Arsenal have opened Pandora’s Box

Arsenal have opened Pandora’s Box

Don McMahon

Following the departure of Cesc Fabregas for a derisory sum of around 30M Euro after add-ons, with Barca’s mocking confirmation that they robbed us, and with the sale of Samir Nasri to City for 25M sterling, there were innumerable cries of outrage and dismay from the British media,punditry and fan-base. The litany went something like this: Arsenal are eviscerated, losing their two best, world-class midfielders and will struggle to avoid relegation , obtain a CL place or compete for any trophies for the foreseeable future, as these two superstars are irreplaceable, etc.,etc.

While all of the above may be arguable and debatable in the short run, a far more serious consequence of Arsenal’s dealings with their key players and in particular the rapacious Big 4 clubs has shown its ugly head. Possessed of a bottomless treasury which permits them to troll the World Footballing waters like some indulgent, slothful, filthy rich ¨sports fishermen¨ trying to catch the trophy they’ve always desired, these Oilygarchs and Sugar-daddies of the upper echelons can now confirm that AFC are a selling Club, given the right pressure, agents collaboration and player histrionics. Cesc held on to hope for 7 years but eventually succumbed to a 3 year campaign to tap him up led by the entire Catalan nation, press and players alike. This told the aforementioned vultures two crucial things about AFC:

a) We care about and respect our players enough that we would avoid forcing them to ¨suffer¨ at Arsenal when they are no longer happy here, unlike those clubs which hoard their acquisitions like a miser hoards his riches and refuse to permit the want-away player to leave unless absolutely unavoidable.

b) The Arsenal team and all its talents are fair game for unethical, unprofessional and unprincipled tapping up, underhanded manipulation and illegal approaches orchestrated by agents, opposition players and the press. All of these black ops dealings are, while not openly sanctioned by FIFA, EUFA or the various national Associations, blissfully ignored and clandestinely encouraged by the above bodies failure to punish them. As long as its Arsenal, they look the other way…were it Barca or United there would be all hell to pay.

c) A long-term contract (Cesc’s was up in 2015) means nothing to agents, vulture Clubs or the players themselves. If they can whine, wiggle and worm their way out of it for a bigger or better payoff (be it trophies, glory, money, faster cars, better paella or whatever) then all is fair in love and war.

I warn anyone who has the gall to maintain that AFC ¨stole¨ Cesc and other youth players from La Masia to tread carefully since these recruitments were perfectly legal, done openly and with parental and player consent and only after the parent Club failed to offer these kids any opportunity for advancement, unlike the above-mentioned serpentine dealings of the axis of evil Clubs.

The second major paradigm shift that these summer transfers brought about was the Nasri saga. Here was a player who refused numerous contract offers, spurred on in his intransigence by his agent David Dein, despite promising to resign one year ago, if the offer was right. Wenger did his best but Nasri’s head was already turned and who could blame him? However the consequences of this event are far more profound than many fickle, shallow fanboys realize:

1)      The message is now clear and undeniable. Arsenal players can be easily manipulated into ¨holding out¨ for a potential payoff at one of any big money Clubs provided they are on the 2nd to last year of their contract. RVP is supposedly in this boat right now and is walking the path blazed by Nasri and Cesc. While Cesc’s case was a one off event and not likely to happen again it is a cautionary tale that could easily be repeated under similar circumstances.

2)Wenger’s decision to sell Nasri indicates very firmly that we will sell under the above circumstances rather than lose the player on a Bosman at the end of his contract. The old adage that a  bird in the hand is worth two in the bush applies here….it is simply good business and if any Club is renown for that, it is certainly the Arsenal.

