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Whatever happened to the notion of loyalty to the club?

By Arvind

I know this is an Arsenal site and largely one is supposed to talk about football. In light, however, of what has recently transpired with RVP and now Alex Song as well, I feel compelled to write a very brief piece about why what these 2 did was wrong, in my opinion. I will keep it short and map it back to football in the end; of course because otherwise it will be a pointless article. Coming to the point, what is loyalty?

The word loyalty is defined in Wikipedia as “Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause.” That’s accurate to an extent. However, what matters is the reason you are loyal, not the loyalty itself.

A large part of humanity is loyal to their families. They place them in high esteem and would possibly do anything for them. The family though is not an entity by itself; it consists of certain people with certain qualities you appreciate, like and at times adore. And those people have many a time done something for you, helped you out when you needed help, been there for you when you are down, sat and listened to you when you wanted to talk etc etc. These things are not tangible; you’d never measure any of this in monetary terms. It isn’t possible. It is a debt which can possibly never be repaid, in certain cases. In this situation, people do stay loyal a lot. And so they should.

The other part of your life is your professional side. You switch numerous jobs throughout your lifetime; some more than the rest. A line that I’ve heard many people say is…after all it is just a job, it pays you to support your family..that’s it. You don’t need to be loyal there. You get paid, you do work, you move on. That’s it.

Nothing IMO could be further from the truth. If your employer has invested in you, trained you, given you a good environment to work in and largely been good to you, it is because he feels  … Yes, the guy is good and will be good for me and the organization. Let me make sure he feels wanted and happy and pay him as well as I can, so that he is satisfied and it is a win-win situation for both of us. Knowing all this, if the employee breaks away when the employer needs him the most, it is not correct. The employee just took took took …and never returned anything and jumped as soon as he had a chance. He consoled himself saying that by staying ‘so long’ he has already repaid the debt.

The most important bit of loyalty though is what you show to yourself. Your code of ethics. Your morals. The day you say something but do something else; it is the beginning of the end and you have lost the right to ever lift a finger and criticize someone else. If you are paid and underwork, if you do not do what is expected of you or you praise in front but criticize behind one’s back, it is all hypocritical behaviour which is the worst form of disloyalty.

I started supporting Arsenal, I think around 2001-02..one of the first games I remember was Henry scoring at Valencia and us getting knocked out of the CL. The other game I remember is Sylvian Wiltord scoring at OT. Since then there’s been many players who have left the club. Here’s a not so complete list Lauren, Campbell, Cole, Freddie, Gilberto, Viera, Pires, Henry, Toure, Clichy, Flamini, Gallas, Adebayor, Cesc, Hleb, Nasri, RVP and now Song. Of course I missed many. Many of them have talked utter drivel after leaving the club..RVP’s ‘little boy comment’…being up up there with them.

All of these players contributed to Arsenal and some would have wanted to leave, some forced out, some retired..and so on. No one would begrudge them their livelihood, they are all free to go where they want and make as much money as they want or try and win as many trophies as they want. Not many have done it properly..sadly. The way Henry did it is the right way. Don’t burn your bridges. You’ll always be welcome here. Toure and Clichy for that matter. They play at City too..do they ever get booed when  they come here? No. It is because they left well. Without opening their mouths, being respectful when they didn’t get what they wanted.

So RVP, Alex? Go to ManU. Go to Barcelona. Go by all means. But do it well. You do not need to make disgusting statements like you made (RVP) or forget what you were when away at Fulham (Alex) and who has helped make you what you are. Do not talk about Arsenal as a second family and home and that you’d cry if you had to leave and then leave when the club thinks you will stay. It is very clear IMO that all that so called love that RVP had for the club was not that strong. No ..again…I do not say this because he has gone. You can love a club and still go; it is a short career after all. But to disrespect the club as you did, is not the right thing to do.

I think I have just rambled a bit here and it is not a great piece…by any means…but I wanted to put this out there and tell the world – it is not Arsenal that RVP and Song have been disloyal to…it is to themselves..first and foremost…and then Arsenal.

157 comments to Whatever happened to the notion of loyalty to the club?

  • Alex

    Well Said!
    Players come and go. But to spit on the face of those who have guided you and helped you, is a disgrace.
    No you are not Gooners. No you wont ever be seen as a ‘Legendary Gooner’.
    Basically, you have shown your true self and that your words mean nothing. Go ahead, Chase your money as you are entitled to do,but do not disrespect us fans further by trying to state your love for ‘The Arsenal’. You just end up looking like a fool!

  • Andy Lodge

    Not that I have any evidence to the facts other than reading your blogs and many more , it strikes me that the catalyst to most of the disruption at Arsenal has been the agent Darren Dein. All the players he was responsible for appear to have left and it wouldn’t surprise me if Arsenal have nothing more to do with him in future , similar to the agent connected with George Graham. As usual there is an over reaction by the anti Arsenal press and in particular Richardson on the Sunday Supplement yesterday. To call Cazorla a poor mans Fabregas shows that he knows nothing about football.

  • stonroy

    I think your last statement sums it all up.

  • chris from Cambridge

    Darren Dein is killing 2 birds with one stone. 1] He earns a fortune when he moves players out 2] He gets back at those who sacked his father. Or am I too cynical ?

  • Scott

    Its funny that some of these guys are so loyal when things aren’t going well for them professionally,but as soon as they hit top form and are worth top dollar,they want out.
    Robin,why is it you had no issue with the clubs vision when you spent the first 7 years watching in the stands with an injury?
    How about when in a prison cell….you LOVED our ambition then!
    Song…well,really,who cares?
    The guys overrated anyway.

  • nyand

    Why should RVP be loyal to a club owned by a billionaire? If the club was owned by the fans, RVP and Song would be real traitors. Football is big business. It is all about the money and the biggest money goes to the biggest ego.

    Fans seem to have a patriotic love to their club. But, irregardless of the proud history of Arsenal, football is just a game. In a game, as long as you play within the rules, there is nothing like greed: why do teams pump ten goals in a game they would have already won with a four nil margin?

    The individual player must ruthlessly play his own game of surviving and get the best out of his situation. The losers of the player’s skill and stamina would not be thrilled by how ruthless the player plays his game or taking care of himself. In the same way, no supporter of a team is thrilled when their team is given an eight goal thrashing by an opposing team greedy for greatness and goals.

    Football is about egomania. The one whose ego is bruised in this egomaniac game tastes the sanity that is humility but is too addicted to ego trips to want more of the medicine flushing out the chest thumping poison.

  • nicky

    In order to determine the cause of disloyalty in professional football today, it is necessary to search its birth.
    TerrestrialTV=Advertising=SatelliteTV=WorldwideCoverage=
    =obscenewagesvia agents.
    In addition, the power has moved from Clubs to Players aided, of course by the infamous Bosman ruling.
    The rollercoaster of greed is still on the move and IMO nothing will stop it except a massive global financial disaster. There is one pending, by the way, just around the corner…waiting to happen.

  • elkieno

    Nyand: maybe you should read the article again. Especially the last line.
    I thought you summed it up in one fell swoop.
    Let all the beggars go and hang with the rest of the putrid scum that talk about us, we dont need them.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Did I just read that? Did I persevere with that drivel? Come on Untold Arsenal, this is the second post I have read on this site over the last three weeks that has disappointed me for being so banal!

  • Arvind

    @Nyand: As I said..I am fine with people going. Just do it well without contradicting all your previous statements.

    @Georgaki: You didn’t have to read; really. The title should have told you what the article was going to be about….or certainly the first few lines. The next time..if you feel something is not worth your time.. don’t read it.

  • colario

    What I think Arvind is saying is “Players if you want to leave do so, that is your right but don’t slag of the club in public be loyal to it.
    In most cases Arsenal, under Asene’s reign has made you the player you are. Common decency says for this alone you owe the club loyalty of mouth at least.

    If when leaving or after leaving you show disrespect for Arsenal then don’t be surprised if we the fans turn against you.

    We don’t deny your right to leave, we may not like it but we can accept that is how football is today. Its bad mouthing or writing that turns us against you.

    Tony Adams is quoted as having said to players ‘Play for the name on the shirt and the fans will remember the name of the back of the shirt.’

    When you played for Arsenal we believed in you and at our own expense supported you. Attack the club and you attack us. Don’t expect a warm welcome should we meet you.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – Why don’t you write something orginal and submit it here. It would be good to know if you are anything other than haughty and egotistical.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Arvind – I enjoyed reading this interesting piece and you make some very valid ‘food for thought’ points.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Very sorry Arvind and Gonna Gal. Didn’t mean to appear haughty and egotistical. I hope I’m not. Sometimes I forget that posting is of course voluntary. Still, there’s too much rubbish and sometimes I cannot resist commenting. I am a scientist and survive by publishing my research so I must support every point I make. I tend to react too aggressively when people write unsubstantiated opinion. At the end of the day I regard blogs such as this entertainment. Don’t really want to upset people but still not impressed I’m afraid.

    Maybe one day I will write something!

  • nyand

    My point is loyalty is only a dispensable aspect in the game that is football. Players must front to b loyal so that theybenefit as much as possible from a club. RVP does not know the fans personally and does not need to even care about the fans. He is a worker, the fans and club owners are his bosses.

    Arsenal did not ‘make ‘RVP as this would be as if the club was doing charity work towards its players. Salaries and wages are actually called compensation, which is the same word used in situations of suffering an accident or an injury.

    Football players are essentially used as playthings beautifully playing the beautiful game. The fans use the player to boosts their egos. The club owners sell to the maximum the player’s image. Look at how Real Madrid recoups transfer fees in selling Shirts.

    The players know that they are almost being whored around. The fans are too drunk on their own egos to understand that the money they are offering their players is not enough to compensate the players for using them like robots which can quickly be denounced as ‘deadwood’.

  • Stevie E

    Arvind
    Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with @Georgaki, I don’t think you’re response was particularly well thought out. Coming out with the “just don’t read it if you don’t like it” line is a bit churlish. If, for example, you had a favourite restaurant, went there regularly and came to expect a certain standard of cooking and then had a bad meal, you would be well within your rights to complain. If the response to you was “you don’t have to eat here, go somewhere else” you would probably feel rather annoyed. It’s very easy to mop up the plaudits but you have to expect that not everyone will agree or even appreciate your efforts. You can’t have it all your own way.

    With regards to your article, I do feel this subject has been done to death and I read this with the hope of finding a new angle. Unfortunately I didn’t. In addition I found you’re last line very self serving. Football players change clubs all the time. Are the ones who come to play for Arsenal any less disloyal to their previous clubs than the players who leave us? Are we being disloyal to the players who haven’t reached the heights expected of them when we move them on? Being a footballer is just a job. It’s not their fault that people expect them to be more than they actually are. Being built up to be role models is nothing to do with them, it’s an invention of the media so the can put these guys up on a pedestal so it’s easier to knock them down when the do something human, like get drunk or, god forbid, change the company they work for. Don’t expect them to be loyal to the club just because you are, you’re just setting yourself up for a fall.

