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What is really going on inside Arsenal? It’s not so hard to work out.

By  Anonymous At Arsenal

What is really going on inside Arsenal? It is a question often put, but for anyone who observes what is said by Arsenal officials, and who attends meetings at which senior Arsenal staff are present, it is quite clear what is going on.

First, it is a fact that the club itself is not happy with the way things are for the moment. That is because we are not achieving the goals that the senior members of the club have set out for the club.

Going out of the Carling cup was a big blow.  Such things happen in football and every club has suffered defeats to lower league opposition, and Arsenal has suffered such defeats in the past.  But even so, this really hurt.

Bradford seem to be a team that can rise to the occasion as others have found out.  Arsenal and Arsene Wenger really wanted to win that game, but it wasn’t to be.  Maybe the wrong players were rested for that game – and with hindsight it is clear that the influence of Arteta on the field was under-estimated.

But overall the situation Arsenal find itself in is similar to last season. The club was in a similar place last season as this season although the goal scoring has been easier without RVP and the defence has let in fewer.

Last year we still managed to finish third, and defensive errors are what has prevented us moving up higher.  But the latest acquisition should help solve that.

But perhaps the fact that we finished third last season is something that was not really given credit for by the media.  Man City won the league in the last seconds of the campaign, and that is celebrated by the media.  Arsenal gained third spot in the last match, and that is considered lucky.

Thus the media keep writing about Arsenal as if we had been relegated.   The only headline is doom and gloom. Arsenal buy a new full back, and the headlines are “fans will be disappointed”.

In reality the second half of last season we were almost competing at the same level as Manchester City and United. That is something people didn’t mention and certainly the media didn’t speak about it and didn’t gave Arsenal the credit it deserved.

But despite all that doom and gloom in the media Arsenal are still competing with the top in the PL and in Europe. I admit that we have fallen too much away from the top in the PL in this season. This is not good enough and below what was aimed for.

The new players now are coming good but it has taken a while for all of them to get up to the standard required and understand their role within the team.  But this is a natural process and bringing in 3 new players, and fitting in two long term injured players (who can be seen as new signings) has been difficult.

Certainly Wilshere is a player who would cost an enormous amount of money in the transfer window now – but it has taken time for him to get back to his best, and for the club to be able to work the team around his particular skill.

But we are once again in the knock-out stages of the CL – and it is worth asking  Chelsea and Man City with all their finances how difficult this is.   The fact that Man City, the champions of the Premier League, had a more difficult group is a rather poor excuse for a club that has spend what seems like billions on players over the last few years.

Chelsea had a rather easy group and also has spent millions in the summer and couldn’t make it to the knock out stages.   One could brush this matter of reaching the knock out stages aside as not important but I think in the Chelsea and Man City boardroom there will the teeth gnashing when we play Bayern Munich and they sit at home.

And we still are in the FA cup of course. And we also had a few PL clubs going out of that competition in the previous rounds. We had two difficult away games in the FA cup but we managed to get further.

In fact Arsenal is the only club in the PL who have stayed near the top, and in the top four, while having to compete with all the other clubs who are able (or not able but doing it anyway) to spend big.

Arsenal has built an amazing stadium and financed it and it is paying for itself. Still paying in fact. No other team in England has achieved such a thing. In fact do a search for all the clubs that have built a new stadium and look what happened afterwards. It all ended in relegation, relegation, relegation,… Arsenal stayed in the top 4 during that period.

I know that Arsenal have kept on trying to buy players in each transfer window and I am sure Arsenal would have preferred to add one more player. But the January transfer window is a difficult transfer window. If you look around you will see that the biggest story outside Arsenal in the PL was the arrival of Samba at QPR. I think this should tell you the whole story. The really good players are not that willing to leave their clubs. And the clubs are not that willing to sell their players in January.

And that is the biggest problem Arsenal faced. Let me give an example (and the names in this are only given as an example and are not about what happened in reality).

Of course I know that if we could have gone to Everton and offered them £50M for Fellaini they would sell him. He is good, he is great but surely £50M…..  We have to understand both teams in this. Arsenal not willing to pay ridiculous money and Everton does not want to lose their best player unless a really mad offer came along. And we know that mad offers and Arsenal don’t fit in the same sentence.

In fact I know for sure that what Arsenal is doing is not about fixing the short time problems. You may argue that buying a left back when your first choice left back gets injured is a short term fix.   But Monreal was on the Arsenal radar as a replacement for Santos and as a player who would fight for the left back spot with Gibbs.    What is more, both players can fit in the team further up the pitch too.   Gibbs was in fact originally, a midfielder.  Monreal can also play left midfield.  So they fit perfectly together and Arsenal would have gone for Monreal in the next summer but moved in now because of Gibbs, even though  he is cup tied in the CL.

The people within the club to whom Untold has spoken have said that the club will have a better platform to do their business in the near future. New marketing deals will start to come in and thus more money will be available to fund transfers. But we will not step in the lunatic treadmill of other clubs. So those dreaming of doing that can forget it. As long as the current board is there it will not happen.

Arsenal now has a core of rather young British players who they believe are rather loyal to Arsenal (as far as loyalty can exist in the modern football world). And in the future they will build on that core and add players from elsewhere; that is the Arsenal plan.

And despite a lot of pressure form the media and from one part of the fanbase Arsenal will not damage their long term progression by signing players who are not good enough and who are a burden to the club.

I think this shows that first of all the club is aware that mistakes have been made. Not all signings have been the success as was hoped at first. But this is true in every club.  It matters less to Man U, Man C and Chelsea because they each have much more money than we do, but mistakes are made there too.

So the message that comes out of Arsenal can be summarized in a few sentences. Arsenal is at the beginning of a new era. The core of the team is in place. Quality will be added as happened this season, but not at crazy prices. It’s not been an easy ride. But those who supported the club in this difficult period will be rewarded for their patience and their faith.

Quite what those who say, “I want my Arsenal back” actually mean by this is unclear.  If it means lower ticket prices, then that would mean less money to buy new players.  If it means returning to the past, what era?  The early Wenger era, before Chelsea and Man C came along with their huge amounts of cash?  That is not possible until we get Financial Fair Play both in Europe, and in the Premier League, and that is what Arsenal is working towards.

Let us close the ranks amongst supporters and support our team for the rest of this season. And very shortly indeed the next step will be made.

——————————–

The books…

The sites…

68 comments to What is really going on inside Arsenal? It’s not so hard to work out.

  • avatar Kenneth Widmerpool

    Anonymous At Arsenal, great level headed and intelligent post, in my opinion. I brought some of these things up last week, only to be accused of things of implying things that were well off my radar, or interest.
    Its something I really like at Untold,as well as 99% of the comments that are made here;Arsenal supporters that take more time and see and consider whats going on rather than just stating the obvious or having the typical playground-type polemic.

