Arsenal News
Arsenal News & Transfers
As featured on NewsNow: Arsenal newsArsenal News 24/7

Arsenal News, Only Arsenal, Blogs, Transfer News

Archives

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Harsh Truths about Arsenal’s “Decline”

Nick Tolhurst

Harsh Truths about Arsenal’s “Decline”

Forget debates about whether Arsène Wenger is too miserly, stubborn or just plain wrong in the transfer market – the truth is far simpler.

So another summer ends and, despite the best efforts of Tony and Untold Arsenal; the media, the pundits and of course the assorted “collectible season guides and previews” are, as every year, confidently predicting doom and gloom and that Arsenal will of course finish outside the top 4, indeed some are even doubting the club’s ability to snatch a place in the top 6. Quite amusing when you consider that no Arsenal team under Mr Wenger has finished below 4th.

And yet without wishing to sabotage the good work of this website it does seem as if there is something in the air in North London that points to the fact that maybe, just maybe, this year will be different.

Maybe it was the disappointment of falling away after coming close on the heels of United last season. Perhaps the loss of talismanic Cesc coupled with the rather ungainly protracted departure of Samir Nasri; or perhaps it’s once again down to the new signings which many supporters immediately pigeonholed as “ones for the futures” rather then well established “stars” who will give the team the final momentum to reclaim the Premier League title.

But, faced with this situation it is worth looking a bit more at the circumstances of Arsenal’s supposed “problems” and indeed at what the possible alternatives are.

Critics of Arsenal and Arsène over the last 6 years often draw some kind of distinction between Arsène’s supposed first “free spending phase” from 1996-2005 where he brilliantly took Arsenal to the heights of English football with the second phase where a miserly approach and obsession with youth wrecked the arsenal juggernaut just as it was about to dominate English and, perhaps even, European football.

More sympathetic commentators argue that the new stadium construction effectively tied Arsène’s hands in the transfer market and that the rather modest long-term commercial deals necessary for financial stability while building the Emirates meant that Arsenal was forced to adopt a more conservative transfer policy – investing in youth and selling off stars.

At the other end of the scale the more extreme “Arsène sceptics” even argue the case that the French manager “has lost it” and that he has become some kind of slightly potty speculator – gambling ever higher amounts on unproven if potentially talented teenagers in some Holy Grail like pursuit of a winning football lottery ticket – that a couple of Messis, a Zidane and a Claude Makélelé will one day turn up and he’ll have the last laugh.

In fact, while the first two positions have some merit, they don’t explain in any meaningful way what has happened either to Arsenal or football in general. Indeed, if there is one manager who has been constant over the last 20 years it is Arsène Wenger. While other clubs have ditched managers, strategies and 5 year plans, Arsène has followed exactly the same strategy whether at Arsenal or at Monaco.

It is easy now looking back to assume that some things which work out were meant to be or that what is obvious now was obvious to all then, but lets consider Arsène’s transfer and youth policy. At Monaco Wenger brought young players into a team which (unlike today) was lavishly subsidised. He was arguably responsible for the careers of such luminaries as, amongst others, Youri Djorkaeff , Emmanuel Petit, Lilian Thuram, and Thierry Henry.

In terms of ability to bring through young players like this is a quite remarkable collection. Whether a young player has cost nothing or 10 million Wenger has not been afraid to play him against the prevailing wisdom – I can still recall the controversy about selling (another Wenger discovery) a proven Anelka and investing the money – 11 Million! – on some “failed French player who couldn’t hack it in the slow Serie A (and of course took some months to finally get scoring properly). Space is too short here to list all the incredible deals Arsène Wenger picked up along the way but one only needs to add up the cost to Arsenal of Viera, Petit, Overmars, Fabregas, Anelka, Toure, Adebeyor, Clichy, Henry (and potentially Bendtner, Nasri etc.) and compare it with the revenue these brought in to work out the debt (quite literally) that Arsenal owes Arsène Wenger.

And yet I can sense already some will argue that this all in the past – that buying unproven youth is all fine and well when it works but for the last 5 years it “hasn’t worked” – we’ve won nothing! What I’m arguing here, is that Arsène Wenger hasn’t changed – the football world has. It is not just that certain clubs have unlimited funds it is that they have changed the way they operate.

The harsh truth for Arsenal fans is that if the owners of Man City and Chelsea want to spend a billion pounds on players they will, even if this means hoarding many in the reserves on contracts twice the amount Arsenal pay to their top 1st team players. These reserve players remain on the books of these super rich clubs as much to stop other clubs buying them as for the good of the squad.

If you don’t believe me look at the squad players of the big four teams in the late 90s compared with now – a sea change has taken place which has fundamentally changed the Premier League. At this point critics will argue that Arsenal have enough money or could borrow “just a little bit extra” as we are a sound business model etc. The harsh truth is that if Arsenal had tried to outbid the Arab oil rich club’s 40 million offer for, say, Agüero, City could simply have bid 80 million. There is simply no point in even attempting this game. The cost of the stadium is a red herring – trying to outbid City or Chelsea is like playing poker with a millionaire – he has nothing to lose, so it doesn’t really matter what cards you have in your hand.

So far, so depressing, or is it? Right now the only sensible way for Arsenal to compete is; firstly, to go after players that are simply not on the billionaire’s club’s radar. Secondly, to sign up these players to long contracts and thirdly, to use Arsène’s proven skill at blooding in young players – in other words exactly what Arsène Wenger has been doing for more than two decades now.

In a strict business sense Arsenal have had no real right to finish in the top four since several years now – given other club’s immense spending power. The fact that we do is down to Arsène Wenger’s acumen and skill in capturing and developing players like Cesc. Incidentally contrary to widely held opinion, Cesc Fabregas didn’t leave because he was a disloyal mercenary – if he was he could and would have joined City last year and doubled his wages. He chose to return after 8 years to his family’s hometown on lower wages leaving behind a fat transfer fee and (I believe) the best part of his playing days. His loyalty and behaviour during his time with Arsenal reflects well upon him and the club that raised him from boy to man. But as Cesc leaves Wilshere, Ramsey and perhaps another player you may not even have heard of will fill his place.

So where does this leave us for this season? I wouldn’t say Arsenal is a hot favourite for the 2011/12 Premier League title – although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we sneaked it at least once in the next three or four years). What I am certain is that Arsenal under Wenger is leading the only team in a major European league which consistently gives the other clubs funded by unlimited oil wealth, dodgy oligarchs and corrupt and/or unsustainable bank practices a run (quite literally) for their money.

On radio talk shows and through pages and pages of newsprint the constant complaint of unsustainable and mercenary practices is heard and read and yet when one club consistently plays at the highest level of European football by doing things the right way commentators, and its only fair to say a smattering of Arsenal supporters too, seemingly can’t wait to knock the club, team and manager. Given the current world economic climate, given the debauched state of sport administration and given the quite frankly obscene waste of wealth by dodgy owners I can honestly say I have never been prouder to be an Arsenal fan. And you know what, whisper it quietly, but, well I’ve got this strange feeling that we are going to lift a trophy again this year.

