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

Arsenal News, Only Arsenal, Blogs, Transfer News

Archives

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

A valid question and a clear answer

By Walter Broeckx

In the comment section the other day someone said that the oil money was responsible for Arsenal not winning as they did before. And one of our other readers wrote in with this remark about winning and oil money: “On the oil money subject, much oil money did Porto get, or Ajax etc get to win the CL?”

And indeed if one just looks at it one could say: hell yeah why could Ajax and Porto win it and Arsenal not?

But again I must say that this comment points again at being a bit lazy. And by lazy I mean that if you put it that way you could even say: how come Red Star Belgrade won the Europacup 1 and Arsenal didn’t?

The comment was of course written to show how bad Arsenal and of course Wenger have done. See teams from small leagues could win the Champions League. And Arsenal couldn’t.

But let us bring some perspective to this comment. Let us remove the laziness and look for the context.

Ajax won the CL in 1996. That was before Wenger came at Arsenal.  It was a period where even entering any European competition was greeted as a big success. That changed when Wenger came to Arsenal of course. Nowadays even entering the Champions League is greeted by some as a big failure.

Let us move on to Porto. And hell yeah they did win the CL in 2004. But then it is getting interesting. Because what the writer of the comment doesn’t mention are a few things.

Because Porto was the last team from smaller leagues to win the Champions League. Because since then only teams from England, Spain, Italy or Germany won the CL.  In fact never ever did any team from any league apart from these mentioned countries make it in to the final.

And then we come to the link of the oil money. Because what did happen in 2003 and changed football for ever? Yes, Roman Abramovitjs  saved Chelsea from going bankrupt and started spending money like we have never seen before. Weather we call it oil or gas money is not that important. What is important that it was the start of the oilers revolution.

And yes the commenter is right in saying that Arsenal didn’t win it. I just want to point at the fact that we were some 12 minutes away from winning it with 10 man against 11 Barcelona players in 2006.

But he forgets to mention that since the oil money came to football that neither Porto or Ajax came even close to winning it.

And why do you think that is? Of course it is clear to see if you want to see it.

Since oil money came to town it is almost impossible for teams that exist by earning their money to compete. Of course this is a slow revolution. It’s not because one team spends £1M that suddenly the balance is shifted. No it takes a few years before that filters down on other teams. Because those other teams may still have a great team and have important players and so they can fight against the oil money for a while. But in the end there is no way of fighting the oil man.

Compare it with cycling and the arrival of Epo. As one very successful cyclist said: “last year they couldn’t follow me and now suddenly cyclists that never came near to my level are so fast I cant even come near to them. I didn’t change my fitness regime at all over the years and they suddenly are twice as fast. How can that be possible without illegal means? ” Doping is doping even if it financial doping or doping with drugs.

It distorts the competition and it is unfair towards people or clubs who are not using doping.  And that is exactly what happened since Porto last won the CL.

Now only the money teams stand a chance to win it. And yes Bayern Munich is a money team. A big money team. Their sponsor contracts are at an amazing level compared to Arsenal. They can do what they want in Germany and buy all the best players from any team. And that for half the price that player might move to Spain or the PL. That is because most German kids dream of playing for Bayern Munich at one point as that would bring them success.

We all know that the Spanish giants get financial support via the selling of the TV rights. So not oil money but is money that they can use to get all the best players from all over the world.  And Inter and Ac Milan the last Italian winners are now only shadows of what they once have been. Because of Italian football being also a bit in a crisis after all the scandals they had to face.

So no, Ajax and Porto had no oil money to win the CL. But that is because in those days there was no oil money. And in those days the competition was much more open and teams from smaller leagues could actually win it. BECAUSE THERE WAS NO OIL MONEY IN FOOTBALL WHEN THEY WON IT!

And I think the person who wrote the comment knew these facts all too well. But I think he just ignored them in order to… yeah why? Just to slag off our club?

Classic Untold

“I can categorically tell you Mario Balotelli will not be at Liverpool”

From England’s emails to Russia’s occupation, football is a mess

 

55 comments to A valid question and a clear answer

  • Usama

    Great read Walter, just to add one more point, that its the Big/Oil Money clubs who quickly buy off any rising players from teams like Porto,Ajax,Benfica that is why also these clubs struggle to compete.

  • Oluwatoba

    Lovely article Mr. Walter

    It is a matter of interest how many will remain standing when it comes to circumventing the truth to achieve an end. sad truth is I do not expect such individuals hell bent on dragging The Arsenal down to remain.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Downside of not following the herd ? Nah !

    http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2015/01/05

  • Pete

    Have been away for a few days – but I remember that comment being particularly disingenuous.

