in the future.  In fact without this project youth we would have no chance at all in the future to  compete  with the crazy money spenders. We can only hope that Arsenal keep this project going, develop it even more than now and try to create our own superstars. And by doing this we will have more Gooner-Gunners players. You now the ones with Gunner DNA in their body.

The purchase of Paris St Germain is going to affect the EPL big time.

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115 comments to Project youth, and why we have to keep it going

  • There have been so many young players that have come up through our system over the years. I know that the phrase “Ashley Cole” should not really be said here, but we built him up, and were able to sell Silvinho because he was there until the money got hold of him.

    And Clichy who has served us so well over the years, who came at what, 16?, as a total unknown.

    Even players who never really made it like Upson made their occasional contribution.

    Tony

  • bob

    Tony, Granted I’m out of my depth of analysis compared to yours, but I have to ask, as a layman: why are the only two choices Project Youth OR 50-60 million per season? I think there is a ground in between where we MIGHT be able to afford the well-selected experienced player that we actually need AS WELL AS developing our youth. Why either/or? If, by analysis, we identify the Need for (to use my examples, but anyone’s would do) (1) a clinical poacher and (2) a versatile offensive/defender, then why not splash on one of these and try to pluck the other from the youth ranks (from what we hopefully have waiting in the wings based on money already invested). In a situational analysis, season by season, which incorporates flexibility enough to have two tracks at work – big money for someone experienced that fills a real need AND promoting a promising youngster that has a reasonable gambler’s chance to fill a real need. Now, this would have to be grounded in knowledge of what our club has to spend. Do you know how much that would be? I don’t. Does anyone outside upper management and Arsene know this? If you do, what is that figure? I think we need to have facts and not fact-free analysis to make these judgments; and I think we need to have concrete, specific, situational awareness, season to season, that allocates what we really have money-wise to address the most pressing needs. So, at least to my lights, it’s not either Project Youth or Splash what we Can’t. I think that’s a false dichotomy. In any case, I’d be glad for further constructive discussion and debate.

  • bob

    p.s. It makes me nervous (red meat) to ask, and I’m not arguing for it, nor am I for it in principle, but I would at least to know your/anyone’s analysis of what a scenario would actually look like in which Usmanov and Kroenke BOTH agreed to increase AFC’s available budget for player purchases. (Maybe that can’t happen, maybe it shouldn’t.) Again, understanding the alternative – even a disgusting one, IF it is – offers a more informed choice of alternatives and a better analysis. I fully admit to being out of my league in providing any such analysis and don’t have one up my sleeve. So I’m only posing the question so that I could at least be informed on WHY that scenario, or some adaptation of it would or would not work for upgrading personnel. I’m fully happy to rubbish this thought-experiment and do recognize it is heretical; but I don’t ask to provoke ire – rather, I want to know the specifics of why it’s wrong-headed — and if so, to learn from your/others’ further analyses.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    It seems to me like there are certain people out there who are going to criticize Arsenal no matter what they do. These people are now banging on about Arsenal’s “trophy drought,” but if Arsenal had won the Carling Cup, I expect that they would be going on about Arsenal’s failure to win the FA Cup. And if Arsenal won the Carling Cup and the FA Cup, then it would be the failure to win the league. And if Arsenal won the league, then it would be the Champions’ League…and so on, and so forth.

    In my mind, Arsenal are already EPL champions because they play the best football in England. Who cares about the trophies? To win trophies, you need to play the best football, AND have everything else go right. This year for Arsenal, all of those other things that needed to go right went wrong. And that’s why they didn’t win anything.

    But that still doesn’t change the fact that Arsenal are playing the best football generally. And I think that’s the strongest argument that can be made in favor of Arsenal’s current youth policy. And the longer they keep going with it, the greater dividends it will begin to return.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    What exactly are you asking? Sorry, couldn’t quite follow you on that one. Is there any way you could condense it to one sentence? 🙂

  • Byo

    As always, Walter offers a great analysis. Bob brings up some good points worth exploring though, for Anne to dismiss him offhand is not desirable. Yes, we have a great youth development system, which we might need to complement with one or two signings(without paying over the odds), and also hope for fewer injuries.
    To call us the champions because we play attractive football is hyperbole. I will love to add some trophy to beautiful football occasionally.

  • bob

    My first posting argued that to frame the choices as either Project Youth or Spend What we Can’t Afford is a false dichotomy. My second posting expands on it. I hesitated to ask it in one sentence, hence my unclarity, because I’m not keen on a one sentence question that elicits a one sentence reply. I want to learn what it would look like if Usmanov and Kroenke together could provide a larger pool of money for player purchases. I also want to know specific reasons for: why this could or couldn’t happen; and why this should or shouldn’t happen. In the second posting I spelled out my nervousness in asking for this understanding on UA. But it is an honest question to learn why we don’t advocate for both money-bags to agree to increase the funds available for purchases. If that doesn’t make it any clearer, I can’t. And I don’t do single sentences very well, as I don’t think they’re usually clear enough. Then again, this time at least, the multi-sentences obscured my questions.

  • bob

    @Anne: the above (re. my second posting) was pour vous.
    @byo: I’m glad my first posting engaged you.

  • Siddhant

    @Anne

    Totally agree with you.

    I don’t support Arsenal just to see them lift some pots. I support them because they try to play the game as it should be played and they’re pretty damn good at it.
    And to be completely honest, the day we see a change in footballing philosophy at the club would be the day when I stop supporting the Arsenal. Even if that change results in silverware.

  • jayj

    we sold Gilberto a season or may be two too early.

  • Siddhant

    It seems Liam Brady agrees with me on atleast one point.

    Liam Brady: “I’d hate to be working as head of youth development at a team where the first team above you were playing long-ball football.”

    This just in, courtesy of the brilliant blog, ‘Gooner Talk’.

  • Dark Prince

    I think there has been many issues in our Project Youth-

    1. Lack of Guidance-

    I think the biggest void in our Project Youth is that most of our youngsters have not got proper guidance from experienced players who have led Arsenal. The most experienced player itself being Fabregas who himself is a part of the Project says it all. You can say our players developed as a child without parents.

    2. The flawed development of the players from a late youth stage.

    As i had said b4 in another article, its very important that our youth policy should start at a very young age. But when you start it late, for eg players like Fabregas, Denilson, Bendtner, Nasri, Clichy, etc the loyalty factor doesn’t remain, especially during bad times, like now. Thats one of the biggest difference between a Jack Wilshere and a Cesc Fabregas. Both have developed a lot from our Youth Policy but the difference between is the loyalty.

    3. Arsene Wenger

    Now Wenger himself is the only man who can see through this Project. Has anyone thought what would happen when Wenger retires?? Will the next manager himself want to use the youth players?? Lets be frank, not even Wenger used the youth players we had at Arsenal when he first came, instead relied on players he knew well from french leagues. So what happens when the new manager steps in?? Will Project Youth again die?? Wenger has already starting buying experienced players in this summer. So is he somewhat giving up on his project??

    4. Overload of talent.

    Now even if this could be a good thing in the short term, in the long run this will become a problem. We are already starting to face problems like players issuing threats bcoz of lack of playing time. Even Szczesny himself said of leavin if he wasn’t given chances. Eventually we’ll have to sacrifice on many of our players upon whom we took time and effort to develop. A waste of our efforts. I can already see players like Ramsey, Frimpong, Lansbury complainin due to lack of playing time.

  • bob

    @Dark Prince, Tony: Do you see a viable, compromise: a modified youth project: one that does not create too much talent, and hence too little first-team opportunity; whilst ploughing anything saved in the process of cutting back on the scale into a well-targeted purchase of a proven, if pricey top-flight player. I think there’s a third-way, a situational way (neither all-youth nor only splash) that tries to cull the best of Project You and does the more frequent Well-Targeted splash. This, as any of our options is based on first-rate scouting (which cannot be assumed but proven) and the budget/strategy to do the quality splash (an amount we cannot know as it is every side’s business secret).

  • Dark Prince

    bob- completely agree with you. There should be a balance in the team. Infact this balance has to be struck in the playin style as well, i.e our team should have mixture of physicality and technicality. And hence we should not only target and develop technical players but also solid physical players in our Youth system as well.

  • Redrum

    chesney?

  • Dark Prince

    Plus i wanted to talk about something thats really strange of our Youth Policy….
    I had look at our reserves and players out on loan and our 1st team….
    I couldn’t help but notice that we have a wide variety of players in terms of nationality. Infact, if i’m not wrong, we have one player from each of the top 10 ranking fifa nations. We also have the widest variety in nationalities. With the introduction of Alvarez, we’ll have an Argentinian as well, but i guess we already had Martinez from that country. But the point i’m tryin to make is whether players from different nationalities is of specific interest for Wenger. We recently signed a german youngster Siemann who would replace Lehman as our german player. Even a Carl Jenkinson is of different nationality. So does a player of a different nationality (i.e a nationality we dont have) would be more preferable to Wenger??

  • What was the use of moving to the new stadium if we are going to drop out of the top for, are we really serious, look united worn the league and imagine they have made three signings already, what about us players what to leave, others dont want to sign new contracts while others have been put on sale and yet no club is willing to even make an offer.

  • bob

    @Dark Prince: well, perhaps with such diversity we can get Unicef sponsorship as a make-weight if Cesc departs. All kidding aside, I love that diversity, and don’t/can’t know what you mean by strange? What are you implying that’s more than coincidence?

