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How to invent history: blog uses disgraceful tactics to undermine Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

Just how low do you need to go, how many tall tales do you need to tell, how many downright lies do you need to publish, in order to knock Arsenal?

These are not the questions most people interested in the club are asking, but even so they are indeed questions that are worth asking in my view.  And what brought this to mind was an article in the Just Arsenal bloggetta.  It runs with the headline

Arsenal set for record 5th defeat in a row on Thursday in Milan

Now that fascinated me, because as the person who runs the AISA Arsenal History Society (whose blog gets around half a million page views a year – far more than any other football history web site that I have ever come across – which I mention to suggest that maybe the authors of the piece I am criticising could have looked up the data) I have a certain interest in Arsenal’s history.   And a record fifth defeat didn’t sound right to me.  In fact I knew it wasn’t right.

So I went looking in the article for an explanation – what are they counting that would make a defeat in Milan (if it were to happen) a RECORD fifth defeat?

And as I searched I came across this one…

“this season he is creating more and more unwanted records, like being knocked out at the first hurdle of the FA Cup to a Championship side”

But nothing more on the record fifth, save the sentence “and the latest run of four defeats in a row is about to get worse – as we travel to the San Siro on Thursday to face an AC Milan side that is in awesome form in Italy.”

So no details of the record either in terms of being knocked out of the FA Cup nor of losing a number of games in a row.

Now if you have ever taken a look at the AISA Arsenal History Society website you will know that most days we publish a list of anniversaries for that day – there are around 6000 such events held on our files for days across the year, and as the more fulsome articles are published week by week we discover new items to add to the list.

But the record number of consecutive league defeats was published a long time ago, and just to help people find some of the consecutive records, in April 2015 we published a list of lots of different consecutives including…

26 February 1927: Arsenal 6 Burnley 2.  It was the last victory for a while as Arsenal then suffered six consecutive defeats in which the club let in 26 goals.

12 March 1977:  QPR 2 Arsenal 1; The 7th and final consecutive defeat – the worst run in Arsenal’s history – ever.

Now I am not too bothered that a little blog like Just Arsenal doesn’t know about this record, but what does concern me is that its publishers quite happily print an assertion of something like this without attempting to give any detail – or it seems even look up the right data.

I know (because I am corrected by the many followers of the AHS site who write to me regularly) when mistakes are made and I try hard then to correct them on the day and correct the master files that lies behind all these records and anniversary data.  So it is not the error so much as the absolute vagueness of the assertion that is so wildly inaccurate that gets me.

They don’t say “the worst since x” or anything like that – it is just a bald statement – another attempt to drive the nail into the reputation of Mr Wenger.  Indeed such errors would be mitigated slightly if occasionally they were made in Mr Wenger’s favour, for example saying “having won the FA Cup three times in a row they were knocked out by Nottingham Forest” (which of course would be wrong – it was three times in four years, something the club under Mr Wenger have done twice).

So let us consider the other assertion

“this season he is creating more and more unwanted records, like being knocked out at the first hurdle of the FA Cup to a Championship side”

How is this a record?   Surely every schoolchild supporting Arsenal knows that under Herbert Chapman Arsenal were knocked out by Walsall.  And equally, painful though it may be there was the defeat to York City in 1985, Middlesbrough in 1984, WHU (in the final) in 1980, Ipswich in final in 1978, Aston Villa 1974… it goes on and on.

Of course I can hear the excuse – these were not Championship sides because the Championship was not invented then, these were for the most part Division 2 sides, but if that is the argument it is one set up just to be confusing and not to make a clear point.

Mr Wenger’s record over his years in charge has been better than any other manager ever in terms of his win percentage, and better than any other manager in terms of title wins.  He has won the FA Cup more not just than any other Arsenal manager (as far as I know, no Arsenal manager won the FA Cup more than once before him) but more than any other manager of any club ever.

Of course there are good reasons to be fed up with the way things are going at present, but the only way to make that point is to be clear and truthful, not make up imaginary concepts about the worst this or that.   No wonder the reputation of some bloggettas and newspapers are reaching an all time low.

 

38 comments to How to invent history: blog uses disgraceful tactics to undermine Arsenal

  • Josif

    Tony

    I’ve just checked some Wikipedia data about Arsenal in 1976-77. As much as it was amusing to see how bottom of the table looked at the end of the season, it was really painful to see all those rows coloured in pink-red (defeats).

