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Why our summers are always so miserable… and why we won’t be bullied any more

Why our summers are always so miserable… and why this is the last summer of pain.

Ian Trevett

I can remember when summers were fun. After a long season it was nice to get weekends back for a month or two. Go on holiday, maybe watch a World Cup or Euro Championship (with hardly any Arsenal players risking injuries), and just relax.

Summers were easy before Wenger. I can only recall three bad things that happened between seasons – Brady leaving in 80, Stapleton a year later and Rocky in 92. Most importantly, there was no speculation or rumours to keep us awake at night.

One reason for this was that there was no internet, no SKY Sports News and hardly any coverage in the papers. The one thing I didn’t like in the summer months was the fact that that there was buggar all to read in the papers, except dull county cricket scores.

But there is more to it than increased media coverage. The reason that we had such easy summers was that no-one wanted our players – they simply weren’t good enough for the top European sides.

There is a simple formula to summer misery.

Rival club that is bigger + Rival club that pays higher wages + World Class player = summer of stress for fans.

In the past there have been bigger rivals, and there have been bigger wage payers, but what has been missing has been the World class player.

The formula used to read:

Rival club that is bigger + Rival club that pays higher wages + Pretty Good (but not exactly Maradona) player = summer of fun on the beach.

Since Wenger arrived we have had several World Class players, which is no fun at all, once the season finishes. Dr Hook once sang “When you’re in love with a fabulous footballer. You know it’s hard…” and I know what he means (though I’d never use a doctor with a hook).

So with World Class players our problem has been we have had rivals that are bigger and pay bigger wages.

But the thing is, it will get better. In 1980, Juventus came to Highbury in the Cup winners Cup and we were in awe of them. To our shock and delight, we actually knocked them out in Turin, with a late, late goal from Paul Vaessen.
A few weeks ago Juve were slaughtered by Fulham and hardly anyone batted an eyelid.

Before Wenger Arsenal were a medium-sized European club, that had only played two European cup ties in over 20 years. The likes of Juve, Inter, AC Milan, Madrid, Barca, Bayern and probably even Ajax were light years ahead.
If any of these teams came knocking for a player we would have had no chance.

And few players playing in other leagues would have thought about coming to us.

So where are we now? We are still vulnerable from Madrid and Barca, and we pay less wages than Chelsea and Man City. And that is it. Four teams. United still have greater prestige but the Glazers have prevented their predatory potential (As Tony has accurately reported on this site so well).

We will probably lose Cesc soon, but we all knew he would go home one day. With the Emirates money starting to flow in, our players are getting closer to being untouchable form virtually every club. AC Milan took Flamini, but only because he was out of contract. In normal circumstances the Italians can’t muscle us out. With our debts under control, the Italians will soon fear our phone calls.

Losing Cesc (if he goes) is painful. If he had been born in Vienna, Paris or Moscow he wouldn’t be thinking of leaving. His heart is Catalan and his local club plays the best football on the planet.

It has hurts us again, but this will be the last summer of transfer pain. The wealth we are generating means we won’t be bullied any more. And all those that are using Cesc as a reason to attack the boss, will one day realsie that is Wenger who has dragged us up to be able to compete with the big boys.

——————————-

A glorious and bright light upon the future

The light at the end of the tunnel is the express train traveling in the opposite direction

Arsenal Lite

Guest Blog of the Week – what the light looks like from Switzerland

58 comments to Why our summers are always so miserable… and why we won’t be bullied any more

  • Raj

    Nice article mate… I am sure our club is being built into an super club. My only wish – bully Barca and Real like they do to us. Sort of giving it back to them. We all need to appreciate the work done by Wenger. Lots of players come to our club just because of him.

  • Padraic Connell

    dam the birthplace of our best player!
    why couldnt he have been from tottenham!
    hed never want to go back to that sh1thole!

  • gunner 71

    What makes you think we will lose Cesc soon, when our chairman say “he is going no where”? And I get accused of being simple, with no evidence eh ? This blog should ban itslf, not me !

  • Jacques

    There’s a lot of doom right now. But if you objectively consider Arsenal’s position, we’re doing great. We are/will be (debateable still I think) one of those clubs that pry players from other clubs.

    We’ll certainly miss having Cesc, but in the scope of things, that’s ok.

    Good article.

  • redjim

    Interesting thoughts, and your right – it IS Wenger who has dragged us up to be competing with the big boys…just as it is also Wenger’s (in more recent years) relentlessly dogmatic refusal to go that extra mile and strengthen the areas that TRULY AND IRREFUTABLY required strengthening that have left an honest player like Cesc feeling he had no choice but to give up the pointlessness of carrying teammates in London, year after year.
    If you truly believe our financial position alone will stop Van Persie feeling similar twelve months down the line then I guess whatever happens next summer will do little to burst your bubble.