Nick Tolhurst

The writer is a Germany based Arsenal fan and author of numerous articles and books on sustainable business, including most recently “Responsible Business” (Wiley 2010).

Click here for Untold TV

How did we used to get the half time scores?

Arsenal v Udinese: the Catering Report

“Making the Arsenal” is now available via Arsenal’s official on line shop

More details on “Making the Arsenal”

Untold Arsenal Index

Arsenal History Index

95 comments to Harsh Truths about Arsenal’s “Decline”

  • Great article Nick – we’ve got a lot to be proud of. Thanks for that.

  • There is support for this approach in an article in the Times. Unfortunately the Times archive is no longer open to general view, but helpfully the Daily Mirror has republished it. Everyone interested in Arsenal ought to take a look at it.

    Basically it says, it is not the media that is hurting Arsenal, it is Arsenal’s own fans

    http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/john-cross/Arsenal-Arsene-Wenger-praise-in-The-Times-shows-it-s-fans-not-media-turning-on-Gunners-boss-John-Cross-column-article786803.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  • Stevie E

    Fantastic article. Please let this be read by the boo boys who are bringing shame onto our proud club.

  • Tony – that article was a bit of an apologist twist on one article to defend an organisational bias:

    “Furthermore, as far as I know, it wasn’t the media who were at Newcastle on Saturday shouting for the manager to “spend some f***ing money.”

    No – but it was the media which put these words in their mouths.

    It ends with:

    “It’s all about perception and Wenger’s theory that the press are against him and Arsenal is hopelessly wrong.”

    I’m yet to see Wenger’s published theory on this but it’s nice to end on the ‘fact’ that he is: “hopelessly wrong.”

  • WalterBroeckx

    Great article Nick. Thanks a lot

  • Chowdhury

    Excellent post. Thank you Nick.

  • In fact there is a raft on media spun shite out today off the back of the Radio 5 interview with Bob Wilson:

    “I think the press are baying for blood, you cant just put it down to the fans, the campaign to get Arsene Wenger out of this club and out of this country… Don’t you underestimate what is happing on a daily basis in our media”

    “the greatest manager in the history of Arsenal football club” could be forced out by a “media witch-hunt”.

    look at this twat in the Independant:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/james-lawton-old-invincibility-now-only-serves-to-haunt-wenger-2339480.html

    He starts off with:

    “One of Arsène Wenger’s most passionate admirers, Arsenal’s old Double-winning goalkeeper Bob Wilson, has rather brought matters to a head. While charging the media with an active, pernicious conspiracy against the great manager, he wonders, disdainfully, about their idea of a replacement.”

    And then goes on to explain to us plebs that Wilson is deluded and “Frenchman” Wenger is in actual fact; a bit of a cunt. This is a media apologist backlash of poorly supressed guilt.

  • sean

    Funny how people and supporters are so near sided to not take in all the facts. There will always be bias in the media, and pictures being painted by the artist’s that supply the paint that they claim is available to all. In my mind, Arsenal has done what has been needed to run a club during rough economic times, created and developed a world class stadium and have nutured some of the best talents that football pundits never heard of. All of that said, the one thing that I truly believe needs to be addressed is the pyschology of football as we know it today.

    Football today is a far cry from our last silverware being hoisted. Maybe pundits and the boo boys need to really look at what the issue is. Arsenal has weathered the storm and will continue to do so, but until football adopts the practices of the most well run sports business in the world (NFL) you will continue to see the same issues arise year after year. All teams big or small should have to play by the same set of rules on the pitch and off, and right now FIFA, UEFA and the governing bodies of each league have yet to set standards that will create the same set of outcomes that a league the NFL has done.

    Until then, The City’s, barca’s, Madrids, chelsea’s, PSG’s, Malaga’s will control how football is played and won….simple as that!

    Be proud to be a gooner and the way our club is run. Although you have every right to be frustrated, just be sure to aim that frustration at the right avenue and not the one’s that created our great CLUB!

    Cheers!

  • Andy Kelly

    John Cross is another journalist that, for some unknown reason, has an axe to grind with Arsenal. He was Islington Gazette’s sports writer in the late 90s / early 00s until he got a jab at the Mirror.

    Does anyone know why he hates Arsenal having spent so much time on their doorstep?

    I caught the build up to the Udinese game on Radio 5 where the commentator was giving Arsene a hard time. Bob Wilson and Lee Dixon gave it back to him with both barrels. What these two came out with should be broadcast before each game.

  • Andy Kelly

    And don’t get me going on James Lawton. He conducted a personal hate campaign against Arsenal 10 years ago.

  • adi

    I’m actually quite confident going into the season, because i think wenger has some new players coming in. Who comes in is entirely up to him. Our defence is already much better than last year(and will remain so as long as we don’t play squilacci). The defensive bit of midfield is stronger with frimpong fit. We’re more than settled on the wings. Chamakh is my only worry (and maybe jack now, with his injury).

  • Stroller

    Yes, it is not so much a matter of Arsenal’s ‘decline’ as them being overtaken by the two clubs with massively enhanced financial muscle from their respective Russian and Arab owners. The ability of these clubs to buy up and hoard top players is further distorting the premiership.

    In that respect I am surprised that there hasn’t been more comment on the terms for a possible loan of Adebayor by Man City to Spurs. If reports are to be believed City will continue to pay up to half of his wages while he plays for a rival team in the same league. Under the loan rules Adebayor will not play for Spurs against City, but of course he will play against all of their main rivals. So in effect City, apart from saving on his inflated wages, will have him as their proxy to damage their main opposition for top places.

  • head

    Brilliant article. Do your best to publish this anywhere and everywhere you can!!

    In Arsène we trust.

  • Two Left Feet

    Fantastic article Nick! One of the best I’ve read this entire summer. There are deficiencies in the team and Wenger has undoubtedly made more than one mistake in the past decade but the same is true for all of us. He is only human and it is far easier to say whats’s right and what’s not in hindsight. Fact is, he has gotten it right more often than most and it is his management style that allows Arsenal to punch above it’s weight year in and year out. What people fail to realize is that Arsenal are really spending all that they can which unfortunately isn’t much! If you look at the finances of our football business you will see that the wage bill is rising every year and there really isn’t much in the way of profit.
    Therefore before people blindly jump onto the anti-Arsenal or anti-Wenger bandwagon, it’s important to rationalize our own expectations from the club and at least attempt to understand the root cause of many of our problems.

  • Moe

    Awesome article. You guys really should find a way of being on or linked off the official website or sumthing. Articles of sense need some way of being magnified to the wider gooner population, the sensationalist stuff seems easier for people to swallow up,feeding the fire of normal fustrations and drowning out reason. Come on gooners,125 years running!!

  • rickygunners@yahoo.com

    Well written and I salute you for your loyalty. Gunners has already entered the Guinness World of Record for 49 matches undefeated.

    The disgruntled fans felt that without star players Arsenal cannot compete for trophies and glory. As fans, we cannot do much about to change the thinking of the management. I wanted to see whether we can repeat the unbeaten record with the young and talented players. Iam sure we can do it again!