    Indeed, Arsenal lost seven games in a row in the league but the streak of defeats in all competitions went one further as we also lost to Middlesbrough (1-4) in League Cup with Macdonald scoring our only goal. So, if we lose to Milan, it will be 5th defeat in a row in all competitions (Ostersunds – Europa League, Man City – LC, Man City – league, BHA – league, Milan – Europa League) which is still three games short of Neill’s “achievement” between 12th February and 12th March 1977.

    Man City (0-1)
    Middlesbrough (0-3)
    West Ham (2-3)
    Middlesbrough (1-4)
    Everton (1-2)
    Ipswich Town (1-4)
    WBA (1-2)
    QPR (1-2)

    The streak ended at Stoke (1-1). After that one, we had a nice run of six victories in seven games.

  • Zedsaunt

    You were walking past Tony, and you caught the shouts from the lynch mob.

  • Polo

    @ Tony, I believe they probably referring to AW records not Arsenal’s. AW has never lost 5 consecutive matches and never been knocked out of the FA Cup first match. The first time in over 20 years, instead of giving him some credit, they use it to attack him. It’s just ridiculous the amount of negativity is being hurled at him.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with this comments section.

  • Hunter13

    I said many years ago, that the project Arsenal started in 2006/07, will need intelligent support.

    Arsenal never big
    Never rich
    New stadium
    Russians and Arabs in

    The intelligent fan accepts that automatically Arsenal becomes 3-45th favourite for the league title

    The intelligent fans accepts that the first or even 2nd and 3rd crops of youngsters gets burnt under weight of pressure and expecatations

    The intelligent fan undesratnds that Arsenal is in for a financial exercise till stadium is repaid.

    The intelligent fan understands that ultimate decision on club policy/strategy and expenditure is with Owners

    The intelligent fan can spot the bias of the refs and how they make Arsenal suffer because of their manager’s nationality and quirky genius personality

    The intelligent fan knows that Arsenal was never the type of club where they would target the league EVERY season. Wenger brought this mentality to Arsenal.

    And most importantly, the intelligent fan does not hear a word from biased english media trolls nor allows the trolling of rival fans to turn him/her against their club.

    Conclusion : Arsenal fans ….stupid with no culture of support. Customers expecting dividends in their expenditure of a ticket. No wonder they sit and cry instead of biting the bullet and rallying for the common cause or to lift their players.

    the ‘fan’ who assumes a position that he can and will abuse till he gets the club to do what he wants.

    serious question though what are the rest fo us doing? are we gonna let the carpet cleaners and bus drivers sack wenger?

    are we going to allow kroenke jnr and ivan and their statdna bullshit ?

    I have an idea….. as fans we invade the pitch and get punished for 10 games with closed gates. NO FABNS! NADA.

    let the team find its ways again.

  • Hunter13

    every fucking muppet out there telling us how this is a bad season..

    no shit

    but when youre spoilt 20 years with wenger ……

    can not believe the audacity and delusions of arsenal ‘fans’

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Why is it that it is being said in some quarters that Arsenal will lose to AC Milan in the Europa League Cup match on Thursday night that will take place at the San Siro Stadium between the duo clubs? However, my belief in Arsenal is telling me that Arsenal will win the match and win it handsomely too, come what may at the San Siro Stadium on Thursday night that.will leave AC Milan in a difficult position having to face Arsenal in the return leg of the last 16 match of the competiton that will take place on Thursday night next week at the Emirates Stadium.

  • It’s called click baiting. These tabloid media whores will say anything controversial to get people’s attention, and spectacular negativity is a trademark of Arsenal fans and a bit of a trademark industry for the sports tabloids.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Hunter 13,
    for 10 years I have been writing for Untold.
    For 10 years I hear about how bad we are, the worst team ever blah blah blah.
    We (Untold) get called names for supporting the club.

    I have really enjoyed the last 21 years with Wenger. I have seen heights I could never imagine.
    Only this season things have gone wrong, I do admit. But only from this season!
    So why would I lose my mind over one bad season in 22? Simply I don’t. I have enjoyed the last 21 seasons so much I can take a bit of bad weather now.

    In fact those shouting : “we want our Arsenal back” some time ago can be happy: they’ve got their Arsenal back from most of the time before Wenger. But still they don’t seem to be very happy. they probably never were and never will be happy when it comes to Arsenal I think.

