How the AAA support Untold Arsenal, and why the financial solution is in peril

By Tony Attwood

“Arsene will be larging it bigtime tomorrow on his blog, Untold !”

So wrote one of the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal tweets after the latest victory for the club.  I must say I do personally like it when this sort of stuff comes out, for the notion that the club manager actually has anything to do with Untold is both amusing, and a great way to add to our readership.  More readers means more income from advertisers, and since that is all ploughed back into Untold, it means more Untold.

The fact is that the club, like all clubs with any sense of public relations, watches what is said about Arsenal on TV, radio, the daily and Sunday press, and a few of the larger blogs.  All clubs of a certain size do that.

Obviously if you are in to the AAA you can read their material on many, many sites, and you don’t need me to point the way, but it is interesting how the existence of just one pro-Wengerian site should antagonise so many people who themselves have a choice of 100 or more anti-Wengerian sites which closely reflect their views.

Anyway, here’s an interesting comment from one AAAe recently:

“My mate reckons we’re stuck with Kroenke for minimum 2 years, could be longer & then he could bring his own people onto the board.

“Kroenke is definitely in this for the money. Gazidas is his puppet.”

Now that’s an opinion, and of course can be expressed openly given that neither of the gentlemen concerned is likely to sue for libel.  But what fascinates me is the lack of evidence for such a contentious view.  “My mate” is not exactly a source, and the second paragraph has now evidence at all.  (It is a bit like the reader who wrote in the other day attributing a quote to Einstein without any reference to when and why the great man said such a thing.  There is no evidence in fact that he did say it.  Einstein, “my mate”…. choose a source, provide no evidence, and you are up and running with your story).

Certainly this view contradicts what Mr Kroenke said at the AGM before last, when he did his wonderful “silent Stan” joke.  But during that meeting he stated that he would be staying for a long time, and gave me the very clear impression that he meant 10 years at the very least.  (We should also note that at this year’s AGM the vote against re-instating members of the board who were up for re-election was just 3% of those present – so Mr Kronke being ousted seems unlikely).

Of course Mr Kronke talked about the long haul in a public statement and not all public statements are true.  Far from it.  But if we are going to argue against it, some sort of rational coherent logic is needed, and some sort of evidence would be helpful too.

Mr Kronke has made a huge investment in Arsenal, and it is not unreasonable to expect anyone who makes an investment in a business to look for a return.   So how will Mr Kronke get his return?   Certainly one way is through selling the shares on at a profit exactly as David Dein did.

But for that profit to happen, something must exist to increase the value of Arsenal shares.  That might be more success on the pitch, or it might be the development of new technologies within Arsenal or it might be expansion of our overseas following – at the AISA AGM there was talk from the speakers from Arsenal of the USA, Asia and the Far East as the territories the club was moving into.  Certainly with Mr Kronke on board the USA looks do-able.

Although it is possible for these developments and their subsequent profits simply to fund the shareholders through dividends that has not happened yet, and to say it will is just a guess.  However even if there were to be a dividend it would seem highly unlikely (indeed unprecedented) for all the extra profit to go to the directors.   So some of that money – (and in fact there is precedent and logic to suggest that all of that money) will go to the club in terms of buying players and paying salaries.

What we have to realise is two things.

First, bringing in someone else, and a load of money is no guarantee of more success, or even the maintenance of our current position.

Take for example Real Madrid.  Its net outflow of money on transfers last season was £41m, the season before £73m and the season before £149m (source TransferMarket).  To be clear that money is the money spent on transfers minus the money brought in from player sales.   This season they have a manager who has been incredibly successful around the world.  And yet this season after 16 games Real Madrid are 13 points behind the leaders.  Or put another way, they are lying third in a two horse race.  Even the utterly bonkers Atletico Madrid are four points ahead of Real.

So money and previously successful managers don’t guarantee success.

But even if we had all this money, the clubs sponsored by countries and the mega rich would go on out-spending us (unless the Premier League does indeed bring in its own restrictions.)