    The fans are crying out for trophies and Wenger’s head after 6 years of emptiness in the cabinet. I thought they have been overly zealous about Arsenal’s reputation. As I have said that every Arsenal fans have certain degree of negativity but not oppressive in the way that dissatisfaction and discontentment are felt across the world.

    As much as I like Arsenal to win a trophy but not at the expense of Arsene.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Stroller,
    Surely if they wanted to use Adebayor as a proxy to damage their opposition they’d loan him to ManU or Chelsea? 😀

    Also, when will Spurs fans wake and realise they’ve become the very thing they claim to hate the most? When their Arsenal supporting manager fields a Spurs eleven composed mostly of ex-Arsenal players?

  • WalterBroeckx

    further off topic sorry the article deserves better but still:
    Question is now will Adebayor play for those racist fans? Wasn’t he complaining last year about their chants. How low have you fallen since leaving the Arsenal, Adewantmore?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Back on topic: The problem is that some fans just are not able to see the bigger picture and are just able to just catch and understand the headlines of the newspapers.

  • Drew

    In that the football world has been turned upside down by the influx of billionaire oligarchs, and the media have intensified their Wenger-baiting over the close season, there is substance to this article. But this doesn’t alter the fact that the way that this summer has unfolded has not been entirely necessary. We have begun the season in a poor state of affairs in terms of depth and quality in the squad. I have no problem with clearing out the rubbish, letting cesc/nasri go & starting anew is arguably what we need – but it is irresponsible to cull the playing staff and not bring in replacements: a handful of promising teenagers & gervinho frankly does not cut it. The vibe around the club is abysmal – and yes, whilst fickle fans are not helping matters, the disconnect between the club and the supporters is not wholly down to the people paying their hard-earned cash following the team. The smoke and mirrors around the club does no favours in reassuring long-standing, “genuine” supporters. I am not calling for Wenger’s head nor for 20 million pound signings; I just want to see a transfer policy which addresses the weakness in the squad, and a realisation that certain areas long ignored (proclivity to injuries, fragility at the back, lack of incisiveness in final third of the pitch etc.) need to be rectified. We are a big club, a respected club, a club good players want to come to, we have money and (reputedly) a scouting network which is the envy of most. Yes, transfer dealings are not necessarily straightforward but I refuse to believe we cannot find a better calibre of player than some of our present squad. Do what is needed Arsene.

  • Moe – there is a fraction of recognition from Arsenal FC for what we do in that this season I have a column in the official club programme for each match – called “Arsenal Uncovered”. Sorry, I may have mentioned this once or twice before, can’t remember if I did (deep irony moment).

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Walter,
    I think that’s slightly disrespectful, I would suggest that many fans cant be bothered to see the bigger picture. Football is their escape from real life and their desires are to be known as the supporter of a big successful club. Looking at the finances, scouting reports, player evaluation, staring at pages of stats from Opta, that’s what real life is like.

  • Dada

    Your articles are always very refreshing and positive. I’ve been saying for a while the sugar daddy clubs are ruining english football.

  • NickW

    You may know a lot about business but you clearly don’t know much about football if you think this Arsenal team is good enough to win a trophy this year. Yes Wenger has worked miracles on a shoestring budget and should be commended for it and no-one expects him to match the spending of Man U, City or Chelsea. However we are one of the richest clubs in the world (5th apparently) and yet our net spend on transfers is less than most other premier league teams. There is clearly a lack of quality in the current team in certain positions and not to address the obvious weaknesses when you have money available is negligent. A manager has a duty to make the best use of the resources he has available and if we don’t make vsome quality signings this summer then it could be argued that Wenger is not doing that. We don’t need more profits we need better players or we will continue to decline on the pitch and consequently off the pitch as well.

  • denny

    Just want to say what a great article. We have suffered a lot from the rubbish that is being spoted by the media and a number of so called supporters.
    I have total faith in AW. At a time of the billionaires he has get us at the top levels producing some great football.
    The day he leaves us will be a very sad day.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @NickW,
    I’m all in favour of signing players who will improve us but extra bodies for the sake of a few million isn’t going to turn us into a title winning team either.

    If your idea actually worked we’d have been sliding down the table towards relegation every year, as all the other teams that outspend us would easily finish above us.

  • Goonerbeall

    Nick, Thanks for this sober reminder to many of us who have lost their heads over nothing. Wenger buys when he has money and on a wage that is sustainable. I’m sure he gonna buy but not until he has money in the bank. Its amazing with so many club’s finances teetering onbankrupcy people are clamouring for throwing money at the problem. I hear in Spain things are so bad players are planning strikes.

    Wenger once said: Clubs are bankrupt through over-spending but the guy who does not spend is an idiot. Am proud of Wenger and his ways.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Can someone link me to the orginal Times article please?

  • Matt Gunn

    There is that rule in life. You get what you pay for. You buy cheap you get cheap. But our young team are also class players with hugh potential to shine. Problem is when they shine they want to leave. That’s where management shows Arsenal is just a business. Just a place for buying cheap and selling at a high price. Fans only matter while they fill seats and buy status goods.
    If management cared, they would have shown their hand by now – actually they have shown their hand – buy cheap, sell high.

  • Sam

    Nicely written article but arsenal are not the only ones doing this. bayern makes tons of money from the academies and manage to invest and win things. Lyon has produced so many stars and sold them to make plenty of profit and always manage to replace them with sound players that are less pricy. I agree with another that said this is an excuse article. We all know that Wenger is a great coach and that most others would not have done what he did with that small of a budget. If he were to spend a little more just imagine where we would be. NO one is saying compete with city for 40 mil players. City has the money but we have an advantage in having a better coach, better footballing style, and better history. Players dont just chose money and so we would be surprised by how many will choose us over the bankers. Real madrid for example got ozil for like 15 mil and sahin for 8. Why are we not able to get quality like that for cheap as well

  • Waz

    @Andy

    I completely agree, there seems to be no logic applied and often these discussions become a polaraising battle between fans of Arsene and those who want his head. Quite frankly I will support the players and cheer on the team with a passion but I will not condone the carelessness with which our club appears to be run. Arsene himself speaks of one of the difficulties in a transfer is the selling club finding a replacement, we don’t. He himself said defence was an area of weakness and yet we sell and don’t bolster.

    I think it is misleading to suggest we will only buy that which is better than what we have, what we have is a lack of depth!

    To be in August and realistically to have lost 2 of our most creative and experienced players without replacement, have half a team departing for the ACN, a perpetual injury issue and a declining pool of quality, experienced 1st team players is in my opinion careless. We seem to make no contingencies, no aggressive transfer policy that focusses on quality rather than price. Arsene himself says he doesn’t look at the price of a player….well why didn’t you bid for Benzema a season or two ago, ah I know, price!

