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The Arsenal Supporters Trust isn’t happy

By Phil Gregory

The Arsenal Supporters Trust isn’t happy.

A few weeks back they had a Q&A session with Ivan Gazidis that was feisty to say the least. Despite some of the usual football fan penis measuring “I’ve been a season ticket holder for TWENTY FIVE YEARS …” (therefore my view is more valid than yours, more so for the fact it is said very loudly, of course) there were some valid concerns raised amidst the noise. My favourite complaint was the usual harping on about how we need a defensive coach as Wenger can’t do it (Dear Sirs, please see: Invincibles, See: set piece stats overinflated by penalties etc. Do some research next time).

Anyway, I don’t particularly want to digress onto all that. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not intending to slate the AST here: I’ve had some excellent email exchanges with Tim Payton, their communications guy. I don’t necessarily agree with all they say or indeed most of what was said at the neck end of last season (guys, the clue is in the S of AST:  get behind the lads until the season end) but I do believe they play a good role in representing the views of some football fans. Much credit to Arsenal for being so open with them. Meetings with the Chief Executive and various examples of access to the club show that Arsenal FC does a better job of connecting with its supporters than most.

Anyway, the main reason I’m writing today is that on Wednesday Tim Payton wrote an article for the Independent which you can find here if you haven’t seen it.  It was a good read and I’d like to look at a few points in there, some of which I agree with, others that I don’t.

The first, well made point is about the lack of commercial revenue generated by the club. The long and short of it is that we got ourselves tied into front-loaded commercial deals (i.e. lump sums up front, so lower overall value deals) in order to minimise the debt and the resulting costs from it for the Emirates stadium. The commercial gap in regards to Manchester United (a good proxy club seeing as they are self-sustaining and are the target to overhaul in the Premier League) is large and needs to be addressed.  Whether we can buy ourselves out of those deals as they wind down is open to debate, however. There may be penalty charges, or it may just be a question of securing enough additional money from a new sponsor to ensure there is profit after the early termination of the current deals. Additionally, an Asian tour is a good idea from a commercial point of view, but I was surprised at football fans effectively asking the club to commercialise even when at one point the manager believed it was at the detriment of team preparation. One to think about, there.

The second major point in the article was that of a share issue as part of a sustainable attempt to seek extra financing. The key phrase there is sustainable financing. Manchester City and Chelsea may be flying high at the moment, but what happens when their owners lose interest? I’m sure Portsmouth fans would swap their FA Cup win for Premier League football and a secure future right now.

So what is a share issue? While there are various complexities involved, the idea is that Arsenal FC issue more shares in the club, and current shareholders can buy them. Each shareholder may now for example own double the number of shares, but as everyone has doubled their shareholding, the proportion of each person’s ownership is unchanged. The club ends up with additional funding provided by the shareholders and the ownership structure changes.

While there is an argument our shareholders don’t finance the club and should dig deep, indirectly they do that by not taking their rightful dividends out of the club each season, something which gets forgotten when they are wrongly accused of money grabbing. Moreover, could small shareholders and the Arsenal Fanshare afford to get involved or would they see their influence further diluted?

The other question out of all this is would it be sustainable? There’s no point doing a share issue and getting £100m into the club, blowing it on transfers and then seeing the club in the red in no time. In the Independent, Tim makes the point that if the cash was used to pay down the debts it would be sustainable, as we could spend the money saved on interest.

According to the most recent figures I have, we’ve got £135m of bond debt costing us 5.3%  and about £25m of debentures (basically bonds) that cost us negligible interest. Normally, a bond is repaid in full once it becomes due (unless you lent it to Greece) however there may be caveats that if we wish to pay it off earlier, we’ll have to pay extra money in addition to the face value of the bonds. I’m not sure of the situation in regards to our bonds specifically (if you do know please leave a comment) but the above situation applies to Manchester United’s bonds.

Would investors want their money back? Most are Arsenal fans, so if the move was dressed as helping the club, they might be happy to. Moreover, from a purely financial viewpoint, with the inflation rate so high at the moment (and unlikely to drop down in the medium term in my view) investors may be keen to get their cash back and seek a higher return (they’re making roughly 0.8% return once you take inflation into account). Whether they’ll be able to do that with interest rates as low as they are is another matter entirely.

So we may or may not be able to repay the bonds early, investors may or may not want the cash but it would save us around £20m, give or take. Sounds like a few too many ifs and maybes to be plausible just yet in my book, so don’t hold your breath.

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On the history site: all the Arsenal players who are now coaches or managers

58 comments to The Arsenal Supporters Trust isn’t happy

  • chris

    Phil Gregory,

    Your contempt for the ‘ Wenger can’t do defensive coaching ‘ is misplaced as well as irritating. If you are going to contribute such articles I suggest you first get your own facts straight.

    > His first great team inherited the old back 4 / 5. It had been drilled for years into one of the best defensive units football has ever seen. Onto that he grafted overseas talent. Wenger (wisely) left the defence as it was. Even then there had to be an emergency team meeting at which it was explained by the old guard that even they could not succeed without others in front of them started defending too !!