    I wish Cesc every success for his future – God knows he’s deserved it!

  • swissgooner

    Well, I was not even born in 1980 as Juventus came to Highbury in the Cup Winners Cup. But I think it not necessary to have been there to agree with you.

    Fabregas will leave one day. Then, why not now? IMO if he does, it won’t be because HE has decided to (of course he wouldn’t be unhappy to go back to his native home), but because AW has decided that it is time for him to move on and that the team would be better without our current maestro. And if AW has already taken his decision, then all the Barcelona’s circus (the lack of money due to debt; the fact that they would just go away if Arsenal say no to their first approach, etc.)probably has only one goal, i.e. to lower the transfer fee. And if it’s the case, then it wouldn’t work.

    The fact that there has been nothing written about the Fab drama (Drama for many Gooners of course, and for the press who need dramas for their business) should be reassuring, imo, because it shows that Arsenal actually know what they want and where they are heading to. I don’t know Wenger’s plan, so I am just speculating. But I think that if he decides to cash in on Fab, then certainly he has a very good plan for his squad. In fact, Fabregas could go (I am not saying he will – because I don’t know anything) and leave us with a stronger squad, depending on the few smart additions AW would make.

    Don’t forget that Diaby (considering his progress rate in the last two seasons), Vela, Van Persie, Nasri, Eduardo, Walcott, Bendtner and Clichy(who were all restricted because of injuries this season)can only be better next term, except if they all get injured again – a nightmare then!. For me, it’s just simple logic. You don’t need to be an expert to imagine what this could mean in terms of team improvement, do you? And then, add two or three smart additions and you would see.

    With or without Fabregas, I have no worry for next season.

  • Hamad

    First of all am glad we finally read about the Fabregas saga on this site as I was wondering if I have been reading and watching different media. Secondly, yes his departure was expected but the last 3 months have been very painful for all Arsenal fans. We need more reasons to be optimistic.

  • Lanz

    Poor Cesc! I am certain he never knew that Barca still owe up to three clubs for previous purchases. If we sell, let our management ensure all the money is in before Cesc leaves. The guy is far better than I though really. I checked player profiles on ESPN Soccernet and discovered that this season he posted better Goal-Assist records than other playmakers often regarded as better than him. The closest to him was Xavi H. Next, Mesut Ozil!!! They posted better than Van der Vaart, Diego (of Juve), Kaka, Lampard, Gourcuff, etc. Mikel Arteta was far behind! We will miss him a great deal. That is, if Barca can pay!

  • Lextrix

    Padraic, it’s called the North London Derby because both teams are from North London.

  • Simply writing something IN CAPITAL LETTERS without putting in any logical argument in favour of it, does not make it true, redjim

  • matthewb

    But he said ‘Truly and Irrefutably’.

    That must make it true… right?

  • matthewb

    Redjim – do you support Arsenal or Cesc Fabregas?

    Personally, I think Cesc will stay. But, if he doesn’t I’ll probably still support the Arsenal (depends on what Man U and Chelsea’s team look like in August).

  • hartwick89

    Anyone else feeling that a tactician is stealing from the game?

    There you go absolute zero football!

    #@%^&! Hate it!

    Mourinho for world leader!

  • redjim

    Dear Tony if you seriously believe my capital letters needed a supporting argument – defensive cover, holding midefielder cover, quality goalkeeper – I truly don’t know when the last time was you took a sabbatical from finance to watch the progress of an Arsenal season. Perhaps Lee Dixon’s an idiot. Perhaps Martin Keown’s an idiot. Perhaps any single slightly concerned party – myself especially are all just idiots. Perhaps every single dissenting voice in football outside the sponge coated netherworld one or two appear to be inhabiting is an idiot. The coming two, to three seasons will judge.

  • redjim

    matthewb, just for the record I don’t pander to the sycophancy or cult of celebrity surrounding any individual. I have, however, been a loyal supporter of Arsenal FC since 1972. How about you?

  • bc

    This is why we wont win anything, everyone knew Inter would win the CL but not our Manager he reckons the losers are far better sums us right up! Check out the official site!

    Wenger – Bayern are ‘on a different planet’

    By Richard Clarke

    Arsène Wenger believes free-scoring Bayern Munich are “on a different planet” going into Saturday’s Champions League Final against Inter.

    The German champions have hit 22 goals in their last seven matches, including a 3-0 win over Lyon in the Semi-Final of Europe’s top competition. The Arsenal manager argues that, although Inter are the more experienced side, in a tight Final the ability to conjure up a goal will be crucial.

    “It is a very difficult prediction,” he told Arsenal.com. “You would say the maturity and the experience goes for Inter. And that could be very, very important in a Final. But the form of the moment goes for Bayern because they look like they are scoring goals for fun. They look on a different planet at the moment, so it will be very interesting.