    The team has quality youngsters and a great infrastructure but if anyone honestly thinks we have the depth and experience currently to play 60 games (ACN in between) and fight on 4 fronts they are deluded. It’s irresponsible what is happening, yes we are close, yes we are young but depth is important as is experience to help the youngsters learn, sometimes that needn’t be world class 20m + quality….there is a plethora of examples in the Prem Lg of good players being bought cheeply, RvDV, Hangeland, Tiote etc

    The danger is who will leave next time, how long will Robin, Jack, Vermaelan, Chesney stay if we don’t win and no that’s not being a glory player or mercenary as we all go to work to achieve the best we can.

    Other clubs won’t stand still and injuries won’t suddenly disappear… maybe, just maybe you can balance a well run club (financially), great youth and a sensible policy of experienced and necessary reinforcement.

    At present we are an injury away from no creativity in midfield, no goal scorer or Squid in the back line…hopefully those of you who are pragmatic can see that this isn’t a time to boo or jeer but it is one to ponder if we have the depth we need and a responsible policy towards our great club.

  • cesc

    great article, but.
    my only critisms of arsene are, if he is so youth orientated, why hasn’t he played the kids.
    the diabys, denilsons(spit), bendt’s, dojo, fabs & traore’s etc have all been rubbish. so why didn’t he give some of the kids a chance last season when the bottom fell out of our season,again.
    if like he says he is committed to youth play them. don’t let them sulk in the stiffs and expect them to perform every now and again when he feels like playing them.

  • @Matt Gunn: you don’t always get cheap when you buy cheap. often times you get a rollicking bargain like my $30 cell phone that makes calls sound better than a iphone worth maybe $500. most of our fans think a bunch of stars guarantee a trophy but would be hard pressed to explain how lowly Greece won the euros with a bunch of unknowns.

    six years ago messi was not guaranteed to be a world superstar although you could probably see it coming. pedro was a child just out of trainers and though it looks obvious now, who could have predicted barca would gel as well as they have? yet we beat them and were one lousy referee from knocking them out of the CL.

    most of the adults that follow this blog, and i might add “young guns dot com” as well, are smart enough to be supportive of the sustainable, incremental improvement model. sadly, the majority of football fans are nowhere near our level of discernment and like wolves baying at the door, must be given a bit of fresh meat.

    were i wenger, i would throw them a mata, hazard, vertonghen, drogba steak and have them go off in a corner to chew on it while i make another quiet, astute signing with an eye to the near future. watch fergie turn over the care and feeding of his midfield to the aptly-named cleverly without any opposition from the fans, having given them the meat of jones and ashley young to mull over this summer.

    let them eat meat arsene, so you can get on with the business of demonstrating why a forward line of ryo, oxo, gervinho, van persie, walcott, campbell, and afobe will be too hot to handle when backed up by a midfield of wiltshire (wilshire/whilstshere?) ramsay, arshavin, rosicky, song, frimpong, van persie (the bergkamp variety) and lansbury.

    years from now you will wonder how we survived without jenkinson and will marvel at how much better jack can possibly become. then when those two barca boys we bought this summer are able to grow a beard you will come back to the untold archives to read this.

  • mick

    I have heard Paddy Power say on Talksport that Arsene Wenger is 4th favourite at odds of 10/1 to be the first manager to leave in the premier league this season. This I would think has been greeted with much jolity and rejoicing by the majority of the Talksport presenters if Adrian Durhams enthusiastic reaction is anything to go by.

  • Andy Kelly

    Judging by what Ivan Gazidis said at last week’s AISA AGM, there is no way that the board will be making the decision if Wenger goes.

  • WengersGuideDog

    what a load of rubbish. blaming it all on everyone else is terrible. if other clubs move forward then wenger needs to react and change his stance, but he refuses to. nobody is asking him to go head to head with City or Chelsea, we are asking him to make good, simply, quality signings. how many times have city or chelsea big for mata, cahill, samba this summer? these are but a few names, he could and should have had wrapped up instantly. its weger that is holding this club backwards, and no amount of positive spin you put on it will change anyones mind. he needs to go, and he will do when we dont finish top this year. and dont be supprised if we play europa cup football thsi year either

  • Domhuaille

    Well thought out article Nick and dead on the money as well! Wenger’s calculated gambles with Campbell, Ryo, Gervinho, Jenkinson, OAC and company are the stroke of genius. He didn’t want to let Cesc go and definitely not Nasri but he is a gentleman and he cannot change his stripes. He respects his players to a fault and only wishes the best for them so he had no choice, as a professional and caring manager , to allow Cesc to leave.
    I watched Cesc last night and I can assure you he looked happier, more focused and more settled than I have seen him in a year. He immediately added a very deadly asset to Barca (as if they need more) and Marcello’s vicious foul on him said it all for Real. If we can’t beat you, we’ll break you! That is Mourinho’s approach and that is why he is the world’s #1 special CNUT!
    Wenger isn’t finished in the transfer market but remember this:

    1)He never brings in superstars so don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.
    2)He prefers manageable wages ahead of big names, this respects the EUFA Financial Fairplay rules coming into effect this year.
    3)He needs to preserve the balance at AFC so he avoids big egos and prefers team players like Gervinho and Jenkinson.
    4)He accepts that once a youth or unknown player develops a reputation, he will become a target for the robber barons at Real,City etc. He always takes this in account and looking at Cesc’s sale, he certainly put Barc’s back to the wall with a huge sell-on clause and first dibs for Cesc if he quits Barca someday. He always see a player as a long-term investment.
    5)He is a gentleman and a paternal figure and treats his players with loyalty, respect, confidence and patience. Only SAF matches his ability to foster and develop players.
    6)He is a manager first and a businessman second….and he succeeds brilliantly at both. Not only has ne kept Arsenal in the top 4 but made them among the 10 richest clubs in the world, even during lean times. e will never compete with the rich clubs but he won’t have to, the ax is about to fall and AFC are safely bunkered away from the coming Football recession.
    7)He has among the best scouting networks in the world and the 2nd best Academy setup in Europe so he can afford to be patient and frugal, knowing that his scouts can silently unearth players for the present and the future.

  • the font

    all arsenal fans should read and digest your article becouse it is the truth wenger is not a good manager he is a great manager what he has and is still doing is remarkable please please avoid low life garbage like adrian durhams talk show it is a wicked barrage of abuse aimed to put a cancer into arsenal football club p.s talk sport formula for all there shows is for someone to say something outrageous and the other moran to argue the point was elvis all that argued adrian downpipe THATS A DISSERVICE TO SOMETHING THAT WAS ACTUALLY MADE FOR CRAP

  • @wengersguidedog how many teams are going to be in Europa and in reality they have spent more than la professor !!how many?? give us a break n go with spurs we have a lot off ex arsenal players you will feel @home, mmanyana.