Qatar, for example are said to have signed a deal to give Paris St Germain 200 million euros  a year every year through an advertising contract which has been set up in an attempt to get around the FFP regulations.  Seemingly DNCG, the equivalent of the FA in France, has accepted the deal as ok (source: Le Parisien)

But worse (at least for all French clubs, and anyone who meets PSG in Europe), the arrangement is retroactive, so PSG will soon be getting the fee for this year, even though the deal didn’t exist then.

The money is to “help in promoting the country abroad”.   But QTA, the suppliers of the money, is part of the Qatari state, and so are the club’s owners QSI.   Clearly Qatar think they really do have a way around FFP, and if they have, all our hopes for FFP to make a more balance playing field have just gone up in smoke.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is reportedly earning a net 14 million euros a year.  Or if he were in England, that would mean something around £20m before tax.   No one can compete with this kind of spending, and in the end our only hope is for a manager who can work outside of the transfer market (and we already have one of those) and that Uefa really does deal with PSG.

The books…

The sites…

54 Replies to “How the AAA support Untold Arsenal, and why the financial solution is in peril”

  1. This is incorrect …. due to the actual circumstances. Kroenke could phone Usmanov tomorrow and offer him his share holding … at a price which would give him (Kroenke) a good profit. After some haggling … Usmanov would say yes. We do not have a normal investment situation.

    Secondly … it is no bad thing to run the club’s finances in a responsible way. But if Usmanov had been in control we would not have lost certain key players eg. RVP.

    Why ? Because Kroenke is a business man who knows very little about football and simply regards Arsenal as another of his businesses.

    Usmanov is a business man who is also a football fanatic. Like Abramowicz he has made his money already and does not need to make it by exploiting Arsenal.

  2. It’s 11.06 am GMT. The world has not ended. Consuming some very nice chocolate truffles about one hour ago was not the last thing I would have wished to do before the end of the world. But then again I am at work and would certainly be escorted off the premises if I managed to do what I really wanted to do. But let’s look at the bright side, Arsene is still at the helm and we can hopefully enjoy more portents of doom from our pessimistic brethren….

  3. @chris from Cambridge 12:13 pm

    “Like Abramowicz he has made his money already and does not need to make it by exploiting Arsenal”…of course not he has made his money exploiting the Uzbeks…and of course that matters naught to us gooners!

  4. @chris from cambridge

    If you remember…Mr Usmanov was the one who complained about not being paid the dividends. And you say Mr Usmanov will not make money out of ARSENAL.

  5. I thought the price per share had gone up by something like £4000 to £5000 per share since Kroenke bought his stake although this is off the top of my head so don’t quote me

  6. A good post, Tony. Unfortunately it won’t make a shread of difference to those for whom Silent Stan is the villain, running of with wads of Arsenal’s hard-earned cash.

  7. Chris,
    At least with the current model, all of Arsenals money remains as Arsenals money. The unknown risks that not being the case despite all that is said.

  8. What do people mean when they say, ‘he knows very little about football’?

    Football is a sport and like any sport their are passionate fans, but football is in no way the sport with the most passionate fans… only my opinion, but take a trip to india and watch a game of cricket!

    And football tactics are on the whole pretty similar to other sporting tactics … say, american football, rugby … there are differences, sure, but i hazard a guess that Ferguson could manage saracens quite well.

    Kroenke’s business is sport … the guy was a passionate basketball player growing up and his since made his fortune in the running or sport franchises.

    I am not going to fight Silent Stan’s corner and usually I do not agree with this website … but I really do not get that, ‘he does not know football’ line. On the contrary, I guess his overall knowledge of the sporting world probably exceeds most peoples.

  9. Oh come on, Tony, how can you expect the AAA let something like “evidences” disturb their good stories?

    What entertain me most is the fact that the AAA and the “spend spend spend, buy buy buy” boys seem all believe that if Usmanov can buy the club, he will give Arsenal all of his tiny fortune (in comparing with the oily rich Arabs), and all sorts of good things will happen. Oh yeah, why not, he is a former communist, after all. He doesn’t need those capital sums (or whatever it is), does he? Has he ever even said anything about how much he will “invest” into the squad?