    > His ‘ Invincibles ‘ still retained the remnants of the old back 4 (including Keown) plus Sol Campbell – who did not have to be taught how to defend. It also had a proper, experienced goalkeeper.

    > His latest team of youngsters has needed better defenders than he has acquired PLUS defensive coaching. For the past 3 or 4 years we have never got even close to a tight defence.
    But … ” I will never abandon my attacking principles !!”

    What Arsenal needs – apart from re building half the bloody team – is exactly what Wenger does not want … a strong defensive number two coach – who also knows tactics. Wenger prefers Yes Men (eg. Pat Rice, bless him).

    Plus Wenger doesn’t do tactics. By his own admission he (arrogantly) … ” let’s other teams worry about us, that is the way we play.” For years his substitutions … according to the state of the match … have been a joke.

    Do you think Tony Adams knows a bit about defending ? He said only recently ” Yes – he would love to come back to the Arsenal … but it would never work because Arsene would not let me make the necessary changes.” Martin Keown also tried to contribute towards coaching the defence not long ago but swiftly departed.

  • Andy Kelly

    Brian Rough’s comments should be tattooed onto the inside of the eyelids of every Arsenal fan who moans about us not spending £40m every year on new players:

    “The most depressing thing about this whole situation is:

    1. The ignorance of the average fan as to fact that there is obscene player wage inflation driven by the likes of Chelsea and Man City who are working on nonsensical business models. This and the Monopoly that is Man United have evolved to create grave instability in teams like Arsenal.

    2. The fact that the media is gleefully looking at Arsenal struggle and adding to the fans delusions by saying why does Arsenal not spend the money that they do not have…after all Chelsea does….and of course Fergie gave into Rooney….willfully ignoring the fact that the incomes are significantly different.

    3. The only team to have beaten the monopoly team Man United has been Chelsea and they are spending £65M per year more on wages than Arsenal. and £35M per year more than Man United. This has set the bar of what it takes to win the current Premier League if you are not Man United. Over 3 years this requires £200M extra funding for Arsenal.

    4. It takes two quality experienced Premier League teams of the right age to win the league…Chelsea failed last year because they trimmed the squad the summer before and paid the price when injuries to team hit. This undermines every pundit who states that Arsenal only require one or two players to win the league (the most common delusion)

    5. Wenger is punching his weight or above . Until Arsenal increases income to match that of Man United they will not be able to spend sufficiently to predictably compete and win

    6. The journalists should bemoaning the fact that the Premier League has minimal competition at the top with Man United 7/4 to win next year (not even a 2 horse race) and should be bemoaning the fact that the stupid wage inflation and nonsensical business models combined with the monopoly that is Man United are causing grave instability in teams such as Arsenal and as such they will find it harder and harder to compete. “

  • Dan AKA The Truth

    The ‘usual football fan penis measuring “I’ve been a season ticket holder for TWENTY FIVE YEARS …”’… lol!!! Great line.

  • Sharpshooter

    @chris It’s funny when everybody seems to know exactly what needs to be done to our team. Yes, AW inherited a very good back four and, yes, Sol Campbell knew how to defend. But the thing that a clueless manager can destroy in the most easiest way is the defence. Just look at Inter Milan under Leonardo lat season. He also inherited an excellent defence (made by Mourinho), but made them look like a bunch of clowns. I think that is a clueless manager.
    About Tony Adams, although he was an incredible defender and a great captain, I have some doubts about his coaching/managerial abilities. He’s been Portsmouth boss for a while…and he didn’t create a bullet proof defence, did he? Where does he work now? In some ex-Soviet state, so it seems that most English clubs don’t see him as a great coaching addition.
    About tactics and subs, remember Barcelona home and away, Man Utd and Chelsea at home last season. AW seems to know some tactics after all, does he? Arshavin looked like a good sub with Barca in my opinion…
    In the end, I don’t know exactly what you want except slating AW.

  • Arvind

    I’m just asking.. so effectively we have 135 million + 25 million = 160 million pounds of debt. Does it not make sense (just financially) to pay off everything and then invest in ‘big’ players if needed? If you had bought a house and had taken a huge loan on it, surely you’d want to pay off most of it before buying a ‘bigger’ house just because you wanted it?

    The other question I have is – How do we plan to pay this 160 million off? I guess a large chunk was paid last year through the property sales. How else would you pay off debt? I can think of:

    — Advertising deals
    — Trips to these upcoming markets
    — Merchandise
    — Player sale profits
    — TV revenue
    — Trophies [Winning gives you more I guess]

    And hence I have a few questions:

    1) Do we know how much AFC spent [towards debt repayment] in each of these categories?
    2) What is the minimum they would have to pay off to ensure they remained solvent in the long term?
    3) When do they expect to repay the debt in total if at all? As in – are they ok to continue to pay a little every year for 20 years hence?
    4) Once the debt is reasonably wiped out…can we spend more on players? Whether we do or not is beside the matter…but can we..financially?

