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Football in its current form is unsustainable

By Tony Attwood

Sometimes things just go wrong.  You can’t help it, but well, you know, you find your wife is having an affair with not only the groom and the stable lad, (or maybe one of those nice centre forwards from Man IOU) and then your mate says she was also seen with the solicitor who is supposedly handling your divorce, and your world turns upside down, you forget to pay the milkman, then there’s that council tax demand, and next thing you know, the bailiff is at the door.  God, it can all be tough.

And at that point you know you just can’t go on.  There is no more patch and mending to be done.  Something has to give.

That’s how I see football at the moment.  It is not so much that things are going wrong, but rather that there is a patch and mend culture, combined with a culture of at worst utter denial or at best inevitability, rather than a realisation that what is happening is utterly unsustainable.

Recently, for example, I suggested that despite Liverpool RBS having six bids on the table to buy their club, no one really wanted the place, because you could have just as good a club half a mile down the road at Everton, for a fraction of the price.   But the press went for the bids, talking them up because their agenda is “we can go on like this for ever”.

Yet Liverpool RBS and Man IOU are both now paying extra money because of their defaulting on debts.  Liverpool pay £2.5m a week to RBS for not managing to be sold and thus repay the RBS debt by the start of the season, while Man IOU are now paying an extra 2% on the PIK loans to the hedge funds because they failed to pay down the debt by last month.

Worse, neither has sold out of season tickets although  Man IOU keep telling us that they sell more season tickets than most EPL clubs have seats in their ground – and that is true, and something to be proud of.

But if we are going to go down that route, surely we should also point out that it is not just the point that they have 4000 unsold season tickets this season.  It is the fact that two or three years ago they had a waiting list of over 20,000 wanting season tickets.  It is the decline that is the issue, not the final numbers.

What is interesting to me in all this is that the stories of Man IOU and Liverpool RBS seems to move on at such a speed that most commentators just can’t or won’t keep up.  Everyone was saying that Liverpool was going to the Chinese – and then suddenly the story vanishes, and no one says, “hang on a moment, where did that story come from?” or “blimey, if they haven’t got anyone trying to buy them, what happens next?”

Or most of all – how come these stories circulate, then go away, and the vision is that Liverpool can go on.

And that’s what I think it really what is all about – what happens next – because the situations at Man IOU and Liverpool are utterly unsustainable.   Man IOU does not generate enough money to pay all the Glazer mortgage debts, and yet the Glazers have no other source of income.  Man IOU cannot go on haemorrhaging enthusiasm for season tickets.  They are just about all right now, but they don’t have much leeway left.  Something is going to go bang.

Liverpool RBS cannot go on losing potential buyers, because there don’t seem to be any more.  They can’t go on paying the bank £2.5m default payments a week, because they don’t have the money.

At least with Liverpool we know the next step – in October the bank (the RBS of their new title) take over the club and run it themselves.   This won’t be unique – Rangers in Scotland are run by their bank, having fallen into such debt that they ran out of money they could borrow.

What has happened in fact is that clubs that were at one time big buying clubs are becoming selling clubs.  If you start looking at the ins and outs at Barcelona they seem to tot up to a bit of debt reduction (although it is made murky by the way they are also using loans with sales at the end, to reduce wages now and keep the bankers happy.)

In fact unsustainability is everywhere.  The situation in the England football camp looks fairly unsustainable too.  I pointed out a few articles back that three England players now have issued legal gagging orders to stop us talking about their affairs.  We also know that England players have in the past gone for super-injunctions whereby we are not even allowed to say there is an injunction in place, and it is more than likely that there are several of these around at the moment.

And now we have Wayne Rooney seemingly in a mess too.  So no injunction there?  That seems odd – but maybe that High Court has just had enough of issuing injunctions to protect footballers (although that would be very unfair – these things are, I am sure, worked out in a proper legal manner).

But seriously, overall, it can’t go on like this in much of football because there comes a point where clubs just can’t hold off the debts anymore, and people aren’t going to wait.

Quite what the final big bang will be I don’t know.  It wasn’t Leeds, and it isn’t Portsmouth.  Already we seem to be getting used to Liverpool slipping and sliding downwards.  Maybe it will be the final victory of HMRC in the courts over the “football debts” issue, that stops us taxpayers getting a fair share of the money that clubs owe the taxman rather than it all going to millionaire players.

Maybe it will be the liquidation of a big name.   I really don’t know – but I am quite certain that within a year the landscape will be different.