  • avatar Aziz, KL-Malaysia

    Great article, just too bad that maybe 30% of those who call themselves ‘Gunners’ will understand only half and realise ‘what and why’ – and to make their adjustments when commenting if a game is lost …….

  • avatar Scott

    Untold Arsenal is full of deluded, Arsenal tragics who can’t see the forest for the trees.
    Well, that is what people say.
    Me, well i have always chosen to think for myself, listen to everyone, throw away the shit and make my own calls.
    Yes, UA and its followers put a positive spin on all things Arsenal, but that should be said as a compliment, not a negative.
    How easy is it to jump on the bandwagon and ask the club to “spend some f**king money” based on the fact that Gooners cop a ribbing from their Mancs and Chelski mates!!
    Boo bloody hoo.
    I am accused of being deluded on a dailiy basis because i look for the positive in everything….hell, even Pulis has SOMEONE out there who loves him….but for me, Arsenal and football is a positive.
    It is an outlet, and if following Arsenal gave me as much grief as it does others, then i would have to change sports or just top myself!!
    Keep it up guys.
    Keep the faith.

  • avatar @babakrdaemi

    Great write up.

    I am convinced that if we finish 4th this year, Arsenal will be as strong as we have seen for a long time next summer. There is very little chance of losing a key player. All key players are new or have just signed new contracts.

    This will be the first year in 7 that we dont start the season with a new player in a key position. Plus, I am sure we will add a player or two for the players like Arshavin etc

    COME ON THE GUNNERS

  • avatar zico59

    what utter crap, and i’m being polite at that too. there is so much wrong with this piece it would take days to sort out. as for “arsenal won’t damage their long term progression by buying players that are a burden to the club”. where have you been for the last few years….uranus. i suppose gervinho, chamakh, santos, squilacci, djourou and the south korean boy (who’s name i have trouble pronouncing) were never a burden to the club eh! we could have fielded a team of people who were a burden to the club from the last few seasons, real bad buys that are still on the wage bill now as nobody wants them apart from being a loan deal. if you’re going to write about arsenal, please, stop writing as if you’re working for one of the tabloids and print some real facts!!!

  • avatar Obinna onuoha

    Dats great,i always believe in wenger bcos he knws wat he does,so a codoa 2 wenger and arsenal co-opretive indeed

  • avatar JL

    At last something worth reading

  • avatar Mandy Dodd

    Interesting read, I also get the impression people high up are not especially pleased with some aspects this season, maybe there is a bit more pressure on the manager and team than usual? Mistakes have certainly been made, we may have been over cautious at times, panic buying at others, we have lost great players and not always responded the best and that defence certainly needs working on, but was impressed with the signings last summer, and Monreal, more from what I have heard than what I have yet seen. Then there is Theo, Jack and the highly promising home growns signing extensions. To put it in to perspective, we have signed two from the best international team in the world for less than Liverpool paid for Downing, so it is not all going so wrong. And, as you say, we have stayed in the top 4 and the knockout stages of the CL right through a self financed stadium move, others would give anything to be in our position- maybe this jealousy is part of the reason we get such a hard time from some quarters? We certainly seem to be moving in the right direction. Wenger has another year and a half on his contract, who knows, but I am at this stage far from certain he will extend it, but whatever happens, hope the team repay him for all he has done during between now and 2014….and all going well, hopefully longer.

  • avatar mk

    Any thoughts on which Champions league game played in england was fixed?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21319807

  • avatar Geoff s

    Hi enjoyed reading your artical but one thing i hope you realise is that not every paid up member live in englang i am a member but i live in Austrlia. I understand that clubs need to keep things inhouse but it does not help when we get up at 3am to listen to the match live and here us getting beat by the botom clubs and then after the match arsene wenger comes out and claims that we dont need new plays when we clearly do need to strenthen or back line and possible another good keeper to keep our number one keeper on his toe’s maybe a bit more repsect from the coach and board would not go a stray. I personal have not seen or herd anything from our main owner except how he has purchased new shopping centres. we need to here more from him about our clubs future after all we dont care about him we care about ARSENAL>

  • avatar Mandy Dodd

    Do not know for sure about any game played in England being fixed although some events suspicious, but I can tell you two that were, 1/ Braga vs Arsenal 2/ Barca vs Arsenal…and the RVP sending off

  • avatar Kenneth WIdmerpool

    Whats strange is that they know who it was and area waiting. Whichever club it was must being caking their draws over this…just hope it wasn’t us!

  • avatar nicky

    “And very shortly indeed the next step will be made”.
    A sobering precis of the present State of Arsenal but that last sentence is titillating. Can any steps be taken before the end of term?

  • avatar ARSENAL 13

    nice article….

    Silverware will eventually come here, but I would like we achieve that the ARSENAL way. And I hope we win something when Mr Wenger is in charge.

  • avatar Jimin

    The problem arsenal had was related to the fact that fans were reading article from the internet that carefully instigated them through facts to turn against arsenal. This was the media agenda. The said wenger ve not won a trophy in 8yr but moyes at everton has not won ever, more than 8yr. Liverpool, have they won epl? But the media is quite abt them. Postmouth and brimiham won fa cup yes they re small clubs, why has fulham not won for 144 yrs? The media wont write that one cos its not interesting. I ve come to understand that the new slogan is love ur club and hate arsenal. Refs get promotion for obeying this, fan get satisfaction 4m same. It is quite unfortunate that some arsenal supporters ve falling for this trick bore out of jealous ness of the arsenals success pattern. I submit that they want to use this method to make sure they stop wenger from taking arsenal to where it will be in 2 yrs. They ll fail and arsenal and most importantly to me wenger will win trophies

  • At last! A properly written article that shares the enormous optimism I have for this club – and this particular squad of players. It is not at all ridiculous to think that we can compete for the Premier League next season, especially if we can add to the current squad in the summer with three or four new players who can play the Arsenal way.

  • avatar Highamsparkgunner

    Hi great article as always, I also believe silverware is on the
    horizon.
    Sorry to hijack this thread but have just seen the news that
    Michael Owen will not face further punishment from the FA as Chris’bent’Foy has decided that the incident didn’t deserve a card.
    Didn’t realise he was able to make up his own rules, as far as I understand
    throwing a punch is a red card offense regardless whether the punch landed or not. After this disgraceful as usual behavior from Foy I would expect the PGMOL to suspend him but then that wouldn’t fit their agenda.

  • avatar Woolwich Peripatetic

    @mk,
    Could be us, United or Chelsea, there have been some dodgy home matches for all three teams in the CL.
    Interesting conclusion you can draw from that article, any player not giving 100% for the shirt could potentially be arrested on suspicion of match fixing.