    Sorry mate, “I think I have just rambled a bit here and it is not a great piece…by any means…” I agree.

  • Arvind

    @Georgaki: The article which i wrote was not a factual piece. It was about when you should and should not be loyal. I’m not sure how I can measure it. If you feel it is possible, please let me know – I am happy to be corrected.

    @nyand: Again…I have no problem with people leaving and maximising their good years. Do it in private and not disrespectfully in public, dragging the club through the dirt. That is all I am saying.

    That is what RVP has done. Did the club talk about how he was involved in a rape scandal when he was young in public? Or his performance in training? Or that he had a terrible attitude when he was young? Yes..that’s bad for them too but Arsenal have always tried to protect their players too. Players know they can get away with more at Arsenal than any other top club.

    @StevieE: With all due respect, do let me know, what else could I have said? If you don’t like something I do, then do it nevertheless and then tell me ‘I didn’t like your food but I ate it’. I could ask you what is wrong(which I have asked Georgaki) above ..if you still refuse to answer and just complain…all I can tell you is…Okay if the food sucks that bad…please do not come here. Do let me know what other responses are even possible? That’s not rhetorical. It is a question.

    Secondly and for the last time for the benefit of any one else who reads this… I DO UNDERSTAND that people will switch and it is a job and all that. I am saying…if at all you do it… do it respectfully.
    I hope that is clear.

    Lastly yes..I do know it is not a great piece. That is because it is very subjective and there are no facts as such or any objective standard I can measure anything against. I felt it was a subject I wanted to talk about and hence wrote. That’s all. You not liking it is your right.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – What a rubbish excuse. Clearly your supposition is that only you have an analytical mind and hence both me and Arvind need to appreciate your level of intellect which causes you to sometimes involuntarily react and dismiss an article considering the human psyche because it isn’t to you’re taste.

  • Super Singh

    Good people, It’s not the players, manager or the board who are The Arsenal? It’s US! The common people who are The Arsenal family, we breathe, sleep, think and love Arsenal.
    So all these players that kiss the badge, state their love for the club and then leave for more money, just show’s their real love?
    The only players in recent times that can say they were loyal servants to the club are Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    It’s an honest excuse, I’m sorry it’s not enough for you. Again, I never intended to cast aspersions about Arvind’s or your intellect. We clearly do not know each other but sometimes people ‘choose’ to be offended. I hope you’re not but do get off your high horse. Anyway, I’m not the only one who was not impressed with this piece…

  • Stevie E

    Arvind
    Thanks for coming back to me. What were you supposed to say? Maybe “hi Georgie, what was it about the article you didn’t like?” as opposed to “The next time..if you feel something is not worth your time.. don’t read it.” how are you supposed to know if an article is good or bad unless you read it? Based on the fact that nearly all articles on Untold are well written, it’s a safe assumption that this would be too. The problem I found with this article is the subject been done to death. It’s all everyone has been talking about one way or another over the past couple of weeks since the RvP story broke. If youve got nothing new to add, what’s the point? I’m sorry, I’ve read your articles in the past and have found them enjoyable, but this one for me smacks of just jumping on the bandwagon. Not very Untold, just Alreadytold. In addition, you yourself acknowledge this isnt a good article, so why publish it? In all honesty, you’ve told Georgieboy not to read an article you yourself find poor. Can’t really blame him or me or anyone for voicing an opinion that simply agrees with yours.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    You have to wonder, since we’re talking about loyalty, what on earth is going on in Alex Song’s head.
    He fitted into our midfield perfectly because we need a physical DM who disrupts the opposition directly.
    Now he’s gone to Barca, where he will be a substitute centreback at best. Unless he’s been signed to displace Busquets, who provides nothing much in the way of creativity from a deep position.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    I love the way Stevie E are so familiar that he refers to me as Georgie and Georgieboy

    Great link Walter…Many thanks…now back to work…

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – exactly! We don’t know eact other and therefore the things we say has greater emphasis. So saying this

    …’Did I just read that? Did I persevere with that drivel?’

    or this

    …..’this is the second post I have read on this site over the last three weeks that has disappointed me for being so banal!’

    or this

    ….’Don’t really want to upset people but still not impressed I’m afraid’.

    These comments are taken as read.

    Trying to turn it around and tell me to get of my high horse will not work either when that message was given to you. You say that your not the only one not impressed by this piece, so are the voice of the people? I challenge you to write something worthy and submit it. Give the people what they want to read.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – I am glad you have found a friend in Stevie E, haha!

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Goona Gal

    Please calm down. You’re showing signs of hysteria.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Goona Gal

    Why? Do you know something untoward about him?

  • Arvind

    @StevieE: Fair enough about me being a little defensive initially. In fairness though I did follow up asking Georgaki whether he could measure it. I’m happy to learn.

    Why publish it? Well…human ethics are a subject that interest me a lot. And we do talk tons about football here; so I wanted to try and relate the two..and show that football after all is very much like real life. The reason I thought it wasn’t really great…because I felt I hadn’t structured it as well as my earlier work. If it really sucked though…I would not have posted it. Its a relative comparison really.

    How do you know if its good? – Well usually…you read a little and come to know the core of the subject. If that does not interest you, you should drop it right there. That’s all I am saying.

    Bandwagon? That I cannot agree really. I have no clue how many articles have been written by whom..and where; honestly. I just wrote this coz it is a subject that interests me.

    I have no problem at all (again :)) with any one voicing a negative opinion. The moment I write publicly, I open myself to great criticism. Yes of course. The tone seemed a little confrontational without a reason; which is what I was referring to.

    @Alex,Stonroy,Elkieno,GoonaGal – Thank You. Glad you liked it or at least parts of it.

    @Georgaki – That way anything subjective is unstantiated..rt? Honesty. Loyalty. How do you measure those? By an objective standard; you say 100% truth everywhere to everyone. If everyone followed that and understood it, I’d be happy. It isn’t that way though..right?

  • Odhis KenyanGunner

    Still reeling in shock from the sale of Song. I didnt see that coming at all. The fellow had, what, 3 years left on his contract, and unlike RvP, wasnt a hundred years old! Untold, Tony, Walter, do you have any inside information on this whole Song thing? Did he hold Wenger at gunpoint? Why didnt LeBoss put up a fight? Am hurting.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Arvind I’m off to have some lunch. I need to think about “anything subjective is unstantiated..rt? “. This is getting too complicated for me I prefer my differential equations…….

  • Arvind

    No problem Georgaki. Human beings are indeed complex. Math is easier : ). If you feel like it, come back and post and we can discuss stuff peacefully : )

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki, 12:05pm – so your a scientist, blog critic and an online doctor too? I hope you are proficient in at least one of those roles.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Woolwich – I agree, when he is unveiled tomorrow, that will be the end of superstar Songhino and his confidence. I think he will struggle over there for so many reasons, but this is his own doing. I have been talking about him leaving for many months, he isn’t the same hardworking, humble player from yester year. I think Arsenal were more than prepared to offer him a new contract, like they did with Arteta, but his attitude and his agent were reasons for caution.

  • Arvind

    @GoonaGal: Its a strange one; Alex Song. Arsenal happily selling at a lowish fee with 3 years left means something has gone awfully wrong. And AW the master economist doing with all his patience means something was really really wrong. I’d love to buy Arsene’s book someday; I hope he writes one.

    In my book though, what RVP did was worse than Song. It just gave ammunition to the world to criticize us even more than usual. At least Song’s dirty linen was washed privately.

    On hindsight you know…I think of all the people who get booed and given grief by AFC fans…Cole was the best of the lot. On hindsight I mean. At least he was clear he wanted money and went to a place which gave him money. Unlike all the rest; most of them anyway.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal

    “@ Georgaki, 12:05pm – so your a scientist, blog critic and an online doctor too? I hope you are proficient in at least one of those roles.”

    You see I chuckled at that comment because I chose not be offended.

  • Damien Luu

    So, in sum, the way players leaving their clubs actually decide much of what the fans will remember about them; their contributions, trophies, titles, victories, goals, etc. only come after that. Well, they should teach that in football schools, shouldn’t they? Because, that, IMO is a part – and an important part – of professionalism. Sadly, not many of footballers seems to know or remember that.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Arvind – Yes economics is AW’s thing, but he is also an amazing psychoanalyst too which is often under appreciated. I am currently a book called ‘The goldmine effect’ which I think was written as a casestudy on Arsene Wenger, but never overtly says so. Attitude and belief is so very important to success.

    RE: former players, I am not going to grade disloyalty of players, each have differing factors involved. Though you are right, how you exit is just as important, if not more so sometimes, to how you entered.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki,12:40pm – aren’t you the clever boy then?

  • bob

    Woolwich,
    Genuinely puzzled by the untold Song drama, yet to be told.
    To wit, if he’s being brought in there to replace/challenge Busquets, then why was Busquets the first of their serial tappers this window? (Busquets, Iniesta, Pique, the unholy tapper trinity) Do you credit the hypothesis that AW is excising out the Darren Dein Effect – after Clichy, then Cesc, then RVP and now Song? It’s my unsubstantiated wish scenario, because otherwise I can’t see the point, from what’s known. Other leading hypotheses are he’s sold to achieve a net zero transfer re$ult and a rumored major bust-up between him and Steve Bould. Surely it’s not just that “the boy wanted to go to Barcelona” when we hold a (don’t laugh too hard) a 3 year contract. What’s your thought on all this?

  • bob

    Arvind,
    I agree that something’s gone “awfully wrong” in the Song case. The laundry isn’t being washed in public, but it’s foolish for us to jump in as if we know what’s really gone on there. Any/every player as flaws to correct in their game. But he was growing before our eyes. Maybe with Carzola – to add another hypothesis to my comment to Woolwich above – Song’s type of midfielder is superfluous or worse, and AW was looking for a more defense-minded midfielder and Song’s “Barcelona is always tempting” comment was what AW used to do the business. I’m not convinced that Song wanted out; but I am convinced that Dein would have wanted it, and has his Barfa trade route to lubricate and maintain. Was Song caught in something that both his Advisor and Arsene and (for as yet unknown reasons) Barfa all wanted? I’m not saying he’s unhappy going to Barfa, but no one can say – with real evidence to date – that Song wanted out – just a raise from 55K, which is not a hanging matter. Do you have a specific take on this?

  • WalterBroeckx

    What I have heard left and right was that Song was having some problems with doing what he was supposed to do. Some discipline problems. Maybe it was part of the Dein plan to disturb him in order to get him out to Barcelona?