    I must say I have grown particularly sick and tired of the “debate” over Mr Wenger’s future. It seems to go back and forth like a tennis match dependent on the result of the most recent game – with occasional references to some particularly glaring triumph or disaster in the not-too-distant past.

    As far as I am concerned there is no debate. Wenger is very clearly the best manager for Arsenal now and in the future. The odd slip up here or there is not relevant when set against 18+ years of both comparative and absolute success.

    Can we please try to concentrate on discussing other matters which UA has traditionally been more focused on – for example finances, governance, refereeing, media, young prospects, tactics etc?

  • Laos gooner

    Like your style
    I think we should perhaps persaude the lazy writer to direct more vitriol at king Henry who missed a chance to put us 2 -0 up in the 2006 final of the CL. No doubt his purchase in the first place was another of Arsene Wengers mistakes. It is rather sad that we should find what could be over simplified negative comments about football when deep in our hearts we have all been waiting for a cup upset this weekend. Why do we believe in the cup upset? Could it possibly be because we do still have the unexpected results and performances in any cup competition? Oil money or not in the Cl we are in a cup competition and anything can happen. I for one will believe right up until the final whistle. The second leg of the semi causes the memory to recall watching the game with a leeds fan, still on the edge of my seat in the 89th minute. My mate said ” for f sake when are you going to relax, you’re through”. In the 93rd minute when the ref blows up, was my reply. It’s never over until that point, I fully believe upto and beyond that point. We should perhaps all try to be more positive supporters rather than disgruntled fans.

  • Th14thesecond

    Yep. Great article.

  • Nick Lee

    Pete
    You say that arsene is the best manager now AND IN THE FUTURE.How do you know what the future holds??
    And do you really see this season results as just being the odd slip up??A very strange way of putting us being out of the title race after only 3 months.And i dont know where you get 18 years of sucess from.Its clear that you blindly follow our manager no matter what is happeningand believe the bullshit that everything is rosy!!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    the “future” doesn’t exist any more than “time”. “Time” is just a system that humans invented to explain movement in space but time is an illusion.
    Nick, Petes view might be speculative, but yours that Wenger isnt the right man is the same, none of know for good or bad what the future holds. To also say the Arsenal are out of the title race until the availability of points proves otherwise, is also speculative.
    I also dont think any of the regulars consider things to be rosy at all nor most people follow the manager blindly, perhaps some do, and they have every right, after all its a pro Wenger site.I dont get why to like Wenger is blind or some kind of loony religious experience.
    I dont know Petes view,but perhaps that we have 18 years of success might be seen in hindsight in that hes supported the team a long time and recalls much more difficult season than this, its getting really tedious that people on UA are constantly seen as been half witted.Whats so luminary about LG? Be patient Nick you will get what you and Peter Wood want in the end.We only have this moment, and what can we do in this moment?

  • gouresh

    “On the oil money subject, much oil money did Porto get, or Ajax etc get to win the CL?” i will admit it, it was my comment. the point i was trying to make was that you don’t need money to play well and win. it helps, but its not the deciding factory. Helsea spent billions and won the CL, we all know how. whats the point in spending that sort of money if youhave to park the bus. and Mancity? they are a complete flop in the CL.

  • gouresh

    Sorry i had to use a differnt email as the one i use always does not seem to work.

  • Rompey

    Seriously Gouresh, do you understand how ridiclous your comments are?

    the point being made against your comments is that you cannot ever compare those wins of Porto and Ajax to what has happened since 2004. Since 2004 the money flowing into the game via the super rich owners ahs meant that only two types of clubs have even a realistic shot of winning the champions league – those backed by super wealthy owners and those who distort the competion in their own domestic league.

    Also, you have no understanding for Porto and Ajax’s respective positions in their own domestic leagues when they won the champions league – they were the powerhouse in their national league, the equivalent of Man Utd here. Secondly, the 2004 final was probably the worst final in terms of the pedigree of the two finalists for the last twenty years.

  • John Harris

    Perhaps age is catching up on me, but my memories of the European Cup seem different to Walter’s.

    The UEFA Champions League was set up in 1992 and succeeded the European Champions Club’s Cup.

    The European Cup had become boring across Europe when Steaua Bucharest won the competition in 1986, defeating Barcelona, then managed by Terry Venables, in Sevilla. They appeared to spend the entire game, and extra time, in their own half gambling that they would win the lottery of penalties. And so it proved.

    The next year it was won by Porto, followed by PSV Eindhoven in 1988, then Milan for the next two seasons, Red Star, Belgrade, and finally, Barcelona in 1992. However, it was rumoured at the time, Milan, who had paid out a fortune to maintain their dominance were beaten over two legs by an Eastern European team who had spent very little on players. To Silvio Berlusconi this was outrageous. How could clubs like Milan be dumped out of such a prestigious tournament, one to which they had contributed so much, without being given a second bite of the cherry?

