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.
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