So where does that leave us? In actual fact, there is nothing new in all of this; AFC and Wenger have long known the above rules and regulations of managing transfers, either in or out. They have become adepts at playing the waiting game, resigning players on long-term contracts and snapping up unknowns on the very cheap, all of which is lauded, even in the Anti-Arsenal press of our day. Where the new playing field becomes very evident is the prejudice Arsenal face in trying to keep their stars, all of whom are aware of the Nasri-Cesc strategy and seem prepared to use these tools in the bargaining that AFC undertake with them. Who can blame them? Arsenal’s relatively firm wage structure and comprehensive club obligations for their Gunners have encouraged players like Nasri and Flamini, Adebayor, Hleb and Cesc to resort to more subtle and byzantine tactics to get their way.  That is the price of modern football and the direct consequence of rich Clubs being permitted to tap up, laugh at moderation like Arsenal’s and spend to excess in order to buy ¨success¨. It is every man for themselves at the moment and the final consequence of this ¨Yankee trader free-for-all¨ is that Club cohesiveness, dressing-room unity and morale and commitment has sunk beneath the waves of filthy lucre, the victim of unmitigated greed, scandalous machinations, Machiavellian indifference of the authorities and the selling Clubs’ inability to fight on a slanted playing field.

Nothing will change until the selling Club’s and the authorities form an alliance against the Axis of Evil and their agent minions.


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28 Replies to “Arsenal have opened Pandora’s Box”

  1. Good article. Seeing something recently on Dortmunds structure within the german league that suggested that player wages couldn’t exceed a medium percentage of the clubs turn over looks like a genius idea for the premier league. Arsenals strategy is simply a waiting game now till the fair play rules arrive, and with any hope the sugar daddys leave.

  2. Don,

    I agree with you analysis but would like to advance a few points of my own regarding the future player composition at our club:

    1. Tapping up a player in the last year of his contract is frustrating but since the tapping up is done by rich clubs we will get a fee commensurate with one from selling a player with two years to go. From an economics perspective, if we are payed a value equal to the player’s worth then we should be indifferent between selling and not selling because we can reinvest the money. Fabregas is a rare situation but if we had been paid his market value (50M pounds) then there should not have been a problem with the transaction.

    I understand that there are market frictions like the difficulty in finding a new player, as well as assimilating the player, but overall it is not bad to sell an expensive player.

    2. The heavy youth investment arsenal made in 1995 is now beginning to pay off. Especially if these players are english, coming up through the youth ranks creates a sense of ownership in these players as well camaraderie with the other players they grew up with. It become their project as well. Such a policy will keep players at the club.

    3. Man City are at the end of a heavy growth period. The “marginal value” to them of an extra player is practically zero (unless it is a messi). Consequently, though the press will create a storm around RVP going them it is highly unlikely. They have Dzeko, Aguero and Balotelli. There is no need for him. Moreover, from his prospective it would be a bad move because his playing time is uncertain.

    4. Arsenal are growing internationally. We play the best football in England and we develop young players. These are very enticing qualities to prospective fans. Because of this I believe we will grow at a faster rate than other clubs. This means we will be able to pay more in wages in the future (though perhaps not at the level of Mancity or Chelsea).

    5. WE ARE GOING TO WIN TROPHIES IN THE FUTURE. A systematic adherence to a unified style of collective play (which runs through our youth ranks) gives us an advantage over every other club (bar barcelona) in the world. If we valued each player in the EPL and totalled it by team we would probably have the 6th best squad. Collective play allows us to compete with top teams. Once we add a few more quality players we will dominate. Such a dominance will keep players at the club.

  3. Wow! That was a long article for something that could be better explained in one sentence – “If you win trophies you can keep your big players and attract the bigger ones”. YES Barca tapped up Cesc and YES Nasri was swayed by the arabs at City, BUT, they also show ambition to win things, which sadly, we don’t anymore. We should’ve been adding players to the squad in the first 3 weeks of the transfer window. At the end of the day we’ve been lied to. Before I go ahead and explain why let me just make it clear that no matter what I 100% back the team when they play, and the club are in my DNA. On match day you’ll always find me hoping for the best and actually supporting my club. Now whenever the manager is asked about transfers, possibilities of targets and so on, he ALWAYS says that he’s looking for the right players, we don’t want to lose our best players, and we will only add SUPER, SUPER quality to the team. Now ADDING quality to Nasri, Fabregas etc is exactly what should be happening, however, we end up with Arteta, Park and Benayoun. I like Arteta he;s been a favourite of mine for years, he’s a good player. Park looks like a good player. Benayoun is a good player. See the pattern?Good doesn’t cut it, good is what you add as back up to your squad, good is what you end up with when there are NO super super players to pick from because the clubs with ambition have snapped them up already. the longer we go without silverwear the more likely it is that the kids we’ve purchased and developed into class players will just see us as a stepping stone. If we keep developing players and selling them on we won’t win anything. Chances of finding a first eleven good enough to win things are slim already but chopping and changing and selling and redeveloping will never reap any rewards.

