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Stability is profitability and success

STABILITY IS PROFITABILITY & SUCCESS – by Don McMahon

I recently read a very sensible article online about how stability and success can be partners in Football. The article illustrated SAF and Wenger’s influence as prime examples of how one can depend on the other. Here is my take on what AFC have going for them as compared to every other EPL Club:

Wenger’s contributions:

  • Wenger has been at the helm for 18 years, more than ALL other current EPL managers combined. In that time he has brought us success, both in titles AND in CL success. Those who whine about no silverware in 8 years have severe myopia when they fail to appreciate what an achievement just keeping us in the top 4 and the CL has been.
  • Having achieved what many considered as impossible, he has also reoriented Arsenal from a team who played boring defensive football and were never considered world-class until he came, to one whose beautiful, free-flowing football is the envy of any team in the world and who are often compared to Barcelona.
  • All of this was done while paying off a stadium debt, handling serious injuries, season in and season out, facing desertions from key players, playing against 12 men in almost every game, home or away and so on.
  • His ability to develop a team from scratch and to foster solid team spirit, loyalty, strength of character, a winning mentality under serious restraints and challenges, to repair damage done by the media, some of his own players and the powers that be, to promote promising youth players after protecting and nurturing them for years, to always display elegance, composure, restraint, savoir-vivre and class despite the best efforts of lesser people to demean him and the Club, make him the epitome of stability AND success.
  • His man-management skills, youth development and very successful transfer strategies helped get us over the dry period during the construction of the stadium and the debt refinancing. His stellar tactical and team-building excellence has assured us of ongoing profitability and therefore continued support from Kroenke and Gazidis.
  • His innately loyal and supportive paternalism towards his charges ensures that almost all of his players trust him implicitly and those that don’t soon find alternatives elsewhere. Few players of Vermaelen and Rosicky’s talents would have remained as second choice options in most other clubs. There is also the supposed ¨fact¨ that we pay compensation, over the odds, to ¨deadwood¨ players like Bendtner, Park, Diaby etc. This misconception is still rattling around the AAA empty spaces in their skulls but the truth is that Wenger’s socialist approach to compensation has to be applied equally to all Gunners, otherwise there will be discontent.

The Board and owner’s contributions:

  • Kroenke’s hands off approach has permitted Wenger and Gazidis to run the Club in pretty much the same way it has always been run, unsubstantiated and spurious despite claims to the contrary. Kroenke has reiterated recently that he trusts Wenger’s judgement and supports him 100%. He has turned a deaf ear to the AAA’s incessant demands that he be terminated, to their great consternation and anguish. He also approved the Ozil transfer…the costliest in our history.
  • Gazidis and the Board have maintained an arm’s length approach as well, permitting Wenger to work in his comfort zone, without the threat of interference or dismissal, unlike quite a few EPL managers recently. They operate on the old-fashioned idea that a great manager is worth keeping and encouraging, but what do they know?

The players’ contributions:

  • We seem to have a solid core of passionate Gunners who are happy to play for us and proud to wear the shirt. Many of them are fortunate that the AAA don’t have ANY influence in this, based on their eagerness to rip those shirts from the backs of those that are unfit to wear them, in their feeble opinion.
  • There is a sense of humour and mischief filtering through the team this season, as well as a togetherness and enjoyment of each others company. Players seem like a band of brothers, rather than a disparate collection of millionaires, or a dissatisfied motley mutinous crew some EPL clubs present.
  • Players who appreciate Wenger’s support and faith are repaying those gifts with a renewed vigour and belief in winning that seemed to be less dominant in previous seasons. Our ¨deadwood¨ have suddenly sprouted greenery and become sturdy oaks (Ramsey, Bendtner, Jankinson, Koscielny, Szcesny, Flamini etc.) whose contributions to winning are enormously underestimated by the pessimists.
  • The kids are showing what Arsenal’s philosophy is all about. Not just the youth development system but the entire Wengerball approach is on display. Players like Gnabry, Eisfeld, Miyachi, Campbell, Akpom, Frimpong, and Zalalem, to name just a few, are stepping up and shutting up the whiners who, in their profound narcissism and myopia, have lamented Arsene’s reliance on winning trophies using ¨kids¨, which we all know is entirely false.