    The solution was obvious; set up a league format in the group stages so that if a little club “got lucky” the big club would still have a chance to rectify the situation. What “big club”, say, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona would not agree with this? And so we now have the UEFA Champions League.

    I thought this was corrupt at the time and my opinion was strengthened by the fact that the 1993 winners were Marseille who beat Milan in the Final. The following year tales of financial irregularities appeared and Bernard Tapie was convicted and the club relegated and their titles taken away.

    Tapie showed what could be done illegally; what could be done legally though? Well, how about oil rich Russians, Arabs etc owning clubs? Hence “financial doping” and the need for FFP.

    One ironic thing about Marseille’s corruption is that their match-fixing in 1992-93 deprived Monaco of the French Championship: Monaco were then managed by Arsene Wenger.

  • RedandDread

    Whereas money will usually equate to success we have seen in recent times during Arsene Wenger’s reign that it doesn’t always. Here I point to no other than Real Madrid, who despite having more money than most other clubs (if not all) available to them could not buy their way to success during a rather barren run form 2002-2006, before they won a another league title and 2014 before they won another CL. So despite spending a major amount of cash on the (supposed) best players in the world, through managerial or whatever other inadequacies they couldn’t win the major prizes. (Just to add, for all of City’s wealth they’ve never challenged in the CL)

    All I’m pointing out here, is that whilst more money usually leads to titles & trophies (eventually), if you don’t have the right management, ownership structure, recruitment policy in place, you could still end up with nothing.

    Whilst it can’t be argued that Arsenal didn’t have as much money available (or spent) as the “Oilers”, what’s the guarantee that we would have won a CL under Wenger if we did?

    Lack of money certainly didn’t stop us conceding two goals in the last 5 minutes at Anfield in 2008, nor I hesitate to say UTD. trouncing us in the 2009 semifinal. I admit UTD’s team had a fair amount of top dollar signings in there and was arguably there best ever side under Ferguson.

    People who question Wenger’s ability to win major trophies appreciate he’s been under financial restraints in comparison to other elite clubs. However, what they do question is whether he has the necessary managerial nous to challenge the bigger clubs in one off matches and get the better of them. With each passing loss to one of the bigger domestic clubs or a major European rival, his managerial ability comes into question and imo, rightly so.

    I never heard people complaining about Arsenal’s lack of money when we were beating a vastly wealthier UTD. back at the turn of the century nor when we beat Real Madrid & Juventus on our way to the CL final. Thus I would hope that most would not keep using it as THE excuse for our lack of success in winning trophies over the last decade. A decade that saw, Swansea, Portsmouth & Wigan all win as many trophies as the mighty Arsenal.

  • RedandDread

    For those that cannot accept it because it would mean admitting that Mourinho is a modern day coaching genius-the reason Porto won the CL in 2004 (when Arsenal were widely regarded as the pre-eminent team not only in European football but world football) was because of one Jose Mourinho.

    That doesn’t mean Arsene Wenger isn’t a very good or great manager but the thought that Wenger is very much living off what he achieved a decade ago is a valid consideration imo. He has yet to prove in recent times that he can compete with the best ON the field of play.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    Well, oil money or no oil money Arsenal will be marching forward and be moving majestically to success by their own terms and not to be waiting to be successful until an inflows of unlimited funding of oil money is made available to them. However, if it’s boiled down to the evolution of 4G Oil money for Arsenal to regrab and grab the Titles, I wouldn’t mind if a big Oiler comes our ways to lend us a much helping hand since Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov are not lending enough helping hands. But wait a munite, did the later not said he would have lend us a much helping hand if he were to be in financial control of Arsenal?

  • Gord

    OT: Helping a young boy who lost Mom and brother.

    Apparently a fundraising event was held to raise money for a young boy (7) who lost his family this last summer (July 5). The place names are Banstead, Sutton and Worcester Park. I don’t know where those are, the newspaper was some local version of the Guardian, so some place up north?

    In any event, one of the items donates was a signed pair of Theo Walcott football boots. It is possible the boots came from someone not associated with Arsenal.

    http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/11702423.Auction_night_raises___5_000_to_help_boy_whose_mum_and_brother_died_in_a_car_crash/

    Everton is stunned today! Apparently Justin Bieber is a fan of theirs. I think we (Canada) are trying to trade Bieber’s citizenship with Yemen, maybe we can pick up a person more useful than JB from there? I thought things were bad with Piers Morgan being an Arsenal fan.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Banstead, Sutton and Worcester Park are all in Surrey.

