31 responses

  1. Paul C.

    Good post Tony. The Ofcom decision is an extremely interesting one indeed. That could radically change the landscape for English Football as a whole. We have been saying “yes, Utd and Liverpool are in trouble but they wont go bust” but the Ofcom decision is definately something that could change that.

    And meanwhile, over at Le Grove they are really squirming this morning. I cant believe the post they put up this today. They are all over the place now.

  2. Rafael

    Great post (as usual) Tony!

  3. henrykissinher

    good post as always toneser’s. le grove still cant admit that wenger has a big say in the current financial state of arsenal instead he is saying its all down to the board, what is his problem with the prof?

  4. Phil Gregory

    Great read, Tony. As to the whole OfCom thing, I will be following it with interest. The last thing the competition authorities got stuck into was international mobile phone rates, and these have fallen massively. Here’s to hoping for cheaper football on TV.

  5. Wonderman

    Lets not give that cyber dictatorship (Le G**ve ) more airtime than it needs. When you maintain that Leeds is not a big club, or that Portsmouth has won more than Leeds there is no more to be said about ignorance personified !

    Another insightful post Tony. I am really interested to observe developments in football in the next 5 years as I see a fundamental shift. The model of going out and splashing huge sums on players is proving to be flawed. I have always said that every super star ever known to the world started as a nobody, therefore Arsenal’s method over the years whilst subject to ridicule recently will be proven as sound as Ali’s objection to the Vietnam War subsequently was

  6. LRV

    It seems Football 3 is a lot more attractive option than the first two. Hopefully, the Sugar-Daddy syndrome will be booted into touch never to reappear, ever.

  7. Paul C.

    The whole Ofcom issue seems to have jumped out of nowhere to be front page news in most places. There is talk that even if the Tories win the next election, David Cameron would not reverse any decision that Ofcom makes tomorrow no matter how much Rupert Murdoch may beg. I would imagine that Liverpool, Utd and Chelsea are nervously awaiting the news with “what, me worry?” looks agonizingly etched on their faces. The conservative estimate seems to be that it will cost each top club up to 20million a year in revenue if the ruling is given as expected. That is a big chunk of change and will have profound effects on English Football as a whole.

  8. AGS

    Hi Tony
    An excellent and interesting post on the direction the game will need to take to compete in the coming years. If this pending OfCom ruling results in a big reduction in TV money for the clubs, then they must all stand strong. It will give the big clubs a greater impetous to break away and negotiate their own TV rights (similar to Barca & Real Madrid), but even if this did happen then there is still a big danger for the majority of clubs, who don;t have the world wide attraction of ManUSA, Arsenal etc to make this work. By being strong, they have to start by putting an end to the outrageous salaries they are paying to average players at the moment. The biggest reason IMO why so many clubs are in the sh*t is because of the wages they currently pay. Reducing wage costs significantly would help most EPL clubs, and if there is less money in the game then Agents will have to temper their demands. It may also force clubs to look more at developing scouting networks and improving their youth set-ups. So it may be a blessing in disguise really and perhaps the Ofcom ruling should be welcomed as a good thing – even if painful in the short term to the clubs that rely on Sky.
    I personally think that also the league that will become strongest over the next 5 years or so will be the Bundesliga. German clubs are already much more sensibly run and regulated than ours (as with most things German really), but what makes them really stand out is their attendances. they are easily the best supported league in europe with average crowds of over 41,000 across the 18 teams. And we are starting to see more and more German clubs make an impact in the CL and europa competitions as well.

  9. GodWore10

    Great post as always Tony. I sometimes venture with some trepidation to other sites but have come to realise that this is my home. I only don’t post very much because usually by the time I read the posts I have nothing to add, pretty well spot on on the whole.
    Agree AGS about the Bundesliga. Even their top teams like Bayern Munich don’t indulge in the sort of mad financial practices that EPL’s smaller teams like Portsmouth and Tottenham do over here. Let alone Man IOU and Liverpool Utterly Bankrupt. The result is that fans can watch high quality football in civilised surroundings (and stand up if you like to do so) for prices that ordinary people can afford. Hence the high gates and the fact that a Senior Citizen can pick up a season ticket at any of them for one or two hundred pounds (last I heard). That’s per year, by the way!