    It’ll be great if someone can answer some of these. That will tell us how much AFC can truly spend….instead of continuously moaning about the ‘Toure n Adebayor’ money which wasn’t spent ‘wisely’.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Given how long the season ticket waiting list is, can a whole bunch of these season ticket holding “supporters” just do one to Spurs so I can get one?

  • Stroller

    The AST represents a minority of supporters who have chosen to buy into the share scheme. All well and good for them, but the problem is when they are presented as representing the fan base as a whole.

    Oh in the Highbury days I recall sometimes sitting in the East Lower which was populated mostly by grumpy old guys who had been coming to games since the end of WW2 and who would moan and abuse players, managers, directors regardless of how the side was doing. It’s not a new thing.

  • Dark Prince

    Phil- i think you’re going in the wrong direction with this. The Arsenal Supporters Trust is the true representation of Arsenal even though they are a minority shareholder. If what they say wasn’t right then Ivan Gazidis would have never even thought to entertain them.

    But to this site in general, i dont think its a good idea going against any major section of Arsenal supporters, let alone the Arsenal Supporters Trust.

  • Andy Kelly

    @chris
    “His first great team inherited the old back 4 / 5. It had been drilled for years into one of the best defensive units football has ever seen.”

    Graham’s defence, on average, conceded 1 goal fewer per season than Wenger’s defences. This is true for Wenger’s defences up to 2003 and after 2003.

    Selective memory is great. Here’s one for you. How well did that defence do on the first day of 1992-93 and 1993-94? Leaky.

  • Waleed

    @Chris,
    The coaching argument doesn’t work for me because you are making a huge assumption. You are assuming, without any real knowledge, that the reason the defensive form in recent years has dipped is because of a lack of defence coaching, and not anything else. Like just having worse players, more inexperience, a stronger league, and you can go on with a whole list of factors.

    First, you have to look at things in perspective. Yes, we have conceded more than Chelsea, United over the past few years, but we have always been near the top in the goals conceded chart. So it is not as if we are the worst defensive team in the league. That would not be possible without good defensive coaching.

    So we are not the best, but we are not bad either. And the same goes for the team as a whole, including the attack.

    Second, you have to consider the fact that this team is weaker than the invincibles. They are better in Europe but haven’t been the same force in the league. As you said, our back 4 back then was really strong. But since 2005 we have had to rely on defenders that haven’t been up to scratch (Silvestre for example). And that has to do with our finances and lack of funds for top class players.

    Third, great defenders have to be coached. Just because Wenger inherited the back 4 doesn’t mean they would just go about their day without any input from Wenger. Wenger inherited the back four but re-invented them. The team played much differently than under Graham so obviously coaching is how they learned to play the Wenger way.

    Now about tactics. It is hilarious when people like you who know nothing about tactics come on here and accuse Wenger of being inept in that regard.
    Tactics is not about looking at the opposition, it is about getting the best out of your team.
    Wenger is one of the best at that. Setting up his teams so that they play to their strengths and get the best out of individual players.
    And not only has he created successful teams, but he has done it playing attacking football. Which isn’t easy at all, especially in today’s game.

    Just because he is unwilling to sacrifice his attacking principles doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about tactics. Tactics does not mean play defensively. Where did you get this idea?

    If you’re saying we beat Barcelona, United, Chelsea, and Man City last season without any tactical nous, you’re mistaken. Again, tactics doesn’t mean playing defensively.

    His substitutions have usually been good. Sometimes we have lacked the right player to make a difference but Wenger knows how to change a game with subs.
    Take the game against Everton (at home). We were down 1-0 in the second half. Cesc was marked tightly and we were struggling to create.
    Wenger brings on Arshavin and Bendtner, switches to 4-4-2 which allows Cesc to play deeper and find space.
    From there he dinks a ball over the top for Arshavin to score the first. The comeback is on.

    Against Barcelona, again 1-0 down, he used Arshavin and Bendtner well, Bendtner involed in both goals and Arshavin scoring the second.
    He noticed that Barca were taking off Villa for a midfielder, so he decided to go more attacking, and from there we had the upper hand.

    I would say we defended really well in those games too. Which wouldn’t be possible without good coaching.

    I would suggest you pay attention to games more and speak less.

  • Stevie E

    @Waleed
    So good you had to say it twice 😉
    You’re spot on of course, sadly all Chris is doing is regurgitating what he has read in the press. I hope your words of wisdom have gone some way to undoing the brainwashing which has been going on for such a long time.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    This might be hard for some people to accept but the only fans who matter are the one’s who actually support the club. That means you buy the shirts through official channels, attend games when possible and generally make a financial contribution to the health and wellbeing of the club.
    People who support the club solely by moaning on internet forums are an irrelevance. I wonder how much the constant attacks on the club in the media actually affect the club, in real terms?

  • menace

    Here we are talking and discussing the merits of defense and attacking options AND ALL THE WHILE OUR TEAM HAS BEEN SUBVERTED BY NEWS INTERNATIONAL !!!!

    There were a few clubs in which News International (NI) had a financial interest. They probably still do but blind to the FA. (sadly the FA are blind to most things)

    Our business and that of other clubs has not been private. There have been instances when hacking of telephone conversations have given NI supported clubs advantage. The Forlan hijack comes to mind. How many more will eventually come out providing we don’t let go of this ‘rag from our teeth’.