  • avatar go arsenal

    until they ban betting on sports in general there will allways be someone trying to fix it, at the end of the day it’s all about money, All we can hope for is that the percentage of fixed matches is kept to a minamul.

  • avatar Stroller

    Owen let off? Nothing new there. He’s not not foreign and he’s not Arsenal. Just like MOTD decided the Shawcross lunge on Koscielny wasn’t worth showing. Wouldn’t have happened if it had been the other way round.

  • avatar Kenneth Widmerpool

    Xtrapnel good to see you, sorry about what Pamela did to your last novel…

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Stroller,
    to give credit where it is due they did showed it on MOTD2 on Sunday evening just before the end. But I must admit I only saw it from a distance as I was just going to the kitchen and didn’t know what they said about it.

  • avatar Tasos

    Could be argued that this new phase at Arsenal, with the added funds from the new sponsorship deals, will enable the club to keep our top players, which has been more important than merely signing some new additions.

    Jack, Ramsey, Jenko, Ox, Gibbs and Theo, plus Koscielny and our captain Vermaelen are proof that this problem is already being addressed.

    When you think how lesser clubs have outspent Arsenal in the transfer market by many millions since the stadium move. Even the likes of Stoke, under Pullis, have spent £120m(net) more than us in the past six seasons alone.

    The club has been fighting with one hand tied behind its back. The financial playing field is levelling out and the club can now begin to compete again.

    Also how many clubs around the world could go seven seasons without winning a trophy and yet still manage to sell-out at home on a regular basis. And yet we are continually reminded that the Arsenal season ticket is the dearest in the world, allegedly.

    Imagine the impact if the club actually started to win trophies again.

    The potential at Arsenal FC remains huge.

  • avatar AL

    Great post Anonymous, and some good comments on here too. I too subscribe to many of the good points you raise above. Great clubs are not built overnight through buying expensive ready-made players, as our friends at the Etihad may just be finding out.

    I pointed out last week that sometime early this season I remember watching a Barcelona match in which all their 11 players on the picth that day, including manager and assistant coach, were la masia graduates. How incredible is that? The best side in the world, with all their members homegrown? We could learn a thing or two from this(of course I know the people in charge at Arsenal already know this, this was more directed at the doubting Thomases among us as fans). When Nunez became Barcelona president, with the assistance of Cryuff, he embarked on building a lasting legacy at Barca which forms the foundations of the successes they enjoy today. Their famed youth academy was developed, and even though they bought good players while this was in development, Nunez was famous for refusing to give in to player power or to those who made huge wage demands, much like Wenger does, if I may add. As a result, Barcelona had their best players ‘systematically stripped’ by clubs who offered higher & ridiculous wages; they lost players such as Maradona, Ronaldo the original, Figo, just to name a few of their stars that left for higher wages elsewhere(Arsenal lost Rvp, Na$ri, Clichy, etc). And to a certain extent it can be argued they also lost Romario due to their refusal to be bullied by players with big egos/bad behaviour, in Romario, just like we got rid of players like Adebayor, Song?. But they steadfastly refused to abandon their policy of youth development, choosing to let these mercenaries go instead. And look whats happening today. They keep churning star after star from their seemingly endless supply line, while the likes of Madrid who chose to stick with buying expensive, already made galaticos at the expense of youth development dont seem to be doing so well or appear stable. Without trying to steal your thunder and write another article by way of responding to your post, Anonymous, I’ll say in short this is a good post, and I firmly believe the future is very bright at Arsenal. I have a sneaky feeling some bad people(including our comeptitors) can also see this, and are trying as much as they can to destabilise our plan to come to fruition. Hence the negative media blitz, the dodgy refereeing(a good exapmle is the CC that was stolen from our line-up of youngsters that faced Chel$ki in the final to prove ‘you can’t win anything with kids’) , and many other negative things we see that are especially reserved for the Gunners.

    The thing I find most depressing is if our ‘enemies’ can see how bright our future is to the extent of them trying to stop us from achieving this by hook or crook, how can some of our own fail to see this?

  • avatar dan

    I’ve got a feeling Arsenal will end up being in the top 3.

  • anonymous great piece of the year 2013.@Highamsparkgunner if spiting away is ared card i wonder how a full punch missing somebody by a whisker does not deserve a red card then i wonder what the FA(Fuckin assholes) are up to?

  • avatar Tasos

    How will this Match fixing probe develop?

    Very interesting.

    I imagine there are at least one or two squeaky bums around in the EPL.

  • @MK you know who the fixer is hope they nail his ass. But will they !Hell know he is to strong and he has a title when everyone hears it he shakes oooh.

  • avatar Gooner S

    @Geoff S…You make a good point about what the club and in particular Arsene Wenger actually says. I think Arsenal football club are under-estimating its capacity to wind up some of our support. Now I understand that Arsene is highly unlikely to come out and and slaughter his squad in public after a poor performance. He is just as unlikely to ‘call a player out’. Doing both will de-stabilise the team and actually show the Manager up in a poor light. So in public he supports the squad but behind closed doors? Who knows other than those involved but I am sure that he doesn’t hold criticsm back in private. Similarly, he isn’t going to come out in public and say we need a goal keeper or a centre forward etc. What message does that give to the current incumbants? Also it shows his hand when he is trying to negotiate a transfer. Perhaps the constant press conferences add fuel to this fire but it is clearly winding up a some of our support base to the point where they question his sanity (amongst other things!). Arsenal do need to handle this a bit better and recognise that they have an issue within their own fan base.

    Perhaps they don’t think it matters, perhaps feeling the naysayers are a minority. But look at the number that follow Untold on Twitter (last Tweet October!) vs some of the blogs with opposing views.

  • avatar JAX GUNNER

    I think this post would have more credibilty if we knew who was writing it, is it Ivan

  • avatar The font

    Good post

  • avatar Arsenal1Again

    Interesting points but not conclusive about what is really going on at Arsenal. In the main it’s a long novel leading up to the predicted summary -> Unhappy Arsenal fans have to fall in line and shut up, continue to be patient and forget that we bought more players when ticket prices were lower.

    My summary -> Regardless of the improved platform in future because of marketing deals, the revenue will not be used in the transfer market. With so much funds available this January and spending a fraction, this left over money should be added to the 40 million transfer fund we average each Summer before the sale of players … but it will not be. Added also to this money should be the extra 20 million we have each year for the stadium naming rights but it will not be. So after paying for the stadium, paying the bills we have an average of 40 million, plus 20 million for stadium naming, plus the 60 million+ left over from this January … and when none of it is used to strengthen the club, we Arsenal fans who are not happy about it will be told here we are arseholes for not falling in line with the Wengerites?