    People always believe what they want to believe. That’s why it’s very difficult for you to tell some of them how stupid they are.

  10. No one can compete with this kind of spending, and in the end our only hope is for a manager who can work outside of the transfer market (and we already have one of those) and that Uefa really does deal with PSG.

    We have not won a trophy because we have been outspent (Bradford and Birmingham come to mind) We have not won a trophy because Wenger is still stuck in the past.
    When you continually sell your best players, gamble on the fitness of crocks and try to by loyalty you’d never win anything.

    PS: We are the fourth biggest club in England wage bill wise so how is Wenger a genius when he finishes 4th and tell us he can’t compete with those above him and yet he forgets to tell us those below him can’t compete with him?

  11. Ur welcome tony, anything to help your blog compete financially and otherwise is fine by me.
    Asd, tell them, unfortunately akbs are set in stone.
    How come a club spends £19m less than man utd and finishes 19pts behind, but spends over £50m more than tottenham and newcastle, but can barely finish 3pts better?
    If you are gonna spend good money, you might as well compete, 19pts from the top isnt competing for the AAA(Anti-arsene arsenal)

  12. In your post, Tony, you asked rhetorically about how Mr Kroenke would receive a return for his considerable investment in Arsenal FC.
    While in the background is the burgeoning value of his shares, his current £1,300,000

  13. Malaga has been excluded from playing in Europe for next season I just heard. Of course Malaga is just a “small” team compared to the bigger clubs but this could be another precedent for the future of course

  14. A really good article Tony. The AAA seem to have changed their tactics over the last year or eighteen months and have plugged Usmanov more and more; they hold to the unproven perception that if Usmanov owned the club he would put in a heap of money – even though he has already tried to get money out when he suggested the shareholders be paid a dividend.

    At the same time Usmanov has become more vocal in declaring his ambition to own the club. Anyone, even the AAA who support this ambition, would be well advised to review his history before becoming too vocal in his support.

    With regard to the phrase from above: – “My mate reckons we’re stuck with Kroenke for minimum 2 years,” – the twit who wrote this and his mate have not studied the Arsenal finances well. In two years time the Arsenal income, still based on the sustainable model, will be much stronger as the new deals kick in. The club will be able to compete much better than now in the transfer market and the team will reflect this. What the twits are concerned about is that in two years we may have the best team in the league – and their (the AAA) present modus operandi of trying to undermine the club by attacking the manager, the team and board will be futile – hence those with dirty laundry are in a hurry to make a change – hence the present artificial hysteria when we get a bad result.

  15. BJT:

    Only you & your hero Tony could actually believe that the writer of “Arsene will be larging it bigtime tomorrow on his blog, Untold !” that Wenger was in some way connected with Tony’s hobby / blog !!

    Perhaps Tony isn’t that stupid, but thought that writing it, his few regular loyal posters would lap it up, as you have done.

    I’ll sit back now & wait for you to plead that ‘scum like doublegooner’ is removed from here.

  16. @Doublegooner

    Your post seems a bit more incoherent than normal – looks like you have totally misunderstood the opening of Tony’s article – or maybe in your failed effort to try to score a cheap-shot you have lost the plot.

  17. @bjt, in 2years from now right? Or is 2years from 2year, or 2years from 2years from 2years? Probably 2years from eternity?

  18. BT

    Where have I misunderstood the opening ?

    I found it amusing that Tony assumed the writer actually believed Wenger had something to do with this site. Isn’t that what he meant ?

  19. @Uk

    The 2 year timescale came from the AAA twit who posted elsewhere, so if your want elucidation you will have to track him (or her) down.


    The opening line of you post at 11.40pm is almost nonsensical, but I would interpret it as you trying to say that Tony and I believe the AAA twit’s comment that Wenger was connected with Untold. From Tony’s article it is clear that that is not the case. Perhaps you were in too bad a temper to type what you meant, or perhaps your black scarf obscured part of the keyboard.

    What you are stating at 1.12am is not what you stated at 11.40pm – you are well named double talking Doublegooner.