    Come on Arsène write that book. Or publish it first on Untold 🙂

  • Arvind

    @Bob: My own personal opinion is that Alex Song did not want to go and was trying to negotiate a better contract for himself. Whether he went about it the wrong way and rubbed Arsene and Steve Bould or whoever the wrong way…as you say…it’s just a guess. Attitude problems? Who knows? And it all backfired. Much like RVP’s master statement literally left him with no options but to either apologize or go to ManUnited and then cringe about little boys…I can’t get over that..sorry.

    Maybe Arsene didn’t want him at all for tactical reasons and felt Song had reached his peak? And hence sold him. AW always sells well; he’s a fantastic judge of player potential.

    Yes DDD will have wanted his cut. That is believable.

    In the end then, maybe it doesn’t exist…loyalty. Bidirectionally. The club will sell if they don’t want you. You will go if you don’t want the club. I wish it was all more open and all those useless diplomatic statements never made by anyone. Its highly unlikely it will happen though.

  • bob

    Odhis Kenyan Gunner,
    See mine at 1:04 and 1:18. There’s an unsolved mystery here. No one of us outside of the inside of Barfa-HQ/Dein-HQ/AFC-HQ gets to know. Being a fan means we’re meant to shut up and wait and maybe get a bread crumb of truth from an inside player. But, right now, there’s only some hypotheses and lots of hurt feeling and hopes for something better. As for our emotional investments – which are the meal tickets of all these players – they mean nothing in moral terms. We’re only meant to be kept fed just enough to come back with our loyalties and hard-earned expenditures in their directions. To that extent, I have to agree that (as I read this) Arvind is asking us to bear in mind (a minimum) a higher moral standard than what professional football routinely tramples. As for why didn’t AW put up a fight, I tried to list a few reasons above why he might have wanted Song out and was looking for a reason.

  • bob

    Walter,
    It would be great if AW had an unofficial nomme d’guerre here on Untold so that something could be told and, of course, plausibly denied that it was his. (C’mon now, is he one of the secret RefReviewers? 🙂 )

  • bob

    Arvind,
    Yes, for me too, RVP’s invocation of his innocent “inner child” voice as his final guide to his choice (demand) of Manure as his playpen hits the bottom of the feed trough. The only thing lower is the man who advised him to say it that way. My guess, of course is DDD.

  • bob

    Arvind, all,
    Making the statement that will ensure a way out seems to be the scripted way of a DDD (Darren Damien Dein)client. However, using that statement to then explain why the client must finally be transferred is what the media and pundits and fans are left to. AW says “he wanted to go to Barcelona,” based on part of what Song said. Right now I would agree with you that Song was mainly trying for a raise and made a cheeky statement. However, that ambiguous statement could serve the various and perhaps overlapping purposes of Barfa, DDD and AFC, and might have backfired on Song himself. Why would he prefer the bench at Barfa of Qatar to the starting line-up at the Emirates? Is it really for 10K more per week? These numbers of course boggle the mind of the rest of most of us. But I think Song will get a pay hike, but that he’d rather have had it on the pitch at Arsenal.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal, 12.55pm “clever?”
    I can see that you still haven’t calmed down?

  • A. Stewart

    Loyalty goes both ways. Many Arsenal stalwarts that were instrumental in winning trophies during the Wenger years, wanted to stay on longer but were effectively forced out for being the wrong side of 30, especially as there was a deliberate shift towards a more youthful direction. Many of these players gave their all for the club, won titles and still had much left to offer on and off the field (especially to mentor and bridge the transition more gradually to the next generation)and were gotten rid of and/or marginalized. Thing is, Wenger was widely celebrated for getting rid of players “at the right time” on his terms while some of these players still wanted to stay including legends like Pires, Gilberto etc. Didn’t those players deserve more “loyalty” for all they did for the club and for helping to build Wenger’s status/legend in particular? Or once they were deemed surplus to requirements (incorrectly imo), is the loyalty argument null and void? Look at many of the recent successful teams England and Europe, and they contain long serving veterans well over 30 who may have lost a yard or two, can’t play every game but still have much to offer in terms of nous and experience in big moments, and preparing the next generation and passing on a winning mentality and continuity to them. And because of their service, and on and off the field value, they in many cases are rewarded with wages and contract security that arguably is not and would not be offered by AFC based on how we do things. Loyalty goes both ways, and is give and take. Is it beyond the realm of possibility that this generation of top and emerging top players that have left us in recent years, have been in someway influenced (amongst other factors of course) by seeing top serving veterans of the generation immediately forced out or offered minimal contracts and think that it may be them next as they get in and exit their prime in the upcoming years? Just a different way to think about this whole “loyalty” argument.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @A. Stewart, 2:01 pm

    Excellent point!

  • Andy Kelly

    Can someone enlighten me as to when players were loyal to clubs?

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Bob,
    I’ve commented on Arsenal Column that it now appears to be a pure numbers game for Wenger. A total rejection of the value of individual players if you will. The only “individuals” that will be tolerated are grafters. Giroud is fairly unique in the squad but he’s a lower league player made good, like Koscielny.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki, 2:01pm – I think that response answers my question about you being clever. Is that your best attempt at cod psychology?

  • bob

    A. Stewart,
    Really compelling argument. Morality, by any definition, starts with a standard that’s supposed to be two-way, as you say. It’s much more clarifying for fans to dismiss the “moral” arguments that are put out there by the sports-businessmen for our consumption. That said, there are genuine moral grievances that ought to be redressed, and each situation, imo, has to be looked at thoroughly; or just toss out morality as having anything to do with football – that is, it’s only about interests, full stop. Is that your argument at bottom?

  • A. Stewart

    Another thing if we truly want to have a serious discussion about this “loyalty” issue as to why our better players are seemingly wanting to leave us every season (since our new direction post the invincibles) we have to take a honest unbiased look at our wage distribution, which I think is the main underlying cause. It’s easy to blame the low-hanging targets, which are the players, as ungrateful and mercenaries, and while that may satisfy an emotional void, addressing that symptom doesn’t pragmatically address the underlying cause of the malaise in the first place.

    For me, its roots lay in the situation where there is an ideological-driven model where players should get salaries as close in line as possible to eliminate jealously and promote harmony (clearly that theory hasn’t worked). Thing is, football teams are not homogenous or fair (neither is life), there are top performers and top talent in all aspects of life who are worth more and are paid more no matter the field. And I believe we can afford to do so (or at least to do so better to some degree), because simple economics say we are effectively wasting tons of money over the years in fees and wages on players that contribute very little (anyone can draw up a list of several players that fit this description), and seemingly overpaying many of these players and balancing it by underpaying the real difference makers.

    What has resulted is that now shifting the players that don’t contribute much/anything is harder because of the said wage policy that strived for equality (which to me has no place in professional football), so especially with a very large # of pros (one of the largest in the league, and one that has grown by a net of dozens of players since our last trophy, go figure) the squad gets/retains increasingly more average players while it increasingly loses more difference makers who know they can earn more elsewhere and likely win more elsewhere too as there are less and less difference makers to play with at AFC.

    I strongly believe we can afford to pay top buck for the top players we have and also to bring in top targets, it’s just a choice of if the club wants to do it. To me it seems economically logical that instead of wasting millions and millions in fees and wages (and other supporting costs) for so many players that contribute very little, spend the same amount (or even less) on 3 or so players of genuine top quality who can make a difference on the field, and also can make a difference financially too by having a more competitive and marketable team.

    Yes many will say players are greedy and should be happy to earn how many ever thousands per week they do. But it just doesn’t work that way in reality, every professional wants to maximize their earning potential in their specific profession, (and football players have a short window in which to maximize that earning potential). When a player knows he is being underpaid based on what he contributes and his status in the game, and especially in large part because his salary is being deliberately held down based on ideology that overpays players that contribute very little in comparison, it’s obvious a player wouldn’t be happy about this. So like any professional a top performer wants to earn what he/she deserves and what in this case the club could aguably afford to pay them if it didn’t pay so many other other players what they don’t deserve based on their lack of contribution. And yes many will say they will play for AFC for nothing, I guarantee that thought would change immiediately when the person realizes they are not a fan, but are in fact doing this for a living, with people depending on them.

    Currently the system we have promotes the wrong “loyalty” it seems the loyal players are the ones who are happy to do little and collect wage packages that they likely won’t get elsewhere. It’s easy to curse RvP etc for their lack of loyalty, but I don’t think that addresses the real problem..

    Are we brave enough to ask the tough questions, or just blame the players as disloyal mercenaries.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Arvind,1:31pm – I have to say Song has been primed and ready to go for a while. I think he had gotten too big to stay. The only thing I wanted was for him to stay until Jan, when we would know where we were with our injured players Frimpong & Wilshere. If Kos recovers, I wonder if we would ever try Vermaelen as DM in a game or two. I think even without buying someone in the Song mould, we have options and Coquelin has a massive opportunity to impress now.

    I personally really like Frimpong, all the chatter about his technique are valid but not a reason to dismiss him altogether. He covers a lot of ground and his tackling on loan to Wolves was improving game by game and he was tenacious about winning the ball back. Against Chelsea I could see that he forced errors because he made them panic. I think there is a need for a player like this in the squad. He would of been ideal for the up and coming game against Stoke. I hope he is able to recover and comes back from his latest set back.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal,2:14 pm “cod psychology”. What is that?

  • A. Stewart

    @ Bob, yes I guess that can summarize my arguments to some aspect. Unless we are going to apply the issue of “morality” universally to all parties, it has little place in a discussion surrouding what has increasingly become a cut-throat professional big money world of professional football. Forget the morality arguments, and let’s look in a pragmatic way as to why are certain things happening such as out better players desiring to leave every season? Again blaming the players and venting frustration their way is an easy emotional out. The players are the low hanging fruit in these discussion imo.

    For example people always criticize football as going mad these days primarily built around the premise of money and players, i.e. players being paid too much and costing too much. But few stop to think that the Clubs (including ours), TV/Satellite Companies, Apparel and Merchandize manufacturers/distributors, Governing bodies (FIFA, UEFA, FA etc.), Agents, All types of not direct-football commerical interests etc etc are making loads and loads of unprecidented billions and billions of money in the modern game off the talent of the players! Should the players just say “gee I’m happy to be a pro and make much more than the average guy out there” or should they be empowered and aware of their real worth in this modern, highly commerical and globalized money spinning sport, and how so many are getting so rich off their talent? I accept the realities of the modern game, and don’t let the romantic stuff like “loyalty” bother me too much. Easiest way to get “loyalty” from our top players, is to have a more realistic and less “fair” wage structure and pay players based on their merit and actual worth, and to seriously prioritize winning once again. Top players are motivated by two primary things, pay and winning, there is nothing surprising about this, either we embrace it or we don’t.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – It’s you mate. Or broader teams someone with fake/false understanding but espouses their empty ideas with gusto and assertion.