    What needs to happen to convince these fans coming 4th is not like winning a trophy, and that a perma-crock coming back after months is not like a new signing, that forcing players to adapt to new positions is purely to save the club needing to buy battle ready troops for that position, that the wage structure is not rising exponentially with the inflation of the club and its increased revenue, that Frimpong, Gnarby, et al will be permanently loaned and eventually released or sold, that Arsenal will not ever improve with the current regime, regardless of how much extra revenue we get. Even when the stadium is paid for completely, there will be no spending to improve the club, only spending to achieve an ongoing goal of 4th place.

    What will faith bring us? What will more patience bring us? What exactly is going on at Arsenal besides the club being maintained as a self-sustaining source of steady income for Kroenke? Each year he just collects his interest. When the stadium is completely paid for, the club will become attractive to a Sheik somewhere, perhaps the Arsenal fan who currently owns Man City. Kroenke and Usmanov both know a buyer is going to come and buy all their shares for ridiculously higher prices than they’re worth. The fans with a few shares themselves will be praying for this day too and so, it’s obvious why they want the rest of us to have continued faith and patience.

  • avatar asd

    Stroller,
    to give credit where it is due they did showed it on MOTD2 on Sunday evening just before the end. But I must admit I only saw it from a distance as I was just going to the kitchen and didn’t know what they said about it.

    MOTD verdict was that it was a foul and Shawcross deserved the card he was given.

  • avatar Alex James

    It’s not just about money and the wasting of it on average players, some of whom one never sees in the shirt. The defending of the team is terrible and the tactics never vary. This is my gripe against Wenger. And I have been watching the club for over 60 years, and have witnessed some dire times.

  • avatar Ugandan Goon

    Well said, Sir!

  • avatar Nannu

    Another biased piece with total disregard for the past failures. The media bullshit is just a convenient excuse for him, yet again. The press start printing loads of bollocks about us being in for a player we’re never ever going to sign, the player’s club is prompted to say we don’t want to sell him (standard response unless a player is completely surplus to requirements), Wenger will then pretend we tried to buy him but they wouldn’t sell when in reality he’s done fuck all. And so goes another transfer window, he pulls the wool over the eyes of the blinkered masses with his usual smoke and mirrors routine.It would have been exactly the same had United not signed Zaha. Now I for one am glad we didn’t sign him – but had he stayed at Palace Wenger would have undoubtedly made a lot of noise about how the clubs couldn’t reach an agreement and how the asking price was too high and Palace didn’t want to sell him mid-season. Whereas now it’s an established fact that Palace were willing to sell him, Wenger was forced to concede that the interest that he professed to have in Zaha in press conferences for weeks was utter bollocks and we happily watched him go elsewhere with no intention of ever bidding.

  • avatar A. Stewart

    “Man City won the league in the last seconds of the campaign, and that is celebrated by the media. Arsenal gained third spot in the last match, and that is considered lucky.”

    Well erm yes. The team winning the league will always have that win “celebrated in the media”. Even moreso in the very dramatic stoppage time goal way that it happened. Even moreso when it involved local ‘rivals’ in City and United. Even moreso considering City’s lack of success for ages. So what would should the media do, not “celebrate” it?

    Arsenal gained third spot in the last match and it was considered lucky? Well erm, did you see the Fulop goalkeeping debacle (arguably one of if not the worst PL GK performance) in our final game that gifted us the points we needed? Yes it was kind of lucky, what do you want the media to do? Celebrate it equally to City’s dramatic last second title win?

  • avatar A. Stewart

    “In fact I know for sure that what Arsenal is doing is not about fixing the short time problems. You may argue that buying a left back when your first choice left back gets injured is a short term fix. But Monreal was on the Arsenal radar as a replacement for Santos and as a player who would fight for the left back spot with Gibbs. ”

    May be true, may not be, Pellegrini’s statement (which can admittedly be interpreted in different ways) seems to suggest it was an “option that came up at the last minute”. Maybe Nacho was on the radar, as I’m sure many players are and were, and like many players Wenger states after the fact were on his radar but for one reason or another we didn’t get/go for them, we may not have gotten him or gone for him either, had it not been for the fortuitous timing of Gibbs’ injury with the transfer window still just open. Sorry you being deliberately anonymous and stating something that you supposedly know for a fact/for sure is not credible, surprised Untold welcomes that (regardless of the slant/focus of the post), since UA regularly speaks about and encourages backing things up with evidence.

    “and fitting in two long term injured players (who can be seen as new signings) has been difficult.”

    No, players returning from long-term injury are just that players returning from long term injury. New signings are new signings, there is really no grey area here, or nothing analogous.

  • avatar Shard

    I’m surprised no one picked up on a AAA being the author :)

    We’ve been here before, and anyone who doesn’t believe the club actually cares about winning won’t believe it regardless of what you say. Sure, there’s money in the bank, though people pull figures out of the air as regards our supposed annual budget. Gazidis and Wenger have both at one time said that there is no ‘budget’ as such. There is money, and it is decided on a case to case basis as to how to spend that money. Which is how it should be.

    The money in the bank seems to bother people. It would bother me too if I could have a convincing theory as to why the owner, the board, and the manager would purposely want to destroy the club.

    The way I see it, the club has been under pressure to balance its books. It has dealt with losing players we didn’t intend to lose, and thereby have a mini rebuilding every 2 years or so. The problem is less to do with buying and more to do with retention. This summer, Sagna excepted, we should be able to keep all of our important players. Some of the unwanted players should be able to be sold/released, and we’ll finally have some of the money from the emirates deal coming in (although the deal doesn’t kick in till the season after)

    Also, in the past 2 years, the age and the ‘name’ of the players we’ve bought have been higher than before. Which means we’re willing to lose out on their resale price, which already indicates progress on the financial front.

    All in all, I think next summer, we might see an increased push in the transfer market. And that money in the bank will finally be enough to provide us a tangible return on investment. As an outer limit, I’d be willing to be very patient till 2014, when the Emirates deal, and the new kit deal will actually become active. But I don’t think we’ll be waiting till then. We have the basis of a very good side, and I reckon we’ll look to build on it. I wouldn’t expect 40m pound signings though. That’s not our style, and probably not what we need.

  • avatar Mandy Dodd

    Vert true on forty mil players, especially when we can get two Spain internationals for half that

  • avatar Stuart

    Shard,
    Was it not recently revealed that having a certain amount in the bank has reduced our interest payments on the outstanding amount owed?

  • avatar Shard

    Stuart,

    Was it? I haven’t heard that to be honest. Do you think you can find a link to where something like that might have been said?