    “Inter has a defensive advantage and that could make a difference,” he added. “It will be a ‘locked’ Final that is for sure. So one goal will make the difference I believe.”

  • Faisal Ali

    I must say im growing more and more into calling this blog my new favorite blog! well done on that Tony!

    the point i’d like to make is, if your allowing cesc to leave, then WHY allow merida to leave aswell?? im sure a huge contract offer and a sure promise of first team football would keep him around! Milan let gourcuff leave when they sold Kaka to madrid, and have carried on stumbling ever since… and gourcuff has been setting the world alight with stellar performances in france! If fabregas does leave, i hope we’ll go through the same fortune as juventus when they lost zidane a few years back ( they were on a barren spell with no trophies while he was there, and then they sold him and won the double the next year!, albeit they bought thuram, buffon and nedved with the money)!

    another small point is, i LOVE fabregas, but what he’s doing now is hugely disrespectful IMO! he should be a man and come out and say ”im sorry but i think this is the best time for me to leave” and he shouldnt be afraid of the consequenses of that statement if he does end up staying for another yeaar or so! we all KNOW he wants to go, so be a man and own up to it! hes a wonderful player and has been arguably carrying the team for the last few years and he deserves ALOT of credit for that! but we GAVE him the opportunity to shine, we GAVE him the armband! the least he could do is leave us on a high, no matter how good barcelona are! leaving us while we’re down is cowardly, and i will lose PLENTY of respect for him if he does go!

  • Gooner80

    Maybe I am way out of touch but IMO the main reason Cesc has changed his mind about staying at Arsenal is the fear that his career could be ended in England, he looked badly shaken up over the ramsey tackle and if you go back over his words about england I think he is fearful of the ruffem stuffem teams because there is no protection from REFs, cesc is still young and he dopesnt want to end up like eduardo a shadow of his former self, there has been so many leg breaks at arsenal and that interview on sky was saying enough is enough, I believe he loves the club, but he wouldnt want to play for their boy hood team if I was a wolves player and I had the chance to play for the arsenal, Im sorry but I would be off.

    I dont think he will go this season, but within two years cesc will be at Barca

  • Listing a set of positions is not an argument. If you want to support your position as an argument then you would have to show that better players were available, that they were willing to come to Arsenal, and that our injuries of the past season could have been foreseen. What the people you list have in common is an ability to see things in a uni-dimensional manner in order to make a rapid point on TV. The fact that the media reduces everything to simplicity does not reduce reality to simplicity.

    And as for when I watched Arsenal’s progress through a season, as a season ticket holder I suppose I would say 2009/10, when I saw us playing for much of the season with 7 obvious first choice players missing.

  • Robert

    I hope we soon have the funds to buy some proper Brittish players to get consistency. No risk of losing them to Barca or any other foreign club.

  • well-endowed gooner

    Tony,

    1. Shay Given was available last season and eventually went for £8m to Man City. It would be reasonable to say that Given is better than Almunia. Arsenal offer Champions League football at a bigger club. It would be reasonable to suggest that Given would chose Arsenal over Man City if given the choice.

    2. Our injuries aren’t one-offs, for reasons I’ve repeatedly stated. Yes, we played with many players out, but why wasn’t there cover? As you’ve said yourself, Wenger’s looking to make 2 first team squads to cope with injuries. Why then, did we go into a season with only one DM (who would be missing at the ANC), one senior striker (who has never completed a full season at this club) and half a season with only two fit, decent centre-backs? It was apparent to everyone that these were the problems with squad depth.

  • Gooner Gal

    BC, Redjim – Scythe (I know you are still out there) did you post here by accident? Instead of Le Grove?

    It’s like you don’t even have the ability to ‘join in’ a conversation. Instead you log on and start Anti Arsenal and Wenger rambling against the flow of whats going on.

    I can’t believe it was posted that Wenger relentlessly and dogmatically refuses to go that extra mile and strengthen! Are you unwell? This man has given every thing for the club and is the brightest and best manager in the league. It takes a truly ‘special one’ to turn coal into a diamond, yet he has done this many times over. He has never had a blank cheque book. Last year in the eye of the global economic meltdown, he was able to make just one signing – TV, who has exceeded everyone’s expectation, 10m for him seems like a steal, especially in these inflated transfer markets.

    On the Robin Van Persie point, RVP has 3 years max left in the EPL – he has had way too many injuries through his early career to keep playing for Holland & us when he’s 29/30. I doubt he will retire internationally at 29, so Wenger will have to make a tough decision in a couple of seasons. RVP loves Arsenal and harbours no ambition to win league trophies in a different shirt in a different league. Out of all the players in the team right now, I would say that he is the likeliest to retire a gooner.