  • WalterBroeckx

    A field of play that is not level, redandread, not any more

  • Jerry

    @RedandDread,

    I hope you’re aware that your great Jose Mourinho also spent much more with Porto than the rest of the league! Jose is a one trick pony, spend more than the competition, and say how you’re the special one.

    Porto 02-04: spent 19.5 million
    Benfica (2nd place): 1.75 million spent
    Sporting CP (3rd place): spent 9.60 million

    Mourinho has yet to win a league without outspending the competition. Arsene Wenger has and given the appropriate resources will get us back to the top again.

  • bjtgooner

    @SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    Just remember Usmanov wanted to take money out of the club in the form of a dividend – refused by Stan.

    Also remember, talk about investing is cheap and non binding – but has seduced a brain dead section of supposed fans.

  • Gord

    Thanks Andrew. It would seem the place where this little boy lives is close enough to London, that having Arsenal and Chelsea fans around is likely.

    Reading about places in England is interesting, as so many place names in Canada derive from England. Not far from where I live now, is a place called Woking. It is famous for tractor plow competitions. But it is nowhere near as old as the Woking in Surrey.

  • Pete

    Red – As I have written repeatedly our problems this season can be almost entirely put down to injuries. How much you hold the manager accountable for that is a different question… Over the last 4 seasons we have progressively improved (in terms of points per season). I am confident that relative improvement will continue once we have adequate squad fitness (so perhaps not this season). I acknowledge that “future” is poorly defined – but I have seen no sign of any onset of under-performance on behalf of the manager. Why should that happen over the next 2.5 years when it hasn’t happened over the previous 18?

    Sam – Usmanov absolutely must not, under any circumstances, take control at Arsenal. That would be the end for me. We need to do things the right way (i.e. sustainably) and we need to remain true to our traditions and history. Usmanov has a somewhat murky past to put it mildly. You don’t get to be that wealthy in modern Russia by, well, you get my drift.

  • bob mac

    Bit too obvious really, even the youngsters would realise the ,small club’ success was prior to oil money.

  • Gord

    The upcoming appointments

    Saturday 10 January 2015
    K.O. MATCHES REFEREE ASST. REF. 1 ASST. REF. 2 4TH OFFICIAL
    15:00 Burnley – QPR Andre Marriner M Perry M Salisbury L Mason
    15:00 Chelsea – Newcastle Roger East J Collin M Scholes M Jones
    17:30 Crystal Palace – Spurs Anthony Taylor G Beswick S Ledger K Friend
    15:00 Everton – Man City Martin Atkinson S Child H Lennard P Dowd
    15:00 Leicester – Aston Villa Michael Oliver S Bennett A Garratt G Scott
    12:45 Sunderland – Liverpool Craig Pawson D Cann J Brooks R Madley
    15:00 Swansea – West Ham Mike Dean S Burt E Smart J Adcock
    15:00 West Brom – Hull Neil Swarbrick S Long A Nunn K Stroud
    Sunday 11 January 2015
    K.O. MATCHES REFEREE ASST. REF. 1 ASST. REF. 2 4TH OFFICIAL
    13:30 Arsenal – Stoke Jonathan Moss R West A Halliday L Probert
    16:00 Man Utd – Southampton Phil Dowd M Mullarkey D Bryan M Oliver

  • TommieGun

    Thanks for the article Walter.

    However, I think that many of the assumptions, including the bottom line, are flawed.

    I will begin with my own conclusion – money is, and has been for at least 20 years, the no. 1 factor of success. Which means BEFORE “oil” money [as defined by you – i.e., Abramovic’s involvement in the KGB]. FFP [which I support] can help with balancing out the distortions created by the increasing gap, but of course it also has some downsides (as any regulatory intervening measure).

    The only way to really fight this is an American approach to sports – which is not suitable for european football in my humble opinion (same as the Raiders were moved from Oakland to LA and then back to Oakland, Arsenal can be “moved” from North London to somewhere in Belgium… bet you’d like that haha 🙂 )

    But the way it is, money will always influence – as it always did.

    My first problem is with the morality of your contention and it is that Arsenal were in fact a relatively wealthy club – and none of us complained.

    The G18 [formerly known as G14] (which Arsenal were a member of) were a group of the wealthiest clubs in football. That group included all the “big” european clubs who had won most of the domestic and european titles. The common denominator with these clubs is that they were richer than others. $hitty and the KGB were not part of that group, by the way.

    Before Roman, and before the Ems, Arsenal were considered a very wealthy club. Some of the record transfer fees of the 90s were Arsenal’s [if I’m not mistaken Bergie and Seaman were both record signings at the time]. It is well known that Arsenal were known as the “Bank of England” club. NOW Arsenal are not as rich as many of their competitors. But it would not be fair to say that spending a lot of money is bad, when we are not up there at the top of the pyramid.