The supporter’s contributions:

  • This season, the Emirates is starting to rock! Supporters are cheering on their team like NEVER before and our players notice this, try harder and do better.
  • Our away fans are the class of the league and act as a 12th man when the Gunners need that confidence and support.
  • We simply have to look at how the Spuds neanderthals behaved as their team was embarrassed by the Arsenal in the FA Cup, to appreciate what a gap in class and savoir-vivre there is between them and us. They always were and always will be in Gooners shadow. I am NOT saying that every Spud is like those clowns, and I actually believe most are not BUT Tony’s call to limit access to tickets for them is very justified imho.

There are more factors contributing to our stability and success but the above elements go a long way, in my opinion, to explaining why we are not just top of the league BUT top class as well.

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24 comments to Stability is profitability and success

  • Mandy Dodd

    Loved reading this and agree with pretty much all you say. The owner and board impress me more as time goes on, and I enjoy the way this team is developing – very solid as well as capable of the spectacular. We now hang onto leads despite the best efforts of our opponents and sometimes the officials.
    As for the AAA, judging by people I know and some of the stuff I have seen on other blogs, this team is turning them…with the caveat that the various campaigns of the AAA have bought about these changes of course..but if thats what they want to think, let em…if it brings about a much more united fanbase now clearly visible at home (it always was away).
    Stability is a very good thing. Unfortunately, we are up against the short termists that Platini…and his PSG “advisor” son …now seem in league with. They will use resources we cannot. They may well have influence we do not. But if anyone can take on the Oilers, and other forces against us, it is Wenger, his coaching staff and this bunch of players. Whether they get silverware this season remains to be seen, but so far, this season has been a joy for the majority of Gooners on both sides of the fence…and those in the middle

  • ClockEndRider

    Don,
    I just hope that the AAA take the time to read this and step back and consider what you’re saying. Another excellent piece , sir.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Don,
    If ever HRM,the Queen, need help in penning the citation for the knighting of Lord Wenger, we now know who to recommend for the noble chore.

    Seriously, it is apt to say all these BEFORE the season, and our place therein, is concluded because they are the core and essence of what had firstly promoted Arsenal from being a mid table club to one of the leading and most respected clubs in EPL.

    Secondly, it has sustained us through the dry spell in our trophy cabinet and the new era of mega-rich owners and the challenges of competing with such money laden clubs.

    Thirdly, it will hopefully will continue to be a major plank of our key attributes upon which our future success, respect, popularity and expanding local and international fan-base shall be built.

    All said, how much more beautiful it will be to be celebrating this season’s end basking in the above knowledge AND with a trophy, especially, the league cup!

  • FunGunner

    Very comprehensive, except that you forgot to mention the very important contribution of the board (past and present) and the current chief exec in raising the money for the stadium, revamping the commercial and marketing departments and thereby bringing in much more sponsorship income, respectively.

  • WalterBroeckx

    As it is written on the wall of the Emirates stadium when you enter where the players enter: The stronger the foundation, the stronger the fortress.
    And that is what we have done, are doing, will be doing.
    Not accept any quick pounds to throw around like the oilers do. No we will work till we get our own money and then we will use it in the best possible way.

    May whoever is in charge of the universe take care that Arsenal never will become an oilers club but will stay loyal to the way it is working now.

  • Pete

    I thought Wenger had already received some kind of honorary honour, so to speak, from the UK? As he’s French he is not eligible for a proper one – but think the French have honoured him too?

    Having written all that, I couldn’t really care less. Not a fan of the honours system…

  • “This season, the Emirates is starting to rock! Supporters are cheering on their team like NEVER before and our players notice this, try harder and do better.”

    This is why no negativity should be encouraged or cultivated as it will create the opposite effect. Our Away supporters make me so proud to be a Gooner. They are the best and the players always show it to them too.

    Great piece Don!

  • menace

    It is wrong when Lester Piggott cannot be honoured yet Jeffrey Archer is. Honours were honest but now like everything including the Beautiful Game corruption has set in.

    Wenger does not need a knighthood. He will be happy with a medal or even applause from his fans. The man who brought honour and respect to the game in its home in spite of a poor reception from the media.