    What’s clear is that you have no idea about what makes the squad players tick, no idea or understanding of Arsene Wenger or the modern Arsenal philosopy. From your inability to make sensible comments or add to an ongoing discussion you demonstrate that you are on the wrong website….again might I suggest Le Grove…

    and another thing BC – are you really mocking/laughing at Wenger for choosing and rooting for the CL runner up Bayern? What next if he plays the national lottery and doesn’t pick the right numbers, its vindication of your argument – he’s a man that doesn’t have the right answers? Why copy & paste from Arsenal.com?

    Since you are so anti Wenger and we can’t afford the free spending Mourinho, who do you want the cheaper version – Sam Allerdyce in a years time?

    Proper supporters are in it for the long haul – good times and bad. In 5 short years we have a new stadium, huge talent breaking through the internal ranks, financial stabilty and a bright future. Basically a lot to be proud of.

  • bruno dante

    “but this will be the last summer of transfer pain.”

    bollocks

    We are destined to be a small feeder club to europes elite until we realise what we actually have at arsenal and start acting like a top club. We are now settled and have small repayments set over a reasonable time at the emirates. We have a massive world wide fanbase and huge revenues.

    We are rich and a huge club, but the people at the top running this club and blogs like this, who do not seem to realise how good we could be if we actually became cut throat and demanded success at every level, are holding us back.

    we could be so much more, RIGHT NOW!! but we have a small club mentality and blogs and opinions like the one expressed on here are holding us back.

    football is a ruthless sport. ruthless teams win stuff and those teams gain more fans and get bigger and bigger.

    Arsenal being satisfied with 3rd and fans not caring that we are underacheiving is what leads to our captain being forced to move to fullfil his dreams.

  • matthewb

    Well Endowed Gooner (what a bloody awful name, old boy!) – you’ve answered you’re own questions in previous posts here. Wenger is a bit of a scrooge and likes to feel he’s getting a bargain.

    Regarding Given – he is a little better than Almunia, he’s not massively better, wouldn’t you agree we need a demonstrably better keeper (‘world class’ as is so often bandied around) to resolve our current problem. Given, for me, simply is not that keeper.

    Redjim – I’ve been a Gooner all my life. That’s the best I’ve got. I was born a couple of years after you started supporting the club, so I imagine you win there.

    I was just making a point that Cesc is not Arsenal, he’s our captain and a great player, but we’d get over it if he walked.

  • bruno dante

    cesc is not leaving as he has “barce DNA” thats a media term created to sell papers. He is captain of arsenal, earning more money than any young man can spend and he lives in a city he loves where he is worshipped. Its not about money, its not about going home. he wants success and the team he is going to demands it and achieves it where as the team he is leaving does not.

  • WalterBroeckx

    For some of you that are a fan for so long you surely must remember a big part of the 90ties when we ended 12ht and 10th in the league.

    About Wengers prediction: I have seen both Inter and Bayern play in the last weeks and based on that I also thought that Bayern would win it. The looked very sharp in front of goal. I think the fact that they missed Ribery cost them the CL. Now they had nothing on the left flank and once Inter went in front they could concentrate on closing down Robben. When Ribery is available they can attack on both flanks and Ribery really is one of the best players in Europe IMO.

  • bruno dante

    we did have good times in the 90’s too.

    🙂

    it wasnt as miserable as people make out. there were bad years but also league and cup triumphs and players like adams while not being technically the best fought for the cause a lot more than some of the players these days.

  • Arsenal fan

    Lol we can start to bully the spanish giants by bidding for pepe of real madrid and bojan

  • Gooner Gal

    Matthewb, I totally agree, I say if we are going to buy, then let’s buy the best we can in all the positions that need strenghening. Players like Shaun Wright Phillips who are only good for the bench at Chelski & Citeh – are not good enough for Arsenal even if they are english, I will even throw in Robert Green for that matter while I am at it. These are average league players and nothing special.

    Umm to Bruno Dante in response to your posts…..Err what ever mate…demanding success and building it are 2 different things. I think I remember seeing Phil Brown ‘demanding success of Hull at 1/2 time on the pitch at Citeh!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bruno, you are right. I was only taking the league to measure things. We did win 1 title in 91 until Wenger came to change things. But between 91 an 97-98 it was not good at all in the league. I thought I had made that clear but not clear enough it seems.

    I know we won a few cups in those days.