However Arsenal will still be there.  Yes, we have the stadium debt, but it is at a very low level of interest and is based on a gate average of 50,000 and Champs League every fourth year – so we have the leeway.  Also if you look at our youth team you’ll know that we have a fair old base there.

So, change, but I think it won’t be us that goes bang.  And thank Wenger for that.

———–

What’s it like following Arsenal from abroad?  Arsenal Worldwide

Have you tried the book of the century? No?  Never mind, try  “Making the Arsenal” – the story of the club 100 years ago.

And then there are the stories of people the very first time they watched Arsenal.

Do Arsenal really get more injuries than anyone else?

Untold Index

56 comments to Football in its current form is unsustainable

  • Nice piece ! The trophies will follow , fincials sorted

  • Dark Prince

    Yeah, thats right. The only thing left now is the trophies to come. That would be the true icing on the cake!! If we achieve all this plus the trophies, then we’ll be a perfect club!! Now its upto our players to prove to the world that they are the best team!! Arsenal Rocks!! Gunners for Life!! 🙂

  • TommieGun

    I’ve been reading posts on this site for about 2 months. Fair enough, it sure provides better reads than most of “I wanta trophy now!”, “We should buy ____ for 50 mil!” or “Arsene has lost it” – which are all found in abundance in a lot of other Arsenal so-called “supporter” sites.

    But. There is always a But, and I’m talking about balance, and unfortunately, my humble opinion is that most posts on this site, lack balance.

    I’ll start with this post. Yes. It’s true that Manure and Liverpool are in a financial mess. But teams have been in financial mess before. Some of them didn’t survive it – Leeds is a good example. But some did – and it doesn’t really matter to us, football fans, it the “save” was the government buying the training ground for 100 euro when it was only worth 30 (Real Madrid), or if some other financial life-line was offered. I have to say that as a football fan – not a shareholder – my concerns are different. I don’t really believe that a football club should be looked upon as any other business. Same as racehorses or vineyards – it’s not a pure business investment. In order to succeed, you have to care about it.

    My point is, that KGB Roman does care about his KGB toy – unlike Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gilette, and sadly, in my opinion – when David Dein left, we were left with a board full of people who don’t really care. Nobody knows if Arsenal’s lack of spending is all Wenger, or is it the board riding Wenger’s vision, or any sort of combination. What I know, is that I felt we had better leadership – board-wise – when Dein was there.

    So yes. I’m happy that we’ll probably never face the perils of ManU or Liverpool or other clubs that face liquidation or receivership. But to accept that this is the only way – is a bit innocent.

    So my bottom line is that even though Wenger is a genius, and that we should all be grateful for his management – it does not mean that he cannot make a mistake in judgement, and it’s our job, as supporters, to sometimes criticize in a constructive way, when needed.

  • Maverick

    Brilliant Article as Always Tony!!

    Tony i have heard (can’t remember where from) that Arsenal could very well buy out a lower league team in the future (not sure how reliable the source is nor viable or if it was just brainstorming) so that our huge amounts of reserves can get actual quality football in maybe the championship or elsewhere and when they perform they get called up to Arsenal. Is there likely to be any truth to this…..i can see so many positives, Arsenal owning 2 clubs fast tracking youth etc……..or is this against the rules? Or if this is not the way to go maybe get a team that we get a partnership deal with………..is there any basis to this?

  • Maverick…

    My understanding is that one club buying another (at least within UEFA) is not allowed – and that the rules were changed after we owned part of Beveren.

    The alternative is to have a reserve team playing in a lower league as happens in Spain and Germany. However this has been rejected since Arsenal tried to get a place for their reserves in the Southern League a year or two after we had got a place in the Football League.

    So I think for the moment both approaches are impossible in the UK, and the buying another club is impossible in Europe. More’s the pity, but there it is

  • Finsbury

    I’ve got the impression, that a bang of sorts will be provided by the coming broadband explosion.

    If most internet traffic, to hand held devices etc, is anticipated to be video content, not so far into the future, then why should that not include football matches? Yes, people like to watch games, together, not on phones, but that has nothing to do with who owns the broadcasting rights.

    So, the big change will be based around the rights to broadcast matches?
    I have no idea about this topic, but it does seem to be one possibility.

    Following the no-balls, slightly bizarre story, I did chuckle when I heard that the main suspect owned ‘Croyden Athletic’ Football club.
    Still no scoop by our favourite fake sheikh on football transfers to date…Hmmm….

    Why are football agents tolerated within the game?
    I guess, the answer is so mundane, that it does not need to be written down.