    I don’t have to talk about Arsenal. AC Milan – in their “good days”, were controlled by the most powerful man in Italy, coached by some of the greatest managers in european football history (Sacchi and Cappelo) and won many, many titles with very exciting players (I remember as a kid wathcing Rijkaard, Gullit and Van Basten kicking ass…). I also remember the 94 CL final when they obliterated Barca (who featured Romario and Stoichkov). I am sure AC Milan fans feel the same now, when their sponsor has lost almost everything.

    My second problem is that there are teams who do considerably better than Arsenal without a “sugar” [or better yet: “petrol”] daddy. You mentioned Bayern Munich but unless you correct me, they have no sugar daddy. All the money comes from the club members, and the club is ran by the executive management who is democratically elected. They are just very good and professional in how they handle their business. That’s why they can afford anyone they want – no doping involved. In a smaller scale, it’s the same model for Dortmund (who admittedly are not doing so well this season but have done very well in the past 4 years – 2 titles and one CL final).

    Another example is Atletico Madrid – who won La Liga and almost won the CL last year. They are a poor club – and still managed some amazing feats [this also disproves the Porto and Ajax contentions you made].

    So to sum it up: I don’t think money is necessarily “doping”. In the end, 11 players play. You get a few guys on the bench, but if they are world class, they will not stay there so your depth is also limited. For sure money helps, but I don’t think that the extent of expenditure seen in the “oil” age is such a major game changer.

    Thanks, TG

  • WENGER: WILL FOOTBALL EVER FORGET WENGER?
    THE CONTROVERSY, HIS PURITANISM, HUMANENESS, HIS RESILIENCE, HIS BATTLES, HIS MENTORING, 49 GAMES RECORD…

    YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL IN LIFE, CAN YOU? WITH MONEY OR MONEY IF PROVIDENCE, OH, LET’S SAY LUCK IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE…ALL IT BRINGS ARE THESE SPECULATIVE DEBATES AND THEORIES. IN FOOTBALL THERE IS NO OTHER ICONIC FIGURE PROVOKING SO MUCH INTELLECTUAL DISCOURSE AND CONTROVERSIES, EVEN HIS RABID HATERS CANNOT DENY THIS.

    CHAMPION LEAGUE TROPHY IS OURS TO WIN NOW OR THEN.

  • jambug

    Gord/Andrew

    In dead they are as I have lived in Worcester Park for 18 years and Sutton for 2 before that.

    This is mainly a Chelsea area as Stamford Bridge is well serviced by rail from all those towns that are all about 10 miles South of the Thames.

    Arsenal are easily 2nd most supported followed by United.

  • jambug

    Corr: In deed they are…

  • Gord

    Thanks Jambug.

    The highway system in England is not organized at all like highways are here.

    Well, the spuds have a FA replay to deal with. I was hoping James Shea could give Liverpool a replay as well, but Gerrard beat him twice. Hopefully he does well with Wimbledon. The guy that scored for Wimbledon is a bit of a monster (and a Liverpool fan). He benches 180 kg (400 pounds).

  • jambug

    Gord

    London certainly doesn’t have highways, just old cart tracks with a layer of Tarmac 🙂

  • RedandDread

    Why do those that question Wenger have to be labelled as hating him. The (recent) record would show that there are several managers better than him out there today. I love the guy but I just don’t feel he has performed to a level that is consistent with what he achieved in the past. My contention is that it’s not (only) the money but that people have figured out his tactics and know how to get the better of his teams. The simple fact is that is since May 2005 Arsene Wenger has won one FA Cup and worse still, his teams have all collapsed at crucial times whenever they have challenged for the league. Everyone seems to be quite happy to make excuses (money, injuries, refs) for those failures. I didn’t see Fergie spend a fortune in winning is last two league titles.

    If Wenger wins a CL & a league title before his contract is up I’d be the happiest guy in the world both for him and the club as I was when we won last year’s FA Cup. But the simple facts show that for the last 10 years, his teams have been flat track bullies and he’s been beaten by the best teams and the beast managers much more often than not.

    You guys have to learn to debate Wenger’s weaknesses and strengths without getting upset like someones insulting your wife. It comes across childish and ignorant.

    The club Is Arsenal FC not Arsene FC, although who would know nowadays.

  • Gord

    Jambug

    I’ve heard stories about how the width of railways came into being, something about the width of a horses ass. 🙂

    Ever been to North America? I’ve driven over a good chunk of the Great Plains, and to newcomers it is hard to believe roads every mile, stretching E-W and N-S. Well except for rivers and what not. I believe the busiest highway in the world is the 401 in Toronto. The last time I was on it, it was a 12 lane highway. I believe it is largely a 18 lane highway now.