    When corruption has reached this scale, the mind boggles as to what the solution will be.

  • bob

    Andy Kelly,
    Just for information sake, what does he (Brian Rough) specifically mean by the Monopoly club? I do understand that ManUre has been winning the league in the last several years, but does he mean more than that. Does he mean “Monopoly” literally or metaphorically or some mix of both. Please spell more of that out if you can/would. Cheers.

  • bob

    Dark Prince,
    Pray, WHY don’t you think UA should not criticize ANY section of Arsenal supporters “at this time.” Now I can think of several reasons for agreeing to that, but I have no idea what YOU mean when you say that with no further specifics, argument or analysis. That’s what makes your self-celebrating Devil’s Advocacy well, dare I say it, not the good lord’s work.

  • bob

    Menace,
    Kudos for the direction you take here!, at this time. Also, for information sake, would/can you specify which teams NI has or has had a financial interest in, as you indicate above. That kind of information helps people think more clearly. Without the specifics, it does not help. Cheers.

  • menace

    @bob The clubs that were publicly known about were ManU, Leeds, Chelsea, and possibly Man City and Newcastle. The holdings were 9% at the time but most have since been bought out.

    My question is what (intercepted) dealings occured prior to buy out that might have impacted Arsenals chances?

    There is a lot to come out in the wash -some might never emerge, but it makes one wonder.

    How many officials had their phones tapped? How were they influenced? Are they still being influenced?

  • bob

    Menace,
    Really interesting.
    To follow on, two items:

    (1) Roughly in what years (more or less) was there the 9% (or other %) holding that you mention in that Interesting list of teams?

    (2)Also, it will be interesting to see, as it comes to light, which of the 4,000-plus people (celebrities, public figures, etc.) who were hacked by NOTW had anything to do with Football.

  • FunGunner

    @ Dark Prince
    Unbelievable. You advocate booing players but say supporters shouldn’t be criticised? Of course we can criticise the AST. They represent nobody but themselves and I have no time for them at all after the stunt they pulled undermining the team and the manager this season. They have way too high an opinion of their own importance. As Phil says, they should remember that they are supposed to be supporters.

    Well said, Andy Kelly and Stevie E.

  • bob

    Woolwich Peripatetic,
    So “thoughtful” and savvy of you to introduce an ability-to-pay criteria for being an Arsenal fan that really matters. Especially at this time when there is such growing division in the fan base. Tell that to the people who used to be able to afford access, but who no longer can, and STILL passionately love, live and die with the Arsenal’s fortunes.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Still wondering how clubs will go through financial fair play rules? Rich daddies know how to do it; Etihad just did and it makes me wonder how Arsenal would ever catch up:

    Manchester City have announced the richest stadium naming rights deal in football history, after signing an agreement with current shirt sponsor Etihad to rename the City of Manchester Stadium the Etihad Airways stadium from next season.
    The Abu Dhabi-based airline already pay £2.3 (€2.6) million-a-year through the shirt sponsorship deal, and are now set to pay over £10m-a-season (€11.3m) through the current deal

  • Adam

    The proof the pudding…as they say. I read the comments here and on other sites and feel we are stuck in an endless loop of will he, won’t he? Or does he understand defending or doesn’t he? What I do know is that people draw on the statistics that suit their particular bias. But, back to my opening phrase. The season will be on us soon enough. At this range a lot or a little might change by then but after only a few games we will be left in no doubt if he does or doesn’t get it. If things go well then it is down to showing a hundred per cent improvement over last season where consistency is concerned. I things go bad and there is the unmistakable whiff of the same old stuff then it is going to be a very rough ride indeed. This close season has called for Wenger to think and make harsh judgements it has also given him the opportunity to change things to make the club a lot, lot more successful than it has been of late. He gets six million pounds a year to do that if the rumors are true. According to other rumors he has ample funds to address the team. But he might not think much need to be done. Only today he mentioned one or two players could arrive. Personally I think this would be madness, but I, like you, will have to wait and see if he is still as good as he and many of you, think he is. We won’t have to wait long to find out.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @adam,
    He also said all the top clubs are basically focussed on the same players, and to improve on what we have we are going to have to compete with the truly big boys with our resources such as they are.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Phil Gregory,
    I have little love for the AST from what i have seen of them, they are a bunch of whingers who are abusing a fantastic opportunity to voice our concerns with the club.
    Tim payton writing that piece for the guardian and having a go at Nasri is just what it takes to get your chance in today’s media (ian wright,Paul merson etc. could only get their stories printed if they were bashing arsenal, no intelligent commentator would waste their time). he couldn’t have been more on song as an arsenal basher. I seem to recall the AST favouring kroenke over usmanov specifically because he was going to uphold the traditions of the club, i could be wrong but i remember a few jingoistic noise coming out of that meeting)
    oh and another thing, i don’t know whether the recent meeting was broadcast in its entirety on arsenal.com but i remember the loathsome toad who writes one of the most strident AAA sites being given the platform to try and squeeze gazidis into defining a criterion that would get wenger the sack.
    I don’t remember a single question asked that gazidis hadn’t anticipated in his opening statement, why didn’t anybody raise the very real issue of poor refereeing standards? the question of the reserve teams champion league- although i think i know why we are not entering, in fact the most important issue spoken about that day was the ticket swap system( even that was in response to a puerile shot at the club for announcing attendance figures suggesting the stadium was full when there were clearly empty seats. fools and privileges….
    Lastly but not least, he also goes on to bemoan player loyalty like it is a modern phenomenon, the surely is that players have better representation these days resulting in a swing of power back their way so whatever whim a player might have can be satisfied. if player X asks for a wage increase he has the resources at his disposal to bring the club to see it his way. What we should get away from in this debate altogether os bashing people for asking for a pay rise- if it is alright for your wife/son it is alright for Nasri.