  • bob

    Woolwich,
    So your argument is that AFC/Arsene is now all about Moneyball, right? It may well be. It has worked for Billy Beane, General Manager at the (baseball) Oakland Athletics at times – even this season as they have Amazing low-budget young pitchers, which their scouts regularly turn up. Then they sell them off because they are no longer affordable when they reach a high-level of development. And, to those who don’t know, the reason that Billy Bean had turned to this strategy is because they could not compete with the mega-rich evil empire – the NY Yankees – who, btw, have been on and off strategic partners with, get ready, Manchester United. Anyway, would you give a link to your Arsenal Column piece (I don’t know that site, sorry!)
    As of Moneyball here’s how the Wikipedia entry begins:
    Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (ISBN 0-393-05765-8) is a book by Michael Lewis, published in 2003, about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. Its focus is the team’s analytical, evidence-based, sabermetric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team, despite Oakland’s disadvantaged revenue situation. A film based on the book starring Brad Pitt was released in 2011.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal,2:33 pm. Oh, that’s so harsh. I’m really hurt. I’m glad my mum isn’t reading your comments she would be devastated. You know, She insisted I eat my greens so that I would grow up to be an healthy, intelligent boy and look at what happens here. I’m cut right down to size…..But I must be reasonably smart…I support the Arsenal….

  • bob

    A. Stewart, (Woolwich),
    In light of your analysis, would you then agree (as per my interchange with Woolwich Peripatetic above) that AFC/AW have adopted the Moneyball strategy to stay highly-competitive, but then MUST sell once the top players reach the stage of development when they can readily command what the market will bear? That is, that staying competitive with a CL payoff is, on this model, both (a) no small accomplishment and, (b) at the same time, the most that can be regularly achieved (barring a miracle season and a lower level of refshite)?

    Also, would you further say that it’s only by (a) finally selling off the weight of average players (the so called deadwood) and (b) returning with that money to a buying big players model that AFC will ever again realistically compete?

    And lastly, in light of the continued economic distress in the world, would you still find AW’s moneyball/sustainable/go cautious strategy an Unrealistic strategy? To me that’s a tough question that you – indeed all of us – need to face up to. I welcome your further in-depth views on this.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Bob,
    My argument more is that for Arsene, players are now disposable assets unless they are willing to commit absolutely to the collective.
    Is Arteta a poor man’s Xabi Alonso? Is Xabi Alonso really that good? Is it not more likely that these players are undervalued as individuals (Arteta looks a total natural at CL level, why was he at Everton so long?) but what they bring to the team makes them for more worthwhile.
    It is in essence the Messi vs Ronaldo debate, both are supremely gifted but one is the consummate team player, he can have a poor game by his standards but the team benefits from him, whereas for Ronaldo it is all or nothing, he either has a good game and runs riot or he sits out on the wing looking petulant.
    I’m hoping that the ethos Bould brought to the juniors translates to the seniors this season – Arsenal will score goals because our team normally creates too many chances. If we defend proactively as a team we will be even harder to stop.

  • bob

    Tony,
    If I may, I think that Untold might consider a high-level summit meeting set of articles by you, Woolwich and A. Stewart as a way of “taking stock” so to speak of the macro issues that define and are at play for AFC. Just a thought: but I think it would be a serious and ground-breaking and multi-dimensional telling of the untold macro-context, and a real education for the fans of the website and, I’d wager, well beyond.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki,2:47pm – Hiding behind your mum eh? I did suspect that you would be more apt at dishing out withering assertions than taking them.

    Now that I have kindly answered your question, I have one or two for you. One ‘on topic’, which is this: You by your own admission reacted strongly to Arvind discussing player loyalty.

    1) Do the players that AFC develop actually owe the club any kind of loyalty and respect? Song had a particular set of skills that were different to the other midfielders hence the reason he held down a first team spot. He knew his value to the team at this particular point in time so was he rightly justified to alledgedly threaten to withold labour for further financial gain, or was it an act of betrayal to AFC after the investment made to develop them in him in the first place?

  • bob

    A. Stewart,
    Further to my last comment, It also seems to me that the push (in some quarters) for an actual FFP (with teeth) and UA’s efforts to level the pitch by decreasing/defeating the Refshite are each (and both) essential aspects of a possible championship finish without having to break the bank via multiple highest-tier purchases. Again, in the worsening economic climate, might not the combination of Moneyball plus FFP plus No Refshite (i.e., full video replay) not be a viable – in fact Realistic – way to proceed? Please adjust your analysis to take on board the worsening economy, which AW continually brings up to justify his strategy? Or do you think that that’s just an ideological holdover (as you suggest) from his having promoted a more flat-level salary vision? Anyway, please factor in the economy into your analysis.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Goona Gal,3:11 pm “Withering assertions”..You do tend to deploy extreme terms!

    I do believe players owe AFC some loyalty and respect. But just how much is difficult to measure. If he behaved as alleged then that is despicable. I do agree with A Stewart though, loyalty is a two way street. Anyway, there is a certain amount of sympathy for Song if his ego was seriously massaged by the ‘best club team in the history of football’.

  • Surena

    A. Stewart,

    But the average player at Arsenal earns about 50,000 if I’m not mistaken? Van Persie is earning 250,000 now. Assuming he was getting paid around 100,000 on his old contract, you would have to trim many many players’ wages (and by a large margin) just to accommodate one person like Van Persie.

    The squad itself is hardly large enough.

    Of the players that have left for money, it’s the same story. The wages they can demand elsewhere (e.g. Nasri/Adebayor) can’t be accommodated by just destroying everybody else’s pay.

  • bob

    Goona Gal, (A. Stewart)
    Player by player, I think you’ve framed THE question. The problem, imo, that A. Stewart’s analysis raises is this: is your question the result of a crossroads that we continue to reach (Song, RVP, Cesc, whomever) which, in turn, is the result of a chronic failure/refusal to buy say, 3 demonstrably world-class pricey players; and which policy is, in fact, driven by our having tied up way too much money in overpaid and average (i.e., non-performing) signings? I think I’ve characterized A. Stewart’s argument correctly. What would you say to it? That the “loyalty question” is itself the result of a flawed purchasing/payment inventory which needs to be liquidate asap?

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – You have used the following:

    ‘drivel’
    ‘banal’
    ‘unsubstantiated opinion’
    ‘hysteria’

    All which could be classed as extreme, what’s that phrase – ‘people in glass houses should’nt throw stones’. Though if you are appealing for me to nice to you…we will have to see. Maybe if you promise to eat more of your greens like your mum said before posting.

  • bob

    Woolwich,
    Wouldn’t you say that there’s no way to ever know – neither in advance, nor in the grip of agents like DDD – that a player has absolute commitment. Judging from RVP, the surface looked like total commitment. But, under the surface, there was a simultaneous total (or plan B exit-plan) non-commitment going on. There’s no way to police this short of tyranny in the form of continual “loyalty test” so to speak. Do you think that AW believes that loyalty is possible? Or is he trying to make a convincing show of striking back? Or is it a more plausible way (that is, with a “moral” veneer) to play Moneyball (perhaps for very good reasons, or not)?

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal,3:32 pm I have a confession to make. I fall in love with women that have disdain for me. And yes, that’s a lot of women….

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – Oh and thanks for answering my question on loyalty. My second is this, you felt this topic wasn’t a respectable one for the site, in fact you said it was ‘banal’ and ‘drivel’, so what do you expect to find when you visit UA?

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki,3:39pm – I don’t follow, are you still talking about your mum?

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    I like UA because they post lots of articles that attempt to support their positions with data. I think Walter does this. I also really enjoy Tony’s posts as they often refer to business practice of which he has plenty of experience. However, I do think UA is developing a reputation for a little too much paranoia…too many conspiracy theories….

  • A. Stewart

    @ Bob, respectfully, I’m a little confused by your post, but if I’m interpreting the question correctly then my answer is; it’s difficult to tell as to whether the constant AW references to exterior non-football regional and global economic factors are being used as a smoke-screen to justify the current player personnel strategies which include an ideoligically-driven flat-ish wage structure. Because there is no economic internal or external justification for desiring the flat wage structure. Simple economics says you can get far more bang (onfield and off-field) for your buck by having two or 3 impact players rather than spending the same money or more (over time in wages/fees) of 10 or so players that contribute or will contribute a comparitive nothing/little to the cause (and are harder to get rid of because of said wages). External econmic factors on a global non-football scale have precious little to do with how efficiently or not, we use the resources currently at our disposal. In fact, there is no ambiguity here because the Manager and club have flat out said that this policy is driven by philosophy and ideology as evidenced by the statements that it is meant to promote harmony, and eliminate jealousy, thereby having little to do with finanical/economic realities. It’s backfired, because it’s actually promoted a weird sort of reverse jealousy, wherein players who contribute the most, and know their demand,status, and earning potential on the external football market are peeved to know their salaries are held down to prop up the salaries of far too many players (including a plethora of increased youth players, some 30+ net pros have been added to our books since our last trophy, and ironically during the financial “hardships” of moving stadiums and the global economic downturn) that contribute nothing to the cause, and/or don’t have a realistic chance of making it at the club (given the record of young players who don’t make it and are sold for very little or given away to lower table and lower league clubs domestically and abroad).

    So when you think of the flat wage structure, it’s difficult for me at least to see what if any relevance external global economic non-football factors have to do with how the club is currently inefficiently using the resources it actually has at its disposal, and doing so completely by a philosophically driven choice…..

    I think many people just feed into the fear-mongering of impending global economic doom being always just around the corner, without realizing that has little relevance to the choices we currently make as a football club that are effectively wasting available resources… I accept however, that this problem can’t be fixed overnight because it’s been allowed to fester for so long…

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – so what if it has? This one was’nt written by Tony or Walter, where was the conspiracy theory issue with this post? It was an interesting and relevant post for discussion and you slammed it. Are you saying that articles which are opinions are out there in cuckoo land?

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Bob,
    I think you misinterpret my argument. I’m suggesting that in the case of Song, the moment he even mentioned the B-word, BANG, he was no longer a gunner, merely a gonner.
    If you look at the squad now, I see two groups – firstly a group of young guys who are mostly English, who see a player as talented as McEachran going on loan to Middlesbrough because he’s at the wrong parent club. Secondly, I see guys for whom things haven’t gone right with their careers and Arsenal is the last club where their talent will get a shot at the biggest prizes.
    The first category I see as more of a problem retaining in the long run but paradoxically nationality might make it easier.
    The third category, the Arsenal superstar, I see as being phased out.

  • A. Stewart

    @ Bob, with regards to agents (in a post you made above not to me), I think a little too much is being made of this (and especially Mr. Dein in particular) with respect to them being the catalysts behind a player’s desire to move, or ask for more. Because I think it starts from a premise that players are stupid and have no individual awareness themselves of football market factors, or are unable to think for themselves in the first place.