  • Dark Prince

    @bob- yes, i somehow feel that its not a coincidence. I too love this diversity. But is having a different nationality a criteria for Wenger to btw players?? If yes, then isn’t it a flawed view??

    Plus regarding the relation between nationality and loyalty, wouldn’t it be wiser to invest more in english youngsters?? bcoz they generally tend to be more loyal than foreign players.

  • critic

    @all

    With all due regards there can’t be any better, soothing, calming article than this on project youth. It also answers some of ur questions @DP.

    http://www.arsenalreport.com/2011/03/the-mighty-transition-why-arsenal-havent-won-anything-in-6-years/

    P.S – The major blog(if u call putting anything that comes across ur mind, a blog) that opposes project youth is bonkers. They keep writing whatever they want piling up misery on themselves and on their readers(they might have 3-4 supporters and they might keep commenting on under different aliases).

    Project youth is the way forward and whatever opportunities that wenger had, to add experience to the side, he lost it. Now we can only hope and pray that a hero will rise from inside.

  • bob

    DP,
    as you know, going forward, there have to be a greater proportion of homegrown english players than in previous seasons. so where’s the rub? as for loyalty, there’s been strong loyalties to Arsene himself, so again, I don’t see loyalty (as in homesickness) as much of an issue. and we’ve had a lot of english players, if you recall, in several matches at the latter part of last season. I don’t think you’re antennae are picking up anything substantial here. And these have been discussed a lot, on and off, so it seems a bit of red herring (or is it red and white herring). (With that I’m departing from this particular thread as I don’t think it should absorb serious energy hereabouts.)

  • bob

    @Critic: Arsene’s forever lost any opportunity for getting experience on the team? If you’re being serious (I may have missed any irony), does it not occur that there are no rules to deals – it’s whatever works – and that an attractive combination of cash and the younger player(s) is clearly a package that can purchase the experienced player who wants a move (for CL experience, or whatever), etc. etc. What

  • Wrenny

    I do hate that that term “Project Youth”, although not as much as “The Youth Experiment”. I never realised that coaching talented kids into top class footballers was some kind of zany, never before attempted ‘experiment’. I thought academies are how all the best players in the world come about, and formed the basis of success for several big clubs for decades. The Ajax of the 70s and the current Barca team two of the most successful. A top class academy system is a crucial building block for continued success at the highest level.

    But apparently not. Nowadays really good players must just sprout of out of the ground at random, and then the biggest clubs spend the GDP of a small nation on buying them. Is that how it works? It’s a very sad indictment of modern football that so many fans seem to believe that this ludicrous money circus is how football should operate. And a team that tries to invest in its youth is seen as strange and different.

  • bob

    @Wrenny: I know you’re right. Still I feel that we are in a two-front war and should compete on both fronts by fostering our academy and splashing judiciously. And to do this on a season by season, window by window basis, depending on the specific situation of where we are lacking, what injuries are at hand, our position in the table, and who is there – both within and outside – that could fill the identified need. It was obvious to many that another defender – even as insurance, and we did need that – should have been purchased last January. I don’t say this to pile on, just to illustrate. Anyway, this said, I agree to drop that term for my part – as it’s become a nasty media phrase vs Arsenal, and I think you’re right to call it out.

  • jayj

    Nothing wrong with our youth project just look @ liverpool,Chelsea and even Man u what wouldn’t they give to have the same foundation. Wenger for all his rights/wrongs our youth project is a success. Lets not forget @ that level they are and have been for while considered the best. The only flaw in Wenger’s plan are our senior players but even then its seems to be an issue with a players childhood dream which cannot be avoided. I would love to see a team built around Nasri.

  • Wrenny

    @bob
    Absolutely, I’m not against spending on players at all. It’s simply the way in which spending, and spending big, is seen by so many as the ‘true way’, the right way, while nurturing players is viewed almost as being an odd approach, that I really find disturbing. Downright offensive in fact. Without academies, without youth football, the whole game wouldn’t exist. They are the foundation of the sport. It’s not the spending that I don’t like, it’s the attitude towards it that I don’t like. And those terms, like “The Youth Experiment”, kind of sums up that attitude.

    But of course a club’s academy will never provide you with all the top quality players you need – 3 goalkeepers, 5 centre-backs, 4 full-backs, etc, etc… so then of course we must go out and recruit wisely to fill the squad as necessary. I am not against spending money on players at all, as long as it’s done intelligently and within our budget.

  • walter

    Bob,
    I did not intented to say that we only should base ourselves on project youth. We can of course add other players as we are currently have been doing in the last seasons. But if we can keep the project youth running at only one player coming to the first team every year I consider it a big success and also it will save us some 15-20M each year which we dont have to spend on players like Henderson, Jones, Young…

    So a combination of buying clever and bringin on good young players from the own ranks is the best way of trying to fight the big money spenders

  • bob

    @Wrenny: My problem lately is what it means to be within our budget when we don’t/can’t/won’t know what our budget actually is — except that it’s defined in the negative, as not a budget like the Bigs. So we rally around phrases like spending within our budget, or having a self-sustaining model, but no one has any data on what that is. The result is that we, as fans, have a constant go at one another in a fact-free zone of thought and debate. I think we should recognize this and stop debating when we don’t actually know what we’re debating about – except that we have “a smaller budget that the Spanish giants, ManU and Chelsea.”

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I wasn’t trying to dismiss your argument “out of hand” or anything (as one earlier commenter accused me of). I just didn’t quite follow exactly what you were saying 🙂

    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending money on players as well as having a youth policy. The key issue is figuring out which deficiencies the team actually has, and bringing in players to fill those deficiencies. If Arsenal doesn’t have a player coming up through its own youth system to fill that hole, then that would be the moment to spend money. That’s the way that Barca does it, just as an example. Is that a response to your question?

    I guess my main problem with these arguments about which “big name” players Arsenal should bring in, is that the arguments rarely seem to be accompanied by much analysis of exactly why Arsenal needs to bring in a new player to fill that position. In my personal opinion, the main thing that Arsenal needs is to give the players it already has more time to develop as a team.

    Because I don’t think there’s any position where Arsenal doesn’t have top-quality players. Where exactly do they need to bring in new people?

  • bob

    Walter, Yes, as a baseline (minimum)I would love to have one new young player added per year and earmarking 15-20M to ADD to other money for an experienced, top-flight purchase. That would be good, indeed. I’d love AFC to announce for this, or something like this in principle. I fear that a backlog of large contracts to keep people staying, some of which are already on the books for non-optimal players (Rosicky, alas), or that can accumulate, can easily block this model of bringing in one young gunner per year. Also, I’d like to see that 15-20M saving actually reflected in actual purchases where there is genuine need (not for its own sake, of course). I want that to happen, but until I see it I’m skeptical and will advocate that we act along the lines that you’ve put forward here. I think it’s a good one. I hope that Gazidis will as well.

  • Mohamed Zubairu

    The most successful team in Europe in term of trophies in the past five years is Barcelona. They have spent profusely in transfer fees and salaries to achieve that. In spite of their trophy successes however, they are having a torrid time financially. In may or June last year, they had no money to pay salaries to their players. At this point in time, they no longer do colour photocopies in their office because they cannot afford it. The reason they are offering pittance for Fabragas is because they do not have much more as they only have 45m Euros to spend this window. They are closing down their involvements in other sports for lack of funds. Their debt is nearly 500m pounds. This money they owe belongs to some banks or people. What if the time comes for them to pay up their debts?
    The truth is that the way money is being spent in football these days is not sustainable. Even if the financial fair play law does not come into effect, the law of cause and effect will, and the trend at Barcelona of closing down involvement in other sports will eventually include football.
    What is wrong in adopting a policy that will be sustainable? When the FFP rule comes into play next season, People will begin to see that project youth was a visionary project.
    As for the vilification of Wenger, I would like to say surprisingly that it serves him right. How dare him be such a visionary? Why should he see ahead of his time along with the Arsenal board that backs him? Visionaries are always persecuted if not crucified. Wenger will only be appreciated after he has quit the scene which I pray should not be in the near future. I would like him to retire at the age that Ferguson will retire.

  • bob

    Mohamed,yes, but please define sustainable. do you have the numbers to plug into it? no. none of us do. so it’s a good word, a great principle, but without an actual number we actually don’t know – you and I don’t know – what is actually sustainable or not for our club; and so, while you say you know what barca’s numbers are, we can’t really say what ours are. please help me out here.

  • Jas777

    I agree with Bob in that what you need is both a feeder system as well as obtaining a player to fill a need that in the short term the feeder system can’t fill.

    My question is the problem with the feeder system at the moment that it is producing too many of the same type of player?

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I think that’s actually a good point about not knowing exactly how much it is that Arsenal can afford to spend. We do know that Arsenal isn’t exactly hurting financially, but I suppose that what their maximum potential transfer budget could be is really an open question.

    However, before we start saying that Arsenal should spend some money, I think that it would be a good idea to narrow down exactly which type of player it is that Arsenal needs to spend money on.

  • Wrenny

    @bob
    Regarding Arsenal and ‘what is our numbers’, as a PLC the club’s accounts are free for anybody to look at them. Although they might be a bit difficult to decipher unless you’re an accountant or economist, and as I am neither I let the excellent SwissRamble blog (http://swissramble.blogspot.com/) translate those numbers so my little ol’ brain can digest them. 🙂

    I believe the writer himself is an Arsenal fan, which would explain why the majority of his financial pieces have been on the Gunners (Nine articles compared to most other clubs having just 1 or 2). Scroll down and on the left side you’ll find a column where you can click on Arsenal to go straight to just those specific pieces. If you’re interested in finding out more about the club finances (and I think you are bob) then it’s a MUST. I can’t recommend them enough, you’ll never find anything like it in mainstream media.