    They have lost their time when they could enjoy the good times by moaning all the time.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Im with Hunter and Walter.The customer element is really how nuts things have got.Weird thing is even in our dogshit season we still got to the final of the CC. Four finals in five, terrible record that.Doesnt count though, but if Spurs did it then we would hear endlessly about how great they are.
    COYG!

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Let me say this for the record. The Arsenal fans whether they be carpet cleaners, wash men, watch men, mechanics, artisans, drivers, bar attendants, middle class or upper class, business executives, CEOs, medical doctors, University professors, managers, members of the Royal familiy, professional stars, pilots, military personnel, craft men, house keepers, butlers, shop owners, boys and girls sponsored by their parents or relations or friends to attend Arsenal games need respecting and should be respected but not abusing them whenever they voice their minds perceived to be negative voicing. Why? Because they are the life time patrons of Arsenal. In fact they are ones who never leave the club come success come failure. They are the faithful Arsenals. For, players, managers, back room staff, Arsenal board members, the grounds men, the Arsenal stewards and other supporting Arsenal staff are all employees of the club who will one day leave club. Even the Arsenal owners can sell their holding shares at the club at anytime they wish and leave the club too one day. But the Arsenal fans however rich or poor they maybe never leave the club but keep supporting it for life. Have I said something positive?

  • Gord

    According to the Wikipedia, Sunderland had 15 consecutive losses in the premier league in 2002/03.

  • Nitram

    Hunter 13 and Walter

    Well said.

    “Only this season have things gone wrong. I do admit. But only this season

    I said something very similar yesterday. Exactly what I said was that if the last 4 years, that consisted of:

    FA Cup WIN. FA Cup WIN. PL r/up. FA Cup WIN.

    Had been given the credit it deserved this poor season (So far) could not be seen as anything like the catastrophe it is.

    Yes of course we had bad moments in those 4 years, just as we had them in Wengers early years.

    But 3 FA Cups and a runners up finish over 4 years could only be judged as a failure when it’s Arsenal.

    And only in Liverpool’s and Spurs case can ONE League cup in 10 years be seen as success.

  • Nitram

    Keneth.

    Well said again

    I was writing something similar as you posted.

  • finsbury

    Hunter

    “stupid with no culture of support. Customers expecting dividends in their expenditure of a ticket. No wonder they sit and cry instead of biting the bullet and rallying for the common cause or to lift their players.”

    As usual my friend, you nail it bang on!

    Walter & Hunter
    Given that AFC do not have £30M benchwarmers a la Sissoko, I’d say this is the first season that AFC are performing par, not below, just par. Though that won’t stop the Liars pretending otherwise.
    It’s not the best football we’ve seen over the course of a season but how would a new manager have been considered if they’d come in last season with this post cazorla squad and denied the double to free spending champion whilst winning record FA Cups and getting to another final (so far) this season?

    The connection between the coverage of the largest political party in the UK, in Europe, and one of the most popular clubs in the UK by media owned by people that have a distinct and sociopathic ideology (in their own words not mine!) is there for all to see.

  • jw1

    Derby County had a 32-game winless streak through the close of the 2007-08.
    Still drew what appears a capacity crowd (33,084) in the season-ending loss 0-4 to Reading.

    jw1

  • jw1

    Hunter13–

    You had me with you on every point– until: “…and their statdna bullshit ?”

    This is something I’ve done quite a bit of research into– and have a belief in. That if Arsenal is to once again reach the top of the table with intent to stay there (not buy their way there)? That creating a bases for identifying professional-caliber talent even younger, and sign them sooner, than any other clubs. But– the data for doing so is still being accumulated.

    The baselines for rating current players and near-term future prospects using video-driven data analytics? Have its’ bases in player performances going back to the late-90s.

    Moneyball. Is a term US baseball fans are attuned to. This style of analytics is now ruling how talent is evaluated and acquired in that sport. If you are interested? Here are a few pertinent articles from the past few years:

    https://www.si.com/vault/2014/06/30/106479598/astromatic-baseball-houstons-grand-experiment

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2269196

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/sports/soccer/arsenal-arsene-wenger-analytics.html

    I live in Houston TX USA. I lived through the absolute worst– from our baseball team for 6 years. Last November– we won the World Series; our first in the club’s 56-year existence. An Arsenal fan since 2005– I have the belief that this club too, is on the right track in the backroom– because of the StatDNA project.

    jw1

  • Brickfields Gunners

    So I suppose that with us allegedly having the’ worst run ever’ , we will be playing our next few EPL matches in an empty stadium ?