    Agents have a job to do, especially again as money in the sport grows and everyone else connected to the sport (yes including the agents) are getting richer and richer off the players’ talent. Players need professional representation as the money in the sport grows. Clubs, TV companies, Big Manufacturers/Distributors, Publishers, Pundits, Governing Bodies all have their hired legal and finanical representation and counsel to look out for their finanical interests and maximizing them in this age of untold wealth in the sport, so why shouldn’t players? And by players simply having such representation working for them, doesn’t inherently mean they are being completely manipulated or cannot think for themselves, I think that’s kind of insulting actually.

    I think its quite naive to think (not saying you are suggesting this) that players are unaware of their worth, or that they may want better terms, or may want/need to move clubs, without an agent in their ear playing them like a puppet. Is there some inlfuence from agents? Sure. Are they looking to make a buck? Sure they are, just like every other person and entity connected to the sport, but I do think the villification of agents is mostly an emotional response, and needing to have a target at which to vent frustrations instead of digging deeper to identify underlying causes of player related problems.

    Do I think Dein is the main factor in his clients wanting to move? No. His clients just happen to be amongst our better players who with or without him simply have interest from other big clubs offering more money and the chances of winning more titles, DD didn’t invent or manufacture the genuine interest other clubs have had in signing our better players, the interest has to be genuinely there in the first place. If it wasn’t Dein it would be some other agent doing what they are paid (or commissioned) to do. Just so happens that due to Dein’s connections to the club, he has a monopoly on said players as his clients. He doesn’t work for the Club he works for his clients.

    To keep on point with this whole “loyalty” thing, it’s easy to blame the players, it’s easy to blame the agents, and it’s even easier and emotionally satisfying to paint the players as dumb thoughtless puppets controlled by evil agents. However, it’s less easy to take an honest look at the underlying factors causing these key players to WANT to leave every single season. Screaming about loyalty or lack of doesn’t change any of the realities on the ground.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal, 3:55 pm. As I said I prefer articles that proffer opinion based on evidence. I don’t get ‘hand waving’ philosophical debate…

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Incidentally, I’m not that good at multi-tasking. I’m trying to write a proposal whilst answering your questions…maybe I need detachable ovaries….I reacted in a similar way to an article on here recently by ‘Ann’. The one that dwelt on the ‘kidnapping of Cesc Fabregas’…she wasn’t joking….

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – I have to admit I don’t really follow what you mean by ‘hand waving’ philosophical debate.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    People who give opinions without justifying them tend to wave their hands in the process…..

  • A. Stewart

    If it isn’t apparent by now, I’m all for the empowerment of the modern football player. I have no problems with players increasingly becoming more powerful and becoming more aware and self-determinant. Why should so many be getting so rich at unprecedented levels in this modern game, and the players not become more empowered? The Football Hierarchy and old boys network of (rich) traditionalists want the public to be angry at the “new modern greedy player”, they are the easiest deflection off keep attention off their own self-serving greed and unprecedented accumulation of wealth. They want you to romanticize about the old-school “loyal” player just happy to play for the badge while they get richer and richer.

    The sport has changed, the world has changed..the same globalization and modernization of the sport that has resulted in unprecedented increased earnings for the big clubs, TV, governing bodies etc., has deservedly resulted in a more informed, aware and empowered professional player wanting their deserved cut of what they contribute to an ever increasing pie. The powers that be don’t want that, and are happy when we fans vilify the modern player for being empowered and more self-determinant.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki, 4:12pm – ‘maybe I need detachable ovaries’, are we in some way still talking about your mum? If so, I really do hope we can at some point move on from her. This article was’nt written by Ann, nor was it written in her style or take on issues. You slammed it with gusto and then said lots of people felt like you do (though you could of been refering to your pal Stevie E).

    It sounds like you attempted to shut down discussion which did’nt appeal to you. That is pretty egotistical,no?

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki, 4:16pm – no wonder I did’nt get it! I think we can use that response as a further definition of ‘cod psychology’.

  • Arvind

    Some fantastic points A.Stewart. There are so many that I will take them one by one.

    a) A flat wage structure – Anyone who has read what I write here knows that I’m always in favour of the best players getting paid as much as possible; meaning, if I earn 10000 i am always in favor of paying 5000 to the best, 3000 to the next best and 500 to the remaining 4. Figures are random; put there just to illustrate. So yes, Arsenal having a falt structure is detrimental to the best players staying. Agreed.

    b) Having said that do I believe in ‘breaking the bank’ for a specific demand? Maybe like what Song did? No I don’t. There’s an upper limit that the club decides. So for example we cannot match what City and Chelsea and United give. There is a genuine limit; so how is David Villa or Sergio Aguero or whoever going to come here. Its near impossible to find these 3 great talents and get them to come here; which is why we usually try scouting young talent or getting good players who are not necessarily world class. Like Podolski or Giroud or even Cazorla.

    c) No I am not saying..be happy with 60000 pounds a week. It much more than what 99% of the world earns. No. If someone is willing to pay you more, fine, go. But do not renege on any commitments you make to the club. Don’t say you will stay and then go. Ditto with the club. Do not say you will keep a player and then sell him.

    d) Is loyalty bidirectional? Oh without a doubt. Think about it..why was Dennis Bergkamp offered contract after contract even at 36? It is because he was good enough. If Gilberto lost a yard of pace or Bobby Pires wanted to still start every game at 33 when he physically was no longer capable, it wouldn’t make sense. Loyalty does NOT mean retaining non performing players (this is subjective and I accept that) in the eyes of the coach. Loyalty is telling the player when he comes in to negotiate at 32 that his statistics are not great …and if he wants a new contract he has to work harder or he can’t be kept after 32. If the club does this a year ago, and the player does not cope up…the club is well within its rights to let a player go.
    —————————–
    Yes…if the club kept saying you’re doing great and have ot slowed down and then suddenly dumped you…THAT is being disloyal…NOT retaining players even when they are not that good any longer.

    The same argument from the player’s perspective…if he wants to go…tell the club a year in advance. Boss..I want to go..I’m bored, want more money, want a different league etc etc etc whatever. Like I suspect Henry did when we moved to the Emirates. That gives the club time to plan.
    —————————–

    Dropping an awful bomb like RVP did in public when the club was still negotiating potential targets is not good and certainly disloyal. At the absolute bare minimum…do not spout trash publicly..ideally inform your employer well in advance. THAT is being professional.

    e) Agents? Very much like players…a good and professional agent will tell the player to make his stance clear a year before he actually wants to go and then shut up without whoring his client everywhere..without the permission of the club. As soon as that season ends Arsenal should put out a statement saying ..XXX wants to leave and we are accepting bids, after telling the player at what point he will be released. Ideally talk to the player as soon as they say they want to go and tell him his price next year. If all this is done properly then everything is much better and ‘professionalism’ in its true sense is then seen.

    I am very glad this article has stimulated so much conversation which is all my aim was : ). I hope I have addressed everything. If not, please feel free to comment again.

  • bob

    A. Stewart,
    My respects as well. This discussion matters a lot. My main point in the last comment was this: given that a big hard-to-sell-off inventory problem seems at hand (Squilacci, Chamakh, Almunia, and too many youngsters to make the team) was years in the making, and given that this limits available resources in its way, I repeat: from this [problematic] moment going forward, might not the combination of Moneyball plus FFP plus No Refshite (i.e., full video replay) not be a viable – in fact, Realistic – way to proceed? Whatever the ideology that you slate, and it may well have backfired in the zillionaire-dominated EPL, there is still the question: what is to be done NOW? AFC cannot, for several reasons – including the inventory problem that, imo, aptly have importantly highlighted – splash big with its current resources. In the current world economy, do you think that Manure, Barfa of Qatar, Chelski, can sustain their big splashing? their levels of indebtedness? Can any else who does not have a sugar daddy? That is also the context in which we are operating. Whatever the mistakes have been – whether the product of ideology or overpurchasing lesser talent – there is still the present moment – an economic crisis – that is not so simply compartmentalized as you seem to do.

    I would grant that “the economic crisis” does not excuse all the mistakes of the past. But I don’t grant that it’s only a smokescreen that is being used to cover up mistakes. You can be right about the past but not engage the impending future. Obviously this crisis has an impact on any economic planning and has intensified problems caused (as you say) by past policy errors. But beyond this, I’d ask you whether, in this crisis economy, the 20-team EPL is sustainable without FFC? Or is only a sugar daddy-bankrolled Super League (not the EPL) sustainable? I think AW/AFC is correct on both counts to push for full FFP. Also, if AFC (indeed, any of the other 17 teams) is to genuinely compete (rather than posture) for a championship, then we must have an end/reduction to the run-amok Refshite via full video replay to level the pitch. And, it seems, we are stuck in Moneyball until enough of the inventory can be liquidated to afford the difference-making purchases and minimizing the chonic runaways for whom AFC (like Oakland in MLB in the US) is a nice stepping stone to an always greener pasture.

    So while I grant the seriousness of errors that have resulted in the inventory millstone, I pose the question: what is to be done, comrade, from here on out? I hope I haven’t muddied the waters, but for now this is what I can frame; and ask you to address, with specifics, what you see as necessary and do-able going forward.

  • Arvind

    @Georgaki: What is hand waving debate? I do not understand. If you’d answer my previous question…’Is everything subjective instantiated?’… then we could move on and you could tell me how I could have facts in an article such as this one.

    How can I measure loyalty, honesty, how much money is enough and other stuff? How do I give you data for those things? If it was a football match I watched and I babbled about…how wonderful Giroud was without telling you why…you have a point and that its an unstantiated opinion. This is a discussion about ethics and morals and what is the minimum standard that is expected from anyone. Surely that is “measurement” enough for an article of this type?

    If not…I’ll be happy if you would elaborate…or we can just agree to disagree and move on.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal,4:32 pm Ok, this is tiresome. The article was poor, Ann’s article was shocking, I expect better on UA,and you need to relax and forget about ‘cod psychology’. I can tell that you are an intelligent individual but rather highly strung. I certainly made some strong remarks about Arvind’s article and Ann’s for that matter but never was rude or insulting about them and I haven’t been to you. I like this blog because insults are minimal. I suggest you go and enjoy a beverage of your choice…because I setting off for home very soon and looking forward to the Fans Forum on Arsenal TV…I sometimes call in and make comments there too…I have a baritone voice…

  • Stevie E

    Hey GoonerGal
    Please stop associating me with ol Georgtastic. Whilst I may agree that the article wasn’t (to my mind) very good, I certainly don’t condone his attitude or the way he’s been goading you all day. I was simply tryin to say to Avind his if you don’t like it, don’t read it reply to BigG wasn’t very constructive and he could’ve/should’ve handled it better.
    Cheers

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Arvind,4:44 pm I defined ‘hand waving’ debate earlier.
    ’Is everything subjective instantiated?’ Do you mean ‘unsubstantiated’? I find discussions about ethics and morality tricky because they are exactly that ‘subjective’.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Stevie E,4:52 pm I thought you were my friend?