    Something I found interesting in his last Arsenal piece is that he estimated our ‘transfer kitty’ for this summer at around £50m, because his estimate for our transfer kitty a year ago was around £45m. Now, last summer our expenditure was about £7m ((Koscielny + Squillaci) – Eduardo), and if you were to subtract that from the alleged £45m we had it would leave us with £38m unspent. I’m just roughly spit-balling the numbers here, but if we say that those £38m ‘rolled over’ to this season and our war chest this year stands at £50m, it would indicate that the club has produced just £12m of what you might call disposable income to go in our transfer budget.

    So to me that makes the claim of a “£50m war chest” just a little disingenuous (although technically correct) because it’s not a sustainable figure. If the club were to spend that alleged figure this summer (as well as whatever we make from players sales), how much would we have available to spend in a year’s time? £12m? If revenues and costs were to stay the same next season then I guess a £12m transfer budget for 2011/12 would probably be about right. Which wouldn’t be good. So realistically, spending £50m this summer is not a legitimate option as it would leave the well dry. That £50m figure has grown slowly over years of careful, frugal spending, and the club has to be careful to not take away too much from it lest it get into difficulties later on. Example: a key player runs down his contract, or suffers a long term injury, and needs to be replaced with quality on short notice.

  • Wrenny

    *that should read “a £12m transfer budget for 2012/13”

    Having said all that, two important things did happen last year concerning Arsenal’s financial situation.
    1. All our property debt has been cleared, which leaves the remaining unsold Highbury flats as pure profit for the club. Although where that money will go isn’t known, and it seems like it will not be going into transfer funds as the club aims to be sustainable purely on its football business, without the help of one-offs like property.
    2. The club has transferred all its remaining stadium debt (basically its mortgage) from the more expensive bank debt into long term bonds, which ought to reduce the annual price of servicing the debt.

    So we should see the club having slightly more funds available this summer (more ‘activity’ has already been promised), and in the seasons to come. Once our current £5.5m shirt sponsorship deal is renegotiated in 2014 that’s an extra £15m or so we could add to our revenues. Throwing some rough numbers together again, the £12m a season we might already be producing for transfers, plus an extra £15m for the shirt sponsor, plus whatever the bonds will be saving us on interest each season, could Arsenal have a £30m war chest to spend, year after year, from 2014 on? If we improve our commercial income in other ways, perhaps even more?

  • Naren

    Bob,
    Why do you have to ask questions that can only have long answers? 🙂
    There was/is never an either/or ‘false’ dichotomy…the youth academy, however great, will never be able to produce a first-team eleven, let alone an entire squad.
    Good as the academy players are, not all reach the level Arsenal need their players to be at to be competing at the top end. The academy is there to first give the players good education so that they can make a good career for themselves in the Premier League or lower leagues. The exceptional academy graduates alone will play at Arsenal.
    So there will always be positions that need to be strengthened…which is when we enter the market. Ideally, we would never have to spend in the market because the proceeds from the sales of young players that do not make it here should compensate for any spending in the transfer market…but that is just that, ideal. In reality, a great amount of burden may be reduced and selling players might actually become a regular and significant revenue stream for the Club.
    I’m in a hurry, we’ll discuss about funding from owners later…have a good day.

  • XX

    Give me a break! The Arsenal Academy is not La Masia, Ajax or Marseille’s academy. Give me one good product of the Arsenal Academy apart from Wilshere?

  • XX

    Reading this blog, one can be forgiven for thinking they are reading a blog by an Arsenal board member. What is this obsession with financial numbers for. Barcelona may be in the red but they are champions of Europe and Spain and 90% of the world cup winning team was Barcelona players. Arsenal fans should focus on why the club has not won a trophy in six years and how that should be rectified now. Let the board worry about profits. As a fan all I want is trophies, I do not care about profits.

  • Dark Prince

    @bob- i think the nationality maybe or maybe not an issue….i jus found it a bit strange that Wenger is scouting for more and more players of different nationality. Though i dont think there’s anythin that can confirm that nationality is a selection criteria for him.

    But comin over to the loyalty issue, i feel its an important flaw in our youth system, especially with the foreign youngsters. If you look at most of the players whom we developed since a latter part of their youth period, they have mainly been disloyal or, should i say, have not shown absolute loyalty. Eg, Cesc, Nasri, Clichy, Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner, Adebayor, Ashley Cole etc…
    And the remaining players are, as of now, loyal mostly to Wenger. So what will happen when Wenger leaves?? Wouldn’t the rest to follow suit??

    As i’ve said b4, our Youth system should create more of Jack Wilsheres rather than Cesc Fabregas….

  • bob

    @Wrenny: Walter’s view above is that we could develop and bring in one young Gunner per year which, in turn, would make for a savings of 15-20M; and further, that this amount (if I interpret him correctly) could be leveraged into a high-quality purchase. Does this seem to you to be a realistic/ sustainable approach that could ADD to the 12M annual spendable figure that you cite above? Or would it actually be the (or a major) source of that 12M?

  • bob

    @XX: You may not have noticed that profitability and revenue are two pesky “obsessions” (your word) that might have some impact on who, if anyone we can bring in from the outside during a transfer window. Next time when you scream for trophies, you might notice that such economic factors might make that trophy more or less likely. I would say it’s very naughty of you to label attempts go beneath the financial covers as XXX “obsessions”. Are you really saying that true and proper fans are only those who do NOT try to learn/educate one another about such matters? Listen to yourself, mate.

  • John L

    Dark Prince, Ashley Cole is English, not foreign. Also, Cesc has been with us for years, and Wilshere has been first team for one. How do we know that Jack is more loyal than Cesc? Only time will tell…

    I think Wenger doesnt care what nationality a player is, hence the diversity. He sends scouts all over the world, becuase good players can be anywhere. When Arsenal uncover one he isnt thinking about nationality. Thats why hes willing to sign people like Wellington Silva, Vela, Botelho, Miyaichi etc and send them on loan to countries with different immigration laws than England.

  • bob

    @Dark Prince: Is it really “absolute loyalty” you want (demand?) from these foreigners? Foreign ingrates – isn’t this what you are implying? I’d say you’re on a slippery slope here, mate, as football is still a sport, not chattel slavery. Should we really go to a system of indentured servitude where each player in the academy must serve a minimum sentence before he gets his freedom to contract work where he pleases? Isn’t this the genie that you’re letting out of the bottle? And if that’s what you’re actually arguing, then just say so and all can have a principled discussion.

  • John L

    As we all know, Barcelona have poor finances, but they also had to endure 6 years with out a trophy. They won in 1999 and had to wait till 2005 for the next one.

    Building something quality takes time, and patience is a virtue!

  • IvoryGoonz

    @Walter: the issue is not to STOP completely project youth, as you said, it worked out nice for Wilshere. But how many Wilshere can you play at the same time in the first team? We should reduce the amount of youngsters we buy every year. With 15 players loaned out, how many of them will actually play for the first team? I believe we should at least reduce that amount to a one digit figure… And how much do they actually cost the club on the long term to eventually discharge most of them (see Nordtveit and Randall for example)? Would be nice to have an objective breakdown of how much all these trainees cost compared to what we actually gain from it. How much did we send on Randall and Nordtveit before deciding they were not good enough? How much for the Randall and Nordtveit of the Arsenal for one Wilshere? Surely we don’t need all of them, and that would save some money. Purpose of sending on loan is for the player to get proper first team experience. Why did we let Vela go to WB rather than Bolton? Agent you tell me? Well, somehow Arsenal had to agree t let him go there and refused to pay a bonus to get him at Bolton… Right now it only looks like we send players out on loan to actually increase their sale value, but nothing else….

  • Dark Prince

    John L- Ashley Cole isn’t a foreigner, but he was developed at Arsenal in the later part of his youth period.

    Plus, the issue with the diversity of nationalities is the issue i’m talkin about…you can check out my previous posts where i’ve asked whether Wenger will prefer a player of a different nationality (a nationality we dont have) instead of a player of the same quality from a nationality we already have.

  • Dark Prince

    @bob- not at all. I’m not demanding absolute loyalty from anyone. Loyalty isn’t something you can demand. It comes from within the player. I’m jus pointing out the fact where our youth policy is flawed. In the sense, we spend our time and energy on players and then when they have reached their peaks, they wish to leave the club. We shouldn’t walk in the same path of Valencia or other feeder clubs who too tak a lot of effort to develop a player and then lose them to some bigger team. Its a vicious circle. If we ourselves lose our best players during their peaks then we’re not goin forward.

    Thats one of the biggest flaws in our youth system. The players we develop themselves dont feel a sense of loyalty and desire to stay at our club which should come from within rather than demanding.

    Look at Barca for eg, when their best players are developed, then tend to stay with the club. Maybe its bcoz they have more locals in their youth system, which again substantiates my arguement of having more local english youngsters rather than foreigners.

  • bob

    @Naren: You suggest that loans and sales of (all but the very best) young gunners might be adopted as a regular revenue stream. I think this poses a dilemma. Surely, most youngsters who sign with us are lured by the chance (a) to be developed by Arsene, and (b) having a reasonable chance to join the senior team. However, if the majority are – by policy – are to be used for revenue, then real opportunities are few and, once understood, we won’t attract as many prospects as now. But if we must attract a goodly number of prospects to sustain revenue, then first team play is really just a necessary illusion to keep them signing on with us. Unless, that is, the prospect for Arsene’s tutelage keeps them coming in large enough numbers. Obviously I might be wrong, but to me this is not a sustainable ongoing or long-term policy.