  10. Marc

    Nice piece Tony

  11. Paul C.

    To me, Football 3.0 has always been here and has always been practised by smart football clubs, not just Arsenal (Brian Clough was a firm believer in Football 3.0, as were Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, and Matt Busby). Unfortunately, Football 3.0, because it is intelligent and “boring”, doesnt sell newspapers. Nobody buys the tabloids to read “Football Club A invested in its youth policy this summer”, instead they buy the tabloids to read “Football Club A spent 10million on player X”. So the tabloids, and indeed much of the mass media these days (newspapers like The Guardian, Times and Telegraph have become as bad as the tabloids when it comes to rumour and hype), go out of their way trying to fool the fans into thinking that there is only one way to do things, and that is by being “exciting” and spending money and paying big wages and taking risks. Unfortunately a large number of fans, the majority I would guess, actually believe that nonsense. Unfortunately, many of those fooled fans are Arsenal fans, and so Wenger and the Board have been ripped apart for being sensible and smart over the past five years. Even today, on the Guardian podcast, the commentators were talking about debt and Arsenal and the question was asked “can Arsenal afford their debt?” and you could see that everyone wanted the answer to be “No” but of course that isnt the case, so they had to conclude “Yes” and instead they turned their criticism as quickly as possibly to the poor squad depth that Arsenal have this season (this whole lack of depth thing is getting slightly ridiculous given the number of injuries we have – as others have pointed out RvP and Cesc have played fewer games for us this season than Gerrard and Torres have for Liverpool – and the fact we played and won against Bolton without RvP, Bendtner, Nasri, Walcott, Denilson, Ramsey, Song, Eboue, Clichy, Gibbs, Djourou).

    There seems to be great resentment among the media that Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger, may actually turn out to have been correct about the financial implications of over-spending. I think they would much prefer that we were also on the verge of being bankrupt so that they could still gloat and say “see, either way was as bad as the other, so why not just spend and spend and be EXCITING for us to sell our newspapers?”

  12. Sir Tony

    Paul C…

    I’m most grateful to you for your piece, which adds another dimension to the argument.

    When I started playing with the idea of 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 I did not think through the media implications, but as you rightly point out, they are there.

    In Football 1.0 the media was initially reporting the simple facts (reading the reports of 80 to 100 years ago we get little more) and then issues of local interest – not least because there were so many local newspapers. The story of Arsenal and Fulham 100 years ago is often the story of two local papers – The Kentish Independent, and the West London.

    In Football 2.0 we get what we consider to be the modern journalism of football – as with Arsenal to sign Crouch, Liverpool to sign Eduardo. This is just invented, as we’ve seen here a million times over, but it creates excitement, and it is now what the papers live off. Even the BBC pander to it with page 338 on teletext.

    But in Football 3.0 we have news that is largely ignored (eg Arsenal’s two south American transfers this window.) Where they are reported, it comes with the caveat, “arsenal supporters will be worried as they were expecting big name signings.”

    In other words if we can’t turn the clock back to Football 2.0 we can at least pretend that Football 2.0 is better and 3.0 is a wasteland.

    Thank you for your addition to the analysis, I really appreciate it.

  13. walter

    I can confirm that the financial climate in the Bundesliga is much better as there are strong financial rules over there.
    I can only add: great article and great and intresting comments.

  14. korihikage

    Dear Tony,

    i enjoy reading your posts, because they always make me realise how lucky we are to have a manager with this kind of vision.

    you surely know about stan kroenke.

    i thought this season has been going well for us. we are picking up momentum at the right time, and i am secretly confident that we will win the league this season.

    but i am worried about stan kroenke’s activities, and how it could disrupt the stability we have.

    i personally don’t wish to see him take over the club, be it in the near future, at the end of the season(i hope any takeover moves would be left till the season is over), or forever.

    i would like to hear your take on this issue.

  15. Paul C.

    Its a pleasure Tony. Thanks for providing a forum where people like myself can express their views without being labelled an AKB and made fun of. According to a couple of other blogs (I wont name which ones) I live in a dreamland and I am only one of the sheep. I have never actually thought of myself in that way since I always take time to try to explore every single side of the argument before forming my opinion, and always try to stay realistic about expectations. It is like the “spend 20-30million on a player” debate I am having with “neutral fan” on one of the other threads here. When people make statements like that, it almost seems as though they very rarely take into account the effects such signings will have on the clubs wage structure and wage expectations of every other player within the club (especially with the new 50% rate of tax). Fans seem to have been fooled into thinking that transfer fees are the only expense there is when buying players, and that can be blamed on the modern media as well. I am a firm believer that within ten years the entire transfer fee system will cease to exist, and I believe that clubs that rely on transfer fees will go bust. It is only the stupidity of agents and players that keeps the system alive, and surely that stupidity cannot be expected to last forever. Once players and agents realise the power in their hands and the potential salaries they could command, transfer fees will cease to exist and certain clubs (Everton anyone?) will have a rather rude awakening.

  16. notlager

    Hi Tony,

    great article.

    What do you think of Northern Rock’s decision to sponsor Newcastle United? According to them that’s in the “best interests of tax payers”.


  17. Simon Bailey

    i think legrove’s problem is all too obvious. its in their name. thy obviously have a problem with the french and especially arsene. they claimed today that our financial position and therefore our general success was not down to arsene in any way.

    i wonder if bigotry is part of fooball 1.0 or 3.0, but it deserves to be back at 0.001

  18. walter

    About the Ofcom issue, could anyone give me some more information about what is going on ? As not living in the UK this somehting completely unknown to me. I never have heard of this before.

  19. Paul C.


    Ofcom is the regulator in the UK. They feel that Sky, who pay the PL billions, is not competing in a proper way and are considering allowing competitors to tap into PL Football at lower prices, creating true competition. It is the exact same thing that happened in the telecommunications industry years ago, leading to cheap telephone. Google “Ofcom Sky Football” and read all about it.