  • Stevie E

    Excuse me… Arvind

  • bob

    A. Stewart,
    Let’s also not confuse professional (EPL, LaLiga, etc.) player rights – which, in principle I support – with a league that has no minimum salary agreement for all players, so that the least of the signees is protected. Nor does this league (unlike MLB, NBA, NHL, etc.) have a salary cap so that the biggest teams cannot make their banquet with the labor aristocracy of the biggest players, whilst all the rest of the players are cannon fodder. Your argument – in many ways sound – does not protect or defend or advocate at all for the rest – only for the 1 per cent of the top players, in the name of player rights. I agree fully that the big team owners want to channel the fans discontent and anger against the big players – indeed against all players – and that it succeeds to the extent that most people have economic hardships that go way beyond anything that a successful football player has to face. But there is also a de facto alliance of big teams, big players and their go-between brokers that are in a league of their own. Has RVP now entered the pearly gates of that club? Yes. Is it his right to do so? legally, yes. Do these top players – the best toys in the prams of the big owners – do anything to promote the well-being of the rest of the player-drones that they depend on to service them? Hardly. So, unless I’m mistaken, I think you have both revealed are aptly defending the big player part of the big ownership model which has come to dominate the modern game. And while you are right to say that the flat-salary model has backfired (- btw, there’s a hierachy within that not totally flat model) by sparking resentment among the best players; you are not truthful in portraying this as player rights, as if the highest-salary ethos is in any way good for the 99 percent of football players. The aristocracy of big clubs, big agents and big player all make their meals off the far lesser paid drones that make their pitch plausible. And, of course, off the dosh that the shrinking middle class can still afford to fork up (even as the serfs who once could afford to watch their sides live and in person have been shut out).

  • Ben

    @ Andy kelly

    Paolo Maldini is an example.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – feel free to stop this anytime. Though you seem to be contining with your poor internet diagnosis of me and your use of extreme and might I add insulting language, this article was ‘poor, banal, drivel!’ Ann did’nt write this article, so I have no idea why you keep referencing her, I even think it’s wrong that you bring her up when she is not around to defend herself. I think my tolerance level is pretty good, I have persevered with you today after all! Move on.

    RE: Fans Forum, I like Tom Watts, but think alot of the callers, bar a few chat….crap. I am sure it will be an ego boost to get through though, give Untold Arsenal a big shout.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Stevie E – fair enough, thanks for clarifying.

  • The debate on the matter of loyalty by football players to their clubs is one that we may not have a complete consensus, however I would like to contribute my thoughts on it.

    Football is a team sport like many others, basketball, hockey, handball, cricket and so on. Football however commands a very large global following unlike any of the others. Van Persie could never have scored the 30 plus goals in a season without the assists from Walcott, Song, Arteta or even Djourou. Like the blog writer said loyalty is a two-way street. I would like to modify that to ‘Loyalty is a multiple-way street’ especially in football. I will elaborate.

    In my part of the world, entire local communities pool resources to educate a special or gifted child to the extent of his/her abilities regardless of who the parents are. When that child graduates and becomes an economic force who produces returns the community expects to benefit from his economic prowess. Woe betide that child if he turns his/her back on that community for selfish reasons. That child and the parents will be permanently ostracized and forever remain unwelcome in that community. No, such beneficiaries hardly ever consider the option of abandonment for selfish gains for the pains of ostracisation are very indelible.

    Back to the topic of loyalty and multiple way streets. The likes of Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor, van Persie, now Song and others would have been ostracized from the community that made them what they had become as a result of the sacrifices of the collective. What we do now have is a pathetic justification for acts that are morally bankrupt (very strong words I dare say but the truth needs to be told). When I commented on this site in the past on the departure of Fabregas to Barcelona I said something to the effect that his action was tantamount to desertion in military terms, an act of betrayal and punishable by death.

    How then do we handle these precipitated player departures? I think the team’s fair wages structure should be augmented with a pool of funds that will be dispensed to top performers on the basis of performance in addition to their regular pay.

  • bob

    Arvind,
    Even Georgaki would agree that morality involves life truths that cannot be fully captured by quantification? Would you agree that there is something real and meaningful to the expression “the truth of things unseen”? Even though it’s successful and the trend of the times, the worship of quantification – the view that if it can’t be quantified then it’s not real – is a destroyer of morality. There is not the slightest reason to defend a moral position against any insinuation that it’s not quantifiable. That position is sheer arrogance, well-paid arrogance, but arrogance nonetheless.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Arvind,4:44pm – it seems that a blog is the wrong place for comment, exchange of views and general conversation in Georgaki’s opinion. The very notion is apparently crack pot! Belittling others for no apparent reason isn’t something he has enjoyed being directly challenged about. I guess he should resume sniggering somewhere else about UA articles as it’s less ego bruising.

  • Mahdain

    Alex Song signing his barca contract and look who is that beside him? the one and only Darren Dein
    https://twitter.com/OsmanZtheGooner/status/237576615238967296/photo/1/large

  • Mahdain

    another great piece on Dein`s doings http://www.thegoonerway.com/#/blog/4566608912

  • bob

    Mahdain,
    As you know, I think DDD gets his cut no matter what and would benefit greatly from brokering any client transfer to the top clubs that he traffics with. I want to say, however, that I think the Song transfer is – at this moment – not at all clear cut. There are a few scenarios that might explain it. And without the facts, all we have are allegations. Surely Dein’s hand is at work, as he became Song’s agent/advisor in March, according to press accounts. But I don’t know that AFC is not playing or forcing AW to play moneyball – that is to bring in a lower-priced “next Song”. Do you? Perhaps there are very good football reasons for this. But I’m trying (against all prejudice and understanding) to keep an open mind on this one. I don’t see him and won’t lump him into the same boat as van Persie. I think we’re (including myself) very emotional in our emotional investments in players and therefore easy to manipulate. In this case, speaking for myself, I don’t know who’s doing the manipulation and for what reason. But I’m reluctant to now finding myself on a witch-hunt against Alex Song who, only weeks ago, we are all counting as a value-added and formidable part of our side. Do you really find “he wanted to move to Barcelona” the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I suspect there’s a lot more, so I choose uncertainty for the moment as I grapple with a lot of hurt feelings (as do many of us).

  • Stroller

    There is a lot of hypocracy in the fanbase (and I’m not referring to anyone here) but on the one hand many expect loyalty from our best players like RVP, but call on the club to ‘get rid’ of lessor mortals like Squillaci, Almunia and Co. Does loyalty not apply to these guys who signed in good faith?

  • Goona Gal

    @ Mahdain – I think Dein Jr gave Arsenal an ultimatium which didn’t go down too well. Song decided to leave over money which is at least honest, but he isn’t getting much more than he is on now and he would of got a lot more at Arsenal if he had handled it differently. Song publicly stated that he thinks Barca are the best club in the world, it would of taken us a lot more than £70k to convince him to say at a club he did’nt rate as highly. I would love to see him try to neg with Barca in a couple of years on that. I think Song has made a poor career choice based on money, not a lot as it goes too.

    If the reasoning is that as he played well and consistantly over the past couple of seasons, he then deserved more money irrespective of the contract he signed, then do Arsenal have the right to pay him less or ask for money back when he underperformed? Is this aspect only a one way street?

  • Goona Gal

    @ Stroller – I agree with you. I support anyone that turns out for us and tries their best. Almunia decided to stay with the club even though it was clear he had no future as no.1 or no.2 the club showed him a lot respect right to the end, whilst the fans on the other hand did not. I do think it was right that he left in the end though. I don’t think we can say AFC were disloyal in that situation.

  • Arvind

    @Bob: It is indeed hard to quantify everything in life; take every single variable into consideration etc. Is morality quantifiable? Well… in a way..yes. What I mean is…if you do every single thing as best as you can and live up to your own standards every single time (obviously within limits..you can’t say I believe in killing people) you have a high moral standard. But no…it is certainly not quantifiable in the way that money is.

    Alex Song went because he was getting more. End of story. I can live with that. I only hope Arsenal have not forced him into that position where he has had to take that stance. I hope Arsenal have been fair…morally…ethically (see my previous post) with players. That’s all I can do ..hope. One of these days I think I would have had enough of all this. When and how I do not know…but it can happen..

  • Arvind

    @GoonaGal: Oh I guess it is a blog after all. Only I honestly wonder…on why he read through all of it down to the last syllable and said it was crap. Its ok. Lets move on : )

    @Stroller: Indeed. 100% correct. Lets all look at ourselves the next time we call for a player to be dumped. Again though..as long as we have given the player sufficient notice, I think its fine. I wonder though..does THAT always happen? Hmm

  • A. Stewart

    @ Bob & Arvind, good discussion and points raised..I’ll respond a little later when I get the chance.

  • bob

    Arvind,
    I’m also seeing a line beyond which I will have had enough of this emotional investment in rigged game. For now, at the moment, I can’t see that Alex left for more money is really End of Story, as in the whole story. You too are wondering out loud whether, to some extent, he was manipulated (perhaps from several directions at the same time) as well. I think they all march to money as their highest morality and, for some of us, it’s becoming someone else’s “great game” (as they used to call the competition for ruling central asia).

  • bob

    p.s. just another more human note. Do we really think that all of a sudden a player – as a person – just says, oh, ok. I’ll just leave my house and home and friends and neighborhood and way of living with its emotional ties behind and just pick up and jump for another 10K per week? Maybe most everyone thinks that he or they would automatically have no other ties that are not worth pulling out of. But, no knowing Alex, I cannot say – as if football is or must be everything to a player – that he was planning to drop everything and just go. Maybe he was tricked or misled. Or maybe he would do anything to sit on the bench at Barfa and share sweet nothings with ex-Cesc and love taps with Busquets, Iniesta and Pique. Who actually knows, at this moment. But I don’t think it’s really End of (this) Story.

  • Stroller

    @Goona Gal
    Absolutely, the club have always acted honourably towards it’s players and not (at least overtly) forced them out. Unlike Chelsea under AVB who forced the unwanted Alex and Anelka to be segregated from the rest.

    Ironically some fans were calling for us to get rid of the injury-riddled RVP before he returned to fitness last season.