  • Ludek Stanek

    OK, I understand the point. And yes, you are right about the club. But why Wenger, wizzard of economy and transfer market made such a mess with transfer of Cesc? Leaving it for very last minute with no meaningful replacement in a wake of Udinese double match, which is all important not just for a balance in the books, but for image of the club as well? It have nothing to do with economy, its just pure mess. Why club have to lost money on Cesc transfer? (Speaking of which, 16M for Thierry Henry seems to me as another bargain). I mean yes, I agree with article, that club is run well (till I dont start to think about why Kroenke´s people trying to re-negotiate lot of our bussiness and sponsorship deals according to some reports, but thats another story), but what turning fans against AW is in my opinion not just the economic side of the problem. It also a fact, that nobody from the club had never spoken to the fans to explain them situation fair and in full picture. To hear “We have money but we don´t need to spend” at the same times our defending four was walking (not running, not jumping) joke for all these years just give you righ amount of frustration, believe me.

  • Waz

    The amount of spend is irrelevant, get people on a free for all I care but no matter how you cut it the squad lacks strength and experience in depth….bringing Djourou on in midfield against the barcodes highlights just that! A thin squad isn’t frugle or genious it’s irresponsible. Our players are very good but we simply cannot cope with injuries, suspensions and the ACN with what we have. I find the blindness to this reality astounding.

    In a company you wouldn’t let key personnel go, not replace them and hope the receptionist can step up… love the club and what wenger has done, yes, completely, be blind to our worryingly low numbers, er no!

  • right_mr

    I think it is clear that there is a media-wide bias with regards to all things Arsenal. This media campaign has played at the minds of many disillusioned arsenal fans and has channelled their frustration into the firm belief that Arsene Wenger is a stingy mad man on a mission to destroy the club.

    The reality of the situation could not be further from this.

    Arsenal is the only well managed elite club in the UK. (I define elite as being a top 10 team in europe). They are the only top UK team that is spending within their means and not relying on rich benefactors or huge amounts of debt to keep them going.

    Yet, criminally, our media is trying to topple the arsenal machine because clearly why should anyone aspire to any values that are responsible. The football shouldn’t be played according to pure footballing values but instead you need Joey Barton…

    I am staying true to the Arsenal way that Arsene Wenger has instilled.

  • jackson kafuuzi

    I like the article but there is some glaring staboness of wenger’s part in failing to sign even the cheapest available proven defenders and then sticking to his age limit policy and lating utility players like gallas leave.

  • Drew

    @ Domhuaille

    Expecting a bunch of kids to step up to the first team is not a “stroke of genius” or a “calculated gamble”: it’s reckless & unrealistic!

  • shakabulagooner

    Bravo Nick!
    It puts it all together very well for me.
    However, I cannot help wondering what rabbit Wenger will pull out of the hat this time and if the stock is not getting short therein.
    I cannot help wondering whether Wenger will not sooner pack it in than continue to bear up the unceasing snipping, especially from Arsenal fans.
    I cannot help wondering why the EPL and UEFA will not be more determined to implement financial fair play faithfully – in the interest of a sustainable business for the entire industry.
    I truly believe that as soon as Wenger’s era ends and if a watered down version of financial fair play is being implemented, Arsenal and the EPL will acutely appreciate the great work Wenger did in Arsenal.

  • Phil

    Great article, thanks a lot.

  • RedGooner

    @ Dogface completely agree when you say.

    “Furthermore, as far as I know, it wasn’t the media who were at Newcastle on Saturday shouting for the manager to “spend some f***ing money.”

    That part seriously annoys me when fans sing that crap when its
    0-0 away from home and we are down to 10 men and the team needs support.

    Now dont get me wrong if they had sung it when Djorouh and Gibbs went off with hamstrings tuesday night I could have understood it.

    But these guys seem to singing it when we are not winning a game and not for any genuine reason what so ever. Its pathetic and is just about the result on the day not whether we need players at all.

  • critic

    Nice read.

    I hope arsenal go through CL qualifiers. If the unthinkable happen fans will go wild and arsene position will be under threat.

  • Rog B

    Excellent read,hopefully that will wipe the mist from the constant/current BLITZKRIEG that Arsenal/Arsene/We are enduring via the media in all forms. It’s stuff like Nicks blog that helped forge a ‘never say die’ mentality during the second world war epsecially on the home front,and we all know the final result of that 6 year match,that was played all over the world. Brilliant Untold keep it up.

  • Rog B

    @AAA this one is for you
    Refering to the 2nd world war in my last post I’ve just asked my parents what exortations(ie dig for victory,walls have ears etc) they could remember from their time in that period and my mum came up with a peach that to me seems to sum up exactly the kind of media vitriol that Arsenal are recipients of, Untold are trying to decipher this through Media watch and this is one especially explains the reasons why they are doing so: COFFS AND SNEEZES SPREAD DISEASES-USE YOUR HANDKECHIEFS. Basically a little whisper turns into gossip then rumour then fact….get me?

  • Adam

    So everything’s alright then. The whiff of persecution hangs conveniently in the air. It wasn’t John Cross who so spinelessly capitulated last season and it wasn’t James Lawton either. It was a team, put together on the cheap who just weren’t up to the job. If they were they would have won the league or a cup. They didn’t and it wasn’t Man City or Chelsea with their mad spending power who prevented it. It was a team with a good core who were badly served in the transfer market by a manager who really,really ought to have strengthened the glaring inadequacies during the January transfer window. A fact that he himself acknowledged by ” nearly” signing Samba.The trophy cabinet tells the end of the story and the results tell you how it was lost. Blaming the media or the fans or the referees or the FA or the players really misses the point. We haven’t won anything for a long time and we should have.

  • Stevie E

    I think I understand those who think 6 years is a long time to wait for a trophy, I think they started supporting because of either the doubles or the invincibles. 6 years ain’t a long time. My Dad supports Cardiff city, any idea how long its been since they won anything? Does he still support them? Of course!! Man city are currently recruiting glory supporters, all you plastic Arsenal fans, fuck off up north, I’m sick of hearing you crying like babies cos you haven’t got a trophy.

  • Gooner Gal

    This is a very good article with some great supporting comments. It is just a shame that those that disagree have been unable to form a coherent argument against it.

    I post a link to a premiership club, for whom the penny has finally dropped about spending more than they earn.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/14570624.stm

  • Rog B

    @Adam and if Arsenal had spent plenty of money they hav’nt got(look at spurs,they havnt got a penny and spent alot more than us last season and have gone backwards) who’s to say that we would have won something? You and many like you do’nt seem to get it,you can’t spend what you havnt got, which is what the clubs/western world have been doing for the last ten years and now look what a mess we are all in. But thats all irrelevant,a trophy is all alot of people can see,as opposed to what I see which is in the current ecenomical climate atleast I know my club will still be there in 100 years time,can’t see half the current clubs who exist now being there in 100 years myself. But hey F@ck the future I wanna trophy now…Great

  • Limestonegunner

    The other possible exception is Bayern Munich. They aren’t funded by oligarchs, oil money, or bad business banking practices. They build a new stadium, often win their league (less rigorous than ours to be sure) and challenge in the Champions League. They also occasionally do splash out for a major star and pay large transfer fees and wages.

    Lyon might have to face a similar circumstance to us now that PSG has been taken over by a Qatari group.

    If we did better commercially we might have a better chance to even the odds.