  • bob

    p.s. I also think that IvoryGoonz raises a related and potentially disturbing point.

  • Naren

    Bob,
    I think I did not make myself clear. There will be no policy, as such, that young gunners are to be sold every year. Just that they will not be getting chances to play in the first-team due to superior talent being already present above them. Take Randall for example, Arsene gave him some chances…it just did not work out. Now he has been released. As he signs for Chesterfield, Arsenal will receive mother club money. This is where we mostly make a loss compared to the expenses incurred for developing the player. Now consider Bentley, Arsene liked the player but would not stand in his way where Bentley would get more opportunities. He was sold with us getting some compensation. Then when he joined Tottenham, we received around 5 mil GBP due to the sell-on clause. This is the profit I am talking about. If the player does not want to leave, even though he does not play at Arsenal, then no problem, we keep that player till the contract expires like we did with Deacon, Randall etc
    Opportunities are not few…there are not enough youngsters who are good enough. For example, Arsene let Upson go though he liked the player. But he sold Toure to make way for Djourou. Likewise, Arsene let Vieira go because for Fabregas to play.
    We are not selling players just to make money. It is a combination of various factors like limited/no playing opportunities due to superior talent, interest from other clubs, unwillingness on player’s part to wait and compete that we sell the player. It is just that the academy is producing too much top-level talent and since not all can make it here, they leave. In turn, we get compensated.
    For that to happen, we need to keep on producing talents in the academy and for that, need to keep on signing talents for the academy. It is only a problem if you have too less top-level youngsters, not too many.
    That is what I am saying regarding IvoryGoonz post, that you have 17 players on loan. Take Gavin Hoyte, can he replace Sagna? No. But he will not grow as a player until he get to play regularly. So he leaves and we get some money from the transfer fees. This should be happening year after year, so that will become a very unique source of revenue.

  • FunGunner

    @ Wrenny
    great points about the dangers of assuming you can work out our exact transfer budget from the accounts

    @ Anne
    Agree – it’s geting the right player, not whether we bought or developed him, that matters.

    @ Ivorygoonz
    On the contrary we should buy as many talented young players as we can afford. The more competition the better. They will all improe more and we will get more money for the ones we sell on.

    @ bob
    We already tread that middle path – we buy and develop prospects and we buy players coming into their peak and add one or two who very experienced. We also splash out occasionally – within our financial constraints.

  • Naren

    Bob,
    As for funding from owners, well it would come four-five seasons late, if it comes at all. All the hard work at the Academy is going to pay-off and now would be the last of times when we want to go out and splash the cash. Also with the Financial Fair Play regulations coming in, it would not do well to seek funding, though of course 45 millions euros can be provided by the owner over three years.
    Also we have quite a decent transfer budget, though the exact figure remains a mystery. Arsene has been quoted as saying that there is money for him to buy if he wants. We don’t need owners to fund relatively cheap deals around 15 millions GBP.
    Now we come to the vital point-whether Arsene wants it or not? It all basically comes down to that. But given that we have striven so long and so hard to be self-sustaining, it will not be wise to destroy all that. That self-sustainability might be down to the plan of Arsenal never being owned by an individual…an idea over which Dein lost his place on the board. So now that times have changed, it really depends on Arsene.

  • Andrew Chua

    While we debate on whether to continue with youth development, have a balanced approach or an extreme ‘buy-only’ system, we have not factor in the owner/board influence on this.

    For instance, Ancelotti would probably love to have youth development complementing the mega-buys. That said, is he allowed that luxury to experiment? or would he even want to risk that?
    Ancelotti knew what he was in for, a fuck-up and he is out. So did JM at Real. Realistically then, youth development has no meaning with some clubs.

    To be honest, Arsene is a freaking lucky dude.

  • bob

    Naren, you write that there is a “sell-on clause” and I can now appreciate what it might yield in an ongoing way. This of course is, as you say, provided that we actually produce “too much” talent. Perhaps this will work out – you say “now is that time” – but I have further questions on this. One is player refusals. If a player does not want to leave – because his dream was to come and be part of Arsenal – you say there’s “no problem” we just let the contract expire. To this I ask (because I don’t know), will that non-cooperating player count against the number of players that the rules will permit us to carry? or are there no rules in this case? My other related point (in my posting to you) is whether the awareness of this “sell-on clause” strategy will have a chilling effect that turns off players or their agents from coming to Arsenal at all – this being a place where most of the new signings are going to become part of that machinery. What allure, then, does Arsenal really have if the likelihood is that most will be grist for this mill? Or, are you saying that our academy training is so far ahead of others that it gives players – whether they make it at AFC or not – a real edge/advantage in their employment prospects that they would not otherwise have gotten outside of the Arsenal system? I think that’s what you’re saying – is it?

    Second, you write: “Also we have quite a decent transfer budget, though the exact figure remains a mystery. Arsene has been quoted as saying that there is money for him to buy if he wants.”
    Arsene or Gazidis can say there is money to buy if he wants, but, come on mate, without at least a ballpark figure (e.g., Rosell says we still have a mystery. Neither of us can know whether the money via this “sell on strategy” will actually be substantial or whether it will go into player development. To say the least, we cannot naively assume a 1:1 correlation between sell-on revenue (or any revenue) and significant investment into who’s put on the pitch. Yet this must occur for your model (again, as I read it) to bypass the need for the large outside purchase(s). I pray that the sell on revenue is substantial and that it is shows up – directly or indirectly – on the pitch; but there is no way to know either now or, alas, in the future, because we have no informed-consumer right to know this.

    Finally you write: “Now we come to the vital point-whether Arsene wants it or not? It all basically comes down to that.” On this, I would echo Andrew Chua’s reminder that there is an owner/board influence” and we do not/cannot know to what extent Arsene’s wants are constrained or not by this influence. We can assume the night away, but we are – however intoxicating that night – still assuming. Let’s hope, in this fact free zone, for a smile the morning after.

  • Wrenny

    @bob
    Regarding Walter’s comment, I don’t believe he was saying that the academy is saving us from spending £15-20m of real money each year, which we can then spend elsewhere. It’s just a theoretical worth of what the academy is capable of bringing to the club on a consistent basis.

    It’s not a case of, every time the academy provides an individual, the club can save the £15m it was going to spend on a player. The club wasn’t going to do that anyway, it didn’t have the money. At least that’s my interpretation of Walter’s view. He was just putting a round figure to the youth system’s annual contribution.

  • bob

    @Wrenny: so many thanks for the swissramble connection(s)! I really appreciate all that. As to my interpretation of Walter’s posting, I guess you’re right, and appreciate your analysis; though I’d wish Walter would state as much. Speaking of wishes, I’d wish to see a 1:1 relationship between what’s saved and what’s ploughed back onto the pitch. I know it’s a fantasy; but why is it a fantasy? And I see it as a pervasive fantasy, one that many fans are afflicted with, and are encouraged to believe, deep down. But it makes children of us all because the hard reality is most likely that most, if not all these savings go to places that we do not and cannot know, and in amounts that we do not and cannot know. That’s show biz, as they say in Hollywood and Bollywood. But, what gets my goat, as they say in the States, is that being powerless, we then take on the accountant’s mind set, and feel pleased by these unaccountable, uncountable, mysterious savings. Yes, there are savings, but many of us are not accountants. Some fans are lucky enough to be paying customers; others are down enough to be former paying customers. But let’s not go down as accountants who at least have unspecified “savings” to show for all our commitment.

  • Notoverthehill

    The Swiss Ramble Transfer Budget is flawed, false and fictional.

    He uses the November 2010 Half-Yearly Accounts as a base. The Cash at Bank and on hand was £110,357,000. Follow the money and we find that at the Bank and in hand was £63,422,000 and the Short Term Deposits was £46,935,000. Now why was there money on short term deposit, the Debt Service Reserve account must be (using 2007 to 2010 Accounts) at least £31 millions, the Interest payments to the Bond Holders must be at least £11 millions and the Newton Housing Association has £6.6 millions ring-fenced. We are left with £63,422,000 to cover the remaining six months. I would accept £42 millions for operating expenses and £10 millions due for transfer enhancement payments. For some reason only known to TSR he assumes that the property sales will be all Profit. Rubbish, fiddlesticks and balderdash! TSR expected £14 millions from the Highbury Square apartment sales!! In the November statement, 50 apartments sold for £22.5 millions with a Profit OF £3.3 millions. It is the completion costs, stupid!

    Do I need to go on?

  • Anne

    @XX:

    “As a fan all I want is trophies.”

    What about good football? Or would you prefer that Arsenal fire Arsene Wenger and bring in Mourinho?

  • Anne

    @John L:

    I think I might have responded to you before that we seem to be of one mind on certain issues. I completely agree that the question of Cesc’s “loyalty” to Arsenal has yet to be decided, and that all good things take time to develop. Cheers.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Good article but perhaps lost on a lot of people. I think you need to see how the rubbish that passes for youth football in this country affects the national team (45 years without a trophy) to understand why two of Arsenal’s problems can only be solved by a decent academy.
    Those problems being the unsuitablity of “non-British” players to the Epl, which is perpetuated by our appalling referees and the unsuitability of “British” players to variations on Total Football.
    By the way, you can consider tiki-taka to be a very timid variant especially compared to Wengerball, which is positively reckless by comparison, even more than the original Ajax style.