  • TommieGun

    My point here is that although there have been financial crises for years (not forgetting of course that Arsenal went into liquidation exactly 100 years ago – see http://www.woolwicharsenal.co.uk for details of the book…..) the current situation is different from previous crises because of its spread.

    I don’t think so many major teams have had really serious financial problems before at one go – Rangers, Man U, Liverpool, Barca… and then behind them all the clubs that are utterly dependent on one man, from Everton to Man City, Aston Villa to Bolton. Of course it is possible than they might all survive ok, but I don’t think they all will.

    The collapse of Hull City is not making headlines, but it is a significant collapse, and all it requires is HMRC to win their next review of the football debts rule, and we are in new territory.

  • TommieGun

    Tony – I think you missed my point.

    I am not trying to predict which club will collapse financialy or to say that I know, for sure, that you were wrong.

    What I’m saying, is that ignoring the downsides of not using funds for necessary goals, is not balanced. So yes, it’s amazing that we managed to build a stadium and still remain with a low interest debt – but maybe things could’ve been done in a better, more balanced way.

  • Dezza

    If the Mancs and the scousers go tits up then this will clearly affect every other club in the EPL who’s crowds come to see these clubs. These are the big games and Arsenal will be badly impacted if they are relegated or disappear.
    The same applies to Barceloaners and Real Mess.

  • nicky

    Re Tommiegun
    I liked your comments on David Dein. When he departed, the Club lost one of its abliest servants and I hope that one day soon he will find it possible to return…….as Chairman???

  • A Casual Observer

    This is the same David Dein that wanted to relocate to play at Wembley rather than build a new stadium (hence the European games being held there in the late 90’s)..? Ergo – his opposition was to the building of the new stadium rather than the knowledge that we could fill a larger venue.

    He was then opposed to Arsenal running the development phase and, instead, wanted to put it out to contract – again he was proved incredibly wrong (see the ‘new Wembley’ for proof of how these things can spiral into bankruptcy).

    It is my understanding that Dein, in the face of the mounting evidence against the validity of his business acumen and decision making, refused to change his stance – thus alienating himself from the rest of the board… it should also be pointed out – fan or no – that Dein’s stubborn myopic streak has stung him in the past and chasing bad ideas is what has reduced him from 42% shareholder of Arsenal to a 0% shareholder in the first place. Also – Dein’s personal agenda with regards to his slippery courting of foreign investment to ‘put him back where he felt he belonged’; all behind the back of the board of directors, had an incredibly destabilising effect on the club.

    The elitist old Etonians, which they undoubtedly are, seem to have that ‘old money’ longer term view for the club as a sustainable outfit… their stance to shun ‘new money’ might indeed be down to snobbery but I feel that the ends, in this case, justifies the means.

    Dein may have brought in Wenger but all respect must go to Wenger for the job he has done… this kudos cannot be retrospectively fitted or apportioned back to the man who hired him. Wenger is unique – the likes of Dein are ten-a-penny… if anything I believe that he has lost touch with the working class fan base more than the elitist old Etonians, freemasons, Lady muck’s and diamond dealers… which, in my inverted working class snobbery, makes it even worse – as a ‘fan’ he should have known better.

  • A Casual Observer

    And let’s not get started on all the murkiness and nepotism that surrounded ‘Sports Entertainment and Media Group Ltd’ and all the conficts of interest that went along with it… I still don’t get why Dein is seen as some saviour or ‘Mr. Arsenal’?!

    Sorry – it just bugs me.

    🙂

  • Dark Prince

    @A casual observer- its sad how you have described about Dein. Maybe he was alone with his ideas in the board but he was a great influence to modern Arsenal. He was opposed to the new ideas because he knew that Arsenal will struggle to win trophies because of the lack of purchasing power due to the new stadium debts. Thats not what we call ‘Myopic’ view. The new stadium definately gave us a boost in revenues but he knew that we would be in debt for few years and might just fall off the contenders list. And Arsenal was in no desperate situation to get a new stadium. We could have waited a few years till we can build the stadium as well as buy quality players. For me he was one of those Board of Directors who cared more about us winning trophies than making more money. And i respect that. We need more of people like Dein in our Board of Directors.

  • Bootoomee

    Dark Prince,

    With due respect I find your post rather ‘myopic’. When is that ‘few years’ that we should wait for to build a new stadium? Considering that AW will have the trophies won on his CV and all that you fans who complain about lack of silverwares will have is a bragging right for a short while, I find your demonisation of the man rather irrational. It’s like accusing international players of not doing enough for their countries. If they do well and win, the glory is theirs, permanently on their records. I never see any English obituary with: “John Jones, Supporter of the 1966 English world cup winning team”.