  • Passenal

    Ivan Gazidis said at the Q&A that Arsenal would have to pay penalties if they paid off the debt early. They are basically paying a mortgage at a rate they can afford even with a drop in attendance and loss of CL football for a while. There are commercial options to be explored to increase income and I would imagine that the Asia tour is part of that. Even Arsene who is normally against these money spinning tours has had to accept the need to compromise his preferred approach to pre-season preparation. Let’s hope the team does not suffer for it.

  • bob

    Ugandan Gooner,
    I’m glad you brought it up, and alas, it’s especially painful to realize the truth you raise with your question:
    “Why didn’t anybody raise the very real issue of poor refereeing standards?” That silence on refereeing goes hand in glove with the Bladder/Platini line that video replay, etc. is unnecessary and unwanted. If our own don’t take that seriously enough (at all) to even raise it, what a long uphill climb this truly is.

  • Adam

    @Ugandan Goon. I think there are more players around who could improve our team than that statement suggests.Let’s not forget that Arsene has made plenty of transfer window statements before that have not panned out. This year he said that he wanted to move early and that there would be quite a bit of movement. Even Gazidis, at that conference issued placating noises about changes. Whether they do or don’t happen, the results will be the decider. I have never known such bad feeling amongst the fans I know and before you start at your keyboard let me tell you that they are not all rabid anti-Wengerites, just ordinary Arsenal supporters who love the club and can’t understand where it is headed. And I don’t think that any of them need to defend their feelings as they are perfectly entitled to them.

  • Meditation

    @BOB http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9jPfeYasGM Interesting video for you about media.It may add to the research you are already doing. What I will say is don’t be to tense. Discovery is supposed to be liberating. @SHARD @ANNE I wasn’t offended .No love lost.Well, not that much.I hope I didn’t seem like I was on the defensive or trying to impose my opinion.Because at the end of the day it is an opinion that hopefully sparks thought, which i feel this website and its comments do.I was just trying to clarify myself.I also believe that we cannot become too paranoid about everyone is in on the scam.All it takes is a few players to plant the seed of doubt.I suppose the aim is to find reasons as to why we have the feeling that things don’t seem right .

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Adam,
    Piss on all “ordinary” fans, the truth is it is a sellers market out there, we are the small guys punching above our weight, we have a wage structure to try and uphold and quite frankly i disagree with your statement about there being a lot of players out there who could improve our squad, or even if there are, are they available? just what will it take to prise dani alves from Barcelona to fill the berth left by clichy? a gazzilion pounds, cesc fabregas and of course we’d have to pay dani alves twice what he’s earning now. Not my analogy by any means but, it is not like supermarket shopping, they are not all lined up on a shelf for Mr Wenger to inspect and add to his shopping cart as he trundles along under bright lights and the muzak version of “the girl from ipanema” playing softly while struggling to keep cesc and van persie from bringing the shop down around his ears, as for the ordinary fan, boy what i’d like to do to that guy, lets just say i wanna go retro on his brain – lobotomies, ice baths, electro shock treatments, the early science of mental health treatment, ahhh those were the days!- because it’s obvious to me he doesn’t need a brain,just a short sharp shock, none of this “no child left behind” malarkey.
    Oh and when you come across this guy again again remind him that if arsenal holdings plc made a profit of say 40 million last year, he should compare that to the 450 billion the man city boys have, we , according to them should get the skoda cleaned up and head to park lane to trade it in for one the gleaming lambo’s on display, gaaa gga that one (i want that one)- expect to be sectioned and i’ll be waiting…Bzzzzz
    If he needs to know the future of the club, i think the horoscopes or mystic meg are on hand with that too, so really answers are not hard to come by if he chooses to inhabit an alternative universe. In this one however, the manager is playing his cards close to his chest and as long ashe isnt going to replace nasri himself, we apologise but he will have to wait till the deals are done- oh and Wenger said gervinho’s signing is on the cards so take that as a given, no… wait till you see him holding up a shirt on arsenal.com.. safer

  • Adam

    @Ugandan fan.
    I am afraid you lost me with”Piss on all ordinary fans”. We have absolutely nothing to say to each other.