  • Anne

    @Dark Prince:

    “Look at Barca for eg, when their best players are developed, then tend to stay with the club.”

    Except for when they’re leaving for Arsenal, of course 🙂

  • Shard

    @Anne

    Check that post for the research stuff 🙂

  • Anne

    @Woolwich Peripatetic:

    Could you elaborate on what you mean by this? I think it’s an interesting point, but I’m not sure I’m following you completely:

    “By the way, you can consider tiki-taka to be a very timid variant especially compared to Wengerball, which is positively reckless by comparison, even more than the original Ajax style.”

  • Anne

    @Bob and Naren:

    I have to agree with Naren on the use of Arsenal youth players to create revenue for a club. I think it’s a fact of life in most youth systems that the vast majority of the players are never going to make the first team. People tend to view la Masia, for example, as some kind of stalwart bastion of loyalty towards Barca, but the reality bears much more resemblance to a revolving door.

    Players come in and then leave, oftentimes becauses the reality of the training demands is too much for them, but also because they feel that they’re not going to be able to make it. All of the players who come there know that it’s extremely unlikely that they will ever make the Barca first team, but they come because they’re competitive people and they’re willing to try to fight for their spot.

    They also know that if they perform well enough, even if they’re not able to make the Barca first team, being at La Masia will give them opportunities to be recruited for other teams. La Liga and the Spanish lower levels are absolutely littered with Barca youth players who were never able to make the first team, and that didn’t stop them from coming.

    And English clubs have also started to take interest more recently. Whenever a La Masia player turns 15 (the age when they can legally be signed to an English club), the English clubs (Arsenal included) are just lining up at all of their training sessions. That’s exactly how Cesc ended up at Arsenal. These players use La Masia as a springboard for other opportunities, even if they can’t make it into the Barca first team.

    So, anyway…Yeah, I guess I agree with Naren 🙂

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    Going over there right now 🙂

  • Naren

    Bob,
    The player will only count in the twenty-five players squad, if we register him with the Premier League. We can opt to not do so, given that the player is older than twenty one years. If I am not very wrong, Jonathan Woodgate was not included in the Tottenham’s registered squad in spite of having a contract. We can do that…but I doubt that will ever happen.
    The sell-on clause is not something Arsenal alone put in the contracts. Actually, the transfer of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has apparently hit the wall because of Southampton insisting on a 40% sell-on clause, which Arsenal consider too high.
    When youngsters join Arsenal, most of them have an equal chance of making the first-team. which is why they are signed in the fist place. That chance might be very less but it is equal nonetheless. But after that, not everyone develops the same way. Development depends on the attitude, motivation, work-ethic and most importantly fitness of the player. Injuries also prevent development. I have even read that some quarters thought Lansbury was a better player than Wilshere but his injuries have hindered his development. The competition is so much, being out for one year means somebody will have taken your place. If not, then you are an exceptional talent.
    Arsene is known for giving players a chance to play in the first-team if they are good enough. That is the allure for prospects. Since everyone has an equal chance, at least at the beginning, players are attracted in large numbers. Also, Arsenal Academy is the model for academies in England. So if you have been trained there, your chances of making a decent career for yourself is very high.
    The Academy in Arsene’s vision, should produce some players for the first-team and a substantial revenue dure to the other players. That vision is close to being realized. Having seventeen players on loan is testimony to that. It is only now that we have really started producing players good enough for the Premier League/Championship but not for Arsenal, on a consistent basis. So revenue as of now is negligible but I think it should be significant in some five years.
    Honestly, Andrew Chua’s reasoning is very flawed. Firstly, neither Ancelotti nor Jose Mourinho prefer young players. Both are renowned for playing senior players in their mid-thirties. Even last year, Ancelloti did not want the senior players to leave but the decision was taken by Abramovic, so Ancelloti had no choice but to promote and use youngsters. Also, the decision is Arsene’s to make at Arsenal. No one in the board will oppose Arsene, which is very unique except for Man U. On the footballing side of the Club, Arsene has absolute autonomy. No owner/board influence at Arsenal except for persuading Arsene in areas like shifting pre-season out of Austria to Asia.

  • Naren

    Anne,
    La Masia has become mythical. People say Ignasi Miquel is a product of La Masia. But they don’t know that Barca decided not to offer Miquel a contract because of not valuing him high enough. That is the reality for almost three-quarters of players who join La Masia. People think anyone who enters La Masia turns out to be a world-class superstar who plays for the first-team. What to don’t see is that this is a very rare phenomenon that eight of the first-team are from the youth academy and Barca is very fortunate to have such an unusual team.

  • Anne

    @Naren:

    I completely agree with you. The only reason that people now view La Masia as “mythical” is that Barcelona has been winning trophies in recent years. During Barca’s own trophy drought, people were much more inclined to describe La Masia in the same terms that they are now using to describe Arsenal’s youth program.

    Just in general, I think that it would be much more beneficial to football fans to strip away all these various “mythologies” entirely, and just focus on the reality. Because you know it’s all going to change in a few years when Arsenal is winning and Barca isn’t. Do we really need all this anxiety in the interim?

  • bob

    Naren, lots of super detail and thinking, so thanks! But on this one, how do/can you know this? “Also, the decision is Arsene’s to make at Arsenal. No one in the board will oppose Arsene, which is very unique except for Man U. On the footballing side of the Club, Arsene has absolute autonomy. No owner/board influence at Arsenal except for persuading Arsene in areas like shifting pre-season out of Austria to Asia.” Also, are you saying with knowledge and authority that Arsene sets the amount that he has to spend in any give transfer window? If so, how do/can you this. I mean a lot of the AA/A effectively make the knee-jerk assertion that Arsene has total power, including power to buy and sell at will, which assumes his power to determine the splashable available budget. Not at all to lump you with that crew, but how far do you assert his power over the budget? Please be clearer.

  • bob

    Naren, Anne:
    So, to sum up, you both are agreeing that: (1) because the vast majority of players don’t make the squad except for a very few, it’s actually the sell-on clause that – a few years from now – will become the real payoff for Arsenal’s Academy system, right?; (2) that (1) means that most players come to Arsenal and Barca’s academies less with realistic expectations of being able to join the squad, but more to earn a diploma from a first-rate training school to gain a competitive advantage over others in the competition for a future pro career; (3) that (1) and (2) create the trade-off that taken together make the Academy system work. And (3) that it is historically unprecedented for a squad to have as many (8) first-team players from its Academy as Barca now has. As football is the last and latest sports passion (after US baseball) in my lifetime thus far, many thanks to you for this understanding.

  • bob

    p.s. Sorry, above it should read: “and (4)that it is historically unprecedented….,” etc.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Anne,
    I think the success rate at Ajax is something less than 10%, in terms of boys reaching the stage of getting a pro-contract, let alone into the first team, I imagine La Masia is similar. Which brings me to my next point. Cruijf has mentioned several times that Barcelona do not deliberately interchange positions although the individual players can and do, the spinning triangles have been discarded. He also mentions that all passes are hit with the intent that if for some reason possession is lost, players are already in position to recover the ball. The Wilshere hollywood pass to Bendtner at the Camp Nou is anathema. Cesc also loves the risky passes, which is why Spain bring him on when the Xavi/Iniesta combo fails to fire.

  • Dark Prince

    @Anne- ‘except for when they are leaving for arsenal, ofcourse’

    You are highly mistaken. Tell me, which of barca’s ‘best developed’ players ever came to Arsenal??

    Players like Fabregas, Merida, Jon Toral Miquel dont come in the category of ‘developed’ players when they left Barca. Infact now we have developed Cesc and are goin to lose him to Barca.

  • Dark Prince

    @Anne- infact we’ve provided Barca with some of our developed players like Henry, Hleb, Overmars, etc and joining that list would be Cesc. We’re acting like a feeder club…

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Puyol is 33, Xavi is 31, Valdes is 29, Iniesta is 27, Pique and Messi are 24, Pedro and Busquets are 22/23. That’s SIX different years worth of academy products in their first team. See that number again, Six? It’s not even six continuous years. Over a ten year span, four whole years were a complete write off, no-one in that year group was good enough to force themselves into the starting lineup. A moron would argue in hindsight they were right to pursue their academy project, a more intelligent person would argue that the foresight to continue has paid off massively for them.

  • Andrew Chua

    “… Honestly, Andrew Chua’s reasoning is very flawed. Firstly, neither Ancelotti nor Jose Mourinho prefer young players. Both are renowned for playing senior players in their mid-thirties. Even last year, Ancelloti did not want the senior players to leave but the decision was taken by Abramovic, so Ancelloti had no choice but to promote and use youngsters…”

    @Naren

    Not sure u understood what I was trying to say. It is a perception that Ancellotti and JM are reknown for fielding senior players in preference for younger players. Both exhibit behaviors as a consequence of the club environment. Both are in clubs that viewed winning as a top priority, and money is often not an issue. As managers in such high-pressured clubs, their jobs are on the line. Would they think of youth development? I don’t think so. Their whole preoccupation is with winning. If fielding young players could win matches, they would do so. But would they want to take risks when the owners are not forgiving and instant results are the order of the day?

    On that note, would Arsene survive in Chelsea under Roman? Playing the devil’s advocate, Arsene must have thought long and hard when offers came from Real and sunder. As it is, Arsenal offers an ideal environment where he is relatively free from pressure to deliver. And that is a known fact which drew sarcastic comments from JM, SAF, Benitez, dirty Harry et al.