    Yes, we have won nothing in 5 years but it is not the end of the world. We have been very close on occasions and have been consistently very competitive in spite of the handicaps. Leave AW alone to do his job. He has disappointed me on occasions but I have disappointed also myself countless times. I applaud AW for what he has done for AFC and wish him the best in all he does in life.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Dark Prince

    I completely and utterly disagree… but you already knew that. Dein’s ambition knows no bounds – it is only limited by his brains i.e. if he had any he would be dangerous. Although he does have charm in spades!

    If Dein were at the helm we would be in a similar situation to Liverpool right now – if not worse. Although, as you say, we might have an FA cup to wave about.

    *yay*

  • Dark Prince

    @Bootoomee- ‘having braggin rights for short time’?? Was arsenal is dire financial problems that we have to shift to the new stadium?? We were doing perfectly fine those years. And i have nothing Wenger, for me he’s the only reason why we are still good enough for top 4. Our current Board of Directors only look for profits for their own greediness. But Dein was one who used to balance everything perfectly. Thats why we need someone like him in Arsenal’s Board of Directors- To balance things out. And i’d still loved to see Arsenal play at Highbury.

  • Dark Prince

    @Bootoomee- ‘having braggin rights for short time’?? Was arsenal is dire financial problems that we have to shift to the new stadium?? We were doing perfectly fine those years. And i have nothing against Wenger, for me he’s the only reason why we are still good enough for top 4. Our current Board of Directors only look for profits for their own greediness. But Dein was one who used to balance everything perfectly. Thats why we need someone like him in Arsenal’s Board of Directors- To balance things out. And i’d still loved to see Arsenal play at Highbury.

  • Common Sensei

    Somebody said we are not balance over here on Untold earlier – which may (I concede) have a little truth in it.

    I guess we like to keep positive until we have a reason to panic. So we do not have the kind of steely equilibrium you are asking, as none of us feel particularly threatened by …………. anything at all at the moment past injuries to players and Cesc leaving.

    Perhaps Tony could run an article regularly; where the state of the club is assessed both in negative and positive ways …. compared if you like;

    Then it gives those who DO feel a threat to the club a good opportunity to air their views and get the responses they desire.

    If by balance you want a very aggressive response to the ‘variables’ of the club; the what-if’s and situations you just cannot plan for –

    Then there is another site doing that job already 🙂 Here though I think the perspective is a positive one, and if there were any massive problems and the author or general readership DID think changes needed to be made, and made NOW then the articles would come out saying that.

    But of all the negative articles and viewpoints I have enntertained this week, even considering I have gone out of my way to hear all sides. Even to the extent of putting up with barrages of rudenes and insults just to squeeze the true weight of opinions out of these fans:

    I was not convinced by any of their arguments that Arsenal have any problems at all past those academic to a club such as ours, who want things done in the correct manner.

  • Dark Prince

    @a casual observer- Dein was at the helm at one time, and do you remember what we achieved those seasons. And i dont remember Arsenal to be in huge debts like Liverpool those days when Dein was at the helms. So ur assumptions are baseless. Also i believe that Wenger has the brains to win the EPL almost every year if he’s given his free choice of players from the market. But we have in a way robbed him of this privilege since our stadium debts. But its still because of his brains that we are still contenders to the title.

  • Common Sensei

    PS well done to the Author nice work with th article as usual 🙂

  • Common Sensei

    @Dark Prince

    I was a great suppporter of David Dein and was saddened to see him leave as well as shocked. But what do you suggest?

    Because he will never come back. He doesn’t want to come back and the board are hostile to him. Both Usmanov and Kroenke have distanced themselves from him for these reasons, so there is practically zero chance of his return –

    Do you think we need somebody else on the board with a little more short-term ambition?

    I am happy enough with the current board to be honest, but I would definitely entertain the idea that I might be wrong here 🙂 If that mean us still doing everything we are now AND winning trophies in the short term.

    What do you think?

  • Dark Prince

    @common sensei- I’ve always believed that winning trophies is as important as having a healthy financial state. And we should not only have long term goals but short term goals as well. The problem with our current system is that we’re only thinkin of the long term goals while sacrificing the short term ones. There has to be a balance of both. We could have easily done both but our current BOD are too money minded to make the amends. Dein was a true supporter of Arsenal. He was the person on the other side of the balancing scale. But since he has left, its only of Long term goals that we’re thinkin now. Surely a balance can be made easily on this front but for that a person like Dein should be there in the BOD.