  4. @Feliche – Sorry mate but we used to play the best football in England. We played the best football when we could string 15 – 20 passes together and keep posession, we played the best football when we could keep a clean sheet, when we could counter attack with pace and precision etc….

  5. 49unbeaten,
    so you mean that we kept our players when we won things. Oh I must have missed a few things. I seemed to remember that we lost players like Viera, Overmars, Cole, and… when we won things.

    If they want to go the will go no matter what you win. Ask Ronaldo. Mu won it all and still he went. Tevez would love to leave City despite them winning (an FA cup so far) and despite getting paid well over the top.

    The only thing is that for Arsenal it is harder to compete against such clubs. But we have always lost players also when winning things.

  6. 49unbeaten…
    How exactly have we been lied to and by whom? Would you kindly enlighten us, throw your darts so we can see on whom they land.

  7. Arsenal can also change their wage policy. Last year, we had the 5th highest wage bill in EPL but none of our players were in the top 10…
    The difference btw our squad players and our stars should probably increase.

  8. A well-constructed argument, Don.
    The problem with the Arsenal business formula, as I see it is this. The Club will nurture the young and eventually, if they want to leave (for whatever reason)the deal is generally good business for us. The problem, particularly of late,
    emerges when Arsenal then targets a replacement, sets its own valuation and then attempts to sign him for or less than that figure.
    In order to progress, we simply must be prepared to pay the market value of players however bitter this may look from the moral high position the Club has always occupied.
    During the recent Summer Window, our rivals have beaten us over several transfers purely because of our stance and this must not be allowed to continue.
    We must accept that in the present harsh economic climate, it is a “sellers’ market” and our search for players who will contribute to the future of our Club simply do not come cheap any longer.

  9. @nicky
    “our rivals have beaten us over several transfers purely because of our stance and this must not be allowed to continue”
    Not sure I agree with your statement. I remember us trying to land Smalling & Jones but they chose to go to Man U. Even if we matched the money on offer, they would still leave because Man U were the champs and we were not. Sometimes players just want to be at a different club than ours and that’s it.
    I think we payed full money for Ars shavin’ and Reyas and that hasn’t really worked out has it?

  10. man utd were completely tapped up for ronaldo

    i believe real even bought a new car and left it in the utd carpark with a letter on there for him as a gift lol

    i don’t entirely disagree with most of what youre saying but i do think it’s a bit simplistic to see the other big clubs as exclusively the bad guys and us as exclusively the good guys. i’m sure you know that as well as i do, but regardless of legality there is still moral grey area in taking kids from barca’s academy before barca legally have the chance to compete with us on a level playing field. i’m not saying cesc didn’t get more out of coming to us because he probably did and was very happy, but that shouldn’t be used as a blanket to cover all the grey area which remains regardless

    when arsenal as a football club increase ticket prices despite making huge profits and already being the most expensive club team in the world *despite* winning nothing for 6 years, despite constantly sending mixed messages about if we have money to spend, if we are going to spend it, why we didn’t spend it etc all the while taking kids from clubs like barca when they are unable to offer an equal contract it’s more than a bit one-sided to imply we are good guys and they are bad guys.