  • M.V

    Wish I could read an article like this in the newspaper…sadly most people won’t be able too, and slowly start believing the garbage they are writing at the moment. I was shocked when benitez got the sack at liverpool, but to think it could happen to Arsenal is impossible…

  • Gooner girl you are always updated and Stevie E i,m wondering why all plastic arsenal fanatics can not join Man city after all they have d FA let the glory hunters join them. You either with us or fuck off.All the doom-sawyers said we will be doomed after 2 matches we are still intact and still going strong. We used to clobber Liverpool with the under 14S but wot about with the under 18s! I wonder wot they will be vomiting after pool. Give us a break.

  • J

    Best article of the summer … bravo

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Kampala gun, I had hoped we would of shifted a few of them on with the ticket prices not winning and player departures, but they have become sad and bitter instead. They have decided to just try and spread their gloom which just isn’t healthy for themselves or the club.
    .
    Last year they screamed for Jole Cole, Calton Cole, William Gallas and Shay Given. None of these players went on to have good years, granted Gallas and Given were seriously injured for most of it, so I have no idea why the youtube scouts think they should be listened too this year.
    .
    I thought Jack Wilshere was ready for the 1st team last year, but many thought he needed another year on loan. Theo last year off the back of his none appearance at the WC and constant slating by the press was villified early on by our ‘supporters’ who agreed with Capello that he wasn’t good enough.
    .
    What I am basically saying is that too many know nothings, say too much. They are often silly gossip’s that do not have an understanding of our club and footall in general – no matter how hard people try to explain it to them. They get their info or ammo from media idiots like John Cross and agents leaks trying to make money off the back of Arsenal. There comes a point when then these ‘supporters’ should just throw in the towel as they are not tough enough to be Gooners. This club suits the brave,fearless and intelligent.

  • jayj

    any more players coming through our doors?

  • Stevie E

    @Gooner Gal
    Well said. Most of these idiots hadn’t even heard of Mata before all the press started linking him to us and now he’s the answer to our midfield and without him we’ll win nothing. Same with Samba, nobody would have said he’s an arsenal quality player, now not a day goes by without the press saying we can’t compete without him. AW has forgotten more about football than these wannabe’s will ever know, they need to start showing him the respect he has earned before we lose him. That scares me. Losing Cesc or Nasri, I can live with that, losing the boss would be a nightmare

  • jayj

    BREAKING NEWS:

    Jadson in london!!!!

  • Domhuaille

    Adam……you are SO eager to blame that you ignore the facts. 6 years without a trophy mean nothing if we’ve maintained our top 4 standing and our CL place all those years, which we have. We came close in 2007 to winning the CL and in 2008 the EPL title and we came close to winning a trophy last year. This isn’t a sign of a weak spirited or inadequate team, it is a sign that we are rapidly approaching the denouement…a trophy or title.
    Your take on the new players misses one important thing.Last season we were close until the end of the run-in. We only lost one of our 8 games after the CCup and while we didn’t have enough to catch Manure, we did show we could stay in it despite your spineless opinions. Now we have brought in young but very talented individuals and they will be blooded into the first team much sooner than thought due to unpredictable injuries and predictable departures. Ryo,Gervinho,Campbell,OAC, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Wilshere, Vermaelen and Ramsey are top class and will add real drive to our already strong base. Had we had these guys last run-in we might very well have won it. We have them now and with Walcott and RVP on-fire like they are, Song playing great Football, Szcesny playing like the world-beater he is, Koscielny partnering with the Verminator and squad players like Diaby, Traore, Gibbs, Afobe, Bendtner(for how long?)Rosicky and Arshavin, we can expect some great football and better results.
    If you don’t agree…prove me wrong!

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Stevie E, I agree with all your comments on this post. Arsene Wenger has played a massive part in developing these players and it would be an absolute disaster if he went.
    .
    Last month people were losing their minds because Liverpool had signed Jordan Henderson and we hadn’t signed anyone. We have since signed 4 players (Jenkinson, Gevinho, Alex OC and Campbell) and fully promoted Frimpong to the first team, got Ramsey looking stronger with each passing and Ryo has been given a work permit. But yet the light weights are in a state of panic about who is coming and going.
    .
    Arsenal do not reside in a location like Newcastle or Sunderland where it would be a bit of a risk to walk around with the wrong football shirt on. I am not sure if it is the same everywhere, but in London people can change allegiance’s quite easily if they are not up to supporting through thick and thin all the players and manager this season.

  • Well said @Gooner gal as always Arsene bring mysteries amongst us and i expect him to DO so this time around.@Stevie E you know why they are on him? He makes the bookmakers TRASH & lose cash they talk of Cahill he brings in Jenkins-on,they talk of Mata he unleashes Frimpong talk of the Professor.

  • Stevie E

    @Gooner Gal
    Not sure about walking around without risk, I live in Walthamstow, big West Ham area, going to my local to watch a match is always a bit nervy. I usually hop on the vic line to finsbury, much better atmosphere 😉

  • toto

    Very good discussion everyone. No doubt there has been an upsurge of negative publicity about Arsene and Arsenal lately. Of course no one blames the media for the team’s failure to win a trophy, we blame the media for whipping up this storm and create an impression of a club lurching from crisis to crisis. Some of them are even declaring that ‘the Arsenal empire is crumbling’. StevieE makes the very good point about 6 years not being a very long time. Where have you ever read that Liverpool are under pressure to win the league otherwise the fans will revolt? Or even mentioning that they haven’t won a trophy for 5 years since the FA cup in 2006? If football clubs’ main reason to exist was to win trophies then we wouldn’t have a league of 20 teams right now. Let the glory hunters find another team to associate with and leave us to support our The Arsenal.

  • Stevie E

    @kampala gun
    I hadn’t thought of that, makes sense though. I suppose the pundits hate him for exactly the same reason, he shows em up! We’re on to em though, ref watch will bring the truth, the soon to be seen media watch will expose the press’s vindictive attack on our club. The truth will out, we’re using the latest and most powerful weapon available to us and I’ve got no doubt that untold is read daily by the powers at the ems, we will be heard and the antiquated press are bricking it so will do everything they can to get AW out before they are exposed as the low down scum they are.
    Of subject, news at 10 telling how man u shares are being sold in asia in a d

  • Stevie E

    (Whoops) desperate bid to pay off some of the massive debts they’re incurring. The beginning of the end?

  • Ugandan Goon- supporting the lord Wenger now more than ever

    @a few on here,
    Get it right, there is only one thing you have to understand, everything arsenal FC do is dictated by a tight budget.
    We don’t buy expensive players, because we’d have to pay top wages, top wages for some and not others does not work, you have to pay everybody top wages. if you spend all your money paying top wages, you cannot pay for the stadium, you cannot pay for the stadium, you have no home, you have no home you are bankrupt, then no more arsenal. party over, time to get you head out of your arse and join the real world, of course it would have been better if like a sensible person you had laid out a wage structure and a recruitment policy which suited your budget in the first place. it’s crazy and revolutionary in these times but guess what, thats what the club is doing!