  • Common Sensei

    So you think moving to Ashburton was the wrong move? Dein was an Arsenal man I know that is half the reason I was none to happy to see him leave.

    People say working for the club you love means you make emotional decisions that end badly …. But I don’t think that is always the case.

    Perhaps Dein had too much power on the BOD and this is why they ousted him. At the end of the day the point in having a board is so that emotions cannot rule and all decisions have to be ratified by all.

    It’s such a shame we have missed out in the last 5 years; I think even now – that had we maintained our challenge that year Eduardo was injured and won the title things would be different.

    Now though I think we are back to the strength we were at then – we just need one of our strikers to step up enough so that I can be FULLY confident of them scoring against Chelsea / United.

    Which I haven’t really felt since Eduardo / Thierry left. Sure RVP Arshavin all our midfielders are capable, but you want a striker that the opposition fears really.

    More than a new keeper signing this is what we lack; maybe Chamakh will become this player we shall see

  • Dark Prince

    @common sensei- i didn’t say that moving to the new stadium was wrong. I feel that the timing was wrong. We could have done it a little late maybe around 2012-13. Bcoz of doing it a bit early, we sacrificed on many things. The long term deal which we signed with emirates shows how much it isn’t worth the value today, and yet we still have to keep their names for another half a decade. Also we should have got more time to develop the youth system b4 we got into d new stadium.

  • Dark Prince

    @common sensei- i’ll be honest. The only reason we’re even achieving top 4 is bcoz of Wenger. I personally feel that our players are too young and fragile. And they have to face the harsh physical constraints of EPL at a early age. And thats the reason why many players get injured easily. If we had waited till 2012-13 for the new stadium, we could hav used a mix of both young and experienced players in our team. But the debts of the stadium came at a stage where our experienced players were leaving and our young players weren’t ready yet. And reason why our best experienced players left was bcoz they knew that the stadium debts will hav a serious effect on the short term goals for the club.

  • Adi

    @Dark Prince – I agree with your assessment that Wenger is the reason for us remaining in the top 4 consistently. Personally I believe that Arsenal was (and I still dont think we are completely out of it) in a sustenance phase. Dont get me wrong, it was absolutely required (moving to bigger stadium that is), but things could have gone horribly wrong without the additional revenues of the CL “SUSTAINING” us. And I also believe that Wenger will buy players, he definitely will not overpay, but he will buy. This summer was already a start, we got 3 players in (I know Chamak was free but its not only the transfer fee but the salary that burdens a club). Things are definitely looking up for us and most importantly our future looks secure.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Dark Prince – that is true that while Dein was here we won stuff… although I credit a little of that to Wenger – I am however under no illusions as to the political power Dein brought to the party in the FA – this enabled us to at least compete (unlike now when burley shit-kickers have free reign to cripple out ‘fragile’ players at will).

    But you must be under no illusions that Dein would have sold Highbury, rented Wembley and ploughed the cash into spending power – hey, we may even have got Mourinio.

    That was his solution to the financial madness of the past few seasons of ‘no trophies’.

    But where would that leave Arsenal now? No Assets and huge debt!

  • Terence McGovern

    dark prince, kick the nostalgia aside for a minute and consider that Arsenal’s wage bill is circa £150,000,000.
    In what universe do you think we could have afforded that at Highbury?
    Arsenal were proactive out of necessity. had we not moved we would not have stayed competitive and most likely slipped from our CL spot.I am no different from other supporters in that I feel the pain when others lift trophies instead of us but these years have been necessary growing pains.
    Over the next 5 years you will witness others doing the suffering whilst we do the lifting. This has been made possible specifically because we said goodbye to Highbury.
    It was a wonderful place that I dearly loved but it is in the past now let it go. Embrace The emirates because now it is our home. Cottages are cosy but we would all rather the space an estate house affors us.

  • Dark Prince

    @Adi- Our future looks good no doubt, but our present still doesn’t look settled. I know Wenger likes to buy quality players at the right amount but still we can see a handicap in his purchasing ability. We lost the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Drogba bcoz we couldn’t outbid and these are players which Wenger were interested in b4 they came to EPL. But thats past now. Now we can only look at the present and future. hopefully, we can get settled fast and start winnin some trophies.