  • jetto

    I believe in Wenger since I start loving this club when I was 12 years old, back in 1997, leaving in Malaysia with of coverage on Arsenal, but it was one game that grab my attention, seed my love and slowly influence other family members to support Arsenal. Watching our old legends like Adams, viera, Henry go,I believe in Wenger, we’ll always get new legend in making like Fabregas, TV, RVP, and many to come, our future look bright…Fabregas will stay, and together with Wenger we’ll win…

  • jetto

    *lack of coverage

  • bruno dante

    no its fair enough walter, there were some dark days no doubt

    back then though there was no being happy with 4th, you either won a cup or the league or it was a failure. going to wembley and seeing us lift the cup as a youngster was infinitely better than us finishing in the top 4 now.

  • Gooner Gal

    You are right Bruno Dante, ‘one nil to the Arsenal’ was good at it’s time but would not be the kind of football that wins fans in the modern game or premier leagues nowadays. As Walter eluded – finishing 10th and 12th during that period demonstrates not always playing that type of football very well.

    As for having players that fight to the end, I think from the number of goals scored late on in the game this season shows that the determined spirit to fight is improving. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain players who haven’t had much competition for their positions have put in performances that were just not good enough. However I trust Arsene and know that he is working on all aspects of the team dymanics.

  • bruno dante

    i used to trust arsene, not so much anymore.

    i definatley dont trust the board and think arsene has become a product of a board that does not aspire to be the best.

    I still love arsene but a manager to challenge the whole club might push us on to the level we are teatering on the edge of coming?

    we could fall either way right now. and lets be honest we are leaning towards the negative side.

  • Gooner Gal

    Bruno – question, with so much negativity before the opening and closing of the transfer window and before the new or even preseason has started the in you and based on what this blog is about why do you come on here? Tony & Walter are quite explicit about what this site represents.

    This is not a miserable defeatest site. I always thought misery loved company? Or are you trying to infect this site?

    Honestly certain ‘supporters’ are trying to ruin the club. That’s why on match days the Emirates is not the fortress or ‘extra man’ it should and could be. But that I reckon is another discussion.

    I suppose the question I should ask is would you rather replace the board with Alisher Usmanov instead?

  • redjim

    Gooner Gal, I do not read, much less post, at illiterate partisan anti-Wenger sites such as Le Grove. I’m am not anti anymore than unconditionally pro Wenger. I remember relegations worries in the mid-seventies as much as I remember the last season of George Graham. I appreciate the unparalleled contribution Arsene has made to the club I love. My humble wish is that he would strengthen our current position both performance and finance wise by having the courage and humility to address certain squad issues which others have been barracked here for bringing up. If wanting a decent goalkeeper at a wonderful club – or more than Silvestre as in-favour CB back-up for the first four months of a season after Djourou has been ruled out from the start – or cover for a holding role when Song is going to be missing for a tournament……yes, if any of that makes me ignorant….
    frankly, I’ll live it! I’m not looking for some ludicrous list of stars….just for the sort of cover, for God’s sake that stops us looking plain bloody negligent.
    So sorry for that!

  • bruno dante

    debate and differing views are healthy in my opinion.

    gooner gal

    i like this site as it is written by an intelligent arsenal fan, but i dont agree with everything written.

    blogs by their nature are opinions, comment sections are for debate.

    it frustrates me a site like this by a true fan has such rose tinted glasses. and my point is the attitude displayed on here is a reflection of what is holding us back as a club. thats not to say i dont enjoy readinguntold, i just wanted to challenge the writers views…

    sorry to offend.

    something isnt right at arsenal clearly, but at the same time their are huge positives. debate and introspection is positive, blind faith is not

  • bruno dante

    and no i am not trying to infect this site

    🙂

  • redjim

    One other thing. Do not tell me I have no undertanding of Arsene Wenger or the modern Arsenal philosophy as if you were referring to someone with learning difficulties. You flatter yourself if you think that particular philosophy constitutes some arcane underworld that has passed the casual observer by. It is, indeed, a lofty philosophy but even the loftiest should not remain irrevocably intransigent – and as far as adding sensible comments to ongoing discussions is concerned my update was slow and at the point of commencing my first post there was no discussion. Regardless, healthy discourse should be able to absorb alternate view points without resorting to character assassination.

    So Gary, (for that is what I presume Gal is supposed to entail) Best Regards…..

  • MoMONEY

    Does anybody think this time of rule would be very beneficial to everyone in football? Fifa/ Uefa should look into it for sure.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/basketball/nba/05/22/cuban.fined.ap/index.html?eref=sihp

  • MoMONEY

    To clarify for those who do not want to click the link: NBA owner Mark Cuban was fined 100,000 USD for talking about a player on another team who was still under contract. Lebron James becomes a Free Agent July 1st. I cant help but think this would be such a beneficial rule in football as it would prevent the type of thing happening with Cesc now and ensure a club got the true value of whichever player they are selling…

  • MoMONEY

    Hopefully we can ring up some of those Italian clubs to solve our Defense

  • trottier camper

    More than Cesc leaving, it would hurt us a million times more if Wenger were to leave at the end of his contract. If some of the nutjob Myles Palmer fans’ protest goes ahead, why would he want to stick around for much longer? If he left next year, Arsenal would be in a much more vulnerable position since he has built this club up, and no one else can steer it in the direction that is needed considering the players that we have, and also how the manager will have to work with less than ideal budgets. Maybe this latter point will change soon, but it would be criminal to drive Wenger out, and to do so before letting him identify a potential successor would be frankly unthinkable. We need to get rid of the Myles Palmers among us. Scum supporters in disguise indeed.