  • Mahdain

    @bob i really dont think Song wanted to go to barca that much but rather it was Dein`s doing..he tried to corner Arsenal into signing a new a deal and when we rightly refused(still 3 years left so whats the hurry?)Dein decided to go around Europe and market Song so that he gets his big paycheck.. So how did he convince Song? thats anyones guess

  • Mahdain

    @gooner gal Song has Hlebd his career alright

  • bob

    Surena, (A. Stewart)
    You make a strong point about giving way to RVP’s salary scale (is it 250K?) would negatively impact or limit other players salaries and that would be unfair. But, without totally defending his argument, I think that A. Stewart is arguing that the build up of overpaid and non-performing average players (assets) is the root cause of their not being enough to go around (distribute) so that the best can be highly rewarded (and purchased) and the rest fairly compensated at even a high pay level. I think that there’s a need to quantify the cost of the failed or non-performing inventory that A. Stewart cites in order to establish this as the root cause of AFC’s purported economic woe. But I just say this to try to clarify the context in which we each are trying to figure it out.

  • Goona Gal

    The articles quoting Darren Dein, do come across as the agent threatening the club. If Song is collateral damage in all of this, then that is the hit I am prepared to take, as I have wanted the club to be more ruthless for sometime.

    Dein can of course act as advisor to other agents in dealing with the club so we may never be free of him entirely, but it is good that there is distance for the time being. None of the current key squad members employ him and he has’nt got any other players that we would want to bring to the club either so maybe we might now be able to build a really srong and settled unit.

    In future when contracts come up for negotiations and a player genuinely wants to stay with the club, then the message is don’t get Dein in as your agent.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Stroller – big spanish clubs, are reportedly worse. They allegedly sign players to big lengthy contracts and then when they don’t work out after a year or two they gradually make the player feel unwelcome through their mouthpiece of a newspaper, plant rumours, if the player does’nt agree to move on they make them play with the kids, strip them of their first team number and do not let them sit with the rest of the team in the ground to isolate them.

  • bob

    Mahdain,
    Maybe Dein manipulated Song to sign off on the statement, part of which said “I’m happy at AFC” and part of which said, in effect, I’m flattered to be wanted by the best team in the world. But that statement has two sides. It may either have pissed off Arsene and AFC, or given one of them a chance to move for a cheaper choice (moneyball), and/or a different football strategy (more defense-minded player?) Or maybe AFC/AW is cleaning house of DDD’s destructive gamesmanship? Or maybe Dein put out the statement expecting these reactions from AFC/AW and getting himself another payday in achieving the transfer to his Barfa of Qatar client (who for their reasons want Song on the bench). (Then again, maybe Tony is right, and AW is really doing this to push Barfa of Qatar into bankruptcy? Not.) It seems like a very complex and sordid affair to me, and not simple to sort out, given how we only get to read the tea leafs.

  • Mahdain

    @Goona Gal yeah none of our current players employ him but according to Jamie Sanderson of young guns blog he has very close links to Diaby and Vermaelen`s agents..really hope the club addresses the issue before he gets any closer

  • bob

    Goona Gal,
    Do you think that AFC get to get rid of Dein for 15M (is it? grrr); and, at the same time, Dein gets another hefty slice out of the Song transaction that he engineers? In other words, Song is collateral damage (albeit he gets to go to Barfa) and it’s actually a sort of perverse/normal win/win situation for AFC/Dein/Barfa? And, if so, the current witch-hunt against Song the Traitor might well be so much eye-and-ear wash as a bone/diversion/scapegoat/lightning rod for the angry (not small) section of the fanbase? Do you think this is possible?

  • Goona Gal

    @ Mahdain – If Song’s overriding position was that he just wanted to play football and stay at the club, I suspect his next contract would of been around £80-£90k a week. In an agressive face off, there is no way Dein would of wanted to back down from the face off. Song irrespective of how smart or simple, should of been guided by his own values, Dein was just doing his job of getting his client more money. I am sure Song was told that this might result in him leaving the club if he pursued the issue this early in the contract. He gave Dein the go ahead, so we can’t really absolve Song and just blame Jr.

  • bob

    Mahdain,
    I think that yesterday Adam identified Tommy V’s agent company as connected to Dein. It may well be that Dein, given his connections, is too big a player for player’s agents to ignore in their machinations. I fear his part of the machinery and, unless Adam can turn up some information from his agent-connection, he may be someone that lesser agents don’t fancy crossing/ignoring/insulting.

  • bob

    sorry, “I fear he’s part of the machinery” – meaning there’s no ignoring him, he’s a fixture in world football.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Bob, I don’t think I followed of your question? I think Barca may of paid Dein a separate fee on this one, I don’t care to be honest.

    @ Mahdain, Vermaelen only re- signed less than a year so in that scenario, I am not too worried. With regards to Diaby, I don’t even think there is a deal on the table. I think the agreement is to see how the player fair’s this year in terms of playing through the year without injury before drawing something up. I can see the club parting ways amicably with the player if he cannot regain his best form for at least 3 or 4 months consistantly. Or if Diaby want’s stay work out a deal relating to his actual time on the pitch. The 25 man rule will make things difficult though to keep him, he will be playing for his career this year, even if means he leaves to play elsewhere at the end of the season.

  • bob

    Goona Gal, Mahdain,
    Part of the puzzle, imo, is that somewhere the bad seed was sown in March when Song became part of Dein’s stable. His on the pitch assist-goal connection with RVP could well have been the intoxicating factor that led him to that choice in hopes of greener pastures before a three year contract expired. And Dein, for his part, then has both motive and opportunity to press a simultaneous two-front economic war against AFC, the customary host for his vampirism.

  • Goona Gal

    @ bob, I think Song was having discussions with Dein around July 2011, unless you are saying it was going on as far back as Marc 2011? Any way it’s done and I have moved on. He isn’t our player anymore.

    The spotlight moves to Theo, I have no idea on this one. I don’t trust the positive assertions on this one. The swift handling of Song the minute he starting giving interviews to Sky about whether he was staying or going, has meant Theo peeps are being deadly silent, which is being taken as a sign he wants to stay, but after Nasri, I don’t trust any of them.

    I would’nt even rule out Man C making an approach on this one, if we are offered in the region of £15m+ we may have to take it, there is no point letting him walk for free. I don’t think he will fair better than Adam Johnson to be honest under Mancini.

  • Goona Gal

    ***Off topic, Arsenal goal keeper Martinez – who is supposed to be highly rated has got himself sent off and we are now a goal down!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    The Eis-man pulls one back!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Woolwich – I wonder if we can win it? There is apparently ove 40,000 at the ground. Must make for a great encouraging atmosphere.

  • Goona Gal

    Okay we are a man down, but 3-1 up! Project Youf!!!

  • bob

    Goona Gal,
    Thanks, I wasn’t aware of the Dein-Song conversations in July 2011, the very onset of the Cesc Departure Fever. All I know from the press was that he took on Dein this past March. Anyway, I’ll spare you my further obsessions with this one.

    As for the other one, Theo, Mancini seems publicly outraged at his board for tying his hands! I think your hunch about another $15M coming via this route is a very plausible reading of the sordid moment. As today’s Daily Maverick blog sums up: “It’s all cold cash and cold hearts.” In a sense, it’s fan-free football.

  • bjtgooner

    Avrind

    A good article on a very topical subject & appreciated by most contributors – an escapee from the AAA sewer being the obvious exception.

    The antics of Dean the Lesser are hopefully over, unless he can worm his way into the mind of some more of our players. Should he require prior permission from the club to approach another player? Is there any other way to keep him away from the team? To him it is obvious that loyalty means nothing; commission and the destruction of Arsenal is everything.

    For clarity, can someone explain, just who pays the agent or advisor, is it the player, the selling club or the buyer? Does the agent’s fee come out of the transfer fee? Thanks.

  • Adam

    @Bob you can contact all agents via the Fifa website. Their details are all there. Including the person I know. But I don’t think he will have had any dealings with Dein although he did have an Arsenal player on his books a while back. I just hope he can one day shed some light on the inner workings of this industry. Although he has admitted to me that he never does his business in the press.

  • Goona Gal

    Hold on Everton!

  • bjtgooner

    Yes!!! – a team of serial divers, managed by a red nosed horse trader just lost!!!

  • akasuna

    ok..R.I.P RVP!!

  • Goona Gal

    …And for the Record RIP played! Everton have beaten Man U 1-0, I will make the effort to check out the media reaction to this result.

  • Arun

    No RVP, No goal….
    Well, with Rooney and with RVP, Man U failed to score. It’s going to be very interesting to read the match reports of this game.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Akasuna – we are on the same wavelength!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Arun – and you too!

  • Goona Gal

    Okay, I’ve been miss read something, there were over 4,000 at the Emirates stadium! My bad.

  • Adam

    £24 million???? they should have brought a centre back.

  • bjtgooner

    MU in crisis?

  • Johan Greening

    Bob,
    In my opinion (for what it matters) I think your analogy of moneyball is slightly wrong. There are huge differences between Arsenal and Oakland A’s.

    For a starter Oakland are always in the bottom 3rd/quarter of payroll whereas Arsenal are always in the top quarter.

    Oakland do not often buy mid to upper level players from other clubs. Arsenal do.

    Oakland have a lot of minimum wage players, Arsenal have a lot of players on middle to upper wage packets. Oakland wait until they have to pay higher wages normally after 3 years in Baseball. Arsenal give pay increases very quickly.

    Oakland know they have only limited windows of opportunity so only really compete when the stars a line so to speak whereas Arsenal try every season.

    The one thing they are similar in is they don’t want to pay the very high wages for the superstar and always try to get value for them before they leave.

    Arsenal are more like the mid/upper teams in baseball that pay over the odds for mid/upper level players whose contribution comes in fits and starts and wages as a percentage of performance are actually higher than a superstars.

    However in saying all this I think the wage structure is changing or trying to change. And there may be the odd situation where paying a player a massive wage may have benefits to it that negate the salary somewhat. This could be in getting foreign sponsorship/merchandise etc.

  • bob

    Johan Greening,
    You’re clearly right in that AFC routinely buys and can buy bigger than Oakland. But both “don’t want to pay the very high wages for the superstar [whom the teams have developed] and always try to get value for them before they leave. And that both try to get a return from performance that are actually higher than a superstar’s.

    I did present this in a regretful way – in that I felt AFC was going by the numbers too much and disregarding the hearts and minds of fans emotional investments in their own developed superstars (or near superstars).

    That said, I also like this about what Oakland does and would love for its upside to rub off on AFC:

    What I had in mind is that the cost/benefit of Oakland’s current starting pitchers (including scouting and development) is remarkable. I felt that Arsene may have this in mind versus the giants in the same way that Billy Beane had it in mind versus baseball’s giants: having, like Billy Beane and his scouts a superb eye and demonstrated ability for identifying and landing superior cost-effective talent.