    arsenal as a club takes its fans pretty much for granted in light of the above which is, in my opinion, just as much or more of a crime than buying our players when they have a year left through dubious means. if nothing else you’d hope the club would be totally transparent and consistent with its own fans and bluntly, arsenal fc simply haven’t been that whatsoever in recent years

    i understand as football fans we all have bias and i love arsenal as much as the next guy, but there’s a little bias mixed in with some fair points and then there’s just being a bit silly and i don’t think there’s much point in the latter

    whilst a lot of this article is fair enough it sadly slides quickly between one then the other and i don’t think as a writer it particularly does you any favours

  11. The one still-open question in my mind is whether players who went through Arsenal’s academy will be more club-loyal than those who made their first splash elsewhere. You may recall the Nasri negotiations being more difficult in part because he came to Marseille at the age of 9… but they still sold him. So I’m not 100% convinced that Jack, Frimpong, et al will be less susceptible to tapping up.

  12. I have to say that I am a bit confused by this article and I say that with no disrespect.Is the point being made that the Nasri and Cesc sales created a bigger issue that has yet to be realised? Is there a player power issue going on at Arsenal that isn’t happening elsewhere? I really don’t know where the idea that Arsenal have an unbreakable wage strcuture in place comes from. Sol Campbell was on around £100,000 a week when this was a huge sum at the time when the average EPL player was on around £20,000. We have a comparative wage structure in place that has actually served us quite well to date. But the club has always paid star players a bit more.
    For me my biggest concern is the Agent Darren Dein lurking around our club whispering in player ears. Arsenal is his cash cow and I have no idea how hard he works at influencing players that they could be happy playing somewhere else and for more money. Arsenal work very hard to ensure that the players are happy at the club, so seeds of discord have to be planted early, say two years before the contract is up. This is because the agent’s job to get the player a better deal is made much, much harder if the player is happy, settled and really doesn’t want to move. Going into contract negotiations with the club is just a chancer’s bluff otherwise.
    With regards to RVP, in a couple of years he will be 30 and it would be silly for the club to sign him up to a 4 year deal on Man City type wages. Especially a player that has suffered so many long term injuries in his career already. RVP has a family to think about too so, I would not begrudge him one last big money move. Of course I want him to stay though, so on the other hand if he signed a 2 year extention say for about £120,000 a week but with appearance bonuses and other add ons so that he ended up with £165,000 – £180,000 a week this wouldn’t be a bad deal either for us. I always hoped he would retire with us and be one of the increasingly rare players to have a testimonial. I unfortunately missed Bergkamp’s one and had high hopes for Robin.

    I actually think it is more important and pressing for us to tie Song and Sagna down with competitive wages and stronger contracts.

    At the end of the day, Arsenal FC players are quite often some of the most desired in the world and money becomes no object in pursuit of them. It didn’t start this summer and neither have we seen the last of situation’s like one’s we have had. All I hope is that the club keeps learning from them and develops better long term coping strategies. Sadly we cannot expect the governing bodies to behave appropriately in any aspect of football ( RVP’s sending off against Barca, Wenger’s ban and increased length, Man City’s naming rights, FIFA corruption, The FA’s substandard referee’s and I could on) so we have to explore what can be done internally, if anything at all.

  13. @Canapol
    You may be right but I was under the impression that while we were haggling over the seller’s valuation, Man Utd stepped in to meet that figure, in both cases. Our ultra-strict wage structure probably didn’t help either.
    I hope you will agree that because we won’t pay (for whatever reason) the “sugar daddy” monies to (a) buy players and(b)pay them, we are getting left behind, mainly due to our self-sustaining policy.
    Of course the FFPR may be the eventual answer but don’t hold you breath.

  14. Certainly is a waiting game Francis, also as wenger hinted for euro trials and tribulations that will force down prices of players and maybe wages too

  15. Regarding rvp, the tevez situation at city worries me a bit on that front. Still as has been mentioned, arsenal have always lost players, sometimes too cheaply. Bertie mee for some reason sold mclintock for a derisory fee, my dad went into morning, then there was Brady Stapleton et al. Let’s face it , player retention has never really been out strong point.
    Maybe that is why wenger chose ox and ryo as opposed to mata, who is surely destined for a spanish giant, assuming they have any money when he matures, why he went for gooner jenkinson, gooner per m, arteta who looks glad to be here. cannot say for certain but hopefully some of young these .players will be loyal as well as great

  16. Agreed Mandy, that seems to be a common theme in our new signings this summer – they are Gooners. Gervinho is also a Gooner which helped seal the deal. If I remember correctly Alex OC refused to go to Man U or even consider Liverpool, so hopefully he’s a keeper. I think this makes tapping up a lot harder to do.

