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Money can also buy you troubles

By Walter Broeckx

You can often hear and read of some fans wishing we would be like Manchester City and Chelsea. The ones that are in it for the winning of things. I really like us to win anything and I will be filled with joy when it happens, but for me and I think for many of us here on Untold there is more about Arsenal than just winning a trophy.  But as all people are different there are of course the dreamers of spending money as if it is nothing. Yes we know it can buy you trophies. But buying trophies is not the same as winning trophies.

But let us imagine that the board would sell our club to a very rich person who has money to burn and who wants to spend it on the club. Just typing those words sends shivers down my spine to be honest. I wouldn’t like it at all but well for Untold I want to imagine it.

So we would have  the richest person in the world as our owner. And what would he do? He would go to all the other teams and outspend them. He would buy us Messi, Ronaldo and all the other mercenaries around. Hell I think he would even buy RVP back as he maybe will hear another child crying inside and suddenly believing in the project called money.

So all would be fine and nice. The supporters will be very happy with all the trophies we will buy. We wouldn’t  care about FFP rules at all as… well we might bribe our way around it somehow. Or use accountants tricks to get round it.  Or go off and create our own league for non-compliant clubs.

Now there is one team that is actually doing this (although not the last bit yet). A club that has won the league a few times in the last few seasons. Hell we even have a player in our team that has won the league with them last time. I am talking about Zenit St. Petersburg.

They have one of the richest sponsors in the world with Gazprom. Gazprom has almost a yearly higher profit than the whole EC together has a hole in their budget.  I think they can even buy a country like Greece and take over their debts. Okay this might be slightly exaggerated but Gazprom has money to burn. As long as you burn it with gas.

A few weeks ago they went shopping in Spain and Portugal. And they bought themselves two players. Hulk and Witsel. It looked like a bargain to them. They only paid 80M Euro for both of them. I can hear some saying: we should do like them. I can hear a little boy shouting: this is the ambition I want to see.  For half of that money Arsenal has bought  3 players.

Now how did the purchase of those two players affected the Zenit?

Let us start by on the field performances. Well since they have bought Hulk and Witsel… they haven’t won a single game. The last Russian champions lost at home to Terek Grozny with 0-2. They went to Malaga (now in financial trouble) in the CL and got beaten 3-0. A bit funny as the Spanish club who thought money was no problem but then it turned out to be a problem after all won against a team where money is no problem.

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And then they managed to get a draw away at lower placed Krylya Sovetov (have you ever heard of them?).  And now Zenit have dropped back to 5th place in the league and that after being first before the new toys arrived. Oh that should have been boys but never mind. It is correct.

So on the field things have gone backwards rapidly. Hulk scored a goal in the 2-2 draw. So that is not that bad maybe.  And Witsel was bought with an injury so he still cannot play. But that is not a problem when you got money to burn of course.

But the most important thing is that there is a lot of unrest in the team of Zenit St. Petersburg for the moment.  Club captain Igor Denisof and top scorer Alexander Kerzhakov have openly demanded a pay rise.  They say that they don’t mind when the club buys new players and adds them to the squad but they cannot take it that those new boys without having kicked a ball get millions per year more than they are paid.

Denisof who earns himself the “workmans” wage of only 3M Euro a year thinks is it not right that the new boys earn up to 3 times what he earns. And so he and Kerzhakov want a pay rise of 2M a year. And if they don’t get it they will not play for Zenit again.  As a result both are put back to the reserve team. And on the field they are losing points at a very high rate.

Coach Spaletti has said that there is unrest in the team.  And that because of the dumb action (his phrase) of the two Russian internationals the whole team is suffering. I don’t know if the action can be described as dumb. I think when they see that their club has money to burn,  they just want a little piece of it.  How would you feel if you earn your money at a company and your boss hires two new people who do the same job as you  do but who  get 3 times as much as you get? Would you feel happy about it? Wouldn’t you feel a bit underrated by your boss?

Denisof said that if they would have bought Messi or Iniesta he could understand them being paid much more as they are worth it. But Hulk (okay not that bad) and certainly Witsel are just not that much better compared to them.

Both Denisof and Kerzhakov have played more than 500 games for Zenit up to now and are full Russian internationals.  And it is understood that they are the only one because of their stature in the game in Russia who are brave enough to stand up to the club and ask to get a hefty pay rise. It is likely that others feel the same but don’t dare to be that open about it.

And so the team has fallen apart and the results suffer.  Two of their best players in the past years are out of the team and maybe the other players think about the new ones : OK you earn 3 times what we earn so work 3 times as hard as we do on the field. And maybe don’t feel completely 100% happy and started under performing a bit.

An example of what can happen when a club pays too much money to bring in new players and now they have unrest in a team. So even having all the money and spending all the money can bring you in to trouble. Not that I mind. In fact I think it is rather funny.

28 comments to Money can also buy you troubles


  • createstrain

    i wonder if those two players would swap that money for 3 times as less plus the joy the pod and caz feel right now. that dressing room must feel very cold.

  • elkieno

    I cant read this article as I am bout to go home, but I want Arsenal to stay exactly how we are, not spending so much mulah that we get in trouble.
    OG please score a goal so we can all relax a little in knowing the 3 are off the mark.
    How good for confidence will it be?
    I do wonder though that using the law of averages, this means that 2/3 of our new guys will make it?
    or can they all make it successfully?
    is this even on topic, I havent read it yet jsut want to comment on this great site.
    Don’t forget about me!
    Comon you Rip Roaring Gunners!!!

  • Timmy

    Thanks for the write up Walter

    Funny how things are turning out for Zenith.

    People still doesn’t understand that money causes more problems than it can solve.