    Logical assumption, if the team have lost the fans’ support .

    What would it mean if the stadium is filled to the brim as usual ? That would be a conundrum of sorts , wouldn’t it? Or an inconvient truth ?

    I hardly think that it would be considered machositic !

  • Hunter13

    I know Walter i know. I am shocked that for example other arsenal fans or blogs i used to consider intelligent (cultured, arseblog, gunnerblog) have all fallen victims of this absurdity.

    If im not mistaken it was wenger;s arsenal that inspired them all to …just sit around home all day and write about arsenal, no? what did they have to write about before wenger? who would give a shit? inspired by merson ? and the other donkeys ? please…. it was the va va voom that got them all switched on.

    Shameless revisionism

    And even now, when we can all see the team , the manager the players are suffering psychologically and need us ….what do we do? we fester and accomodate the rivals and media’s work to discredit and piss on someone who came and BOSSED them. Someone they needed to cheat in order to beat, whether on the pitch with criminal tackles and ref lenience or buy opening doors of the casino to tycoon criminals.

    How selfish, how childish, how shamefull disrespectful and idiotic that one of the games legendary iconic figures is treated like that by the fans he has devoted his lifes work for 20+ years

  • Hunter13

    Sorry Samuel they can go to hell

    They have expressed their opinion, they have been heard and given the platform and opportunity to speak.

    But thats not enough for them. They want their stupid opinion to be enforced. Very right -wing mentality. And they are comiitted to cause trouble till they get what they want.

    Respect them? Ha…. like i said yesterday, they are the cancer eating the club from within not allowing the team/players/managers to work in peace.

  • Hunter13

    Samuel im also angry that Ferrari is not doing much or dominating as much as we did with Schummacher, but the day i go to their engineers and designers and tell them to ‘listen to me i know how its done’ is the day i should be locked in an asylum.

    Why shoudl it be different for football?

    Is football not as sophisticated or expensive an industry as formula one? Is there no science involved?

    Who are those clearly deranged alcoholics and drug addicts in blogs or fan tvs think they are kidding? What the hell do they know about running football clubs?

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    It is shameless revisionism, all being used to get the bloke out. Once hes gone, and given a period of five years or so and they will all be saying how great he was.
    Endless talk of Löw coming, but that guy has had a tremendous amount of support in the job on a nation-wide scale. Coming to AFC and dealing with Bovvy-Market fan TV will be a kutur shock for him.
    Plus, as Jimbo pointed out on another thread, all the dung being flung about Wengers legacy being destroyed; that is an impossibility until the earth is consumed by the Sun (etc) and all human physical records are swept away as mere folly.
    Wengers complete record( winners/runner up) must be quite something.
    What strikes me is that the club need support more than ever, and just arent getting it…

  • Hunter13

    Fins ill be honest

    I ca not elieve Wenger who bought Anelka for 500k , Cesc for 450k and kolo toure for 150k …spent almost 70 million for mustafi and xhaka

    I think, i cant prove it though, just going by experience…gabriel, xhaka, mustafi and maybe a couple more were the result of that statdna bullshit from kroenke jnr and that useless ivan with his catalyst for change bullshit.

    I dont think he wanted aubemayang either. 29?!! Nor did he want to let go of Giroud or theo or alexis. Wenger had no problem keepign alexis to fight till last day, but the board wanted profits from its asset or at least a sense of recovery

    And sven brings us mhiki?????????? oh dear…

  • Pat

    Hi Tony. As you know I love your website and I take your views seriously. I have spoken to the writer and he assures me he was only talking about Wenger’s reign which I am sure you knew or could assume and accepts he should have made it clear. I do believe all those facts are correct under Wenger and I didn’t think he was talking about previously as I know he is not a Wenger fan but loves Arsenal. I publish many views on my site and I assure you that today you would see a couple of very pro Wenger posts and there ies no wish on my part to deliberately mislead anyone. I believe if he had specified that he was only talking about the Wenger years you would not have responded so vociferously!
    With respect
    Pat

  • jw1

    (My post from several hours back is being held in moderation, apparently due to links I’d provided. So I’m re-posting without the links.)

    Hunter13–

    You had me with you on every point– until: “…and their statdna bullshit ?”

    This is something I’ve done quite a bit of research into– and have a belief in. That if Arsenal is to once again reach the top of the table with intent to stay there (not buy their way there)? That creating a bases for identifying professional-caliber talent even younger, and sign them sooner, than any other clubs. But– the data for doing so is still being accumulated.