    I don’t know if all of the younger ones coming through will be loyal as you never know how stardom and fan adulation affects characters and after Cashley, I don’t really trust anyone completely.

  17. Gervinho a gooner as well, that is good news. Any more out there? Ok Ashley young but missed out there and not sure we will really need him.
    I think wenger feels really let down by players in recent years, not so much cesc but more the likes of nasri, flamini, cashley, hleb, ade, hence a change of direction. We need players who want to be at the club, at the end of last season, we had at least four or five who for various reasons did not. I exempt cesc, he was always going to go but injuries hindered him, not a lack of caring for the club witness his desire to play in the cc final when injured.

  18. I have felt let down by those players too. Arsene Wenger made Adebayor and he totally disrespected him. Adebayor went from being a nobody at Monaco to African player of the year under Wenger after years of patient tutelage and personal investment. But yet when asked in April 2011, who was the best manager he has ever worked with he said Mourinho (he only played 14 games for Real Madrid), who incidently did not make hardly any effort to keep him for another season or buy him. Balotelli has many detractors, but comparatively he is loyal to Mancini in a way that Adebayor never was to Wenger or Arsenal.

    I would also add Bentner to the disappointment list as Wenger gave him so many chances to succeed.

    Eden Hazard has put there that he has been a long time admirer of Arsenal for about two years now, in quite a few interviews, but I don’t know if he just wants a ‘big club’ move or is a proper fan.

  19. @ Walter – Sorry what have we won since Viera OR Cole left? Think before typing mate. The point i’m making is that we haven’t lost our best players when they’re in or coming up to their prime to other clubs before like we have when Fabs and Nasri left (actually pointed out by Wenger himself in a recent interview with SSN). Viera scored the winning goal in the last game that won us something (f.a cup) right before we sold him past his prime and injury prone to Juventus and Cole used the excuse of money to jump ship to Chelsea who were winning everything.

    @ Mick – Dart number 1 – Please re-read my comment and you’ll see that right after i nail my colours to the mast i actually explain the lie! Dart number 2 – If you sill can’t understand it i’ll make it a tad easier for you. We were promised “super super quality” and we ended up with Benayoun, Arteta & Park on deadline day. Dart number 3 – Before you start sticking up for those 3 signings re-read my comment again.

  20. I think the BIG issues are

    1) “No one believes in fair play and why would should we, what have uefa ever done to inforce anything unless it has a financial benefit to themselves ….. Goal line technology corruption throughout soccer the tapping up of players the whole organisation is a farce”

    2) So our main concerns as fans is nothing other than how will we as a club adapt keep up and not fall behind loose our place in the champions league etc.
    Its clear its not about who AW is linked with would like to keep etc, Its totaly about finances.

    We may never be a mancity and I wouldnt want us to be like them.
    I do think however the onus is on Ivan Gazadis and NOT Arsen Wenger what is he going to do with our brand globaly attracting new investors finding better revenue streams and growing our fan base world wide including better marketing and merchandise ideas world wide.

    We need to bring Arsenal football club back to a competive level somehow I am not suggesting paying players 250k a week like carlos tevez is reportedly on but how about looking at our finances and saying we should be able to pay half the first 11 125k a week instead of the 80k a week RVP is reportedly on.

    I also think we should pay some of the other very young players less as Arsenal is still the only club who will really give you a chance to shine and make it if your good enough and that alone should be the attraction for the youths until they prove themselves 60k a week to Nicholas Bendtners a joke if RVP really is only on reportedly 80k ?