  • Dark Prince

    @a casual observer- i dont think i can say what could have happened if Dein was still in charge. Maybe who knos, his ideas could have even worked out. But we will never come to kno bcoz we have already chosen a different path. And now we can see that though we have secured a good stadium, a good youth system (which i think is a huge achievement), we’re still lackin in trophies. And thats something which would have concerned Dein rather than our current BOD. We should have a balance in every aspect. Even on the pitch, a good mix of experience and youth is the best combination to win the title. Also in BOD, a combination of money making and trophy winning goals should be adopted.

  • Adi

    @Dark Prince – Touche my friend. Lets hope for the best.

  • Dark Prince

    @Terrance Govern- i had read on this site that when the BOD were shifting to emirates, they had kept a target of achieving champions league spot once every four years bcoz they knew that Arsenal wont be able to buy any good players for 4-5 years. This in itself answers how our BOD sacrificed the short term goals for long term ones, though they could have achieved both together.

  • Common Sensei

    I am glad we didn’t sign Ronaldo he is a cheating twat!!!! And Drogba too I HATE players who love cheating with a passion;

    Would you want John Terry in our back4? How about Van Bommel in midfield??

    Two of the worlds best for their position undeniable – but because of the game they play.

    THEY ARE CEHATS so the fact they never came to Arsenal means we are sticking to our guns and I couldn’t be happier!

  • Dark Prince

    @common sensei- actually, i’m happy you removed this topic. People always say that its good that this or that player didn’t come to arsenal bcoz they cheat or not arsenal type. But being a cheat or not is upto the standards and teaching of the manager. Be honest now, haven’t u seen how cocky united players are?? Why is it so?? Its bcoz of their manager. We can see that he has made almost all his players like him. If any such player was in our team then, they would behave more calmly and patiently like normally Wenger behaves. Drogba would have been much more respectable if he was in Arsenal. The best example is Van Persie. When he came to Arsenal, he was cocky, arrogant and over confident. He was once totally scolded on the field by Wenger in those early years for a bad tackle on an opponent. Now look at him, he is much more calm and patient and humble. Manager’s attitude reflects on the players. So yes, i would have liked Cristiano and Drogba in our team bcoz they would have the attitude like our Arsenal players.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Dark Prince

    I totally agree with that last statement – these players would be different with Wenger as a mentor – RvP is a prime example.. besides – it is up to the referee to stop cheating – if Man-U, Liverpool and Chelsea players were punished for cheating then it would soon stop.

  • Richard B

    If anyone has any doubts about how Arsenal is run please refer to Jamie Carragher’s interview which he gave on the occasion of his testamonial last weekend. Apart from blaming Graeme Souness for starting the decline of Liverpool he wished that his Club could get back to being one that people admired and talked about for the right reasons. He specifically said that Liverpool used to do things ‘in the right way’ and that he wanted to return to that way – ‘like Arsenal’.
    Arsenal did very few things wrong regarding its move to the Emirates – the main one being not doing it two years earlier. Whether or not David Dein can be blamed for that we may never know but manny clubs, including Liverpool, Spurs and Everton wish that they were already in bigger and more modern stadiums. Chelsea seem now to have given up trying and may have to struggle to become the self sufficient entity that was promised when Abramovich took over.
    Tony is, as usual right in his assessment of the financial mire that faces many clubs – much of self inflicted by short termist management who blindly lead their clubs onto the path of mutually assured destruction which they now tread.
    Arsenal winning trophys in the next few years seems almost inevitable – but who they will have to beat to do it may well be less predictable.

  • Jonny

    Dark Prince
    “This in itself answers how our BOD sacrificed the short term goals for long term ones, though they could have achieved both together.”

    How can sensible forward thinking, stewardship and governance that positions our club in a position of long-term help be construed as a bad thing? The fact that we have surpassed the minimum aim so comfortably by reaching knockout stages of the CL every year ratifies their decision and their faith in Wenger.

    It also confirms Wenger as extraordinary maverick and a true visionary.

    As Arsenal fans we will taste the nectar of this prudence and foresight in years to come – in short balls to short termist thinking. It is to a large extent man’s greed, impatience and short termisim which have led to most of this planets problems.

  • Dark Prince

    @Jonny- I never said we made a wrong decision. I said we made it the decision too early. We had to first build our youth system and then gone to a new stadium. But we did it together and hence we had to wait for 5 trophyless years to reap some benefits of our youth system at present stage. We brought about changes too quickly.