  • Shard

    @Ugandan Goon

    You know I agree with you and I’m not one to just jump on a bandwagon and say “GIVE ME SIGNINGS”. In fact, looking at what I’d maintained all throughout last season, I still say that in terms of actual quality, we are not that far. 3 good purchases should see us much improved and ready to challenge right till the end.

    The problem however, is that when I look at last year, even when our team was fighting hard for the title, with a very realistic chance of winning it, the ‘fans’ already were proclaiming that we’ll never win. I honestly believe that that played a part in our ultimate failure. And despite all the quality that we may possess and exhibit, ANY weakness will be seized upon by the fans and they will drag the team down, all the while telling the players they lack bottle. The only way to stop that in my opinion, is to actually buy some players that will reassure the fans. I loathe that the primary consideration should be the ‘popular’ demand, but if it doesn’t happen I feel the team will be affected by it.

  • Ugandan Goon

    My dear adam,
    the ordinary fan is mythical, just like the club insider or sources close to the club, a well worn ploy to direct whatever bit of disinformation you may wish to disseminate without being taken to task for proof of your sources- it is always some one else or the truly irrational part of yourself that will identify with this “ordinary fan”.
    As an arsenal supporter, i am taken to task on regular basis by people talking about other arsenal fans who are ordinary, it wears thin after a while and frankly i’d like to do the things i promised to this bane of my life who fuels the “banter of the manures and talkshite callers and presenters.
    P.s might it help to note the ordinary is written “ordinary”

  • Adam

    Why would Arsenal want to fill the left back position, filled by Clichy by offering Barcelona a gazillion pounds plus Cesc Fabregas for Dani Alves, who is a right back? You are absolutely full of it.

  • insideright

    Given that the original article was about money let’s get back to that.
    Basic economic theory tells us that if Financial Fair Play has an effect on the finances of the game it will be to reduces transfer spending over the next few years and reduce wages – but probably take a longer time to do that given the length of current contracts.
    That means that if you’re going to have to sell for some reason do it now while the market is still high and, if you are going to buy, do it later when the market has collapsed from its current levels.
    And if you can avoid buying at all – better still.
    If such a policy leaves you with a profit you pay down debt (or, more likely, invest the money away from the game and use the interest earned to offset that paid on your debt).
    It’s called Custodianship and it’s what the AST was formed to support and its the principle by which the Arsenal Board has operated for as long as anyone can remember.
    Moreover, Stan Kroenke has explicitly stated that he supports that view.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Shard,
    I am back buddy, good to see you are alive and well and keeping the faith.
    there is a woeful lack of patience with the players wwe have which gets my back up. The main difference between where we are in footballing terms and where barca is is the team hasnt had as much time to telepathically gel and the constant clamour for change ignores this- Wenger’s project always needed time, it was always going to get worse before it got better but tell this to some people and you could spend your life paddling upstream.
    About new players, i am as anxious as any to see real quality brought to the club but who are you gonna get who plays the arsenal way for the money we have at our disposal? it does not guarantee trophies anyway so why throw out the baby with the bath water? sell cesc and nasri to afford cahill and samba and i don’t know who else everyone has got in mind- crazy talk to my mind.
    Of course it’s not cesc we need to sell, they’ll cry, sell denilson and eboue, well if they hadn’t driven down the guys price by calling him shit to everyone who’d listen including the club that could buy him then we might get some decent money for him as it is we might just get enough to subsidize the catering at the emirates!
    abusing the players is just crass, it vents spleen at the wrong people, we needto manage expectations better as a fan bas ebut let the ordinary fan have his day he has paid his hard earned money in the wrong place (walked past the local trophy shop and travelled to the emirates) but he must be indulged.
    As an aside, do you think we could get a a loan to manufacture trophies? they is quite a mania about them, shard old buddy we will make a fortune.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Adam’
    Fair cop, mate. i like the way you slipped past the logic to get to the detail there.
    The devil is in the detail, always.

  • Shard

    @Ugandan Goon

    Too late with that I’m afraid
    http://www.thetrophyshopuk.com/

    I agree we need time and we lack the funds to guarantee that we can buy players that fit into our system and meet the requirements. That also might be one reason why we are waiting. Let the rich clubs spend all their money and then we can look for the best avaliable talent at maybe a better price. I just fear that fans will at the start of season just simply turn on a team playing anywhere between acceptable and brilliant, just because the press say we need to spend spend spend. “ManU are champions and they spent 50m” Which disregards the fact that their squad is old, and with the retiring players, they may even struggle to fulfil the homegrown rules. But no. Spend 50m and all our troubles will be over.