    Stand up Ivan and push us forward because not many of us believe in waiting for financial fair play.
    Arsen could also do with more support when it comes to signing players early and fast, the fact that chelsea apparently came in last minute and bought Juan Mata when he was going to join us but the terms were so much better he changed his mind is the concern.

  21. It was not Wenger who insisted on the sale of Nasri but the owner with the support of the Board-It was Wenger who stated that the sale of Fabregas and Nasri together would send out the wrong message, and that he wanted to keep him even if it meant losing 20m+ next year.
    Cesc is and was an exception-a player-like Flamini before him who viewed this club as a stepping stone to where he wanted to be-from the outset.
    Top players are routinely tapped up in the EPL- and any player can be bought. Whilst Arsenal have the salary structure that they do top players will be able to be offered more-and not just by Man City and Chelsea. Should Jack Wilshere and Alex fulfil their potential-how long before agents come calling offering to double their salary and guaranteeing success? Don’t tell me Arsenal won’t sell because we all know what happens if a player says he wants to move. Our top players salaries have to be at the level of our competitors.

    What concerns me most-and what you haven’t mentioned is not so much players leaving-but who we sell them to and whether or not they can be replaced. It is not good business to sell your best players to your rivals no matter what you get for them-particuarly if you cannot replace them with top players because you won’t pay the salaries that others will pay-and Juan Mata is a good example of that.
    Cesc Fabregas we had no real control over-but what I object to is strengthening the likes of Chelsea by selling them Ashley Cole, helping to build Manchester City so they can replace us in the EPL by selling them 4 first choice players. A feeder club to Barcelona to understandable-and we have usually had the better of those deal?, but a feeder club to Manchester City? No way.

  22. 49unbeaten,
    Cole left when we won everything, went unbeaten…. no need for him to leave at that time you know. Except for money. The point is: players will always leave. Even when you win everything. Again a fine example: CR from Utd to Real Madrid.

    I think one part of the whole youth project (and I know Cole is a bad example but we can but hope that he was the exception to the rule) is to make sure that the young players we nurture are long life Gooners.

    Just look at Frimpong. Yesterday evening I was going to twitter and he was went wild when Shamrock Rovers took the lead at WHL. Only to tweet how disappointed he was when the spuds turned it round. One could say he has Arsenal DNA.

    The same for the new signings: almost all have been saying in the past that they love Arsenal before they joined us or before the transfer was made.

  23. @ Goonergal
    I thought Sol was on something like £60K per week and received a signing on fee of around £12 Million for moving from spuds to us. I believe Arsenal or Sol negotiated that the £12 Mil signing on fee was paid to him in equal weekly installments over the duration of his initial contract.
    (my figures might be slightly out as my memory in this area is a little rusty)

  24. @ Stuart – exactly so his weekly wages were more than £100,000 a week when that was an unbelieveable amount to pay a player. I am not arguing about how that figure was arrived at, my point is Arsenal do not have an unflexible wage structure that stops them from paying some players a bit more.

    I believe that as the club pays off the debts, continues to grow in statue around the world and gains more strategic partners, we can and will offer players competitive wages, but we cannot and should not follow the blank cheque model of Oil City.

  25. @ Keith 9:31pm

    I disagree with quite a few of your points.

    Cesc and any of the other recent ex Barca youth players we have on our books for that matter, were not bundled into a back of a van and brought to London. The players willing came to the club and this point has been made many times already, without me going over the same ground less eloquently. Barca have no intention of re-signing every school boy that goes through La Masia.

    This season so far you could of gone to Champion’s League games for under £40, EPL games for under £35, Carling Cup game for £20 and had a very good seat at all. These are very reasonable ticket prices in my opinion. A few weeks ago there was an rather sedate 0-0 draw played at Loftus Road between Newcastle and QPR that would of set you back £47.50 for a dirty plastic seat at the back. I am sorry your ticket price argument is hollow and so are a lot of your other points about the club.