    Walter, a story about Clattenberg not getting games, because Mike Riley 😈 wants Atkinson to get the only England spot in Euro 2016.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/why-has-mark-clattenburg-our-best-referee-been-cast-into-the-wilderness-9959203.html

  • RedandDread

    @ Jerry

    Mourinho’s an ass but he’s a great manager and he knows how to beat Wenger with money or not. It’s been mooted that Arsenal will have a higher wage bill than Chelsea this year and has our net Transfer spend been much the same as theirs this season?

  • Josif

    Excellent article, Walter. I’d like to add a few points of my own.

    1) I consider Ajax 1994-95 as the best team ever. They were simply perfect (our Overmars and Kanu played a big role) and should have defended the title season after that but it wasn’t meant to be. Still, there are a few factors that people should remember. Firstly, Ajax won CL when there were only 16 participants. Then, the best leagues in Europe could delegate only one club for the competition. Finally, it had happened before Bosman ruling was introduced and clubs could select only three foreign players.

    2) To explain the curious case of Porto 2003-04 would require a lot of time. Yes, Porto had won UEFA Cup in 2002-03 but they weren’t considered among the favourites (then again, I have a friend that claimed Porto can win the competition after the group stage). Real Madrid had Galacticos, AC Milan were reigning champions, Juventus were defeated in the final, Chelsea got their sugar-daddy and a lot of experienced quality players, Manure were the reigning champions of England and there were The Invincibles too.

    Whole Champions’ League 2003-04 was crazy (look no further than our campaign, especially the group stage), one in a million. Mourinho’s Porto won the competition by beating Manure (thanks to the wrong offside call in the return leg), Lyon, Deportivo and Monaco (it went much easier for Mourinho after Giuly got injured). The thing is, all the best clubs in the competition were beaten by someone else and in a weird circumstances. Real Madrid – comfortably won the group ahead of Porto and won the match at Dragao – were knocked out by their own player (Fernando Morientes) who was loaned to Monaco (if you want a final evidence that the whole season was weird – Seb Squillaci also scored a goal against Real Madrid in that tie). AC Milan – the reigning champions – were knocked out by Deportivo after 4:1 victory at San Siro, Milan lost at Riazor 4:0. Arsenal were beaten by Chelsea despite taking a lead in the second leg. It was the only Chelsea victory over Arsenal in five matches between the sides. Chelsea themselves failed to appear on Mourinho’s way – they were beaten by Monaco. That string of lucky defeats of the strongest rivals was the main reason Porto won the Big Cup. I mean, when you take a further look, Mourinho had beaten teams in the semifinals (Deportivo) and the Final (Monaco) who would a few years later get relegated in their respective leagues.

    I mentioned some poor decisions in favour of Porto. Some people connected that with EURO 2004 that would take place in Portugal just two months after Porto’s European title.

    To conclude this comment: Ajax happened at the end of an era while Porto happened in the dawn of the new one. Both changes helped the biggest and the richest clubs in the world.

  • Pat

    Good points, Walter.

    I have a friend who’s a life long Dortmund fan and I really feel for him at this moment. Again and again the big money of Bayern Munich has robbed his team of their best players. Now they are struggling in the league.

    By the way, to me Klopp’s relative failure this season just brings home once more Arsene Wenger’s immense achievement in keeping us in the Champions League consistently all these seasons.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Red, I have seen the reports but would be surprised if we , at this moment have a similar wage bill to Chelsea, they have just bought in Cesc and Costa for two hundred grand,a,week for starters.,also wonder how much they subsidise their 26 loaners and whether they count on their wage bill accordingly?
    But even if we do, we should not forget they have been heavily, and in terms of what they bring in, artificially investing in players for ten years, we have not. Takes time to build success , usually. Quite amazing we finished last year so close to them in the league, and with a bit more silverware than them when you consider relative funding over recent years.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Tommiegun, athletico have benefitted hugely by flouting third party ownership rules, which an English team would not be permitted to go anywhere near. That and a very good manager.

  • RedandDread

    @ Walter

    As un-level as the field of play may be according to your definition, if Sunderland can beat both Mourinho and UTD in the same season, I’d just like our Arsenal to do it once. I want Arsenal to show that they have the knowhow, the footballing knowledge, tactical nous and in game management to beat the big teams occasionally. Wigan beat City in a FA Cup final and then effectively handed us the FA Cup last season by beating them on their own patch in the 1/4 final. I’d like to know how many Arsenal fans would have put money on us beating City in a 1/2 final, much less knocking them out away in the 1/4 final.