  • avatar AL

    asd
    I hope you’re not trying to defend shawcross or the punishment he got. That motd said he got what he deserved doesn’t make it right, after all those idiots hardly know anything about football to justify the tag of experts they so want to be known by. By the way, asd, I notice your name is an anagram for sad, is that by design? No offence, just curious.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Yeah that was a funny part Shard and glad someone spotted it. ;)

    As regular readers will know we have many articles published written by people who want not have their real name mentioned on top of the article.

    Tony and I write in our own name most of the time but we leave the option open for anyone who sends in an article if they want their own name on top or not. As long as we know who wrote it, it is fine. And if the author wants to have it published under the name Orc from Zorc…well who are we to say no then.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    AL,
    I think ASD just gave the information I asked as I didn’t know what was said. Late at night the sound goes very soft to not disturb my wife and children and then I have to sit and stay focused but as the program was coming to an end I started preparing myself to go to bed and just saw the images.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    And about the name I think most comments are not really published under their real name. And that is not really a problem for me. I can imagine Bob being Bob but somehow I don’t think that ASD is the real name of ASD, or Arsenal 13 confirming this as his real name when a policeman asks his name. ;)

  • avatar Shard

    Walter

    Everyone who’s ever read Wodehouse knows that when a policeman asks your name you say you are Edwin Smith of 11 Nasturtium Road, East Dulwich :D

  • avatar AL

    Ah, I see, and cheers for the name explanations Walter:) Apologies for misreading your comment ASD.

  • avatar Otunba

    The article is one-sided in my view. What of the attitude with which the board have sold its key players in the past? Not all of them wanted to go as you would want to jump to defend. There is a calculated attempt to continue to cheat the harpless fans to make the most money available for their love for the game.

  • avatar Brickfields Gunners

    Just read this fine article and while reading was formulating in my mind a response about AAA when I saw that Shard had mentioned it and Walter has acknowledged it .
    Anyway , thanks AAA , just loved it ! Up the Gunners !

    All men are equal; it is not birth, but virtue alone, that makes the difference. –Voltaire.

    As for the other rabid AAAs , Voltaire ,again –
    I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short on: “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it.

  • avatar spiro

    Now I knw why reading untold articles just makes my day. Really great posting.

  • avatar bob

    The window has come, but not gone.

    I feel that the official spin from AFC that began in the summer has continued along the way, and through this window, has continued. While many are tribalist to a fault, echoing and/or endorsing that spin is offensive. For people to make a virtue out the necessity to buy Monreal is offensive. There would have been no purchase at all this window if Gibbs weren’t out for 3 weeks, sorry, 6 weeks now (but we’ll see, won’t we?) Monreal’s now the answer at left back, based on one game. Whew! I didn’t realize that; though I look forward to seeing him flourish and do wish him well. But to my eyes, he’s not a problem, nor was a real problem at all. The problem is that, despite hints and feints and gesture, we still have not – but could have – replaced Alex Song – sold off for financial reasons of a zero transfer balance (and NOT for the “bad attitude” that AL insinuates above, whilst covering his arse with a question mark). And we have not replaced Van Persie’s combined clinicality firepower. Neither the quality/clinical striker nor the additional DM were purchased; not even good French! ones (a la Newcastle, justly praised by Arsene yesterday).

    The money was there, it is there, and it will be there: increased this June with the new TV deal, on top of that money (so it doesn’t matter that other clubs will also benefit because we are already in a better starting position that most except the petros and manure); and more money with another CL finish (conceivably); and with the greatly improved Emirates deal money kicking in by 2014. I will not endorse, rubber-stamp, swallow the endemic money making without further proportional improvement on the pitch. Why? I join Arsenal1Again’s FEAR that AFC is being fattened for eventual sale by the major shareholders. But whether or not that is afoot (which I do believe is the case), I openly reject this management/ownership/board combination for actually not pursuing a championship and hindering it. And for the unpardonable crime of gifting the championship to RVP for a cool 24M that will not be spent on our championship drive.

    My loyalty and backing still go to the players; and to our hard-earned successes on the pitch. And I will defend them against Refshite, which is and continues to be a massive problem and obstacle, but not insurmountable. (And yes, Walter, I am bob, but not Bob. Are you the Anonymous writer of this piece? Is Tony? Only you have the addresses, n’est-ce pas.)

    I fully endorse and applaud Arsenal1Again’s set of questions about the future, up there at 5:02: http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/27042/comment-page-1#comment-523871 This is an adult’s set of questions; and it has a substance and courage of its conviction that goes well beyond the badge-kissing and loyalty tests that this website and today’s anonymous party-line writer and many reader/commenters continue to issue and endorse. Is that all you’ve got? Sorry, but self-deception is not a real way forward. It’s just making do with mediocrity, to call the present moment The Start of Yet Another Team; and, in the same breath, labeling all who don’t party to that party-line that oh, you’re AAA! (witch! witch!), or otherwise to zip it shut and erase your recent memory, and just get on with being loyal….” Loyal to who?

    Imo, there has been an actual basis for fully expecting a championship side at AFC. And money could have been spent to achieve that (in spite of the petro-pigs who can’t buy everyone who could make a difference). It takes being pro-active and planning; ensuring against the inevitable injury with a quality bench; and, at times, splashing for a major difference maker. Some may argue that we have or are on the way to doing so (which is not the same), so the glass is half full. Well, Ok. But it could have been 3/4 full to fully full. But there is something wrong internally, as (my favorite stalwart) Mandy Dodd used to say, not so long ago. And it will continue to go wrong in ways that have not ended by the necessity of having purchased Monreal. It was necessary. It is a feel-good factor for one game. And may it go on. But there are long term concerns as Arsenal1Again has raised them. And it is as important, imo, to continue to monitor the current regime at AFC as it is for Walter (if that is you, after all) to continue to monitor the chronic Refshite that willfully obstructs that. So, not that anyone asked, but for my tuppance: Do not go gentle into that good night, gooners. Rage against a regime that sells its best player to gift a championship to its (second worst) enemy. And rage against “the Deans” of the PGMOL/EPL who are (currently) lucky to escape the anti-corruption searchlight. And rage for a Championship; not settle for a bean counter’s trophy and its unspent money that, in fact, comes out of the pockets of those who actually buy the tickets, and the merchandise, and the Arsenal Player subscriptions, etc. etc.

  • avatar bob

    Walter,
    You have everyone’s email address.
    So you know that I am bob, not Bob,
    just in case you pretending not to know.
    Are you Anonymous at Arsenal?

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    bob,
    I always try to write a person his name starting with a capital. I have been brought up that way. ;)

    And I wish I was Anonumous At Arsenal…

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    y…

  • avatar Shard

    bob

    I’m sorry, I still don’t see WHY we wouldn’t be willing to spend the money we have, unless it is based on judgment calls of the players being available not good enough, or not as good as those that are likely to be available later.