  • typeface

    Dark Prince must be a real think tank who is always ahead of his time with a crystal ball at his side. Somehow I missed his analytical articles in the Financial Times. Did anybody read them?

    Apart from delusional sp*rs fans most supporters of other teams are really concerned about the future of their clubs. I mean real concerns. There are Liverpool fans who in 2006 strongly supported a buyout fearing to be left behind but who now harbour a hatred against their former chairman and their chief executive for selling their club to Hicks and Gillet.
    I’m glad Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board don’t make decisions on the basis of popular opinions from the stands. Like Walter said it’s the hard way, but the right way.

  • Common Sensei

    Well to be fair to Dark Prince you can see his logic. I don’t agree with it personally, I love what Wenger has done and is still doing I have since day 1;

    But Dark Prince – he is obviously thinking, well Wenger’s way was one way of doing things, but surely there was other ways we could have gone towards.

    And I think what he is saying is that one of these possible ‘ways’ of doing things that Wenger DIDN’T do would have meant us winning trophies in the short term as well as safeguarding the clubs future. And this in principle I would have to agree would have been possible at the time.

    Thing is I know that it is so so difficult to make those sort of long term plans, and even though there may have been a better plan with better results and less negatives, than the one we have now with Wenger –

    The chances are that nobody on Earth could have thought of it or made it happen. Which is why I am more than happy at the way things have actually happened.

    Popular opinion is one thing (and usually totally wrong) but what Dark Prince is saying is slightly different. I think it maybe a tad harsh to compare his wishing that things could have been different to him having a crystal ball 🙂 Hehe although I must admit I cannot myself, think of a situation where we could have done all the great things we have AND won trophies every year. Doesn’t mean to say that somebody else hasn’t though

  • typeface

    Common Sensei,

    don’t you think the board and Arsene wished that things could have been better as well? That they wished the economic collapse didn’t happen? That they wished some players could have been more loyal? That they wished we had won a trophy?

  • Common Sensei

    Yes I do but I think that they would have needed some kind of miracle to do much better than they have done

  • Common Sensei

    Basically it’s very easy to say why something isn’t good enough but very difficult to come out with something better – and that hits the nail square on the head:

    I am 100% happy with Wenger and the boards actions, because no matter how much research / discussing / thinking about it I do; I can find nothing we could have done that would have improved things at any point in time; unless I knew then what I know now.

    And even then it’s debatable!

  • typeface

    Common Sensei,

    so we agree. There’s dreaming and there’s reality.

    What some of our fans wish for is beyond dreaming and the impossibility of their excessive expectations to be fullfield in short term is the source of their misery and constant moaning that is so annoying when we look what our club has achieved through hard work.
    I say this: let our dream of winning trophies the Arsenal way be a motivation for us the supporters to fight for one cause and an inspiration for other clubs to follow our example.

  • munawwar

    reading such articles is such great joy. i would be shitting bricks and other things if i was supporting man u or chelsea ..

    liverpool are clear examples of poor management. i feel sorry for their fans and supporters.

    few years of glory is not worth the money gamble. thats why its great supporting arsenal. we are already doing great now. and we know we will be doing great in 2015. and in 2020! i dont think we can that for any other club in the world right now. every other major club is now relying on the next “rich guy” to come and take over…

    lets not talk abt barca and madrid. apart from cheating on field [ fuck barca ] they already cheat with the tv rights shits. its unfair already for them to try getting players from other countries when its soo different with the money situation.

  • Common Sensei

    @Typeface

    Yeah that’s spot on mate – That is how I have always looked upon Arsenal when we were winning seemingly every game, and when we were 1-0 to Fulham with 4mins of injury time left!

    Arsene knows! And so do we 🙂 ARSENAL all the way to the title

    @Munawwar

    You would be shocked at how many of their fans feel the same as you! I have friends who support Chelsea, United and Liverpool – and generally (when the games not on of course) they will openly admit that whilst they are unsure the direction their club is taking –

    They all agree that Arsenal has been steadily improving year after year, both in player quality and footballing style, result and finances since the Wenger era began in 1996.

    Always makes me chuckle when I hear people saying that Chelsea / City will run away with the league and Spurs will replace us in the top4 because I have been watching ALL the games since 1996 especially and we consistantly get more points off ALL the top6 teams than both of them! OK the last 2 years we have suffered but this year I am FULLY confident of taking them all on.