  • Dark Prince

    Woolwich- Barca have been winning titles with Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta n Valdes even b4 Messi or Pique or Busquests started playing in their starting 11, unlike Arsenal who yet have to win their first title in their Project Youth period. Plus, the likes of Xavi, Puyol, Valdes, etc, never thought of leaving the club even when they were not winning titles. Thats Something which our players need to learn.

  • Dark Prince

    @Andrew Chua- Have to agree with your last post. Wenger is not in too much pressure as compared to anyother manager.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Dark Prince
    Barcelona had their own multi-year trophy drought with the elder members of the current first eleven in the squad. Are you going to try to argue that somehow Barcelona won something between 99 and 04? They’ve only started winning things with Puyol, Xavi, Valdes etc RECENTLY.

    Am I only one that thinks the AAA are some sort of premature ejaculators support group? “I can’t wait, I have to have success n-n-n-nowww…”

  • Naren

    Bob,
    There are certain quotes from which you can imply Arsene has absolute autonomy and correcting myself, even more than Ferguson at Man Utd.
    “What is very important for me is that I decide who we buy. I am not against money but I should decide what happens on the technical front. I will go on my way if that [did not] happen[ed].
    When Kroenke started buying more shares, Arsene said,”As long as I am not told I have to change the way I see the vision for the club on the technical side, as long as nobody interferes with that, then I do not see what kind of impact it could have on me.”
    Then, as Kroenke had bought about 63% of the company, Arsene said,”I have of course to answer to Stan Kroenke and I am ready to do that for any questions, but I run the technical department.”
    When Gazidis was asked as to who Arsene is accountable to, he said,”Arsene is ultimately accountable to the fans, if you are seeing the relationship between the fans and manager break down over time that is unsustainable.”
    The first three quotes are quite straight forward but the last where we can see the validity of that assumption/fact. Arsene is not accountable to the Board; only when the fans are too furious with Arsene and take to protesting en masse will the Board consider Arsene’s position.
    As they are sourced from four different articles, there will be four links but posting them will hold this post back from being published. If you insist on the links, I can post them later.
    Then finally, there is this article. http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/85/england/2011/04/11/2436248/why-arsene-wengers-all-powerful-status-at-arsenal-may-come-to-an-
    Though towards the end, that article is total rubbish, there is further evidence in it. I would end this with a quote, “Arsene will decide when it is time for the Board to sack him.”

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @DP
    The second part of my post was an observation, not meant to imply anything! Sorry if it read that way.

    @Andrew Chua
    You assume the manager is only under pressure to produce results on the pitch. I would assume that at Arsenal the manager is under pressure to produce all sorts of results, not merely winning football matches. I would think that these include; making Arsenal a football club to rival the Spanish giants; making Arsenal a key component in the English national team; making Arsenal the team young players want to play for etc. I suspect that Abramovich has roughly the same aims with Chelsea and his impatience with managers has a lot to do with the contradictory aims of winning a competitive league and playing beautiful football.

  • Naren

    Bob,
    The sell-on clause is there, but we also make money from selling the player for the first time. For example, David Bentley signed for Blackburn Rovers in 2006. I do not know the transfer fee but I do know that he cannot have left for free. Then as he signed for Tottenham from Rovers, due to the sell-on clause, we got GBP 5 millions. So we got money for him two times. That might not happen every single time, but we will definitely get paid a handsome amount at least once. Do you know, Academy or not, transfer money is a very considerable revenue source for Arsenal anyway?
    Exactly. Arsenal Academy is something like Harvard, MIT or Oxbridge in the football world, with Newton and Einstein rolled into one signing and educating the students. If the world’s greatest manager thinks you are special, well then, you ARE special.
    Even in the worst case scenario of every youth player being released for not reaching the required level and the lack of suitors, when he joins another club, on a free transfer, we are still entitled to the mother-club money. So the Academy is also almost self-sustaining.
    Many have eight academy players in the squad but only Barca, at the very topmost level, have eight academy players in the first-choice starting eleven, all of whom are who are world-class superstars. It is not unprecedented, just too rare. Ajax will have definitely had teams like that. If anything, Ajax Academy is the truly mythical academy.
    You are most welcome, Bob.

  • Naren

    Anne,
    I have never been able to understand some things like people wanting bragging rights, feeling ethereal joy when Arsenal win silverware, taunting, tribalism etc. People are living very artificial lives wanting instant gratification. Winning at all cost mentality is really destroying the society, leave football. I really don’t understand the world anymore.
    If Arsenal win some silverware and the captain and the manager hold it aloft, yes that will be a most glorious moment. But that feeling will pass away after some time.
    On the other hand, when you see the team play Wengerball, captivating, mesmerizing and ruthless, that for me is the real source of joy, that art which I can enjoy again and again and yet again.If Wengerball brings silverware, fantastic. If not, I am happy anyways.

  • Naren

    Andrew Chua,
    I am very sure about your points. Before becoming immovable as he is today, Arsene too had the pressure to deliver from the Board. He still developed youth back then and gave them chances.
    As for the preoccupation with winning, do you know Arsene became physically ill if he lost matches years back? Anyone who thinks Arsene is okay with losing does not know him. But he does not want to win at all costs, unlike Mourinho. Arsene wants the manager who comes in after him to be in a comfortable position, very unlike managers of today who care only for what happens in their tenure..
    As for Arsene at Chelsea, that is totally hypothetical. What makes you think Arsene would not have revamped the poor Chelsea Academy just as he did with Arsenal’s? That he might be in position to sign better quality prospects, by offering better deals to clubs and players and hence better youth system than Arsenal can also be a scenario. Arsene was/is always for youth development. But the level of dependence on youth is due to lack of finances to act in the highly inflated market after moving to Emirates, which is why the youth development was given the importance that it is being given now.
    Yes, he is under less pressure because he has met all the targets the Board set for him…what more can one expect?

  • Shard

    @Naren

    I don’t think Gazidis’ statement that Arsene is responsible to fans should be seen a definitive position. That was most likely said in an attempt to appease some disgruntled fans and make them feel that they have some power over administrative decisions. It was met with derision and bewilderment and he did almost immediately try and back out of that statement.

    That is not to say I disagree that Wenger has overall control over the technical side, but I don’t think he’s not answerable to anyone. I’m sure I could find some quotes where Arsene has said he is just an employee (I have never heard any other manager say this), or that he could be replaced by someone else at any point. I don’t think it was your argument that he is not answerable actually, but just giving my thoughts on it.

  • Richard B

    Sorry to be late on this but may I point out yet again that ‘project youth’ has existed for as long as I’ve been an Arenal fan which is over 50 years. Look back at all the successful squads and you will find that a huge proportion of them are home grown with relatively cheap additions brought in via the transfer market.
    Big buys are few and far between and I would guess that we haven’t set any spending records (other than those related to the young age of the player e.g Upson, Pennant, Walcott)) for decades.
    Arsene Wenger has changed only one thing in this respect and that is where the kids come from. And he has done it brilliantly.
    Arguably it’s always trying to buy success (e.g. Spurs) that undermines your ability to attract youngsters with real potential.

  • Shard

    @Woolwich

    Good point about the Barca team being built for academy graduates over several years. Their trophy drought is of course well known (though ignored), and Anne has said here that Xavi was at one stage called the cancer of Barca. I think the constant coverage of football these days makes people lose perspective. Barca’s achievements are great but not unparalleled and don’t justify the best team ever tag (at least yet), and of course Arsenal isn’t in as bad a spot as is conventional wisdom.

  • Naren

    Shard,
    Yes, even I remember him saying that it would be better if everyone did only the job that they were paid for. Wouldn’t you you that that is due to his humility? Honestly, I cannot really see anyone at the Club questioning Arsene. To be fair, I don’t see why the Board should question a man who has met all the set targets.
    Arsenal is perhaps Arsene-al, not that I’m complaining. Now that Kroenke is the owner, this might change.

  • bob

    Naren,
    Nothing in these quotes proves that Arsene has the authority, let alone absolute authority to decide on the budget parameters. That’s what I’m talking about. Deciding Budget parameters in terms of what amount can be spent on players as a whole, or any part thereof, in every season. I do not believe he has absolute authority over deciding the size of the player budget. Perhaps how it is allocated. But your citations are Ok to the extent he may have control over the “technical side” – but that does not include the “business side” which, I believe, is where the budget parameters for player spending and player development (whether together or separate) are spent. How can Arsene alone have absolute authority on that? It impacts the return on investment which is too sensitive in any business to give to one person, any one person. So I feel you’ve overstated Arsene’s powers. But then again, neither of us really know, and public statements have their own complex moments and contexts, so it’s tough to know for sure.

  • Shard

    @Naren

    I’m entirely sure the board does ‘question’ Arsene. It’s that they would never do it in public. Equally, I’m sure Arsene questions the board. They do it to understand each others’ position, not to interfere. If the board felt Wenger wasn’t doing a proper job I’m sure he would be sacked.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t believe we are Arsene-al. I really don’t. Where we are now is not just down to Wenger. The strategy of stadium change, and using the youth to help us in this period isn’t just Arsene’s doing. It is everyone who has contributed to it. Those who did not believe in that vision have left the club, such as Dein. I don’t think that means that nobody questions Wenger.