    The baselines for rating current players and near-term future prospects using video-driven data analytics? Have its’ bases in player performances going back to the late-90s.

    Moneyball. Is a term US baseball fans are attuned to. This style of analytics is now ruling how talent is evaluated and acquired in that sport. If you are interested? Here are a few pertinent articles from the past few years:

    {LINKS WERE PROVIDED}

    I live in Houston TX USA. I lived through the absolute worst– from our baseball team for 6 years. Last November– we won the World Series; our first in the club’s 56-year existence. An Arsenal fan since 2005– I have the belief that this club too, is on the right track in the backroom– MAINLY because of the StatDNA project.

    jw1

  • Mike Collins

    AS Henry Ford said “History is Bunk”

    Surely the question is are we closer to winning the league or further away?

  • Hunter13

    hi JW1..creating a basis is fine and Arsene is possibly one of the first ( in this league at least) to pay such emphasis in player stats. But i will trust Wenger’s software of 30+ years experience instead of kroneks and ivan’s scribbles in their ipad. This manager has coached Weah and Djorkaef and Bergkamp. He knows. fullstop

  • Mike he didn’t actually say that, although he said something moderately close. But more to the point he said, “”You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

  • JW1 – sorry about the moderation hold because of links, compounded with the fact that I am in Australia and so sleeping while most are posting. (11 hour difference). We do get a lot of people who post articles with nothing but links – many done simply to advertise whatever site those people are trying to promote, or to denigrate this site, so I have to keep that automatic setting in place. I have released the original, so both are up now and anyone who wants to can follow the links. Really sorry your post was disrupted.

  • Pat your point is completely valid that the commentary is true if the phrase “during Wenger’s time” is added. But my suspicion (and it is only that) is that many readers will not have made that leap and will have taken the statement, particularly the headline at face value as meaning that this is the worst in our long history.
    This is really part of my argument: that most people don’t realise that our club is one that historically has had ups and downs like any other and that what Wenger is being pilloried for is being not as good as … Wenger.
    I do concede of course that I too made an error, but not saying that “what I think the writer probably means is ‘during Wenger’s time’ and I am sorry I didn’t say that. But I think, in the clear light of day (which it now is in Sydney, where I am currently residing) that is by far the lesser crime. I suspect many will have seized upon the argument in the article as written, which clearly suggests this is the worst ever.
    Indeed to have said it is the worst in Wenger’s reign actually would have supported Wenger, by showing how brilliant he has been.

  • jw1

    Thanks Tony– completely understandable!
    Simply wanted to join the discussion with Hunter13.

    Hunter13–
    I’m dismayed that you’ve decided to slough off the discussion with:
    “But i will trust Wenger’s software of 30+ years experience instead of kroneks and ivan’s scribbles in their ipad…”

    I have as much trust in Wenger as you do. Have a similar amount of faith in his ability to sight new and revolutionary tools. Wenger is on board with StatDNA. fullstop.

    But it’s not about the manager. It about the quantifying of tools used in the scouting system. Changing from what someone has seen and reported– to using video to score performances on- and off-pitch. Letting a dozen scouts see the player. Using algorithms to determine athleticism and skillsets.

    I’ve read and followed the history of the StatDNA project. Down to knowing where the LLC (Aoh/Arsenal Overseas Holdings) is registered, who did the registration (Sarah Rudd)– along with how every match that’s coded takes 7-times longer (with far more detail) than other systems deployed in world football at present.

    This system began in US baseball over 20 years ago. It went through 3 generations of hybridization. The one in use at present was developed by the General Manager of the Houston Astros (Jeff Luhnow). In just 4 years, this baseball team went from losing 70% of it’s games– to becoming World Champions. The Astros for many seasons had the worst ‘farm system’ (Youth Academy) in baseball. Today, six years later, it is rated the strongest in the Major Leagues. The four best players on the team came through the team’s farm system. Two, possibly 3 of them, seem like future Hall of Fame players (all-time greats) at this juncture.

    ===========

    On another note? I would care to bet that yes, Gabriel Paulista was an early choice based on a still-developing system. Probably Rob Holding and Cohen Bramhall too. But Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka seem more likely to have been traditionally-decided choices.

    Bottom-line? Even in an instant-gratification era, you can’t create data faster than when it’s ready to be harvested.
    IMHO? Arsenal are possibly 2-3 years from developing the same style of organization.

    jw1

  • Nice guys, united we stand, divided we fall.