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Stevie E, I know East London quite well and would only really warn people against wearing a Millwall shirt to certain parts.

    What I mean is that you wouldn’t get beaten up if you stopped wearing an Arsenal shirt round London and changed it to Chelsea, Spuds, QPR, Fulham etc. You might get laughed at, but that is a different issue.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @tony,
    Forget your wage structure, this Nick Tolhurst chap is worth bankrupting Untold Arsenal for!

  • Stevie E

    @Gooner Gal
    I see what you’re saying and you’re right. Millwall, bless em, they’re a bit weird south of the river 🙂

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Nick Tolhurst,
    Wow, quality support mate!
    I am eternally grateful for the shot in the arm, that you article was- it is just sad that in these dark days, optimism about our beloved club’s future is quickly drowned by the sound of toys smashing on the floor after falling from a great height, as you would expect from prams big enough to accomodate grown men!

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Stevie E, The BBC has an interesting article on Man U. The writer spoils it a bit by bringing Arsenal into the equation.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/davidbond/2011/08/why_man_utd_asian_float_could.html

    I am hoping that 3 positives come from this float:-

    1. Jabba the Hun divests his shares with us and buys into the club he loves.

    2. The Swiss Ramble gets his hands on the Man U accounts and gives us a break down on what is really going on, since they will have to be more transparent.

    3. The real world catches up to Man U and the share price falls dramatically.

  • Adam

    “Treat the Arsenal well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Arsenal from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”
    Cheesy I know but could not help myself.

  • Charlie

    Best article that i have read in a very long time. Very intelligently written. We have a virus spreading through this club and it’s the plastic glory-hunting supporters who joined this club in the double year. Without the intelligence to analyse the situation fully they look at the lack of trophies and want to sack the greatest manager that the club has ever had. The sooner we shake off this virus the better it’ll be for everyone involved in the club. I hear them threaten not to go to games or to sell their season tickets and i’m just praying that they follow through with their promise. After all our players are more likely to be booed by our own fans than by the opposing fans and that is a DISGRACE !

  • Nipuna

    Till 2005, everyone said that no team under Arsene has ever finished outside the top two. But it did happen in 2006 and we never got back into the top two since.

    Now people are saying that no team under Arsene has ever finished outside the top four, like it could never happen.

    I think we are good enough to finish in the top 4, after all the competition is Spurs and Pool, but should that be the limit of our ambition?

  • Ed

    good article and again, i just think some fans need a bit of persepctive.

    The doomsayers are complaining about the past 6 years as though we had got relegated and were in the Conference League. We havent! we have been consistently challenging for the 2 biggest club trophies in the world – the Premiership and the Champions League. All whilst other clubs are bankrolled by billionaires or have huge loans from banks i cannot see how they will pay off. All whilst these clubs unsettle our best players who think the grass is greener and money talks – e.g. nasri, hleb, Flamini, adebayor etc.

    There are hundreds of clubs in UK and Europe who would have loved to have our failures… and hundreds of clubs who are jealous of our 4th place in the league, final of the carling cup, and 2nd round of Champions League.

    And it is a bit concerning when on other forums, it’s Arsenal “fans” who are the ones complaining about wenger, the board, the players. And it takes the likes of Spurs fans or liverpool fans who tell us to lighten up cos we could be in a worse position because they’ve been there.

    Its a bit like my friends who are in fairly decent professional jobs complaining about not getting paid enough. They are still in the richest 5% in the world. Just like arsenal are better than 95% of the teams in the world. Appreciate where we are, because it could be a lot lot lot lot worse.

  • Anuj

    Surely we have to look at what value kroenke is bringing to the club now rather than question Arsene Wenger. He should at the very least outline a vision for the club, as a new owner of any business would. Makes me wonder if the Russian fella would actually have been the better option ; he has at least publicly spoken of investing in the team.

    It is all well and good trying to foster a sense of camaraderie among our young group to propel them to success in order to combat the £50 notes flying at us however this is continually undermined by what I would call a vacuum of leadership and maturity on and off the pitch. For a man of such arsenal pedigree such as Patrick vieira to be given a development role at man city rather than arsenal is absolutely criminal. I know some of you may say well we don’t know if the club offered him
    A deal but having seen how slow the club is in conducting it’s transfer affairs I have little belief that they did. A man if his ilk would be an invaluable presence to have around these young players. They need to feel a sense of belonging and a part of something
    “more than just a club” if we are going to hold on to them
    In the future. And to be perfectly honest I would be happy with no signings if we attempted to change things from the inside such as promoting steve bould to defensive team coach.
    There are many things we can do as a club to better promote our chance of success that have nothing to do with transfer dealings. These get left behind as Arsene takes on too much responsibility and is grossly over-worked. I don’t blame Gazidis as he is several years wengers junior and is still relatively new to the club to tell wenger what to do even in affairs outside the team. But kroenke on the other hand is not. And his silence is incredibly worrying, and perhaps indicative of his lack of real understanding of the mood of the club dare I say he is not even bothered. Arsene has a great vision for the club but it needs modernising,nothing drastic just some tweaking.

  • PatAgen

    excellent article Nick.

  • Kentetsu

    May there appear many more articles of this kind on Untold.

    I believe in the vision Wenger has for the club and the path he has taken troughout his tenure. He has never been willing to break the bank for any player and neither should he. There are numerous examples of expensive players at other clubs who have not brought the success the club was looking for, whether that is through underachievement or a lack of cohesion in the team. Point in case is C. Ronaldo, the most expensive player in the world, scored plenty of goals, but still no La Liga trophee of CL trophee for Madrid in the past two years. Or Ibrahimovich to Barcelona, shoved out of the door after one year. Spending a lot of money is no guarantee for success.
    Instead Wenger is willing to spend sensible (not over the odds) amounts of money on the right players, who might just as well turn out to be superstars. He has done this before and he will do this again. And that some other club is willing to pay Arsenal triple or quadruple the initial sum we paid once they are over their peak is, to me, shrewd management. I don’t understand why other people see a problem with selling a player for more than he cost you once he gave already everything for the club.

    In the end Wenger has always managed to create cohesive teams who were challenging for top honours. He has done that without breaking the bank, but by following his own vision and his own style. Every Gooner should be proud to have such a man as the manager, willing to go against the tide and still be in the top.

    Luckily – and to some extent unlucky (i.e. refs) – which team wins the title is decided by many factors and not just by which team has the most value running around. There is always an element of unpredictability. That’s why people watch football: you are never guaranteed beforehand which team is going to win. And even if all the odds are against Arsenal, I am confident we can challenge again for the title this season and for many more seasons to come. I trust in Wenger and am sure he will bring us more successes.

  • Ed

    @Anuj
    I think Kroenke (and Gazidis partly) have brought their business know how, which explains why they had the tour in Asia and changing their marketing strategies. Arsenal are fairly low in terms of money from commercial income (shirts etc.) so if Arsenal are to compete with man utd, chelsea, man city, without a sugar daddy… the increase in income through commercial sales around the world is the only way to do it. They still cant splash billions but it would help.