  • Bruno the central problem with your points is that they are personal views without any evidence to back them up.

    Let us take the Cesc case – clearly none of us knows why there is talk of him going, but here’s a few possibilities:

    One of his grandparents is ill, and when Cesc at his/her bedside said, “what can I do”, the grandparent said, “Come and live with us in Barca”.

    Or, maybe he has a girlfriend whom he wants to marry who is homesick and will only marry him if he lives in Barca.

    Or maybe there is no desire on his part, but Barca, still smarting under the weekly Real Madrid insults “you can’t even keep your own kids in the house” know that despite every win and trophy, they are being laughed at daily, so they offer him a salary and position that is very hard to refuse.

    Who knows? And because none of us know, giving an opinion on why he might leave is amusing, but no more.

    The same lack of evidence is central to your contributions in terms of what is happening at Arsenal. While many of us look at the whole context of running a football club while one’s competitors are able to pull in billions, along with rule changes and the dangers of alternative economic models, those against Wenger deal quite often in simple statements.

    A common one (and I don’t suggest you have said this, but some say it) is the youth project has failed. Anyone even bothering to look at the youth project will know that the kids involved are now around 18 years old and have won 3 trophies in the past 2 seasons – an unprecedented achievement.

    These are issues that need to be addressed before comments can be taken seriously.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    For those who didn’t watch the Q+A recording on the arsenal.com website, Gazidis made a few correct points about finance:

    1. The Emirates sponsorship money was front-loaded to build the stadium, so our sponsorship income is much less than competitors for a few years yet. Arsenal made a strategic decision not to try and back out of this as they thought Emirates a fantastic long-term partner, but the implication is that when renegotiation comes along down the track, the Club will reap a huge amount more in that arena.
    2. The sports marketing side of the business should take off in the years ahead as a complete team of senior management is now in place to make it happen. They are now looking to bring in middle managers to groom them as long-term successors to the current team, which again points to long-term increases in commercial income in the next decade.
    3. There is no net debt in Arsenal FC apart from the mortgage, which is a stable £20m odd per year for about 15 more years. Unless Arsenal collapse on the pitch, that is 20% of match day income.

    All in all, therefore, the financial position is strong and getting stronger.

    The question surrounding this debate, therefore, is not whether or not Wenger has done incredible things for the Club (there’s no question that he has), nor whether he manages in a responsible manner (also unquestionable), but rather why it is that key signings, if they exist, do not wish to come to Arsenal.

    1. You had better ask Lee Dixon why he said on FF that ‘I can’t for the life of me understand why Arsene didn’t try to sign Shay last summer’, the implication being firstly that the player would choose Arsenal not City and secondly that Arsene didn’t approach him. It would be reasonable to assume that perhaps he was saying: ‘Almunia must be allowed 2 years as the No. 1 or he’s not had a fair crack at it’, now it’s reasonable to assume that he didn’t get ‘A’s in his exams. So rather than witter on about it, I’d say that the timing is now ripe to acquire a goalkeeper within Wenger’s philosophy of how he builds a squad.
    2. I heard that it was Smalling, not Hangeland, that Wenger was originally asking to buy from Fulham. I guess that one goes down to ‘against Sir Alex, you win some, you lose some’. We got Ramsey, they got Smalling. Score draw. Life.
    3. Wenger took a chance on Bendtner coming up with the goods rather than buying Chamakh in January. He did quite a few times didn’t he? It was the defence that was creaking toward season’s end I think……perhaps he was also hoping that Eduardo would come back more than he did?
    4. Wenger signed Campbell in January who did well. He lost Gallas at a critical point which was the difference at the end of the day. I said to my sister, early in the season, that ‘if we keep our two Central Defenders fit all season, we’re in with a chance’. Sadly, we couldn’t. Life.

    It will be interesting this summer, though to compare how Mourinho and Wenger operate in the transfer market. The media today say Mourinho to Real is a done deal and that he will mainly not buy attackers or midfield, mostly defenders. He thinks that defending well and attacking well is a winning formula and Porto, Chelsea and Inter will back him on that. Whether he could do it making the books balance is an interesting thing, as the papers also said that Moratti spent ‘hundreds of millions’ bringing the ECL to Inter. His squad was 26-32 years old except Zanetti who was 36.