  • Gary

    Phil, You are far too polite when discussing the people from AST, Tim Payton in particular. He is extremely arrogant and deluded. Yesterday he tweeted the following: “AST will work with Arsenal to challenge UEFA for immediate clarification of City’s £400m sponsorship deal” Who do they think they are? Who elected them?
    What qualifies them to try to prescribe to the professionals who run the club. My suggestion is that they cut their teeth on a small club, where they have 100% of the shares, accept the risk and reward – and let’s see how they do there before they try and run Arsenal Football Club from the sidelines and using the likes of TalkSport and the tabloids as their platform.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Insideright,
    Yeah lets talk about the AST, i have a few things to say about this bunch of “elephant dicks” too.
    Glad you mention custodianship, this is at the heart of the matter, Tim payton’s article was titled “two billionaires and no purchases yet” or something to that effect. God give me strength, the AST is a platform for fans to buy into the club and have their say, a path into the board room, a way to support the club financially etc.
    bashing players in the press, displaying a complete lack of understanding of the club’s ethos and various other crimes at a time when really you’d like someone purportedly close to the board to come out on message.
    there is every chance the article was edited to make him sound like an idiot as it is open season on the arsenal at the moment, in fact in it’s incoherence it is more than likely, but i have witnessed the rabble that is the AST at play and it isn’t pretty.
    As for selling players my reasoning is we need stability to prosper, if we are selling we are going to need replace soon so we will be operating in the same overheated market, net benefit negligible.

  • bob

    Ugandan Goon,
    I get/enjoy the ironies and magic bus ride, so keep on, it’s fun. The downer I find hard to shake though is the nagging knowledge of what purchasing a Samba, etc., in last January’s window could have done to help us with Vermaelen probably out (yes, probably, even then as I/others then felt) and an over-stretched/stressed out backline (as I/others then felt), and that not spending on defense then was a serious error that should neither be a hanging matter nor swept into the memory hole. We surely all realize the need to still correct for set-pieces. And, I would argue, Eduardo the Fox has never been replaced and RvP would be more effective with another striker to play off/with. I fully realize that that replacement is not super-market ready at a discount, so that gives me pause. But it does not, in my mind, change the need for him. It’s one thing to look at such needs in a constructive way and quite another to use such perceptions as weapons. Still, the needs are there and we don’t really know – do you? – how much we actually have to spend. So, fans – ordinary or prescient – are all spinning our wheels as we have the perpetual go at one-another, all the while being lobotomized by the current media destabilization campaign (which Anne’s analysis will soon document in a few hours). Anyway, let’s keep on keepin’ on. Love you man. Cheers.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Shard,
    Drat! checked it out, reasonably priced too. We would not need to dissemble the self sustaining model to get us a couple of nice shiny ones either!
    P.s just how did you find out about this shop, eh?

  • bob

    Shard, Ugandan Goon,
    Remember the famous photo of the guy who stood in front of the tank column in Tiennamen Square, trying to stop it from proceeding? That’s what I feel like in the face of the gathering goose-step juggernaut-march to The Rednose 20. At this moment, it’s hard to face what I see (that momentum) with a smidgeon of dignity. Perhaps we can’t do better than put up the good fight and live to fight another day (season). But the eyes-open prospect of soon-to-be Lord Fergie (that IS in motion) hoisting that tainted cup and being celebrated as God’s Gift to Football (if not God itself, when he’s really Sauron) totally makes my flesh crawl. Under it all, it’s hard to be rational or to make a virtue out of fiscal necessity (not that you or I know what the budget really is, or will be, as I say to Ugandan Goon) as the non-calls and ref-shite enable just that scenario. From this fan’s perspective, the ways to help my/our team is to advocate for the level pitch (as one counterforce to financial doping) and to expose the media-bashing of the one alternative (the self-sustaining model) to the billionaire’s orgy.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Bob,
    I asked myself the question, had i been admitted to the meeting ivan gazidis, what would have asked him?
    Well simply that what could the club do to promote fair play/ accountability to the referees or the FA?
    He had included “bad luck” and other factors beyond our control as determinants in our demise (sadly pre-empted by our loyal fan base).
    i am no fan of brown envelopes but subpeonas and the like, i like.
    If you remember the eduardo diving incident, the club flexed a recently beefed up legal arm and the scots in the uefa had to back track pretty sharpish.
    Could the isue have been highlighted, and a few resources devoted to keeping the mcdonald car-parks around old trafford under surveillance? and then whatever is left over donated to the policemen’s benevolent fund to pursue an investigation?

  • Shard

    @Ugandan Goon

    Haha. I came across that either on this site or another blog, where someone probably fed up with these calls for trophies had put up the link and told people to get themselves one to feel happy about 🙂

    Also, very good point about people not bringing up any issues other than those that paint the club in a bad light. I felt the same way that the questions on the ticketing etc were the sort that I actually wanted to hear about. Why would asking him about a signing or lack thereof help? You know he’s going to say the same things that everyone at Arsenal always do. I would probably have asked him if the club are aware of and feel that they are unfairly portrayed in the media (which would cover all isues anyway, the lack of signings, the squad’s mental strengths, the lack of trophies but without mention of Liverpool etc), and if so what does the club plan to do to change that perception?

  • bob

    Ugandan Goon,
    Yes, not a peep from the crew about ref-shite and measures to be taken. Bad luck, yes and certainly no. There’s obvious stuff – the laundry list from video replay to voodoo spells – that could be brought to bear, that, again, no one even raised to Mr. G. I think both Mr. G and the crew were highly-negligent on this score. I’m definitely for subpoenas but you know UG, who would have expected that Ruppie would be scrambling as the populace turns against his media. Perhaps, just perhaps, we’ll find a few juicy football names among the hacked-4000 by News Of The Weaksters; which, in turn, will prove to be so many (at least one) strings to pull on and help precipitate a healthy unraveling – a colony-collapse in the hives of Riley and a toilet-flush of the Septic Bladder. (The one name named so far is Wayne Rooney. Surely more to come and to what effect, we shall see. And surely, Arsenal is entitled to its share of the world’s good luck… (no guffaws, please).