  20. frankly signings and expenditure would only go part of the way to helping arsenal compete. there’ far too much emphasis being put on who we sign or sell imo and even thoguh that stuff is very important, on paper we have a really good set (with a few amazing names) of about 15 players. now don’t take this as me being a wenger apologist because i’m actually saying the opposite.

    bla bla we get outspent, bla bla can’t compete with money bags, bla bla wages. we have an excellent squad on the whole. the reason why we underachieve horribly and don’t compete isn’t because of our squad primarily, it’s because we’re a team with no defensive organisation, bizarre team selection from arsene, and a horribly predictable seemingly pre-determined use of substitutions (anyone else sigh at the 70 minute arbitrary sub when we’ve played badly for the previous 70 minutes…? as if it would be a terrible idea to make a sub at half time here or there to switch things up…?). we are simply a poorly organised team which fails to get properly motivated and concentrate. you only have to look at the number of trophies won by fergie when his team fluctuates in quality from amazing to only ‘good’ every few years. they win because they are brilliantly organised and managed, we are not.

    all this talk of money has just been a scapegoat which has deflected blame away from the fact that the actual management of the players we actually do have has been poor for a few years now. and before you say look all the players are saying they back him and he’s amazing, of course they do, he plays these guys mostly from a young age and has faith in them. of course they feel indebted to him when they underachieve and he plays them again anyway.

  21. Doublegooner
    You do realise you are one of the regular posters on this site don’t you? The site you view in such disdain is actually benefiting from your daily visits… Which is the whole point of this post… You get that right? Or did you just read the first line, get indignant and post yet another incoherent rant?

  22. Stevie E

    I couldnt give a toss if my posts ‘benefit’ this site.

    If I have something to say and I’ve not been blocked, I’ll say it.

    Have you or the writers of this blog not visited other sites you disagree ? Of course you have, and some regularly.

    And yes, I did get the point of the post.

    Merry Christmas from a diehard old time Gooner.

  23. Doublegooner
    Nope, I prefer not to allow negativity into my life thanks, that’s why I don’t read any red top and stay away from sites like le grove. I like untold, arseblog etc because they tend to take the positive view. You should try it, life’s so much nicer if you’re not angry all the time.

  24. @Doublegooner, again you and I have not conversed directly as you have not replied to my questions before. As one of many part-time contributors to this site I have to disagree with your statement; “Have you or the writers of this blog not visited other sites you disagree ? Of course you have, and some regularly”.
    I cannot say if I disagree with any other fan based website as I do not visit any others.
    My veiws and opinions can be aired here on this site, I don’t have to go looking for like minded or agreeable people,
    Maybe in your case people you would like to influence. So far to date you have not converted any readers of Untold to your ideologies but your persistence is refreshing, If only you could direct that on to a more constructive and positive path you may gain some credibility.

  25. I have a couple of points and a couple of questions.

    Firstly, I think you need to take a step back from some on the comments made on the WWW. Many use the web as a place to vent frustration and sometimes anger – and very often just after a poor performance. I think people generally express opinions, but sometimes they are written as and taken as facts that are being submitted.

    There are a few with an agenda against Arsenal and Arsene Wenger – but these are the people who have a real voice as opposed to frustrated fans. I am talking about the Stuart Robson’s and Piers Morgans of this world.

    Secondly, I think it is valid to question what Kroenke has in mind for the club. He has a history of upsetting the fans at the clubs he owns, including selling the best players. Given his lack of profile it is only natural for people to be suspicious. As for Gazidis, well his interviews are not good. His image is one of a corporate man, not a football man – this might be unfair but it is how he comes across.

    On to the questions.

    Who exactly are the AAA. What constitutes someone being Anti-Arsenal in your view?

    What are your thoughts on what Kroenke plans for the club – are you worried or confident he is doing the right things? I rarely see your views these days. It tends to be more of an attack on the ‘AAA’, whoever they are.

  26. The AAA are a fabrication dreamed up in a fevered mind. They, like the AKBs, don’t exist. It’s just an easy name to hang on anyone who dares to think Wenger is not the right man for the job. Or that’s how it comes across.