    I think for balance Mikhi and Auba are astute acquisition given circumstances. We need desperately experience. I do the maths and say Alexis can come back.

    You are worrying about money, it’s months and never problem again.

    Mustarfi and Granit aren’t Ideal, but they makes good rotation. The latter likely to have every summer off and the former part of a mound that worked on the rotation principle at the WC!

    I don’t think they are first choice, but I like both in a way! They are just frastrating, but we always bought those, the money isn’t so high either.

    We got admirers not fans, they bought shirts and pretend. Ut that was the mandate, the end product will ensure silence amongst our critics.

    Hunter it’s not a bad idea, but rocking the boatbuilder could go very wrong.

    I hate to bring in race m, but black peoples genes, add +5 years. Henry came back and still bossed without not the quality around and bot being up to pace.

    His goal ratio is fine, what didn’t you expect? We are playing diabolically. He’s not up to speed! We get sent Lacazette now for a reason, do the timeline. What games hasn’t he earmarked and what competition.

    Patience gentleman!

    IWIT COYG

  • Mike Collins

    Tony

    As a historian I should have quoted an accurate piece of that staement.
    Since 1953 I have watched some awful Arsenal teams and some very good ones, and many average.
    Trouble is the Premier League has changed not always for the better. AW revolutionized the club for the new era and I know it is not easy. I just do not like his reputation trashed by staying on too long.

  • Another Old Geezer

    Tony

    Sorry to correct one small part of your article. However, when Ipswich beat Arsenal in the 1978 FA cup final, they were a 1st Division side ( Premier League equivalent today). In fact they were an excellent team managed by Sir Bobby Robson in those days.

    I really enjoy reading your historical blogs the series of articles on Sir Henry Norris are brilliant so much information I did not know. Thanks for writing these articles.

  • Azinoz

    If Arsene is to be credited with winning all those FA cups shouldn’t he be held accountable for the clubs current demise or will that be down to the fans again?

  • Hunter13

    thanks JW1 and I dont disagree it can have its merits but computers will not show everything. And if it is a work in progress then the ones who introduced it need to protect Wenger.

    I also imagine there quite big differences in the nature of the two sports (baseball vs football) and thus different stats/requirements to build a top baseball team and pretty different to unite 11 strangers all playing at the same time covering an area of about 5,600 square meters for 90 minutes at 200 pulses per minute and eyesight turning into purple from the pressure and fatigue.

    In exactly those moments, stats go out the window and it becomes a primitive animalistic affair. Who wants it more?

    Even Barcelona had animals on the pitch that refused to give an inch. Im talking of Puyol and also Iniesta and Messi. Not just good footballers but animals in terms of showing up when it matters. (ok maybe they were all on steroids and we discover it in 30 years form now )

  • Josif

    @Hunter 13

    Now that you mentioned doping, I’ll send a piece to Tony which might be interesting in that regard. It’s about something 40 years ago which went pretty much under the radar of the media. For some reason, I think Pat might be the most interested one in that piece given his political views.

    But let’s stop with teasers. 🙂

  • jw1

    Hunter 13–

    I think what the reality distills down to?
    Is that Arsenal, even with its’ fine financial standing in world football– will not be able to spend annually with the PSGs, Citys, and occasional Chelseas. United, Real, and Barca are the well-heeled, well-marketed brethren in that cabal– who often draw lines in the sand regarding spending; where the oil-igarchs don’t.

    I do give Roman Abramovich credit these last several years. He’s essentially closed his checkbook to huge expenditures (the Morata panic buy notwithstanding). Chelsea has long identified, signed, cultivated, and sold most of their best youth prospects. A profitable revenue stream.

    IMO, this is what Arsenal must focus on to stay in the upper echelon of spending clubs. The best way to do this is identifying those ‘can’t-miss prospects’ at an earlier age. That’s the real long-term benefit of the system being put in place. The more you find? The better you find? The more you sell– for more. Occasionally you identify a Harry Kane at age 10– and keep him.

    And yes, baseball and football are quite different sports. Baseball has unlocked the secret– many clubs have used and refined the Moneyball system of analysis for two decades. So? Just as Wenger revolutionized the PL in 90s? Being the club to successfully adapt a Moneyball-style system to football? Will leave every other club scrambling to emulate it. Again. Much rather be the club who have it first.

    jw1