  20. Mark

    I see it the other way around Paul.
    I think once economic reality kicks in, then players will start to process reality the same way any normal person does.

    Would you for instance prefer, say, 50K a year working for , say, BP
    or 1 Million a year working for Joe and Johnny’s Online Get Minted Ltd PLC…………?

    Likewise footballers: a long-term contract and 10k a week with Rocksteady FC will soon look a lot more attractive than 50k a week for Lala United.

  21. TheSKAGooner

    Articles like this are why I voted you Best Team Writer, Tony. Absolutely brilliant, and a depth and line of discussion we don’t get on any other website. Bravo.

  22. GFD

    The idiot clubs give us a contrasting view which helps in our own policies planning. So deep inside I hope they eventually join the path of the mentally astute but do it slowly as i greed for a ten year domination at least. Attractiveness also include getting good looking players to attract lady spectators and then its full house.
    Btw i love this site. And is glad to see Song playing with his uncle at the back.

  23. Abhishek

    Just like any D&G brigade would say “Wenger buy, buy and buy”, all we boring fans can say is “Tony more, more and more”. Great article and great comments.

    Just like Paul C said the role of media is also another factor. I don’t know how media was in football 1.0 and football 2.0 but certainly sites like this are an integral part of football 3.0. The readers of sites like this (is there any one) would be much more informed and much more understanding. And when the views of the readers of this site starts proving right that we will see people coming more often to these sites than to some stupid gossip mongers(even I go there, but now for fun).

    Great role Tony, hope to see your readership improve very soon.

  24. Sir Tony


    Re Kronke, I have no inside information but can only look on from outside and draw conclusions.

    First, he was invited onto the board – and for that to happen he must have talked to the board about his intention, and the board must have put their views and been satisfied. That would indicate a “no bid” agreement of some type.

    Second, we know from public reports (that have not been denied) that he has not paid for his shares in full – again suggesting that he might not even have the money to make a full bid. The fact that he has bought shares from other board members without paying them in full backs up the first point.

    Third, and putting this together we might take it that the deal is that he gets to 29.999% of the shares and sits. If Usmanov makes a move to buy over 30% of the shares then immediately there is a big block against him. It might also allow Kronke to get in first with a bid, although I am not sure what advantage there would be in that.

    And do remember, bids at 30% are irrelevant if other people don’t want to sell to you. The rules in England say that at 30% you must bid for the shares at the highest price offered recently – and maybe a few people will sell, but if most don’t all you have done is bought a few shares at the highest price.

    The chances are that in the next couple of years football share prices will drop (see my post on Football 3.0 for a discussion of the way football is moving).

    So personally I can’t say “no he won’t bid” but I am not expecting a bid.


  25. Sir Tony

    One interesting thing is that in the days of Football 1.0, two teams were known as non-English teams – Woolwich Arsenal and Liverpool. Both (for their own different reasons) had teams packed with Scottish players.

    There was a lot negative comment on this.

    When people comment about Arsenal not being an English club, I just tell them, that is how it was founded, and I don’t see why it should suddenly be forced to change after 124 years.

  26. walter

    Thanks for the information on the ofcom both on and off this site. We also have such an organisation but we still pay the highest rates for mobile phones in the EU.
    For seeing the EPL on my TV I have to pay some 15 euro/month (about the same in £ for the moment). And about 2/3 games we play in the EPL are broadcasted live fot that price.
    And that price also includes the Spanish league (very nice), the Dutch league (lower level but some very attractive games), the Bundesliga (I don’t look at it much), the French ligue (hardly look) and some games from Italy which I never look unless the last 5 minutes when there is some other game coming on. And sometemis games from Brazil in the summer.
    So I do think it is good value for money. Don’t think my wife really agrees on this… 😉

  27. neutral fan

    brilliant article…..to market arsene philosophy….

  28. neutral fan

    arsenal are not an english club…..lol….who wants it to be????critics, pundits, people who don’t have anything else to criticise arrsenal…..i certainly not….it might be a part of urs 3.0 version…arsenal can become more popular worldwide(it is) due to presence of players from all around the world…..certainly epl is watched all over the world mainly due to arsene philosophy of giving priority to quality rather than locality…..

  29. korihikage

    thanks Tony,

    your reply has reassured me. i am concerned because of the circus that is happening over at old trafford.

    hope that we will never ever have to go through such a joke.

  30. Football Tips Expert – Wayne

    Gunners will surely take 3 points at Emirate Stadium but I expect them to play safe because they clearly understood Bolton’s ability. Wenger’s side is confident to control the match after leading so Gunners will stop fire after score 2s and Bolton may has a chance to steal a goal in last minute.

  31. Myspace Proxy

    @Markus I get your drift on where you were going there. I often think of my past and use it as a means to analyze where I am and where I want to get to. Where I struggel is balancing it all out. How do you guys balance things out?

Back to top
mobile desktop