  • Naren

    Bob,
    Fair enough. Your question has actually come as a shock to me given that half the people have been crying out for Arsenal to be a football manager first and not a finance executive. Doesn’t it surprise you that the technical side of the Club can be handed to one person, just one person. Then why not the financial side. Did you not read the article which I had linked? The writer is a journo, he should know. Well, if you want me to prove it, I cannot. But I have seen a lot of scenarios over the years to know that when it comes to anything related to the players, weekly wages, transfer cost, contract length, Arsene and Arsene alone decides it. He might be persuaded to change his opinions/valuations but it is him who evaluates nonetheless.
    When Arsenal bid for Xabi Alonso, Liverpool wanted 2 millions GBP more than Arsenal’s bid. Arsenal flatly refused and never came back. Same with Schwarzer. Mathieu Flamini wanted higher pay, so did Gallas. The difference in estimates would have been hardly twenty to thirty thousand pounds. In the football world, that is peanuts. Why do you think they left, though they were important players? Because Arsene does pay a penny more than what he thinks is the value. When a man gives you the best ROI ever again and again, it is hardly unwise to trust it to him.
    For Arsene, the technical side extends to finances when concerned to the players. It will be more apt to say the footballing side of the club. Very seriously, I don’t know if Arsene selects the hotels where the team stays, the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner on matchdays but I would not be surprised in the least if he did given that he has designed the home team changing room at the Emirates. I feel you underestimate Arsene too much.

  • Naren

    Shard,
    I was indeed referring to question in the sense of interference and undermining.
    I do get carried away sometimes when it comes to Arsene. Hope you won’t mind that too much.
    You have made a good point about sacking Arsene. Hmm, yes, were he not meeting the targets laid down, probably his position would have been considered.
    Yes, Arsene was not alone in this revolutionizing, but I believe he has had the most important and the most difficult part to play.

  • Dark Prince

    @Woolwich- just tell me, during that period from 99-04, did any of the players including Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, etc. ever expressed their desire to leave the club?? Thats d difference between their youth players and our youth players….

    Am I the only one that thinks the AKB are some sort of Erectile Dysfunction support group?? “I can wait forever. I dont n-n-n-n-need it to rise up the league table….”

    And my 2nd post was jus an observation, wasn’t implying anything, but hey, sorry if it read that way. 🙂

  • Shard

    @Naren

    I think it would have been impossible to implement that strategy if it weren’t for Wenger. To the point that I think that strategy only made sense because Wenger was there to implement it. I agree largely with what you’re saying. Even to the point that Arsene decides the contracts that players get, and transfer fees that should be paid. I just don’t think he has a veto on it. Only an input. Which is held in high regard by the board, and they generally back his judgment on football matters.

    I’m sorry if I misunderstood you. I know you are supportive of Wenger, as am I. It’s just that one of the criticisms thrown our way is that Wenger is an autocrat and answerable to no one. I just don’t think that is true.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Dark Prince,
    If that were the case we’d have hired Pele, he knows a thing or two about these things.
    I have no idea whether they wanted to leave or not, I doubt anyone in the press really cared enough to ask. The local press managed to force the formerly popular president to resign and get the manager sacked. The new president then brought in a shedload of players and won the league but put the club into it’s current financial crisis, which without their academy giving them eight ‘free’ players would have sunk them without a trace by now.

  • bob

    The best ever ROI again and again? I don’t know if that ROI is the same for fans as it is for say, Usmanov. I don’t mean to be cheeky, but I don’t know, for example that not spending on defense in January was a wise decision either for shareholder’s ROI or for some very loyal fans’ emotional capital investment. Basically, I’m really in his corner, he’s my choice for manager, and a massive plus for the league and the game. No doubt. This said, I don’t think that your assertion is more than a strong belief. He does deliver a safe ROI to management and financial stability. Is there a way forward however that is not so incremental? I know you’re delighted with Wengerball and, when played right, it’s tops. However, given the quality of refereeing and our injury history, I do not think we have spent enough – again January’s window comes to mind – to ensure the depth and quality of replacement that Wengerball – the beautiful football that I love him for championing – can survive the thugs, agro’s, blind/bent refs, etc., that demand more from a side like ours than would be the case on a level-pitch. Again, that’s why I think that advocacy of fair-play reforms would benefit Arsenal even more than football (and the EPL, considering all of its teams) and would less injuries and hence the need to spend on quality depth – which we have lacked, I’m sad to say. More money to spend means more depth; and Arsene may not have the budget – not because he doesn’t want it – to ensure the quality depth that is required for his vision to work as it should.

  • bob

    @Naren: sorry, my last posting was to you. Cheers.

  • Naren

    Shard,
    once Gazidis said that though everybody thought Arsene to be an arrogant autocrat refusing to heed to anyone at the Club, Arsene actually asked everybody for their inputs and kept questioning himself again and again.
    I meant to say the Board respects Arsene so much, they just let him do what he wants, given the incredible job he has done. I thought that since we all here love Arsene, my comments would not be taken in the light of portraying him as a dictator. But yes, I should have been more clear.
    Of course, no, Arsene would never do that sort of things. He is too much a gent for that.
    PS-Did you see the comment immediately above yours? Disrespectful and unwarranted. I have somehow found the strength to resist replying to such comments and I see you too have stopped it. Thank goodness or we would have certainly lost time and peace, as I remember we once did. 🙂

  • Naren

    Bob,
    I was talking about ROI from a financial perspective. Specifically, I meant the ROI on the playing squad. You sign a player for 10 million pounds and sell him for 15 million pounds…that ROI, Arsene has been producing again and again and yet again.
    “Is there a way forward however that is not so incremental?” Sorry, I couldn’t understand it.
    As for depth in squad, we do need that, but it has too many factors involved. The legendary ‘Invincibles’ actually had a very poor squad but one of the greatest first-team. So the players got very tired towards the end and could only win the Premier League though they were close in the other competitions too.

  • Dark Prince

    @Woolwich- you know its really illogical of talking about financial crisis….its the only irrelevant topic on which Untold can argue for. Did Barca bcom bankrupt?? Were they shut down??

    Guess what, according to the Financial Fair Play rules, they are well inside the limit. So what financial crisis you talking about??
    They are still spending a lot on players. So what financial crisis are you talking about??
    They are even earning a lot more than Arsenal. So what financial crisis are you talking about??

    You know what the funny part is, for so long, they did not even earn from their shirt sponsorship. And still they earn more than us.

    There is no financial crisis in Barca. Its jus a all talk. But in every way, they are performing better than Arsenal even in Financial terms.

    Infact the only team that seems to be in any financial difficulties is Arsenal, bcoz they cant afford giving Nasri a better wage, they cant afford paying a transfer fee to buy a marquee signing.

    And b4, you accuse Barca of not having funds to buy Cesc, let me remind you, they bought Ibramovic for a whole lot of money 2yrs ago, they bought Villa for a huge load of money last year, and this year they will buy Sanchez for a whole load of money. They wont pay for Cesc bcoz they know Cesc will not leave for any other club.

    So the only team that has to worry here regarding their finances is Arsenal, bcoz their revenues are dried up for another 3yrs but their wages are increasing, they cant afford to splash and they are not winning on the pitch which again effects their own future income.

    If you’re still ignorant, let me remind you that finishing 4th last season has already decreased Arsenal’s revenue in terms of broadcasting. Plus if in case, we dont qualify for Champions League, we’ll lose atleast another £25-30mil….

    So whose financial crisis are you talkin about?? Its jus false propaganda by Untold.

  • Shard

    @Naren

    I think we both agree on Wenger’s role at the club. I just felt you could have been clearer since it only gives some people ammunition against Arsenal (hehe).. Oh yes, very hard to not confront such things, but now I know exactly what will come of it so I too can resist the temptation 🙂

  • Shard

    @Naren

    Also, good point about squad depth. In fact people forget the problems during the Invincibles’ time. Some people were still not happy. I remember some article somewhere which pointed out a posting on the BBC forum in 2005 where the person was angry about only an FA Cup that year!! I hope that guy hasn’t had a heart attack by now. But seriously, there was the same talk about lack of defensive solidity (Even with Campbell there) the same talk about simply passing the ball moving around with a lack of finishing. Same talk about our captain and midfield general leaving. Right now we only remember the myth of the invincibles. Not the entire truth about it.

    While looking at one of Tony’s articles at the history site, I actually realised that we have come incredibly far in the past decade. There was a time when losing 4-1 at Spartak Moscow didn’t cause rebellions. When Panathanaikos seemed to be someone to be afraid of. When we lost ‘only’ 2-0 to Deportivo (who are now relegated), when the likes of Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid were great names who we would get starry eyed over. We weren’t really in the same league then. Even now I think they are bigger clubs. We need to win the Champions League to be considered right at the top. But how far we have come in such a short time.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @DP
    Sorry if my post was a little long, I’ll cut it down to the relevant bit for you:
    “The new president then brought in a shedload of players and won the league but put the club into it’s current financial crisis, which without their academy giving them eight ‘free’ players would have sunk them without a trace by now.”
    Did I say they had gone tits-up, no. Did they spend a shedload on Alves & Villa? Oh yes, more than we can afford. Could they have afforded to buy Xavi, Iniesta and Messi as well if they didn’t already have them? No way. Even Madrid couldn’t afford the going market rate for those three combined.

  • Dark Prince

    @Woolwich- Thats what i’m saying….they are way ahead in all departments….their transfer dealings, financial revenues and their Youth Policy also. They are at a different level.