    The biggest contention is that we are keeping cash reserves to boost share price, so as to yield a bigger profit for Kroenke on his investment into Arsenal. Do we know how much, if any, does the share price get increased by having x amount in the bank? Let’s say we have 153m in the bank (this is a figure quoted by one of the bloggers I trust, but I am uncertain as to its veracity) How much would share price decrease if we spent say 50m of that? Would that decrease be offset by the cost of the player coming in and who, in accounting terms at least, counts as an asset, and who might lead to an increased profit through merchandising and marketing? In the absence of such complex (at least for me) calculations, I do not know what to make of this claim of us being fattened for a sale. There isn’t anything to back it up except fear and doubts, which though legitimate, aren’t conclusive.

    And why does spin bother people so much? It is the club’s job to generate as much positive news about itself as it can.

    As for the signings, I want that clinical striker brought in, but who and are they available? I’m very happy we got in Monreal, no matter the circumstances of that, because Santos’ display against Liverpool was scary. Remember last season when we had injuries to our fullbacks, and you were arguing that we should have bought someone in that position? Well we did it this year.

    As for a DM, more and more, I’m unsure that this is a priority. Diaby’s fitness is still an if, but at least he’s been playing. We also have a plethora of young midfielders, some of whom have performed quite well when given the opportunities. However, A DM/CB might be someone we would go for, since Djourou seems to be on his way out of the club.

    The money isn’t really a problem, but in the summer, there’ll be more targets available, we’ll have a more settled team (pay rises in contracts are also money spent) thus giving us a better idea of what we need, and we’ll be able to move on some players who we don;t need, allowing us to better gauge efficient use of our resources. There are advantages to spending in the summer. The risk is that we lose out on CL football and the resultant 30m. Well, it seems to be Arsene’s judgment, based on evaluation of all the factors, that we’ll still get CL. So far, he’s not been wrong about that. But if we don’t make it, I wouldn’t agree with it being a reason to not spend money to acquire the players we want.

    ANyway, why I’m optimistic that the ‘zero spend’ isn’t going to continue into perpetuity, is that the increased funds from tv, Emirates, kit deals, haven’t actually come into the club yet. We have seen players sold, but also new players bought, sometimes more in number, for equal amount (but for more money spent on contracts) and these have been generally players in their prim (lower resale value), and we have seen money spent on contract renewals, as well as investments in a medical centre and equipment (which I believe is paying off). All of which shows that the club isn’t exactly wary of spending money.

    We’ve also, in the past few years, made bids of 20m for Reina (independently confirmed by Reina and Bob Wilson), and made bids for Julio Cesar and Mirallas (GK and striker) apart from trying to sign a midfielder on loan. Again, I think it shows that we’re willing to spend money on players we want. But there aren’t many of those out there.

    We’ll see. But as of now, I still see no reason to mistrust the club, except that of fear.

  • avatar Notoverthehill

    The ArsenalAgain is correct in his wish (!), but his scratchings are hopeless. Bob (like Walter, I use a capital), you are following a falsehood!

    At least two-thirds of the cash at the Bank as at 31st May 2012, was, in fact, Advance Season Ticket sales for Season 2012/2013, 2014/2014 and beyond (?).

    Note 16 in the Financial Report 2011/2012, informs us that under “accruals and deferred income”, there was a sum of £86 millions. Note 17 in the same Report, under “deferred income” informs us that there was a sum of £12.699 millions, both sums net of Value Added Tax. Add 20% VAT due on the £80 millions of Advance Season Ticket sales for Season 2012/2013, that is a lot of money that cannot be drawn on, until the EPL starts in mid-August 2012. Note 16, is on Page 53 and Note 17, is on Page 54.

    The difference between the football debtors and creditors was minus £7.1 millions, when this was actually due to be paid we were not told.

    Stuart Wisely, would have kept the books open well into June 2012, so “accruals and prepayments” of £17,591 millions, appear in Note 14 – Debtors.

    Furthermore, Page 20 informs us, that the Barratt money is to be paid in instalments over 2 years, commencing 2012/2013 Financial Year.

    The £40 millions, plus £20 millions, plus £60 millions, quoted in his second paragraph, is complete and utter nonsense. It destroys the writer’s credibility, at a stroke.

    I do not know the bye-laws of the borough in which London Colney, is situated. Certainly, I would be looking for sponsorship/advertising, for the training complex. £100 millions over 10 years should be achievable. Will the Local Council permit it, I do not pretend to know.

    Could Tom Fox and Ivan Gazidis, do better ? Perfhaps!

  • avatar bob

    not over the hill (yet),
    No Thanks for your puffed up tales of (my and AFC’s) Capitalizations. It’s bob, no thanks to you, nor to Walter’s early Upbringings :)

    Imo, Calculations for quality on the pitch are not made (unless you know that’s how AFC works, and maybe you’d be right) based on cash in hand at the moment’s snapshot. Since you appear to know the finances, let me ask about your overall calculus as to our relative strengths and weaknesses (which is the context of Arsenal1Again’s posting (which I echo):

    Where in this is the recent real estate sale? Has it all been factored in yet?

    Where in this is the TV mega-money to come in June?
    Could it not be factored in yet when it comes to purchases?

    Where in this is the signed Emirates deal?
    Could it not have been factored in yet when it comes to assessing needed purchases?

    Where in this is the sale of RVP, Nasri, Cesc and Song?
    Has it all been factored in yet, or is more still on the way? (Even from the x-Cesc sale?!)

    What strategic partnerships, if any, might be in the offing?
    Could that insider knowledge not have been factored in yet when it comes to purchases?

    What about last season’s CL money?
    Has it all been factored in yet, or is more still on the way?

    Surely I know that you can’t know this. But you offer up your reading of the books as of this moment in the context of a debate over whether we have and have had and should have spent the monies to splash on a difference maker. Do you find your findings responsive to that?

  • avatar bob

    Shard,
    Work calls now, and will respond to your thoughtful posting later or tomorrow as far worser things :) now demand my attentions.

  • avatar bob

    Walter,
    I’m glad you’re not Anonymous at AFC on many levels, all positive (imo).

  • avatar bob

    Shard,
    In partial reply to your posting (2/5 @5:57), I can’t know WHY we don’t spend when the dosh is available, but I don’t go along with the idea that there is no one – repeat, no one – out there whom is good enough to have brought in. As you know since last August, my focus (and part of our conversation) has been on replacing Alex Song (who was allowed/pushed to leave for zero net transfer goal, imo) and taking the acquisition of quality insurance to heart as a spending priority. Not having replaced Song, except with current fantasies (six months later) that Ramsey (or Koscielny) can/will become the next Song (and that the midfield is now imperious), has been reckless, injurious (because of too many dropped points already) and may yet prove ruinous to the cherished top four finish (which I agree is essential, but should not have been the singular goal of the business model).