    I can see clear routes to a goalkeeper, there being 3 or 4 who would be acceptable, which makes negotiations easier.

    There are certainly central defenders around who could be bought, again more than one, which makes a purchase easier to secure.

    Whether Wenger will try and buy one top star as well I don’t know. But if I were him I would.

    His team added greater mental toughness last year, albeit not enough for the whole run-in, but much more than the 2008/09 season.

    They need to add better defending and more lethal final third stuff if they wish to make the grade. And if Fabregas does go, they need someone ready to step up into his shoes. Nasri has a bit to do if he wants to show that it’s him…..and Ramsey is of course still out for a bit….

    Bayern last night were a bit like Arsenal – lots of possession, lots of passing, but not enough cutting edge in front of goal. And when Robben hit a great one, the keeper was up to it. Inter suckered them on the break, then parked 8 behind the ball like a Bolton or a Wigan. They did it well.

    Cesar is better than Almunia. Milito better than Robin? Schneider better than Cesc? Don’t think so. But within Mourinho’s management, they were good enough to be European Champions.

    IMHO, Maicon, Lucio, Cambiasso and Zanetti were the steel which made the difference. Against Barca, against Chelsea and last night.

    And all the Premier League winning sides Wenger created had that in them. Enough of it to balance the creation.

    Time to let Wenger get on with it.

    And see how England do in the World Cup.

  • critic

    very nice article…..every arsenal supporter owe a big thanks to wenger……..but then again he is not perfect….otherwise he wud have been god…..

  • Flint McCullough

    Great article, Ian, so true.

    Although in my time we have had many great Arsenal players, very few were recognised for it the way we did, certainly internationally. Only “Chippy” Brady comes to mind.

    Our only problem was if Man U fancied one of our players. I was prepared for what you describe by the departure of a real favourite of mine, David Herd to OT. I was heartbroken.

    Bruno dante has described a situation that I partially agree with but feel he is still a few seasons too premature & simplistic.

    First of all the survival of the club is paramount, so splashing huge amounts of money about, that is not comfortably affordable, is a big risk as Tony has described often & so well. We have used our money sensibly to build a stadium & infrastructure to enable us to compete more equally with our rivals financially.

    This is something that is building year by year. We have already left most of the PL behind so we no longer have to worry about Man U or Liverpool. Our foreign players, in general, are loyal to the point that none of them have moved to another PL club without AW’s blessing, so there is little threat from the “financial dopers”, Man City or the Chavs.

    This leaves only Barca or Real Mad as dangerous predators; both through their prestige & the money they pay. I always thought that there was a danger in having kids from countries, whose domestic leagues compared to the PL, ie Serie A & La Liga. It seems that we are finding that now with the Cesc & Merida situations. Even so if the former does go, now or in the future, we should get huge recompense for him.

  • Flint McCullough

    Excellent points Rhys.

  • Tobias

    Wenger HJas doen so much for this Club.

    And now he’s made a club which is BAsically the only profitable club in PL.

    And I know that I am happy with the way the club is being run !

    I don’t want a Man City.

    My Arsenal stands for the things I love about Football.

    It is bigger than this season. It is bigger then transfers.
    It is Arsenal. And I might feel a bit frustrated about teh last couple of seasons, but at the same time, I would be Furious if Arsenal was being run like Liverpool is.

    It would be a blow against the heart, if Arsenal did’nt run the club like it is run at the moment.

    I love Arsenal, And Cesc, And Wenger. But I think that instead of not trusting Wenger, maybe we should all gather together and support our team, Our Arsenal !

    Wenger has proven to us so many times, that he is the man for our Club.

    All who mistrust him, maybe can tell who they want instead?

    My answer is: No one !

    Arsené Wenger is one of the few football lovers out there. He loves the Club, and he will deliver.

    Arsenal is on the roll ! Jump on to the bandwagon, Because I feel, that our time is about to begin !

    Arsenal, For the win !

  • bruno dante

    “It has hurts us again, but this will be the last summer of transfer pain”

    Yes tony they are personal views but i was reacting to something said in the article that is also a personal view.

    from seeing fabregas over the last few years, listening to him and reading his articles in programmes and so on it is obvious that football is his passion and life. Personally i feel like millions of others that he is leaving for football reasons, and that is a very sad indictment of where our club is heading. ^ years ago any player in world football would off happily plied his trade with us. Now we are becoming less attractive. This is proved by yaya toure (who is not that great in my opinion) who has made it clear he would not leave barce for us and would prefer chelsea.