    @Kampala gun, I’m not sure why you’re shouting about being third halfway through a season. It’s where we end up in May that counts. If you think I’m sad we’re third you’re mistaken. I’ve never made a point about us being 7th or 10th or any other lower position because I think it’s irrelevant until the final table standings. And where I’d like to be at the end of every season is first, yet again a forlorn hope this year.

  27. The AAA do exist. The term is a collective one for all those who insidiously back stab their own club. However, they show some signs of organization as exemplified in public as the BSM.

    The collective has a range of opinion and motivation but is led by those who want to put a fat Russian in control of the club in the unsubstantiated belief that he will pour money in. Such persons have not really reviewed how high rollers acquire their money in the first place.

  28. @Rupert, I think it has more to do with the negativity with which some view Arsenal, just my opinion tough. Some go overboard with their negativity towards Arsene and Arsenal and it maybe easy for some to categorise others in to their select groups. We all know Arsenal causes havoc with our emotions, its getting a distanced perspective that is the trick. Sometimes doable, other times impossible, for me that is.

  29. @bjtgooner

    What constitutes back stabbing your club?

    If you criticise the transfer policy, is that back stabbing?
    Or if you perhaps say that the board have made a serious error in letting players contracts run down to less than one year? Back stabbing?
    Is criticising an individual player back stabbing?

    I find some behaviour unacceptable – for instance the booing of Eboue a couple of seasons back – but even then I don’t think any of those fans were back stabbing or part of the ‘AAA’. Quite simply their emotions got the better of them.

    The label seems to be used as a weapon to discredit others views – however valid.

  30. @BJT, I really don’t think people have researched our little Russian infiltrator. As stated before; “is he a government man” you can bet your a*se he is. Even Abramovich held a state position a while ago. You look in to Russian football and you will find all manner of government officials on the boards of the different professional clubs. Will this change after their World cup, I do not know. Why Usmanov has interests in more than one club is also a mystery if true. But just looking in to the companies he has invested in or has a controlling stake in worryingly interesting, He bought up media companies within Russia before his interest in Arsenals media rights. He has a game plan alright, its just how do the powers that be at Arsenal get rid of him. Because I can’t see him leaving quietly. can you?

  31. Do we know how Kroenke has made his money? As far as I know. Mostly through purchase of sporting franchises, and developing the real estate around the stadia (his links with Walmart help in this regard), and through the selling of tv/broadband rights, merchandise etc. He’s never sold a single share in any sporting concern he’s bought.

    Do we know how Usmanov made his money? Not really. But talk of the gangster/mafia aside, he’s become a very rich man by investing in the stock of companies like Facebook for example. Or Megafon. (And both of those companies’ stock listings have had some controversy.) He makes money through investing in businesses, and selling them when appropriate. Again, as far as I know. Which seems the better owner for Arsenal?

    Usmanov has also basically always declined to say he will put in money from his own pocket. His latest interview says clubs cannot pay unrealistic fees and wages, and that maybe in the future the prices will come down (an obvious refernce to FFP) Basically, he says the same things that Arsenal already do. Where does this idea that he’ll be an Abramovich come from?

  32. And in all of this.. Usmanov’s 50% partner in R&W, Farhad Moshiri, stays out of the limelight. One wonders why he doesn’t get the monicker of Mute Moshiri or some such. Also, if a person of some doubtful integrity (according to reports in the media) like Usmanov, is actually the face of a company, you do have to wonder what the silent partner’s like.

  33. Shard, Usmanov has worked within the arms industry for the Russian government, He set up Gazprom investment holdings, also the banking side of their arms industry. We are not dealing with a separate entity here. We are dealing with a person who has the backing of top level Russian politicians and policy makers. The same as Abramovich? similar but not the same, I don’t think he has been shaken down since his imprisonment. Abramovich I think legged it and slowly rebuilt his bridges with Putin which showed in his election of a province around Kamchatka (a place I would love to visit). I in no way am disagreeing that Usmanov is a very astute man, Its the baggage and outside influence that concern me.
    Also it is not just in football we see Russian and Ukrainian businessmen influencing British interests, I can show you Elite political learning centres in our most prestigious universities sponsored by these Russian state backed businessmen.
    Again its not isolated to football. There seems to be an agenda. I do hope im wrong?