    Anyhow’s stick to your excuses-for me I don’t see $$$ signs on the football pitch. I see players and managers and the better ones usually win.

  • Jerry

    @Red,

    In regards to the wage bill being higher at Arsenal, I highly doubt that especially if you consider the number of loanees that Chelsea have that do not count against their “wage bill”.

    Compare the starting 11
    GK: Woj (65K) vs Courtois (60K) (120K Cech on the bench)

    Defense:
    BFG (70K) vs John Terry (175K)
    Koscielny (60K) vs Cahill (90K)
    Gibbs (60K) vs Azpilicueta (60K)
    Debuchy (70K) vs Ivanovic (75K)

    MF:
    Coq (20) vs Matic (75K)
    Chambers (10K) vs Willian (70K)
    Rosicky (85K) vs Hazard (185K)
    Cazorla (90K) vs Fabregas (200K)

    Ox (65K)vs Oscar (70K)
    Sanchez (140K) vs Costa (200K)

    All salaries taken from tsmplug.com

    In regards to our net transfer spend, this was the first time we have had a higher net transfer spend than Chelsea since 08-09 when both teams made a profit. And this year’s Chelsea net transfer seems a little shady considering that it was severely reduced by the Luiz deal.

    To put it into perspective, David Luiz cost more than Fabregas, Costa, Alexis Sanchez, and Toni Kroos.

  • Jerry

    In regards to the FA cup run, Arsenal beat Tottenham, Liverpool, and Everton while also defeating a Wigan side that City could not. Sunderland beat Mourinho and United in the same season, but winning against the big sides does not guarantee trophies (look at Chelsea last year). In fact I can guarantee that Arsenal will finish higher than Sunderland.

    Would you have been happy if Arsenal won those 2 games and were in the same position as Sunderland (14th)?

    And considering the amount of injuries Arsenal has had this year, we have still managed to beat City and draw with them once. The Chelsea game, if you watched it, was a complete farce considering Cahill was not red carded.

    We see the players and the managers, but shouldn’t forget there is a ref running on the pitch affecting the match as well.

  • blaisehayest

    RedandDread,

    “for me I don’t see $$$ signs on the football pitch. I see players and managers and the better ones usually win.”

    And the better ones usually cost more money. We’ve been a spending team for just two years. Why would you loose faith now when the Big Plan is just beginning to bear fruit?

  • apo Armani

    Excellent article Walter – Again!

    @Jerry
    January 6, 2015 at 3:32 am

    Well put!!

  • Ben

    Spot on RedandDread.

  • Menace

    RedandDread – you see players & managers on the football field. Perhaps you need to correct that. Players and officials are on the field. Managers are like spectators on the edges of the field. The players are not an issue for Arsenal but the officials are. Untold has detailed why but not everyone accepts their reasoning.

    I agree that players should be the sole arbiters of results but officials are Gods and decide who has the bread and who has the fish (sadly in this case there is only enough for one team or the other). Arsenal have had tough times on the filed of play for a few years. Despite this they have been able to rise above most teams because of the style & skill that get results.

    While in your opinion everything is what it is & not based on its cost please remove any branded product you have & replace it with low cost unbranded product (perhaps just imagine). You will soon see that the $$$ make a lot of difference. You don’t see it but yet you live it.

  • Menace

    correction – field of play

  • Menace

    When it comes to Managers, there is only one manager who has truly influenced the game by bringing it into a holistic sporting environment. This example has taken the game into new areas where educated parents feel children can embrace a professional sport in good hands. Prior to this it was the realm of the less fortunate. The media has kept a spiteful vigil on this managers success. Every slight slip has been magnified and misconstrued in an attempt to humble his achievements. There have been no examples of this prior to this mans involvement. His honesty exposed corruption in France that led to a vendetta still being waged against him. He has introduced a style of football that is the envy of most, yet there are those whose jealousy try to physically retard his team by whatever corrupt means available to them. He stands tall in his endeavours to keep the game clean, technical & sporting.

    Those that do not accept the beauty of the beautiful game & only seek reward of victory at any cost really need to study American Football or Field Hockey. Games that gradually introduced more protection for players & several officials & technology & lost its soul to the $.

  • It’s so easy to write posts that suggest we have a clueless manager, who placed side by side with ‘their’ favourite man- Mourinho. But looking at the larger picture, over time, Wenger has done very well for us. He is deserving of more respect than he’s being.

    I may have to wait a while to see him succeed ‘at the highest level’ (whatever that means). But am prepared to wait. It makes it sweeter and worth all the negative vibes spouted by many, when ( not if) we celebrate like we did in May. Yeah, I’ll wait.