    The game Arsenal play is sporting and honest. It angers the cheats and the corrupt. They hate talent, patience and skill. Arsenal nurture skillful players and ensure their path is lined with integrity, morality and good behaviour. Some stray and return to the good path. Others just leave or are sold because they do not have the strength to cope. Arsenal are fair and lose out to greed but do not compromise on values and principle.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Correct Pete, it is Arsene Wenger KBE for services to football.
    I am no fan of the hons system either, some…but not all… of the recipients are not fit to breath the same air as the likes of Wenger, let alone share the same honours.
    Think KBE is a sort of knighthood that can sometimes be bestowed on non Brits

  • iwasthere

    All (with one exception) valid and true – we have a ship that we should be proud to be associated with.
    My only reservation is on the socialist type wage structure. In my humble opinion this has been detrimental to the team’s progress over the years for a number of reasons.
    1) Players are rewarded for potential rather than achievement. Not in itself an evil concept and does have merit in boosting a transfer value of players who deliver that potential. BUT all too often there have players who have not fulfilled the potential and they’ve been difficult / impossible to move on. Which starts to restrict ability to bring in other players
    2) Narrow wage structure using a high basis doesn’t make enough differentiation between the those who make a real difference and those that are merely supporting cast. In times when Man Utd were paying Rooney the £150k plus a week, they could afford to because far more of their squad players (or even first team players) were on £40k-£50k per week. And they weren’t complaining because the Rooney’s of the world were delivering trophies and titles. Compare that to Robin van Persie being worth, in the socialist structure, only £30k more than Djourou, or the constantly injured Diaby (not that I blame him for that misfortune) to name just two.
    Life is not fair; some are more talented than others. We need to pay what they are worth and we meed to do it in an a way that is affordable. If that means some players have to step up and show that they DESERVE the same, then grand. Don’t just give it to them too early, for unfulfilled potential.
    Note I have deliberately NOT referred to Chelsea and City in this as we must all recognise that they live in a different planet – but I do think that Man Utd is a reasonable comparison to draw.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @watler, is it “stronger” or “deeper”, I thought I saw “Deeper the foundation, stronger the fortress”.

    A well written article. Stability breeds success.

  • Pete

    @iwasthere.

    To be fair, van Persie spent almost as much time on the treatment table as Diaby! I still believe that Diaby could have been an awesome player had he had even average luck with injuries. It is probably too late for him now although the aforementioned vP finally made the break through in his late 20s after a clearer run of health (now reversed it seems…).

    Like all these things, the socialist wage model doesn’t work very well if everyone else is adopting the capitalist one, irrespective of its merits on its own terms.

  • ARSENAL 13

    And for that socialist wage structure. Whats wrong with that???

    That dutch skunk was being paid 30ks more than the Diaby, what about his fitness?????…..He played “only” one injury free season with us. A socialist structure protects clubs finances against these type of situations. Now imagine whats happening to the skunk at Utd. He is being paid (reportedly) 230ks a week for not playing….

  • Stuart

    As for players being rewarded for achievement, we are unaware if there is a bonus structure in place for certain achievements so it’s hard really to say.

  • Stuart

    Pete,
    That is a fair and overlooked fact about RVP.

    I think also what people don’t consider when it comes to the socialist wage structure is that we had to have some form of structure as a company policy. This is so the players knew there is a reason for the players getting what they do, particularly as we couldn’t compete with Man Utd on wages. Most businesses have a wage policy or company policy

  • colario

    The average British pundit – ‘expert’ ‘media know alls’ in their ignorance said ‘Arsene who?’

    Those who know said (to their shame) in sarcasm, ‘Arsene who?

    The anti foreigner and little Englander’ all said in unison ‘Arsene who?

    We answer with pride in our hearts ‘Arsene Wenger of Arsenal, that’s who!’

  • nicky

    Don,
    An excellent post which many of us would have been proud to write.
    I hope those supporters of our great Club, who are of a fickle nature, will read it and ponder.

  • Valentin

    Stability only works if the people in charge have a clear vision of what they are trying to achieve and have the talent, time and means to realise that vision.
    I am pretty sure that if Arsenal has had BigSam in charge for the same amount of time than Arsène, we would not be one the same situation.
    Socialist wage works if the need to stabilise a team is greater than immediate success. Every years we lost our best players, but we did not lose most of the team. 2 players per season rather than 5 or six, like some feeders clubs.
    Also despite being called socialist wages, those were high wages especially if you compare with the rest of Europe rather the clubs financed by Oil (Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Rubin Kazan, …). Moreover those wages were given to prospect rather than established stars. The fringe players had no chance of getting the same deal at any non-sugar daddy club. Bentdner is the perfect example. Unless he shows some performance between now and the end of season, he is unlikely to be able to get wages of 52k/week.
    Under those circumstances, those wages were competitive. Fabregas had to take a pay cut to join Barcelona. 60k/week is higher than what most Italian clubs can afford. Look at the problem, Juventus has with Pogba salary. Both Milan clubs are trying to reduce their wage bills. Dortmund highest paid players is on less than 45k/week!! Their main striker (who is now joining Bayer Munchen) is on 25k/week!!!