    I am not sure what the russian billionaire plans but it may not work. Man City are still not champions and perhaps only just getting to title contendres stage after wasting hundreds of millions on players that didnt fit (adebayor, given, bridge, bellamy) and Chelsea arguably lost the league last year because of buying Torres… was Ancelotti forced to play him??

    I would prefer the Arsenal way and still have dignity when we win.

    However, i do agree with you about the comraderie and leadership. I have recently mentioned the spirit of Man Utd that ferguson gets into them (not cos im a closet Man U fan – in fact i hate them and hate Red Nose) but i watched them in some games when they were losing or perhaps not playing well where they have come back to win and i just wish some arsenal players would be like that too. They didnt necessarily play better or have more talent, but just going into 50/50 balls more determined, chasing back, more effort to get into position…

  • andy bishop

    The Arsenal board and management team can only control what Arsenal do. If other teams choose to spend millions on players transfers and wages that is up to them. Transfer and wages are now out of all proportion to anything that is sane. Sustainable?..thats another question. My view as long as there is oil and prices continue to rise then someone somewhere will always invest vast amounts to see their team win things. It is a rich mans playground. We have made a business decision to not compete for the very best players..so there is a consequence to that. The late 90’s saw us in a good financial position with a solid squad of players. In comes the next best world manager and agreed investment in the established players he wanted. With his new dietry and training regimes, development of youth we stole a march and trophy success followed..happy days. Arsene Wenger has developed a team and style to succeed in Europe.. I believe the one trophy he wants above all. Is it enough to bring domestic trophy success? Realistically more and more faithful fans are questioning this..it does not make them traitors or fairweather fans. Things have changed, massive investments in Chelsea, Man City and Man U have elevated these clubs in terms of results, we have decided to not compete financially and therefor rely heavily upon Wengers abilities. I am not one who wants him sacked..I suspect he will walk away once he realises his aspirations are not attainable. This could be the year watch this space!

  • Charlie

    Let’s see, should the limit of our ambition be competing with two teams of limitless wealth and the most successful team in the history of English football ?

  • Adam

    @Rog B. This is well worn path. If someone suggests that the club might spend some money people like you immediately claim that people like me want Wenger to immediately bankrupt the club. That argument is , frankly , stupid. I don’t want that and nobody I know wants that, but it is a lazy and convenient way for you to think. Wenger himself says that he almost signed Samba and only the other day said that he is prepared to spend £40 million on a player. So how does that square with your ideas that we are paupers? We are a rich club who have the balance of payments to players completely out of kilter. We were paying Cesc more than he is earning with the best team in the world for Chrissakes. Obviously we cannot compete with Chelsea and Man City. But, we take over £3 million through the gate every home match, have a manageable debt and moved to the Emirates in order that we can make those critical buys at critical times. I don’t want or expect Wenger to spend wildly but I would have though that he could spend wisely.

  • jayj

    Arsene will risk losing his job this season, the screws are turning, Nasri leaving will turn the fans against him. The board will not stand by him even though it may not even be his decisions on players leaving or coming in.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Just a warning, there are once again people trying to post things under other names. And by coincidence they are anti-wenger posts.

    We try to keep the trolls out but if any escapes: don’t feed them.

  • Harry Flowers

    A brilliant article Nick. Thanks. It’s a crying shame that folks never see this kind of intelligent and reasoned assessment in the mainstream media, even the so-called “quality press” (hah).

    Keep up the good work Tony!

  • Dgeoel

    All dissatisfied gooners can stop watching our games but they wont. Why? The idiots like our football!!
    They want Wenger to splush. I say if Wenger wants to flush, let him buy himself a Ferari if he doesn’t own one already.
    Not every big name player can play our kind of game irrespective of how much they may cost. Wondered why most players go into obscurity after leaving Arsenal? Arsenal is about precision and coordinated movement. Look at David Silva at City. a great player when he was playing in Spain but now looks lost having to chase after misplaced passes.I fear for Nasri because I do not think he will thrive under City’s style of play but surely the money will be good.

  • jayj

    There’s more to this Nasri story than meets the eye.

  • Gord

    It’s been a few hours, maybe nobody is coming back?

    In terms of other teams that have been successful training and selling players, the amount of money that generates is a drop in the bucket compared to what the billionaires can drop on a team.

    I don’t know how the media decided that Arsenal was the team to hound to death (sure, Arsenal will fail if the media manage to chase all their players out of town). But, the team that is in the most danger from this recent desire of billionaires to have football teams is ManUtd. They had the largest standing, largely acquired in a conventional manner. In the news, they are selling their interests in some Asian club, and they are trying to raise money in Asian markets (or is this just 2 parts of the same story?). But, ManUtd has been on shaky financial footing for a while, and the owners are not capable of competing with the billionaires. Liverpool likewise doesn’t have the capital to compete on any kind of long term basis. Arsenal have done well with getting into Champions League consistently, and it earns them considerable revenue. If the owner of Liverpool is smart, he might just decide that it isn’t feasible to compete with ManCity and Chelsea for the league, the point to aim for is 3rd and 4th for the Champions League places.

    Does UEFA chastise ManCity and Chelsea, and take away their Champions League places? Would that mean 5th and 6th in the EPL would also be Champions League places? I doubt it.

    All of this money is like a drug. And it is going to warp the system.

  • D. Riza

    @ Nick Tolhurst
    “And yet without wishing to sabotage the good work of this website it does seem as if there is something in the air in North London that points to the fact that maybe, just maybe, this year will be different.”
    – This something in the air feeling comes from continuously reading/discussing/listening all these negative views about Arsenal that are being spread. You shouldn’t give in to this feelings. There’s no point in worrying so much over something that you can’t do anything about (for the moment at least).
    Yes Fabregas has left, yes Nasri will probably leave, and there is still a concern about the defence; but this is not the time to think about what we can achieve at the end of the season. The transfer market closes on the 1st of September. By then AW might buy 1-2 players or he might not. Our realistic aim / potential for this season (actually until december 31st since things might change in the January transfer window as well) can be pondered only then. So for this month just hope that we don’t lose any match.

  • Mike_gooner

    When I were 5 I used to attend Highbury every sat for many years. I grew up loving the team I used to watch.
    Today I see a team who no longer plays like the team I grew up to love.
    It is made up of youngsters who don’t give their 100% and a manager who’s tactics are clearly not working. Arsenals decline is made up of Wengers failed desicions and tactical errors. We do have a strong squad but we also have failed players on the payroll, I would not call these quality players.
    Arsenal makes the mistake of placing these players in odd positions and many times I’ve noticed he would sub good players with bad thus changing the course of the game. I don’t really know how the coaches train this team but it definitely isn’t the Arsenal way. Arsenals strikers lack forward skill and goal accuracy. Ramsey is useless yet he is played in every losing match. Ramsey, gevinio, diharou and to name the few do not deserve to be played, they lack enthusiasm and quality. Guys wake up. Wenger is not doing a good job.