  • Goonermikey

    @ RedandDread

    “Mourinho’s an ass but he’s a great manager and he knows how to beat Wenger with money or not.” Pure speculation since he’s never been pitted against Wenger without a team built on vast sums of money.

    “It’s been mooted that Arsenal will have a higher wage bill than Chelsea this year and has our net Transfer spend been much the same as theirs this season?” Too simplistic, I’m afraid. If all the players involved this season were bought this season there may be some substance to your hypothesis. But the fact that Chlesea haven’t spent much this season is because they’ve already spent vast sums building their team.

    Nice try………………..well actually, a pretty poor try!

  • Gord

    I don’t like transfer games, and typically ignore the headlines. But, this instance is a player name I hadn’t seen before, and the newspaper is a small one. Maybe the article is interesting?

    http://www.centralsomersetgazette.co.uk/Arsenal-target-Tyrone-Mings-praises-Millfield/story-25812576-detail/story.html

    A player who was told that he was too short by Southampton (age 16), ends up being taller than 6’3″ after a growth spurt comes along.

  • jambug

    It always makes me laugh when people try to say the money makes no difference.

    Just 2 things for starters:

    -If the money makes no difference then why the f**k spend it then ?

    – And who’s going to tell Roman he’s poured a Billion quid down the drown because the special one could of won it all without it……….except he didn’t did he, and no, he’s not that special until he does !!!

  • jambug

    I have to say I’m a bit disappointed really.

    Even though my 2 questions above where not directed at anyone by name, I would of thought at least ONE particular individual would of been keen to put me straight.

    Oh well, it seems those that think the money makes no difference have no explanation as to why it gets spent anyway.

    Poor old Roman, he must be gutted he spent all that money for no reason at all.

    Unless somebody to can explain otherwise.

  • Josh

    Can you tell me why Athletico and dortmund came to within seconds of winning the champions league in the last two years without any oil money or sugar daddies and we rarely make it to the quarterfinals.

  • Gord

    Josh

    You understand finance, or so it seems. You don’t seem to understand science. I find this odd.

    The over-riding problem with football, is that it is too difficult to score goals. As a result of this, it is entirely too common for the best team to not win a game, or the flip-side, that the worst team doesn’t lose.

    Park the bus should prevent teams from scoring. But, occassionally you see a crazy bounce, and the bus team gets scored on. Another fairly common way for the bus team to let a goal in, is the own goal.

    The only (almost) guaranteed way to score, is to get a penalty. Which is why diving in the box is as prevalent as it is. Lots of people equate simulation with diving in the box, but simulation can happen any place on the field.

    In any event, a significant factor in who wins or loses (a particular game, a tournament such as Champion’s League or anything else) is just random chance. Random chance is surpressed in the group stage of Champion’s League. Random chance is accentuated in knockout (such as FA Cup). Well, FA Cup is modified knockout, as replays come up.

    But, FA Cup does provide for a good example. If who wins or loses was totally random chance, each team has a 50% chance of winning (I’m ignoring ties). Who wins or loses isn’t totally determined by chance, but it might be 40% determined by chance. And I am guessing at part of this, as I don’t want to do the math. But let’s say that one team is considered much better than the other. If random chance wasn’t a factor, they would win 90% of the games between the two. Ninety percent of 60% is 54% (and doing math with percent is a horrible thing to do, if you are a scientist or engineer, try to avoid it), add to that half of 40%, and so our team that should have 90% chance of winning, sees that drop to about 74%.

    If random chance is 50%, 0.5(90%)=45% add 0.5(50%) to get 70% chance of winning. If random chance is 60%, 0.4(90%)=36% add 0.5(60) to get 66% chance of winning. And at 100% random chance, each side has 50% chance of winning.

    But the answer to your question is random chance. Athletico and Dortmund could be presented with that same scenario many times in the future, and not win. But, someone has to win, and random chance gave it to those two teams.

    Champion’s League, Europa League, the World Cup, UEFA Cup, the FA Cup are very much open to anyone winning. How the odds are tilted is the seeding.

    Most football leagues have each team play each other team twice. In playing a single time, random chance has about twice the influence of playing twice. The home/away plays with that a little. If the league was to have each team play each other team 4 times, we would expect to see much less random chance (down by a factor of 4).

    The NHL has an unbalanced schedule, but teams are not limited to playing each other only twice. The increase in games is meant to make the better teams have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup.

  • Josif

    @Gord – but your scientific approach doesn’t stand regarding Atletico Madrid as they won La Liga after they had sold their top goal-scorer to oil-rich Monaco. Just one season after they had finished 24 points behind the champions Barcelona and two seasons after they had finished 44 points behind the champions Real Madrid.