  • bob

    p.s. meant to say our “overdue share” of the world’s good luck.

  • Gary

    Just to give you a little more insight into the people at the AST. Here is one who calls himself @JamesGOON88 on Twitter and his profile reads as follows: “Avid Season Ticket Holder at The Arsenal Football Club. Arsenal Shareholder. Member of The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust. University Graduate. General sports lover. http://www.arsenalfanshare.com/

    Some of his latest tweets include: “I’ve seen Pat Rice’s knob.”

    Now who can take their views seriously?

  • bob

    btw,
    Speaking of funds at our disposal (or not!), is it possible to maintain a reasonably skilkysmooth pitch and, dare I say it, develop a multi-use version of the Ems, as in rock concerts, summer movie nights, whatever it takes to bring in cash. This may be in the pipeline or already done. Perhaps an AST Karioke night. Ok, for real, perhaps all UA readers could brainstorm and come up with viable ideas to bring money to an account that must be used for player acquisition. Now it won’t be 400M a la ManShitty; but at least one step in that direction that could pay more immediate benefits than the trip to Asia? Any takers?

  • bob

    Well, to kick it off: how about using the Ems for the well-selected outdoor blockbuster movie premiere? Can you imagine the take at the Ems if say, Harry Potter opened there this summer, and a reasonable deal was struck. Hmmm?

  • Ugandan Goon

    @bob,
    Lucky, lucky arsenal eh? Now i am almost sure there is enough dirt in some ones possession to bring this whole farce crashing down but like the millions of genuinely interesting stories that are spiked every year by editors looking to stay in a job. inspector knacker might just hold on to this to use as leverage, lets just hope they decide fergie and football might just be who throw to the wolves…. civil unrest, the country up in flames, who will remember that the prime minister actually had rupert murdoch running the country, eh?

  • Ugandan Goon

    @bob,
    it is a slippery slope, remember the dvd’s of the 4-4 thriller at the whitehart lane, or the club toilet paper(although i am dubious about this- i am not sure whether the joke was wipe your arse with the tottenham cock or something some wag cooked up on photoshop) but there are limits, this is after all the spirit of the slf sustaining model, break away from some of the crassness around north london.

  • bob

    Ugandan Gooner,
    I’m actually optimistic on this one. Many of those 4000 names will come out, many willingly, and some will be football names. The pressure is relentless, the scrutiny intense and the poster boy, Wayne Rooney’s name, has already come out. What it will lead to depends on what we cannot, in this moment, predict. I know that luck and Arsenal don’t usually fit in the same sentence. However, let’s agree to wait and see…

  • bob

    Ugandan Gooner,
    ManShitty’s deal with Dubai Airlines is to develop further properties which will further enrich the club AND, the kicker, is that UEFA is accepting it as a model of self-sustainability (yes) that will NOT count against the otherwise fair-play Limits. I don’t like non-traditional crassness, but we did leave Highbury, no? And tradition is not crass-free. But, all seriousness aside, the trip to China is no less crass. (Cashing in on The China Trade, FFS!) If Arsenal Entertainments did not count against the Limits, as it does not for ManShitty, is there not something to gain that outweighs the alleged loss of purity? In this Darwinian league, can we afford such alleged purity and stay in the top four (at the very least)? If you say yes, anything as long as we stay pure, then the self-sustaining model will not be self-sustainable. Please consider.

  • bob

    p.s. And the idea of our mortal pitch-enemies around London filling our football coffers by biting on our Entertainment hooks brings a not-so-secret smile to my face.

  • Raj

    Share issues is a way to get serious money into the club.
    SHare options for Season ticket owners could be a better deal as some of the share begin to belong to true supporters of the club and I hole that eventually that could reach 20% making the club safe from total ownership.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Bob,
    all fair points, infact i agree we need the money badly, damn it i’d sell the family silver if it’d help! as for our rivals oop north, what more could they do to emulate the standards set by arsenal, the whole project is a toy and a farce, lets just hope the arab spring carries on into the autumn!

  • Dark Prince

    Bob- first of all, if its a small section of the fans you are criticising about then well, it could be valid. But this article is tryin to take a swipe at a majority of fans and their unanimous opinion. And for me the fans represent the club. Not the players, not the board, but the fans. Its all what the club is all about. So when you’re taking a swipe at a majority of fans then ur taking a swipe at the club itself… Which i think is stupid.

  • Dark Prince

    FunGunner- how sad to see that when the players come out with statements that are not necessarily good to hear, then guys like you hide. But when the supporters raise their voice of concern, it irritates you. Its called Hypocrisy. And player or fan, everyone is supposed to support Arsenal. If a player cant,then the supporters wont support that player as well.