  • Naren

    Shard,
    Exactly, only the myth remains. I see that Arsenal have had sudden dips in form, finished eighteen points behind Man Utd, conceding here, there and everywhere even with that supposedly impregnable back four. People don’t care to check the facts, just hear something here and read something there, perceive it to be something else and the conclude on total nonsense.
    When Arsene says that this squad is as good as the Invincibles squad, maybe he just stepped over the line but it is not too wide off the mark…just that these players don’t have that vast experience that that team filled with World Cup, Euro, Premier League winners had.
    We have indeed come a long way, it is still surprising how wide the gulf between us and the top European teams was.

  • Anne

    @Naren, Bob, Shard, Woolwich:

    I’m sorry that I missed out on the remainder of this conversation, because it is definitely one of the best that I can recall reading in the Untold comments sections. I mostly agree with the general premise of what all of you are saying, so well said 🙂

  • Anne

    @DP:

    “There is no financial crisis in Barca. Its jus a all talk. But in every way, they are performing better than Arsenal even in Financial terms.”

    “they are way ahead in all departments….their transfer dealings, financial revenues and their Youth Policy also. They are at a different level.”

    As a Barca fan, I have to take exception to your attempts to beat Arsenal over the head by overstating Barca’s recent success. I appreciate hearing genuine praise for Barca, but you’re just trying to talk them up as an indirect way to insult Arsenal.

    This is something that is already done enough through the press (calling Arsenal “Barcelona-lite,” etc.), but that Barca as a club does NOT actually do. However, the frequent and incessant nature of this conduct by certain Arsenal fans and through the media has given many Arsenal fans (and others as well) the impression that Barcelona ITSELF has taken an arrogant and insulting attitude where Arsenal is concerned. In your attempts to “praise” Barca, you are actually making them look bad.

    So, I have to take exception to your comments as insulting to both Arsenal AND Barcelona, and I don’t appreciate them. My statement on this subject is intended less as a response to you, and more for the benefit of any other Arsenal fans that happen to read this (although I’m so late on the thread that it’s possible that no one will ever read it 🙂 ).

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    DP……where did you get your so-called facts from? Arsenal were identified by EUFA and FIFA as the best role model to emulate for the new fairplay rules! They didn’t name Barca,Chelsea,Real or City because they operate on a different premise than AFC.
    The financial situation at Barca is not anywhere as rosy as you try and paint it. They defaulted on player salaries last June, have had to cut back bigtime on their transfer warchest,all the while earning more than AFC does. If that says they have a superior financial and management record than AFC, you must be smoking your breakfast! They didn’t have to do the following over the last 5 years:

    1)Build a new stadium,
    2)Work with a transfer budget 75% smaller than Barca’s,
    3)Absolutely have to depend on their youth development to make ends meet,(now they do)
    4)Deal with the worst injury record in all of European football,
    5)Manage successful investments in Highbury Square and elsewhere,
    6)Keep dark-minded Gloomer fans like you happy,
    7)Depend on self-financing rather than rich owners or Catalan Banks to bail them out,
    8)Respect deals for sponsorships and TV rights that limited their financial resources and income, neither being their fault.

    Despite all of this, they came 5th in the Deloitte financial rankings and have the potential to move up that ranking based on untapped but soon to happen new sponsorship and media deals, as well as their Asian tour financial fallout. If you want to really understand how WELL they have done among the top 10 World-class teams reviewed by Deloitte’s, take a look at the Swiss Ramble web blog where someone who actually does their research, analyzes how well Arsenal are doing.

  • Dark Prince

    @Anne- you took a lot of exceptions in your last post, but you failed to show how i was wrong in stating that Barca at the moment are ahead of Arsenal is every department….

    Are Barca earning more than Arsenal? Yes

    Can Barca afford more than Arsenal? Yes

    Is Barca’s youth academy better than Arsenal’s? Yes

    Does Barca play more ‘beautiful’ football than Arsenal? Yes

    Is Barca more successful than Arsenal? Yes

    If you want to argue upon the above points, then pls do….

  • Dark Prince

    @Domhueille-

    Did you actually read Swiss Rambler completly…. He also states that according to the same Financial Fair Play rules, ManU are recording profits!! And you ever wondered what would Arsenal’s profits look like if you remove the property revenues?? It would come down by atleast half of its current profits. Jus look at the recent interim financial reports of Arsenal and you’ll see there is net loss, bcoz the property revenues have come to a minimum. This only shows how our previous profits were jus bcoz of property revenues. Unless you want Arsenal to become an company dealing in real estate, this is very poor way of handling a football club.

    Also let me rebutt on your specific points….

    1) Build a new stadium
    Yes, We built a new stadium….the root cause of all our current problems. Also we earn more than Barca in terms of stadium revenue, yet still lack in total revenue. Plus check out you Swiss Rambler again, and he himself pointed out that we are over dependant on our stadium revenues. Which is not healthy according to him. If the stadium start becoming empty, Arsenal will be having major problems, unlike Barca.

    2) Work with a transfer budget 75% smaller than Barca’s.
    Couldn’t disagree on this. We’re well below Barca, bcoz of our poor financial conditions. This point only proves my arguement.

    3)Absolutely have to depend on their youth development to make ends meet,(now they do)
    Yes, bcoz of our poor financial conditions, we have to absolutely depend on our youth system, unless we buy someone after whom no other team is after. But Barca are not dependant on theirs bcoz of their superior financial prowess. They bought David Villa when they were short of a striker, they bought Ibramovic too, they also bought Henry and many other players. Now they are after Cesc n maybe Sanchez. And yes, they are willing to pay bcoz they have the money.

    4) Deal with the worst injuryrecord in all of European football
    First of all this has nothin to do with our financial prowess, but yet, we are lagging behind in this department as well. You have to admit, our medical team is probably the worst in European football. Nothing to be proud of.

    5)Manage successful investments in Highbury Square and elsewhere
    As i said b4, this is not what a football club is supposed to do. But you also fail to realise that our financial profits depend on such real estate business. Without them, we would have been in trouble. But is this how you wanna run a football club? On real estate business?? I say its mismanagement of a football club.

    6)Keep dark-minded Gloomer fans like you happy
    Whether Gloomers or non-gloomers, a majority of Arsenal fans are NOT HAPPY!! maybe you missed how our team and board was booed at during the last few games. Hope you’re not living under a rock.

    7) Depend on self-financing rather than rich owners or Catalan Banks to bail them out
    Again, you’re talkin of semantics, we had to depend on Emirates to pay upfront. We have to heavily depend on real estate business. We also have to depend on player sales, you can again check out Swiss Rambler on why our last interim results showed a loss, and check whether player sales were a factor to this….and if Catalan banks provide them with financial support, well, its their way of financing. we have our way, they have their way. Just bcoz their football club depends on banks rather than real estates, like its in our case, we cant say they are wrong.

    8) Respect deals for sponsorships and TV rights that limited their financial resources and income, neither being their fault.
    Sorry to say, but our limited income in sponsorships is bcoz of our own fault. Our board doesn’t want to renegotiate the deals bcoz, in their words, ‘its not the Arsenal way’. Whereas all other clubs like Chelsea, ManU, Liverpool negotiate their existing deals every couple of years. Thats again mismanagement on our part. Also jus check Swiss Rambler again, Barca dont even earn from shirt sponsorships. Infact they pay to UNICEF.

    And thats why Barca come in top 2 in that Deloitte’s list, and look at the difference between Barca and Arsenal’s revenue, their earn around 50% more than us. Thats a huge difference. And thats bcoz they were successful in most of their methods.

  • Anne

    @DP:

    I find it hard to even believe that I, the Barca fan, am arguing against you, the supposed Arsenal fan, with regard to the following:

    “you took a lot of exceptions in your last post, but you failed to show how i was wrong in stating that Barca at the moment are ahead of Arsenal is every department….

    Are Barca earning more than Arsenal? Yes

    Can Barca afford more than Arsenal? Yes

    Is Barca’s youth academy better than Arsenal’s? Yes

    Does Barca play more ‘beautiful’ football than Arsenal? Yes

    Is Barca more successful than Arsenal? Yes

    If you want to argue upon the above points, then pls do….”

    However, before I actually repond to your preceding points, can you clarify the following for me? ARE you in fact an Arsenal fan? And if you’re not, who are you a fan of? I think that if you make that information clear, people on here will find it much easier to respond to your comments…

  • Dark Prince

    @Anne- i’m an Arsenal fan. Hopefully now its easier for you to respond to the questions i had asked.

  • well-endowed gooner

    One problem is that we’ve a clutch of young players, all of whom might make it, but only one of whom is a dead-eyed certainty (Wilshire). So we’re hanging on to these 18-22 year olds, loaning them out to other clubs, playing them in the reserves, spending a big part of our wage on them, in order to find out if any of them will improve enough to become first-teamers.

    It’s not a log-jam of talent in the obvious sense, because most of the young players aren’t good enough to play for the Arsenal at the moment, but we’ve got too many of them to blood all of them throughout the season. And sending them off on loan can be hit-and-miss.

    The problem is that we’ve got what, 15 players out of loan? That eats up at the wage bill. So does the equitable wage structure we’ve got, which means we’ve over-paid a lot of our poorer first team squad players. Which means we can’t afford to pay Nasri and Clichy the insane wages they demand. And which means we can’t afford to attract established stars?

  • well-endowed gooner

    And walter, it’s not either/or. That’s ridiculous. It’s like trying to argue that we shouldn’t pay transfer fees for any contracted player, because it’ll kill our youth.