    We had a large number of midfield names, and people hereabouts including the editors and the (now invisible) Fungunner, were fast to chant those names in defense of not worrying about purchasing midfielders, let alone the imperious (to solid) DM that you and I had on our wish list. Well, what I have time for today is this observation. That that wish-list of names irresponsbily included – Wilshere, Diaby, Rosicky, Ramsey, Arteta, etc. – the still injured, those yet to return, those overrelied. In each case, the best was not only wished for, but assumed. All would be back, in top form, soon; or would last, injury-free, to give us unstoppable brilliance. Well, not soon enough – as too many points dropped too soon so that we sank like a stone thisfast and ceded the championship to the Manchesters.

    (In fact, I would argue that the (traitorous) act of selling the equally-ice-in-the-veins Van Persie to the reptilian Don Fungus was the foregone conclusion that we would not be a competitor for the table top, so it was, from that point on, ONLY about the top four finish – which is why I do not and will not trust the current regime/ownership/management to ever mount a drive for winning the EPL trophy.)

    But, all this said, this is what I am getting at by this gross reckless and negligent failure to have purchased the needed quality midfielder either in the summer or in this past window:

    THIS: Obviously, there are and will be OTHER games besides EPL to have considered with respect to this list of midfield names (and that striker, which I’ll save for another post). (1) Aaron Ramsey was injured in training ahead of his Wales game against Austria; and so, he is feared (yes, rationally feared) to miss our EPL match this weekend. (2) Koscielny was withdrawn halfway through France’s match vs. Germany, and his now calf injury could take weeks (I’m sure it’ll be announced as the usual 3 weeks that, in truth, becomes 6 weeks) to return.
    Well, this has big ramifications for the defense which cannot spare another single injury with the CL coming up, for but one major example. But, to refocus (sorry), it’s now pfffffft goes the reckless and infantile fantasy of Rambo-Koz as the New Song. No. We didn’t buy a DM and will again be overstretched both physically and quality wise. Arteta is wonderful, but neither he nor Diaby nor Santi can be prudently relied upon to play every game and be injury free. This is self-evident to anyone who knows a drop of our history. But the gamble in two windows now, not to have replaced Song, and to play out this unnecessary and reckless game of a midfield on the cheap is undermining our prospects. It is a terrible gamble to have made, now twice, and I cannot write it off as there is or was no one out there to have been brought in. No, a gamble was made NOT to spend; rather than to spend for insurance for the all-too-predictable rainy day that would and has come. To me, that money goes into the christmas bonuses; and the party line is now, oh, well, the January window is too pricey, so let’s all have a group hug and set our sights on the Summer window, when, of course, so much quality will come to us at bargain basement rates.

    As to WHY they don’t spend and settle for less and proffer the promises of the next transfer window and the next, I don’t and can’t know the inner workings of the inner sanctum. Nor can either of us assume that no one was out there who was good enough. That’s the point of the heralded worldwide scouting system, isn’t it? I (nor anyone) can be slated for not knowing THE NAME that’s out there, as so many on this website do to challenge anyone who advocates for taking some (affordable chances) on needed signings. In the end, there’s still not enough in the midfield. There should have been more. And, another quality striker; that is, before the improving (thankfully) Giroud is anointed as having arrived, or soon to arrive, as the New Van Persie.

    In any case, this is part of a response – to clarify where I’m coming from and why I can love and back our players, but cannot ever come to trust the current ownership/ management to spend in a timely way that will acquire the needed quality to actually compete for top honors, instead of ceding the race in advance and keeping everyone focused on the diminished (if worthy, but dull) goal of chronic 4th place bridesmaid to Don Fungus’s scheduled anointment at season’s end.

    [And, as a p.s.: I also think it was affordable to have sold RVP at a lower price to Juventus this past summer – if we truly could not have said no to him. But the extra 10M (or less) was just too good to pass up by the AFC bean counting regime. And so, da money ruled and da EPL race is ceded to our worst enemy at that very moment – despite all of AW’s continual hot air about competing for all cups (what else could he say) and more recent surprise that Manure would be THIS far ahead at this stage. I’m cynical enough about the AFC regime (but not the players, I want to make crystal clear) to even think that one of the quid pro quos for AFC selling RVP to Fucking Manure was to get Manure’s backing for bringing Gazidis into the hierarchy at the FuckAll. I have no proof of this, nor do I seek it, nor would it make me happy in any way to be right. It’s more indicative of me, perhaps, than the AFC regime, but I put it out there to indicate the depth of my distrust for anything financial that they say in public. As for AW, I still defend him as our coach; but not more than that. I think there is a lot to say to keep the coaching role separate from higher office among the brass. And, who knows who has the final call on anything anyway. Not me. Not you. Not anyone on this website (I think). And that’s by design.]

  • avatar Shard

    bob

    Ok. Long post, so I’m kind of thinking on my feet here as to how best to reply to all of your points. I guess, first off, I don’t believe the act of replacing a player has to be ‘like for like’, and I don’t think Wenger does either. At least, he believes that it doesn’t have to be so. So Song may not be directly replaced in the team by another similar player. Instead the team dynamics changes to cover that loss, and hopefully improve. I’m stating this just as a general point and not as a case for not bringing in a DM type player.

    As I said, I’m a little undecided on the DM issue, as to how much of a necessity it is. At the start of the season, I really felt we needed one, and I felt Diaby should only be considered a bonus. But seeing how we’ve played, and that Diaby played enough to even start 3 matches in a week, gives more cause for optimism (cautiously so) There is a limit to how much any team can legislate for injury, in terms of buying more players. Not only does it mean having to pay for players we’ll rarely use, which might also lead to instability in the squad. But often, players, no matter how good they are in theory, if, in actual fact they are more of a backup, their playing level tends to reflect that.

    If you argue that we don’t have enough players in midfield, I would have to disagree. We have loads. (including the young players) The question then becomes what quality of player you’d want to add to the squad, and what role you expect them to play – first teamer, or sub/rotation option. I’m presuming you want a first teamer in there. As do I, if we were to buy a midfielder at all. Which makes a good case for not buying in the winter, when good players are less likely to move.

    I agree with you that not knowing the name as to who to sign is irrelevant. It’s for the club’s scouting network to identify targets.