  • Valentin

    Talking about stability and profit, it looks like the Somebody in Spain is starting to investigate Barcelona financial shenanigans.
    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jan/15/neymar-nothing-illegal-barcelona-investigation
    I know that it stems from the jalousy/resentment/sense of justice of another Barcelona socios, but it looks like that story has legs.
    Are we starting to see the end of those very dodgy deals made between South American and European clubs? Deals where nobody knows who get what and how much?
    Personally, I welcome more transparency in the transfer deals.

  • Pat

    Really enjoyed this article Don.

  • OMGArsenal

    Thanks Goonermates for those wonderful compliments. Iwasthere, you make some interesting points and I’d like to add my rebuttal please:

    1)I sense you’ve oversimplified the compensation process a bit. Yes, some of our kids are paid good wages because they have potential and are sought after by other clubs so we want to keep them. As far as I know achievements have never been a part of wages, nor a condition to ensure them. Basically we pay what we pay because that is the going rate to develop a top team. We do have a great Footballing reputation, otherwise Ozil and others like him would not have come to us, nor the OX, Wilshere, Walcott and the other kids been enticed (Fabregas claimed he came because of Wenger, as did Ozil).

    2)I’d be careful at quoting spurious salary figures. Nobody outside the close knit management team Wenger and Gazidis run, knows who earns what.What you claim may be true IF you actually have firm figures and clear proof that they are what a player earns. I KNOW that you don’t as nobody outside Wenger’s close circle knows that information…everything else isspeculation so I’d be careful about building your case based on speculation.

    3)Apparently, all that we can know is that AFC are competitive with other big European teams and spend about the same in total wages….that is published data. How the wage structure affects the performance,desire and winning attitude of the Gunners each season is less important than how Wenger motivates and supports them to win, using non-monetary incentives. Nasri, RVP, Adebayor, and other mercenaries were clearly NOT what Wenger envisaged when he brought them to the Emirates. their interest in winning trophies and earning big bucks came before their loyalty to him, and that says it all.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Awesome article , Don – many thanks .
    That being said …

    “This misconception is still rattling around the AAA empty spaces in their skulls …..”
    I have always had the impression that no sounds can be heard in a vacuum !
    vac·u·um
    [vak-yoom, -yoo-uhm, -yuhm]

    1. a space entirely devoid of matter.
    2. an enclosed space from which matter, especially air, has been partially removed so that the matter or gas remaining in the space exerts less pressure than the atmosphere (opposed to plenum ).
    3. the state or degree of exhaustion in such an enclosed space.
    4.a space not filled or occupied; emptiness; void: The loss left a vacuum in his heart.
    5. a vacuum cleaner or sweeper.
    6. of, pertaining to, employing, or producing a vacuum.
    7. (of a hollow container) partly exhausted of gas or air.
    8. pertaining to a device or process that makes use of a vacuum to accomplish a desired task.
    9. noting or pertaining to canning or packaging in which air is removed from the container to prevent deterioration of the contents.
    10. In sports , pertaining to the scum known as the AAAA who despite being void of any trace of grey matter are still able to spew crap non stop !A modern miracle no thanks to education ( or a lack of !)!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A house divided against itself cannot stand.

    Just an old tale that I read in my youth and tried to follow the moral . For the younglings that read this blog;
    and for the old things that have forgotten !

    United We Stand Divided We Fall

    An old farmer had three sons. They always quarrelled with one another. The father advised them several times to live together in peace,but in vain
    One day the farmer lay on his death bed. He called his sons and asked them to bring a bundle of sticks. It was brought.
    He then asked them to break the bundle. None of them could do so. The farmer then asked them to untie the bundle and try to break each stick separately. Now even the youngest son broke them easily.
    At this the farmer said. “See my sons, the power of union”. So long as the sticks were tied together none of you could break them. But as soon as they were separated,each one of you broke them easily.
    In the same way if you live unitedly nobody will be able to harm you. But if you quarrel and live separately, everybody will easily overpower you
    The boys took their father’s advice to heart, and lived peacefully ever after.

    MORAL : UNITY IS STRENGHT

  • Red-Man

    BG,

    Surely the moral is Victory through Harmony?

    🙂