  34. Shard there is a piece on here that goes into a little detail about Usmanov’s past. He started in natural resource extraction and moved quickly into managing Russia’s arms industry? Thats why I keep having a pop about EU nations buying Migs to protect the the borders of Europe From who????? Russia, well thats gonna work.

  35. @Adam

    In answer to your question – I agree I don’t see the fat Russian going quietly – the trouble is I don’t see any evidence of him going at all – unless he decides at some point that he cannot complete his takeover. I also feel his desire for takeover is not the end game, rather the precursor to an additional objective.

    The problem is that his presence as is fueling some of the present artificial instability and encouraging some of the vicious attacks by elements of the media and the AAA on the team and manager.


    Nice to see you posting again, I always enjoy your well reasoned comments. Re Usmanov – it is not too difficult to trace his history, even though some web sites on that subject have disappeared, however, there seems to be less detail available on Moshiri – I can find an outline history on the net but not as much detail as I would like.

  36. Shard,
    I also question as to why Usmanov needs a partner to invest in Arsenal with him when he is said to be one of the richest people in the world. I just think it is odd.

  37. I tried a little while back to look for Russian news reports about Usmanov but as he owns most of the media, it’s all the same repeated stories painting a lovely picture of him.

  38. bjtgooner,

    Thanks. I always enjoy your comments as well, and admire your determination in dealing with some infestation on the site. Something I have mostly despaired of.

    Am I right in assuming that you felt I was supporting Usmanov? I wasn’t. I’m aware of the allegations of his past. I just wanted to leave that aside. And even without that aspect, I still don’t see why anyone would pick Usmanov over Kroenke other than that they want just any change. I see nothing diametrically opposite in R&W’s pronouncements to what Arsenal are already doing, apart from their need to generate negative PR for he club, and for the incumbents to generate positive PR for the club.

    And yes, then when you do look at Usmanov’s past, and perhaps even present, I’d rather we stuck with Kroenke. I have no special love for him either, but at the moment he’s done nothing to deserve opprobrium.

  39. Stuart and bjtgooner,

    Exactly. Moshiri’s past is not very well known, and his name is hardly ever mentioned in connection with Arsenal. That’s odd. Because Usmanov doesn’t own 30% of Arsenal. Red and White Securities Ltd. does. Which itself is a subsidiary of Red and White Holdings Ltd (registered in Jersey)

    Usmanov and Moshiri each beneficially own 50% of the entire issued share capital of the parent company.

    Question: Does anyone know what the significance of the word ‘beneficially’ is, in the above paragraph?

  40. Shard,
    Kroenke is married to a Wal-Mart heiress. Not the cleanest of sheets there 🙂 (Easy credit lines thereabouts?)
    See you in January to assess the transfer business.
    very best!

  41. “in the end our only hope is for a manager who can work outside of the transfer market”
    Mr Attwood,
    It’s not petro-level spending or nothing. A false set of choices there. This transfer window and the currently available money, not your wondrous trickle down if all the Kronke-based wishes come true, will prove an acid test to returning quality Arsene/Arsenal level football to the pitch, or continuing to act as if our last set of performances against the bottom dwellers were such causes for celebration. See you in January.

  42. Thanks for that bjt.

    bob. Walmart is hardly the same thing. That’s like arguing all big business is dirty -which it is- but I don’t see it as relevant. And I’m hardly the sort to back American corporations, nor am i quick to condemn everything Russian. It’s just that Usmanov’s reported past does raise more of a red flag than any linkage with Walmart for Kroenke does. At least to me.

  43. Shard,
    Beneficially owning something is where the property / naming rights and equity belong to you but the actual legal title is someone elses or someone else owns it and you run it and receive a shareholding.

    Sounds like they actually don’t own it but have an equity stake courtesy of someone else.

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