    As for selling Van Persie to ManU, Wenger said he would have preferred to sell him abroad even at a lesser price, but that RVP wanted to go to ManU. Ok. AW on transfers is hardly a reliable source, so you can doubt that, but I think RVP said something similar about him choosing ManU, besides which, it makes sense. Let’s see from RVP’s view. He moves to a team where he knows he’ll get the ref’s decisions his way, his family doesn’t have to uproot to move to Italy, and Juventus had the disruption with their coach and his suspension. All in all, you are doing Arsenal a disservice by believing that the extra 10-15m or so was the sole guiding principle in Van Persie’s sale. It’s not as if ManU instantly offered the extra money. I’d say Arsenal demanded the extra money from ManU/City as price for agreeing the sale to a rival when they were actually comfortable selling RVP for 12-15m. There is a difference between the two.

    As for saying no to him. I don’t think that is as good an idea as it sounds. WBA said no to Odemwingie (to Martin Samuel’s admiration), but they couldn’t play him at the weekend when they needed him, and they’re probably loaning him out now. For Arsenal, let’s say we kept him. It’s impossible to know the impact he would have had. Would he have sulked? Would the other players have, considering his statement essentially said his teammates are rubbish? Would he have been injured again? And in a sense, it would have just meant delaying the inevitable, perhaps to our detriment. We had no choice in where to sell him. Players have the power in that regard. And his statement made keeping him very difficult. We just had a choice in what price to sell him at, and I think we did ok in that regard, considering the circumstances.

    As to Arsenal perpetually AIMING for 4th place. That is a fallacy. It’s never been true, except that 4th place is our minimum target. Just look back on the years since the stadium move. The years that we’ve maintained squad stability, we’ve actually been genuine title contenders deep into the next season. And you and I both know what factor, to a large extent, prevented us from winning the title those years.

    2006-07, lost Pires (and Henry to injury/poor form) season of rebuilding. 2007-08 no major upheaval, should have won the title. 08-09 (lost Flamini, Hleb and Rosicky) rebuilding year. 09-10, despite losing Adebayor and Toure, league form improved, challenging for title well into March. 10-11, in shout of 4 trophies till Feb, genuine contenders at one point. 11-12-Cesc, Nasri, Clichy, team breakup starts, rebuilding year. 12-13, a further year of losing key players, but the team as a whole seems to be playing better (subjective but not outrageous to say so) 13-14..?? If we keep our key players, which we (mostly) should be able to do, I think we can expect a title challenge. Teams don’t improve just through the transfer market, and Arsene’s teams have history of improving simply by playing together.

    As to the financial side. there is no way of knowing, but I do not believe the low or zero net spend will continue much longer. I’ve stated it before, but we haven’t actually got the extra funds in yet. This will happen next season. Though in a bigger way in 2014. Also, as I keep saying, but this time I’ll say a little differently. Arteta, Mertesacker, Podolski, Cazorla, Giroud, Monreal. Do those signings not indicate a shift in the type of players we are looking to buy already?

    As to your last line. It definitely is by design, but that doesn’t make it malicious or wrong. It is simply the way any responsible organisation runs. All disagreements are aired behind closed doors, while outwardly, unity is maintained. Not only do I not see anything wrong in it, I applaud the model where a manager/coach is involved in the strategic direction of the club.

  • avatar Adam

    Very interesting debate you two. A good read thanks.

    “Teams don’t improve just through the transfer market”

    The most settled sides across the big five barring Manchester city all won their leagues last season.

    The most settled club in the premiership is Manchester United and they came in second on goal difference.

    Says something for having a settled side and why other clubs wish to disrupt.

  • avatar bob

    Hi Shard,
    More later, but quick on the hoof:
    “10-11, in shout of 4 trophies till Feb, genuine contenders at one point” This example is evidence to me of the penny-pinching refusal to buy additional defensemen. People were screaming to the heavens that we were already stretched of defense, still facing 4 competitions, and I believe there already were some injuries that impacted defense going into the transfer window with a horrendous and intense schedule. Not having purchased in the January window was a major reason, along with the massive refshite, to have sunk our prospect for even one title that season. It was that dismal non-purchasing policy in that January that has, imo, catalyzed a decline and perhaps weighed in direction of choices to leave. No one can say, on that; but it’s hardly unthinkable. It’s not enough to just say we were in contention to March. We flamed out, exhausted, and the unwillingness to purchase defense – a quality defensive reserve – when we needed it that began my growing sour on the ambitions of the club. There were many voices calling for purchases that January and the club was both tone deaf and, in my view, counting on at least one or two trophies no matter what. Clearly the refshite was sky-high piled against us. But the part we could control was not addressed. And, I think, that the flame out in the four competitions did its not small part in sowing or expanding the discontent in the fanbase toward the current day, however right or wrong its content.
    Must go now, but I appreciate your reply, as always. More soon.

  • avatar bob

    p.s. in my haste, I meant to say that I feel the unwillingness to spend on further quality insurance in a January transfer window – unless forced to as with Gibbs’ injury bringing in Nacho – has become an iron rule (or is at least ferociously defended by AW) and I think there is no principle involved but saving the club (that can afford to spend on insurance) money and enhancing profit that is not returned to the pitch. This no January spend mantra is a reckless gamble, imo: that January I refer to, and, I predict, this January’s as well. Hopefully I’m completely wrong, but, right now, it has filled me with angst and great distaste for the organization’s actual business model – because it is NOT fan friendly and injurious to our quality (AW’s favorite word).

  • avatar bob

    Cheers, Adam. :)

  • avatar Shard

    bob

    That’s where the additional money coming in, will help. While we can argue over the money being there even then, it seems reasonable to suggest that money wasn’t as abundant as all that. I think the sort of players being bought over the last 2 years is the clearest signal that the club are gradually becoming more confident in their ability to spend more without needing to sell their players.

    However, about that season, I don’t think we were physically exhausted as much as mentally drained by the constant noises in the media and among fans(including the bloody AST) about how we weren’t good enough. In my view, the team gave up on itself only after the fans gave up on it. and the ref shite added to the said lack of belief. It is though, hard to say for sure what contribution was down to which element.

    The point about continuity leading to improvement still stands. I am saying that this factor, ALONG with increased net spend will be helpful. So, I’m not arguing against spend. I just think I can see a logical progression in Arsenal’s journey, and feel that we are nearing the end of the era of restrictions in spending. And while the club have always said they have money, you can hardly expect them to say they are broke. But of late, they have made increased noises about how we are about to enter the next phase of the stadium move, and Wenger saying how we can finally be less restrained in our spending. You may think all of this is a lie. I would agree it is spin. But spin also sends out a message, and the club are sending out a strong message that they will look to spend. The point about continuity (and the academy as well) is that we might not even need a major increase in spending to get a title challenging team.

    Oh and a point I missed in your post earlier, about injuries and how it was a gamble. I think the injuries have reduced due to the investment in the GPS and the medical training centre that the club undertook. Of course injuries can and will still happen, but we seem to be far healthier now than in years previous.