  • Northern Gooner

    Interesting piece as always Walter.

    As a side note, am I correct in thinking that Gazprom have becoem one of the primary sponsiors of this years Champion League and if so, is this purely coincidence with the FFP almost upon us while the team they sponsor are spending such huge sums? Would UEFA have to guts to ban Zenit if they were not meeting the FFP next year when their main competition is being sponsored by one in the same sponsor? Just a thought!

  • Funny how money turns around to be evil..

  • vince

    May be they also need to listen to the little boy inside them and what he is saying. Long Live Arsenal, Long live Arsene. Come on Arsenal because we are proud of saying that name whatever the outcomes.

  • The font

    I had brand new fiesta but I thought this is not good enough for me so I bought my self a big Mercedes then I relised I did not earn enough to pay for fuel in such a flash motor so I had to sell it losing my dignity and most of my cash now I have a skate board

  • Asif

    Great article…again it help us to put things in perspective, that why Wenger tries to maintain a financial parity accross all players, there is ofcourse a difference between what a Theo earns to what a Nico does but that is always dependant on the game time they get or are likely to get for the first team. However, I would never agree with a RvP getting 4 times the salary to say someone like Arteta who probably puts in a harder shift!

  • Timmy

    Can anyone please help get update on Arteta’s contract situation? I recall when he was signed, there was this news doing the rounds about him being responsible for his health since he couldn’t do medicals.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @The font…
    Hope the skate board is keeping you in a good physical shape.

    no wonder Mr Wenger opted for an even wage structure……

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    As I recall, Arteta signed last year on about £10k a week less than he was on at Everton. He signed a new contract this year which upped his wages well beyond what he was getting oop norf.
    Interestingly I saw a translated article (from Spanish) bemoaning the ‘death’ of the long passer. Spain churns out players like Cazorla & Silva but guys like Arteta and Alonso are harder to find. I suspect he author was pro-Madrid as he took a swipe at Cruijf’s cult of short passing.

  • Adam

    @Walter for your information.
    Usmanov is chaiman of Gazprom investment holdings a subsidary of Gazprom. You already know this.
    Abramovich sold his company sibneft to Gazprom after failed attempts to merger with Yukon. Berezovsky and himself were buddies of Boris Yeltsin a political heavy weight (who you should be aware of). We are dealing with people who profited from the break up of the USSR. Even today the capitalist countries are still putting pressure on the Russians to fully privatise their industries as most large companies in Russia are still state controlled with Gazprom being 51% owned by the state. If you look at the larger picture it seems history is repeating itself with these large state controlled companies buying up other companies from around the globe. So far Gazprom has acquired hundreds of subsidaries mostly in the energy services area but also media.
    There are some very well placed Ukrainians and Russians out there who you can trace their wealth back to the break up of the USSR and the creation of companies such as Gazprom. which I will repeat are still state controlled and expanding rapidly.

  • Sav from Australia

    Really good and thought provoking article Walter.

    If only laws changed and supporters were allowed to own clubs, leaving professional management to run the clubs with all stakeholders held equally. I think that such ownership would be the best type for football clubs, due to the community nature of supporters.

  • Damien Luu

    Nah, as an AAA member I don’t care about Zenit. People said our players were leaving us because they didn’t get the pay rises they demanded, so I just want the old fool AW to give ’em what they want so we can keep ’em. I can’t stand people calling us “a selling club” and stuffs. I don’t care if there will be “unrest” in the squad or the club. I don’t care if the club will be bankrupt after a few year. Just give ’em whatever they want so we can keep ’em and don’t be called “a selling club”. Oh, and I still haven’t talked about the ambition and the trophies yet…

    /signed/ AAA member

  • Adam

    With regards to Zenit they do have an ageing squad and are looking to younger players, But they have got one hell of a leg up from Gazprom. New stadium for the world cup new squad on it’s way, Money no object. Disgruntled millionaire footballers. Such a hard life.
    Oh and by the way, The chairman of Zent is also the chairman of Gazprom Neft the company Gazprom acquired of off Abramovich Sibneft, Gazprom now sponsors Chelsea football club in some capacity and to an unspecified sum?

  • Timmy

    Thanks Woolwich Peripatetic. Got that.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    You’re welcome. I think even Wenger didn’t realise just how good Arteta was and he is the acknowledged master of evaluating a player out of context. I can’t remember who said it but a famous manager once pointed out “50% of completing a pass is the ability of the player receiving the ball”.
    Or to put it more bluntly “Carlton Palmer, he can trap the ball further than I can kick it” according to Ron Atkinson.

  • Ong Bing

    Good article Walter, but it is came late for me.

    Because I lose my money when Zenit lose to Terek Grozny.

    You can not blame me, they played at home that time. 🙂

  • Fred

    Anyone watch the League Cup draw? Man U get an easy tie as per usual (Chelsea away) while the Arsenal face a very difficult trip to Reading. How fixed can you get? Something has to be done about this conspiracy now. 😡

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    More like the easiest draw for Chelsea, United have no defenders and no midfield, they should have a field day. The refs will have to work extra hard to get a result in that matchup.

  • Sam

    Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems
    -Notoriours BIG

  • Florian

    Nah, that match will finish 6-5 on penalties after 90 minutes:)

  • Johan Greening

    The problem also with money is that as well as some players wanting increases as ‘new’ players are getting paid more, exisiting players think that others are paid too much for not performing and as a result think either those players should get less(not likely) or the performing players get more.

  • tommyt

    Hope this happens to chelsea and city. that is all.

  • SouthernGunner

    Off topic.

    Thought some of you may be interested in this article. Liverpool boss Brendan Rogders voicing concerns over the quality of refereeing. Has he been reading Untold? 😉