    Do you remember how only a month or so ago, Oakland – with that affordable baby pitching staff – won 4 in a row, by one run each, sweeping the floor with the NY Yankees and their $200 million dollar payroll. And how it got everyone’s attention in baseball and in my pampered imperial NYC. It is/was David and Goliath story, that still makes the rounds on NYC talk radio. I likened that example for what I’d wish for Arsenal: that it would be able to compete at a top level championship level against the Old Toileteers and the Petro-Clubs. It still seems that if Oakland makes the playoffs, that that low-budget pitching staff will prove a fearsome foursome that no one will want to take on. That sort of progress would be the Cinderella story of many a year. Anyway, this is how I see the moneyball dream. It’s romantic, too romantic to be reliable; and I’ve feared and perhaps projected that AFC/AW were being propelled by this sort of dream (which I’m obviously quite prone to).

    Just trying to keep figuring it out. Cheers for the informed reply.

  • Surena

    Hi Bob,
    The wages and fees are all rumours but that’s what I read. I don’t dismiss Stewart’s point but I think the ‘dead wood’ argument probably oversimplifies.

    The average wage for a senior player at Arsenal, as far as I know, is about £50,000. The youngsters get a fraction of that. A ‘top’ or ‘world class’ player can now easily demand £150,000 and more. The club can’t just cut all the players who seem relatively average now to make way for 1-2 big players. If it did that, Song/Nasri/Sczezny etc would never develop and the club would never make money selling them. What about depth? What kind of quality would be left to deputize when the star gets injured? What if we had, for example, Kaka on a massive salary and then had to contend with constant injuries. Or Van Persie for that matter.

    I think it’s poor judgement and bad business to bet the future of a club on a couple players earning the wages of 10-20.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Bob,
    I think the comparison with Sabremetric-management is spurious. Baseball is a much more individual sport than Football. I also don’t think that plain statistics can analyse football all that well.
    As an example, take Mikel Arteta, a player who routinely exceeds 90% pass completion. A simplistic analysis would be that you have to force him to make ten passes to get the ball off him once. Whereas a player like Steven Gerrard only needs to be forced to pass the ball twice it would seem before he gives it away…actually it’s more like 5 passes.
    The problem with the simplistic analysis is that players don’t pass to themselves. It is much easier to pass to an Arsenal player (aside from Bendtner) successfully – hence the upturn in Arteta’s stats since he joined the club.

    In essence, Arsenal buy players who other clubs either don’t want or can’t sign (for personal/political reasons) who fit the template of an Arsenal player. Now that the various projects are reaching maturity, all of the players are essentially disposable, if they are not totally committed they are sold. Fans might object that this makes us a selling club, I would argue it makes us a dumping club. We sell in the knowledge that unless another club makes an effort to adopt a similar style to Arsenal the player is very unlikely to reach the heights of his Arsenal career, as has been proved by Hleb, Flamoney etc.

  • Shard

    I liked the article Arvind (first opportunity I got to read it), but something about it was bothering me. I realised that its actually your conclusion. Saying RVP and Song let themselves down in terms of their code of morals or ethics would be a presumption that you know what they did, or indeed know who they are as people.

  • Arvind

    Glad you liked most of it. You’re right Shard; I don’t. That was probably an inaccurate statement in a way. Here’s what I meant though; it is subjective though..

    Every individual no matter how big or small has a duty to remain professional. That for me is the biggest thing in life. By professional..I mean…do every little thing as best as you can..each time you do it. You might never be the best at it; or get close..but if you do it as well as you can ..day in ..day out, you’ve lived well I say. So when RVP came out with his rubbish “you guys” statement which backed Arsenal into a corner or his even more ludicrous “little boy” statement which effectively said he was a slave at Arsenal ..without saying it…he has said things that are in blatant contradiction to what he has/the club has portrayed about him.

    In other words, being professional is not only about training well, which I am sure RVP indeed did. It is reflected in what you say and what you do otherwise as well. For example: I had a junior colleague once who would behave well in front of seniors or me; but once when we were travelling in an auto(mode of transport for other readers) he yelled needlessly at the driver. That in an instant told me his true self. So I’m saying…football s part of it..a super important part of it..but its not all. So for me RVP can score another 150 goals (40 * 4) for ManU; by those 2 statements he has fallen badly in my eyes and I would not call him professional.

    On hindsight I think Alex Song has handled it well and the fact that AFC wished him well means nothing was too bad. So I don’t have too much of a problem with him going to Barca. But RVP yes…problem.

    Of course, if circumstances were such that AFC backed RVP into a corner and were dishonest with him ..so he HAD to say what he said…I owe him a humble apology. Somehow I doubt this is the case. I hope that clarifies my stand.

  • Arvind

    Thank You bjtgooner and all who I did not acknowledge. I am happy the article provoked some great debate.

  • Ed

    i dont have the expectation that a player will be loyal to his club or to the fans. as people have mentioned, the club can also not be loyal (trying to sell them) and the fans can also not be loyal (trying to boo them).

    you will only get true loyalty if they are real fans (like gary neville). and i think the players we bring through the youth system will be more likely to be loyal. This is similar to normal people, because some people are loyal to a brand, and they are more likely to stay at a company if they like the brand (e.g. Apple, Google etc.).

    i never expected too much loyalty from Nasri, a bit more from cesc, but i think he had split loyalties.

    however, i expected more loyalty from RVP and Song to Wenger more than the club and fans. He has been the one who stood by them for the past years when, honestly, other managers would have got rid of them. giving them the opportunity when, if another manager, they would likely be in a lower league or mid table side.

    i think after what happened last year, Wenger has been hurt personally by these players leaving and has decided he will not show as much loyalty as before.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Ed – I agree with all that. Any player that says Arsene Wenger was a father to them, but still behaves the way they do isn’t to be applauded because they say thanks on the way out. The words are quite hollow when you consider their action. Slapping someone hard in the face and then apologising afterwards, does’nt make the sting any less painful.

    What I find amazing about Barca is the way they talk about these transfers as a continuation of a great relationship between the clubs. I am not sure I would …if they were on fire to be honest. They also behave ungraciously after a transfer too, it’s like taking an Arsenal player off us is just one big PR opportunity, a scalp even. The Mantra is always the same, Barca are a bigger club, Barca are a bigger club. They are starting to sound like they are trying too hard. Any player that feels like they just ‘settling’ at Arsenal can leave. I don’t think Arsenal are a lesser club to Barca, I’ve been to Camp Nou to watch a few games, done the tour round the club and I can’t see a great chasm of quality between us. But then maybe that’s my rose tinted, or should I say red tinted glasses.

    I have kind of moved on from the Song transfer now though, what’s done is done.

  • Logic is lacking from many views here. The club would sell a player for money just as quickly, so loyalty goes both ways.

    Clearly Podolski and Giroud are disloyal for leaving their clubs, under contract too, no ?

    Explain to me how RVP was disloyal. He said he was not going to renew his contract, he didn’t ask to leave. Arsenal “chose” to sell him for £24m. His contract at Arsenal had a finite length, this is due to the Bosman ruling, when the contract finishes that is the end of his employment at Arsenal. I ask again, what was disloyal about RVP ?

    How was Song disloyal ? If as the rumours have stated he was misbehaving, what was wrong with fining him ? I have also read that Wenger planned to sell Song before now – why sell him now then publish personal issues about Song which seem to me to simply deflect blame from the club for selling another valued player ? Song hasn’t bad-mouthed anyone.

    Personally I didn’t rate Song at all, I’ve seen better CMs at Hackney Marshes ! But some of your views border ludicrous.

  • Ed

    hothead – i think each situation is different, and i also mention that clubs and fans should be more loyal to players. and i think the background and history is why we feel so strongly about loyalty from Van Persie and Song. and how it is different to someone like Nasri.

    with van persie, he was with us about 8 seasons, and only really gave us 1 good season. the others, he was injured so much, that many other teams would have got rid of him. thats about 7 seasons of loyalty arsenal and wenger gave him.

    Song came very young and raw and at the start, many people thought he was crap and should not be playing for arsenal. that he wasnt good enough. even 2 seasons ago, there were many people thinking he wasnt good enough. But arsenal and wenger stuck by him for about 6 seasons when he wasnt supposedly good enough, he has about 1 or 2 decent seasons, and wants to leave the first time barcelona come calling.

    The difference with Nasri is that he was a top quality player when he joined, we didnt make him really, and he only stayed for about 2 yrs and gave us fairly decent performances back. we just hate him cos he went for the money at man shitty!

    I dont think we can compare either to Podolski and Giroud. Their clubs were happy to take the money having received good service from the players in the past few years. to put in arsenal terms, if we were a small club and desperate for money to keep the club going, and someone came in with a good bid for Sagna, then though i would be sad, i cannot be angry because he came in, gave 100%, no complaints, and no question of loyalty especially if he didnt go to one of our rivals.

    with the RVP and Song situation, you can liken it to a love relationship. If a guy was with a girl, and then he was into drugs, was amongst bad company, got jailed for 1 year. but throughout, the girlfriend stuck by him. Then he comes out, gets cleaned up, and immediately dumps her for another girl. its not technically wrong because everyone has the freedom to decide who to date (which i think is the point you are making with the contracts etc.) but its still morally disloyal. put this story to 100 people, and i think 95 would say hes a jerk and being disloyal to the girl.

  • @Ed – good response but I do disagree with you.

    The first is, RVP gave us ALL of last season AND took the burden of the club on his shoulders and didn’t complain. He played EVERY league game last season and scored loads and assisted loads. 10/11 season he made 25 league appearances scoring 18 and assisting 7. 09/10 season he made 16 league appearances and still scored 9 and assisted 7. The 08/09 season he made 28 league appearances and scored 10 and assisted 11. If we go further back, 7 goals, 3 assists and 11 goals, 7 assists back to 06. It is a myth that RVP has only had 1 good season !!!

    Song isn’t good enough for Arsenal, I’ve said it many times, if we want to challenge for top honours we need better players than Song who to me is technically poor. He was physically so much bigger and stronger than what we have to play in that position hence his importance to us but I do not rate him AT ALL !! We don’t know the real reason why Song left so suddenly so to say he is disloyal is very premature and baseless.

    Nasri wasn’t a top player when he joined us, he was good but nothing amazing. He did develop into a fantastic player at Arsenal however. How did he leave for money ? He stated at the beginning of the calendar year that he left that he wanted to see investment in the squad and all he saw was Jenkinson and Gervinho arrive !!! Arsenal are not big payers so any club Nasri joined would dwarf his Arsenal salary. He has an FA Cup and league title to his name now !! Its easy for Arsenal fans to label these guys as greedy, it is always someone else’s fault.

    You say we can’t compare Podolski and Giroud because the clubs were happy to take the money – likewise Arsenal were very happy to take £24m for RVP in his last year and the same amount for Nasri in his last year !! You can’t have it both ways.