    And people will point to money as a reason players will join chelsea over us but we moved to the emirates t ocounter this problem. We need a new mentality if we want to be the best…

  • goonergerry

    You may be right about the far off future- for the now- Cesc will go this season-analyse the actions-AW returns from holiday after a few days only- looking awful, brings forward the Chamakh announcement from Monday to Friday. Would they do that on the basis of press speculation alone? Of course not. Arsenal are currently negotiating with Barca. I believe from the all indications it with be 30m plus players -(obviously not Toure). If Barca dont want to trade- then there is no way back for Cesc-a captain cannot make it so clear he wants to leave and still have the authority to lead players like RVP and Arshavin. He also will be no use to us if he is stripped of the captaincy. In order to meet the requirements of all parties, a deal will have to be struck.
    What is not clear is whether any of the fee received for Cesc will be used to purchase a replacement. Or will it all or most of it be used to pay off the stadium loan?
    What would be consistent with the Arsenal Board’s recent behaviour (sale of Adebayor and Toure used to repay debt) is to find a replacement for Cesc from within the club, without spending any money, and to use the money for Cesc to pay off the stadium debt.
    This would mean that Aaron Ramsey would be seen as Cesc’s replacement- broken leg with a metal plate in it and all.
    If that was the scenario- would you still feel the future was so rosy- when after the loss of Gallas and Fabregas- we are struggling as a mid table side?

  • FORCA BARCA

    CESC is our son and he will back to us .. VISCA EL BARCA y VISCA CATALUNYA

  • donkeyman

    not sure how you work out we only had 2 european games in 20 years? and english clubs were banned as well thanks to thick stupid northeners but i remenber watching arsenal in europe in 1990 and did’t we win the cup winners cup in 94 and got to final in 95

  • sammylee

    No arguments can be made to
    This post has been edited as the author posts from one of those places that has lots of different anti-Wenger email addresses all coming out of one computer.

  • sammylee

    Where did Wenger promise to sort out our back five ?

    This post has been edited as the author posts from one of those places that has lots of different anti-Wenger email addresses all coming out of one computer.

  • Abalsy

    Well, I am not so sure this summer is the last summer of misery for us. Fabregas may well leave this season (according to BBC Sport, Wenger was unable to convince Cesc to stay for next season). According to what I have seen for the past 5-6 years, the players who have shown an improvement over the last season, and perform similarly next season are likely to attract the interest of the European ‘moneybags’ clubs. I am guessing Sagna, Clichy, Nasri, Walcott and Van Persie (if he can stay fit for a full season) to attract attention next summer (May 2011).
    The other thing which prompted me to comment is the statement that Wenger brought us up to this level. And yes, till 2006, nobody could deny that Arsenal’s success in the last few years was amazing. Yet, from 2006 – 2010, Arsenal’s progress has plateaued. In fact, when the 2009-2010 season began, one of the easiest results to predict was that Arsenal would finish in the top 4,but would not win the league. As also that Arsenal would reach may the semi-finals of the Champions League, but not further than that. I know these are not small achievements. I mean, look at Liverpool. They also were assumed to be top 4 finishers,but look where they have ended up. But why the same thing is happening for the past 5 yrs or so (except for the Champs League final 2006)??
    Like we were drawn against Barca in the Champs League q/f this yr, even Inter had to face them in the s/f. But didnt they manage to beat them?? We can argue a host of things – that Inter were totally defensive in the second leg, that Barca were denied a goal in the second leg,etc… But the fact is that a 10-man Inter got the job done against an in-form Barca team.
    In Jan 2010, we had RVP injured long term already. Eduardo, since his arrival hasnt had 100% fitness consistently.Same goes for Walcott. So basically, we were in the hunt for the league title and Champs League with Bendtner and Arshavin constantly on the bench or starting. Which is precisely the reason we lost the 2nd leg against Barca.Yes, Bendtner did score that one goal but if we had RVP and Eduardo starting the match, we might have had a chance. However, I am more disappointed with losing the league title to the extremely weak bench.
    Now Wenger has brought in Chamakh, but looks like Cesc might leave. So it is extremely important he brings in an EXPERIENCED replacement along with a reputed goalkeeper and a defender. Additional signings would be welcome, but these are the bare minimum required…
    It would also be better if the fans were told the exact financial condition of the club. Wenger often says that Arsenal must sell so as to keep the club in good financial health, while at the end of every season, top club management says that money is available for Wenger to spend on players!!
    I hope over the next couple of years we build a squad with a group of players at the core, who will not be sold irrespective of who comes to buy…

  • Ian Trevett

    Thanks for all the replies to my piece. As always on this site, the debate is excellent.

    Donkeyman – I meant 2 ‘European Cup’ ties in over 20 years, rather than UEFA or Cup Winners Cup ties: Austria Vienna and Benfica in 1991. Of course there would have been more in 1989 but as you rightly point out we had all been kicked out of Europe.