    I definitely see us doing the double over United too! Which I cannot wait to see

  • Dark Prince

    @typeface- well everyone has a crystal ball in their head 🙂 but on a serious note, i thought we should have had an evolution rather than a revolution. When our experienced players came to know that our club would be in financial debts and wont be able to sign any experienced players, they knew that Arsenal wont be competent enough to win any titles for few years and hence left the club. And i believe that the only reason we were competing for the title each year was bcoz of Wenger and we always lost in the last few months bcoz of lack of experience. But just think if we had our youth system started and kept the plans for the new stadium for 2012-13. Our experienced players would have stayed and also we could have signed new experienced players to support our youth players and hence could have given a better competition for the title. And once our youth system started to produce regular talent every year like we are doing now, then we could have shifted to the new stadium without worrying about lack of signings.

  • Shard

    Just to make sure tony.. I was under the impression that the board has budgeted for the club to finish OUT of the Champions League places every fourth year. You say it’s to get in every fourth year. Can you please tell me which it is?

    Oh and apparently you are a blog stalker now 🙂

  • TommieGun

    @ Dark Prince – well, I thought that building the new stadium was good, timely move. My only concern is the lack of balance, which could have been achieved with a little less extreme approach.

    @ Sensei – he he, that’s exactly what I was talking about. The general “feel” of untold, is also – in my humble opinion – a bit to extreme. Everything is rosy pink when it comes to us, everything is down the drain for the rest of the world. Come on. Just a little, tiny tweak towards a more objective perspective, that’s all I call for.

  • Jonny

    TG – Untold’s attitude has never claimed to be objective. It’s mission statement is printed loud and clear – it wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve. I don’t agree with every Wenger decisions or thing that is said here – that’s not really the point. You can;t look at a site that has stated it’s mission so clearly and then be surprised when it fulfils it’s brief.

    As for DP’s comments and those of a few others, I think there is a little too much 20-20 hindsight for my tastes. We haven’t won for numerous reason but goodness we have been close and very unlucky.

    There is no reasonable argument to suggest Wenger and the board aimed for success on the pitch plus long term success and stability for the future of the club.

    Maybe they got the balance wrong but it wasn’t by choice and if they had erred to much in the other direction that would surely have been a FAR worse mistake.

  • Jonny

    Ha -ha. That should have read –

    There is NO reasonable argument to suggest Wenger and the board did not aim for success on the pitch, plus long term success and stability for the future of the club.

  • TommieGun

    @ Jonny – I don’t see how addressing problems, if they exist, contradicts the site’s “mission statement”. Supporting Wenger in all he does can be done, albeit in a more balanced, less extreme manner. I think that the fact that Tony started his last post with the “call for more balance”, shows that as well.

    I partly agree with your closing paragraph. I don’t think they got the balance wrong, I think that there might be some things that could’ve been done differently, which would not have had any significant financial implications.

  • Dark Prince

    @tommieGun- After the changing of stadiums, The BOD had aimed of champions league qualification once every 4 years!! Now that looks very pessimistic. But we achieved more because of Wenger. But still finished 2nd, 3rd or 4th bcoz of lack of experience in the squad. Maybe injuries too played a part but player’s fitness too depends on age. Our inexperienced youngsters had to directly face week in week out the physical constraints of EPL while they were still physically growning. So yes, i think we made the stadium move a bit early.

  • Dark Prince

    @Jonny- Untold’s objective maybe to support Wenger in all he does. But you’re forgetting the name of this site- its ‘UNTOLD ARSENAL’. Its an arsenal site and i think Arsenal is bigger than Wenger. I’d love to kno whom would you support if some ideas of Wenger were in conflict with the interest of Arsenal? Whom would u support then, Wenger or Arsenal? Thats why there has to be a balanced view. David Dein, as some others has posted, had his interests in conflict with Arsenal’s. So the BOD ousted him. Whom would you support if Wenger is in such a position? Would u support the BOD if they oust Wenger as well? Thats why a more balanced view is important.

  • goonergerry

    You have correctly highlighted the dangers of over-spending but there is no doubt that bad ownership models have exacerbated the effects of over-spending regarding Man U and Liverpool. Chelsea and Man City have overspent to a significantly greater extent and suffered no identifiable ill effects themselves at all. Surely the most significant issue is the ownership model rather than over-spending per-se.
    So what is unsustainablity – apart from clearly spending beyond your means?
    Do Arsenal have a stable ownership model- well at present it does.
    Have you considered that under-spending may result in unsustainability? Like failing to qualify for the Champions League and attracting investors?
    In every business you have to bite the bullet and invest-reducing costs is often not the most effective strategy for growing the business.