  26. Mandy Dodd,
    I fully agree that Dein the Lesser as the agent for Cesc and the agent for RvP is a Menace to Arsenal’s prospects. He knows our vulnerabilities and will do his best to sell RvP to MandaCity or Europe and play the “you’re a father and family man and the economy is in dire straits…” cards to full effect. And there’s a logic to it. Where I don’t agree is that we cannot replace RvP’s quality as a world class top striker any more than we could replace x-Cesc’s quality. (Nasri is not in their class.) I don’t (though pray otherwise) see him staying under current circumstances, as the Captaincy and Arsene’s praise will pale by comparison to Dein’s whispers and continued economic instability.

  27. What a great debate we have going…..makes a Gooner proud! My ultimate intention was to highlight the frailties of our position, where we have signaled very clearly that we will always honour our debts and agreements even if others won’t and that our current management respects our players so much that they will sacrifice the Club’s financial well-being to ensure a player is happy (Cesc, Reyes, etc.). The attitude; that to be a Gunner requires the player to love the Arsenal and really want to be here, is a perfectly valid one and is becoming more and more apparent as time goes on. However this criterion is defenseless against the unscrupulous tapping up, financial bribery and head-turning that agents and opponents practice routinely on idiots like Nasri,Hleb,Flamoney,Adebayor,Cole or will soon target at young stars like Ryo, Wilshere, Ramsey, AOC, Szcesny, Frimpong, Lansbury etc. These leeches ask a very valid question; why should our clients spend a fortune developing a talent when we can let other clubs do that and steal them away when the time is right?
    Arsenal, by its very nature, is a Club that represents all that is noble, classy, honest and dignified in professional football and one that is universally held up as a model for how to run a Club….meaning that they are held in ridicule and disdain by the ignoble, classless, dishonest and undignified, ¨win at all costs¨ organizations who run with the pack and bayed on by FIFA-EUFA-and their National Football Associations, happily feed off the likes of AFC. My point then is not that we should become like them (an impossibility) but that we need to appreciate that we cannot compete in the same manner as they do and that we’ll always be competing on a slanted playing field where our end is held fast by the FA, the referees, FIFA and EUFA as well as the axis of evil clubs who see us as a goose laying their golden eggs. Our sole defense is our ability to produce polished diamonds from coal, develop kids into stars, remain in the world’s elite and play sublime football on the cheap, while making a profit…now that doesn’t sound so difficult does it?

  28. The Wenger @rse licking continues…

    The problem was not Wenger selling Nasri or Fab. One wanted to go home and another was greedy for more money. The problem was him not reinvesting it in a player of equal and better stature. That player is not Arteta, who left his peak form 3 years ago. That better player was Mata, who went to Chelsea because of Wenger’s usual dilly-dallying trying to pinch out the last penny, or Hazard, for whom we made our customary derisory offer in the last hour before the transfer window closes.

    If Wenger says that the teams season really started few weeks ago after the transfer window close, then whose fault is it? Not the Boards as Silent Stan Kroenke said few days ago that he has never stopped the manager from spending (a view repeated by other board members several times). The blame lies solely on Wenger.

    I am afraid the best chances Wenger had to win a trophy passed by him last year, and earlier in 2007-08. We were 10 points ahead of Man Utd at the top of the table in Jan 2008, however Adebayor had started to misfire and Flamini was injured. We hoped that Wenger would sign some reinforcements and not let the lead slip away. But his arrogance and stubbornness cost the team. We ended up losing Hleb and Flamini that year with no reinforcements coming in.

    Last year Man Utd and Chelsea kept handing the title over to us again and again. But Wenger again refused to sign a decent GK or Defenders since years, or a backup striker for RvP who crocked early last year.

    While Wenger fiddled away, Alex Ferguson finished his transfer business early and drilled his team into an excellent fighting unit; Liverpool finished some excellent transfer business, and Chelsea and Man City went out and bought players they liked just cos they can.

    Whereas, we are yet again left with Wenger’s same old nauseating and increasingly meaningless platitudes and excuses blaming everything from media to refs to the size of the grass for his inability to deliver and fulfill the teams potential, or letting it disintegrate so spectacularly.

    And I fear, we have to bear this once great manager, who is well past it, for another 14 years!

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